Saturday, December 4, 2021

Special teams margin win over La Salle for Burn Hills-Bolston Lake in Class A football semifinal

Burnt Hills – Adapt was the word of the game on Friday between La Salle Institute and Burnt Hills-Bolston Lake. And since special teams are all about adapting, the Spartans did it a little better in a 21-20 overtime win in the Class A football semi-finals.

Burn Hills will play Queensbury in the Section II Finals at the designated venue on Saturday, 13 November at 7 pm.

“They’re as good as any we’ve seen,” Bern Hills coach Matt Schell said of La Salle. “We played them in the regular season. We knew what we were doing tonight when we drew them in the semi-finals.”

The Spartans defeated the Cadets 24-21 on 24 September.

The Burn Hills special teams got off to a bang as Rocco Mareno returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown from 92 yards away.

This continued with the Spartans (8–1) blocking La Salle’s 29-yard field goal attempt at the end of the Cadets’ opening campaign, with Colden Swisher returning the ball to La Salle 30 from 51 yards.

After three plays, Michael Fratarola ran for 36 yards for a touchdown, and not halfway through the first quarter, it was a 14–0 lead at Burne Hills.

La Salle (5-4) however did not panic, and continued to roll the ball at the Spartans. That too was an adaptation.

“We came up with a different plan, believe it or not,” said La Salle coach John Audino. “Because the last time we played, when we had them spread, we had a few things on the flank, and they didn’t let us do that. [tonight], so they were getting their people out of the box. So when he got his men out of the box, we said we can drive the ball in.

That tactic paid off, as the Cadets used 17 plays and more than eight-and-a-half minutes off the clock in the second-quarter drive, resulting in a 1-yard stealth by quarterback Eddie Yamin with the ball hitting the goal line. To reduce Burn Hills’ lead to 14-7 at halftime.

The Cadets used another clock-burning drive to tie the game, saving 5:12 in the third, capped by Yamin’s 4-yard run.

Shortly before halftime, Fratarola – who had scores for 56 yards and eight carries – injured his right leg. He didn’t return in the second half. So, it was the Spartans’ turn to adapt, and they did so by inserting backup Luke Zoller and giving Jalil Joseph more carries.

Burnt Hills, ranked eighth in the Class A state poll, had a chance to advance, but Sabtoni’s 31-yard field-goal effort missed more than an inch.

Neither team could score for the remainder of regulation, and it went into overtime, with La Salle receiving the ball first at the 10-yard line. Yamin ran for eight yards on first Carey, then JJ Thompson scored on a 2-yard run, but the extra-point kick was just wide.

At Burnt Hills possession, three consecutive carries by Zoller made the move as he scored on a 1-yard run. Sbuttoni boots the extra point via upright for the win.

“You’re talking about a 17-year-old who had to kick a game-winning field goal earlier in the year, and then that extra point,” Shell said of Sabutoni. “With the game on the line to kick that extra point, it’s hard to do that and he’s been fantastic for us all year.”

Shell estimated that La Salle had outperformed his team by four-on-one. It wasn’t that much, but Yameen completed eight in 13 attempts for 158 yards, plus added scores on 52 yards and 15 carries. Thompson added 17 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown.

For Burn Hills, Zoller had 11 carries for 57 yards and last touchdown, all in the second half. Joseph had only 25 yards on six carries, but some crucial runs for the first down.

“They were both outstanding,” Shell said.

“Special teams were the deciding factor, and unfortunately, we gave them some big scores on special teams,” Audino said.

“They’ve been resilient all year,” Shell said. “So happy for this group. They’re a special group. You can count, over the years, special groups, and this is one of those teams.”

La Salle 0 7 7 0 6 – 20

Burn Hills 14 0 0 0 7 – 21

BH – Mareno 92 Kickoff Return (Subton Kick)

BH — Fratarola 36 runs (Subtony kick)

LS — Yameen, 1 run (Karberg kick)

LS – Yameen 4 runs (Karberg kick)

LS — Thompson 2 runs (kick failed)

BH — Zoller, 1 run (subtony kick)

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Categories: high school sports, sports

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