BURNT HILLS — At times Friday night, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake looked like the football team that won the last three Section II Class A titles.
At other times, the Spartans looked like a team full of young men starting their first varsity game, or starting in new positions.
"At times we played well. At times we played sloppy," Burnt Hills coach Matt Shell said. "The beauty of this game is you get to make corrections and see what you can do the next week."
Burnt Hills did more good things than bad in its season debut and posted a 49-13 Grasso Division victory over visiting Gloversville.
The Spartans scored four times on a short field after a Gloversville miscue, stuffed in another touchdown at the tail end of a 2-minute drill, and shut out the Huskies for the first three quarters before the reserves came on.
"A lot of good things happened on the field," said Shell, who in 18 years in charge of the Spartans has never lost to Gloversville. "We made some big plays. Those are great for you and tough on your opponent."
Burnt Hills' new backfield running duo of Caeden LaPietro and Diamonte Sanderson combined for five touchdowns and 267 ground yards, and lineman-turned-fullback Matt Seilel and Rocco Mareno also delivered touchdowns.
"Our line played spectacular today," said BH-BL senior Ryan Salisbury, after making his first varsity start at quarterback. "Our defense was phenomenal, too."
Shell agreed with that defensive assessment, yet was not pleased with a rash of penalties called on his new-look squad.
"First-game jitters. A lot of first-game type of things," Shell said. "We've got some things to work on."
In the first quarter alone, the Spartans were whistled for false starts on consecutive plays and had a holding call, and they were penalized for a pair of personal fouls, one of them erasing a LaPietro touchdown run and another giving Gloversville a first down.
"We came out real sloppy, but as the game went along we got better," said LaPietro, a junior who ran for 175 yards and three TDs on nine carries. "It was the first varsity game for a lot of guys. We're young and inexperienced. Well continue to get better."
LaPietro's touchdowns included a 63-yard dash on the opening play of the third quarter. Sanderson ran nine times for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns. One of those came on a 29-yard run with 30 seconds left in the opening half to cap an 89-yard drive that took just over a minute.
"The two-minute drill was one of my favorite parts of the game," Shell said of the seven-play series that also included runs of 19 and 18 yards by Sanderson. "I really liked the poise my offense showed."
Fumble recoveries by Dillon Bohlke and Ty McHerron set up short scoring drives by BH-BL, as did a high punt snap and a shanked punt by Gloversville.
"When you get in the red zone, you've got to score," Salisbury said. "We did that."
McHerron led BH-BL with 10 tackles and had a sack to go with his recovery.
Gloversville quarterback Anthony Tomek-Russell threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a game that marked the head coaching debut of Jim Robare.
Gloversville 0 0 0 13 — 13
Burnt Hills 7 21 21 0 — 49
BH — Sanderson 22 run (Sbuttoni kick)
BH — Seidel 18 run (Sbuttoni kick)
BH — LaPietro 19 run (Sbuttoni kick)
BH — Sanderson 29 run (Sbuttoni kick)
BH — LaPietro 63 run (Sbuttoni kick)
BH — LaPietro 11 run (Sbuttoni kick)
BH — Mareno 25 run (Sbuttoni kick)
G — Edwards 5 pass from Tomek-Russell (kick failed)
G — Glionna 14 pass from Tomek-Russell (Lomanto kick)