CLIFTON PARK– A late touchdown was the difference in a thriller that led to a Burnt Hills victory on Saturday night at Shenendehowa High School over Queensbury, 27-20.
After Burnt Hills scored in the final minute of the third quarter to go up 20-14, Queensbury had to score to keep it a game. Fast-forwarding to about five minutes to play, Queensbury had the ball, and it was fourth-and-three, having to get those three yards to hold onto the ball. They trusted Brendan Scott to do so. He came through, and three plays later Queensbury was in the end zone to tie the game at 20. However, the extra point missed, and it would remain at that score.
Burnt Hills was left some time on the clock, just over three minutes at their own 31-yard line. Jacob Stanko came up huge in the second play of the drive, rushing 24 yards down the sideline to put Burnt Hills in great field position. Then with 23 seconds left in regulation, Stanko played hero again, rushing up the gut and into the end zone from three yards out to give the Spartans the game-winning touchdown, and a final defensive stance gave them the sectional title.
“It’s a great feeling but I have to give credit to my offensive line. I think I got one finger on me as I went into the end zone across the plane, so it’s a good job by them,” Stanko said of his game-winning touchdown.
The score that put Burnt Hills up 20-14 came courtesy of a costly Queensbury mistake, a muffed punt that gave Burnt Hills the ball deep in Queensbury territory that set up that score. Queensbury was up 14-13 at the time. The touchdown was a three-yard rush from Vincent Daviero, his second score of the game.
Burnt Hills had grabbed the first lead of the game on Daviero’s first touchdown late in the first quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, Queensbury tied the game at seven on a 26-yard touchdown rush from Scott. The game went into the half with Queensbury up 14-13, but Burnt Hills scored one more touchdown in the second half, the difference in the game.
“We just got into a rhythm on offense. Credit the offensive line, the backs were running real hard. It’s just a great game by two really good football teams,” Burnt Hills head coach Matt Shell said.
Burnt Hills will have a bye into the state semifinals. They will play either the winner of Section 1, Yorktown or the winner of Section 9, Cornwall in that game. The state semifinal will be played on Friday, November 17 at Middletown High School in Orange County. Game time is set for 8 p.m.