Burnt Hills Football Eyes State Championship at Carrier Dome
One more step for the Burnt Hills football team. After beating Cornwall (Section IX), 35-14, in the Class A state semifinals, Burnt Hills takes another shot at the championship against Maine-Endwell (Section 4 champs) at the Carrier Dome on Friday at 2 p.m..
Maine-Endwell made its own news beating top-ranked and defending champion Aquinas Institute of Rochester, 19-16, on Justin Jacoby’s seven yard run.
Burnt Hills will enter the title game with an 11-1 record, its only loss coming to Amsterdam, 23-7, in the second week of the season.
Maine-Endwell is unbeaten in 11 games.
“They’re (Maine-Endwell) predominantly a run-oriented team. We have to be good in tackling. They played a great game against Aquinas,” said Burnt Hills head coach Matt Shell.
Burnt Hills has made two previous trips to the championship game and thanks to Sweet Home, came up short both times: 34-7 in 2009 and 35-28 in 2008. Maine-Endwell knocked off Wallkill, 39-36, in 2004 for the championship.
“We keep on improving each week and it’s a credit to the kids. We’ve been a work in progress for six games. We’re excited about being in the position we’re in. We have to continue to get better. We can sharpen things up,” said Shell.
Tom Ruppel leads the Spartans with 20 touchdowns and his running mate, Daniel Porter has 13. Quarterback Ryan McDonnell is all over the field with three touchdowns, three field goals and 45 PAT’s.
In the victory over Cornwall, Ruppel had an exceptional day with three touchdowns.
Shell has seen a lot of improvement in his squad and hopes they can bring home the state championship this time.
“Our line has improved. They’ve been finishing off blocks better. Our pass defense has improved quite a bit. We have to do it again this week. Ruppel has run hard all year and he’s confident in his ability. He’s a tough runner. Porter has very good speed up the middle and I hope it continues. They’ve been in a great rhythm,” he said.
Shell doesn’t like to look back, but feels the Amsterdam loss was both good and bad.
“The way we lost was pretty tough. It was a bad day with all the turnovers. On the other hand, we knew what we had to do to improve and some players had to step up. Once we got in the playoffs, we got better and better. The kids know what it takes. Maine-Endwell has a real good football program,” he said.
Maine-Endwell has rushed for over 3,300 yards and passed for about 500. Luis Uceta, Nick Sorenti and Jacoby headline the M-E ground attack.
State Football Schedule
at Carrier Dome
Class AA-Newburgh Free Academy-9 vs. Orchard Park-6 (Sunday, 6 p.m.)
Class A- Burnt Hills-2 vs. Maine-Endwell-4 (Friday, 2 p.m.)
Class B-Croton-Harmon-1 vs. Hornell-5 (Sunday, 3 p.m.)
Class C-Dobbs Ferry-1 vs. Southwestern-6 (Sunday, noon)
Class D-Chester-9 vs. Letchworth-5 (Friday, 11 a.m.)
Article by Mike Collar