MIDDLETOWN — Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake ran out of answers in its state Class A semifinal football game against Yorktown Friday night at Middletown High School.
The Spartans wrestled the lead away from the Huskers with a pair of touchdowns early in the second quarter but could not score again until the waning seconds in a 34-19 loss that left them a step away from the Carrier Dome for the second year in a row.
The Spartans (10-1) were up 13-7 when Yorktown bounced back in a big way with 27 unanswered points, its scoring spree featuring a leaping end zone grab, a 90-yard drive that took just over eight minutes, and 70-yard fumble return by the same guy who capped that long march.
“It’s so hard to get to the championship game,” Burnt Hills coach Matt Shell said. “You can’t make mistakes. In Week 2 and Week 3 you can get away with it, but not in Week 11 and Week 12.”
Mike LeVan caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Burnt Hills quarterback Darien LaPietro two plays into the second quarter, and LeVan’s fumble recovery soon after led to a 2-yard scoring run by Jake Stanko. Jeremy Clayton’s extra point with 8:28 left made it 13-7.
Burnt Hills scored its last touchdown on a 50-yard run by Vincent Daviero as time expired.
“They’re a good football team,” Shell said. “We couldn’t make plays when we neeeded to.”
Yorktown made a bunch.
Brett Makar began Yorktown’s comeback with a 12-yard touchdown run on the Huskers’ ensuing drive after Stanko scored, and Alex Ujkaj’s leap and grab in the end zone capped the Husker next series, resulting in a 19-yard score.
Yorktown (Section I, 12-0) marched 90 yards on 15 plays to begin the third quarter and padded its advantage when Brandon Meyreles scored from the 13. A long Burnt Hills kickoff return went for naught when Meyreles returned a fumble 70 yards as
Yorktown’s lead grew to 34-13.
“I just don’t feel that long drive killed us,” said BH-BL linebacker/fullback John Shaw, the Spartans’ defensive MVP. “It was our inability to score.”
Tommy Weaver scored Yorktown’s first touchdown from the 4-yard line, those points set up on a fumble recovery by Eddie Cohen just six plays plays into the contest. Weaver later found Ujkaj with his pass to back of the end zone.
“Yorktown did a good job of forcing turnovers and capitalizing,” Shell said. “The turnover battle, we lost it.”
Makar ran 24 times for 183 yards. Makar picked up four first downs during Yorktown’s long third-quarter march that took 8:03 off the clock.
“It was very deflating,” Shell said.
Stanko was named BH-BL’s offensive MVP after running for 90 yards on 19 carries. Shaw made 10 1/2 tackles.
Burnt Hills lost to Somers in a Class A semifinal last year in Kingstown 48-24 when the Tuskers broke open a tight game with a 27-7 fourth-quarter blitz.
“It’s a little easier because it was spread all over the game,” Shaw said. “Last year it was real bad real fast.”
Burnt Hills had won four state semifinals before last year, in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 when it followed up with its only state championship. The Spartans’ other semifinal loss came in 2010.
Yorktown will meet West Seneca West (Section VI, 12-0) in the state final next Friday at 3 p.m. at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
Cambridge back to Dome
Cambridge had no trouble with Millbrook in the Class D semifinal in Middletown, racing to a 28-0 lead after the first quarter en route to a 56-8 win.
Cambridge will play Maple Grove in the title game.
BH-BL 0 13 0 6 — 19
Yorktown 7 13 14 0 — 34
Y — Weaver 4 run (Perrino kick)
BH — LeVan 27 pass from LaPietro (kick failed)
BH — Stanko 9 run (Clayton kick)
Y — Makar 12 run (Perrino kick)
Y — Ujkaj 19 pass from Weaver (kick blocked)
Y — Meyreles 13 run (Perrino kick)
Y — Meyreles 70 fumble return (Perino kick)
BH — Daviero 50 run (no attempt)