SYRACUSE, N.Y.-Burnt Hills raced out to 26 points unanswered and Sweet Home could never recover as they fell 40-20 in the Class A championship on Friday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The Spartans had been to the previous three out of four title games, losing them all including two losses to the Panthers in 2008 and 2009.
"I wish we would've represented a little bit better today but again my hats off to Burnt Hills," says Sweet Home Head Coach John Faller. "They've been here four times and they finally got one. I'm very happy for them." "It's tough," says senior quarterback #10 Mike Torrillo. "You got to live with it the rest of your life knowing that one more game and you could've been a state champion."
Sweet Home lost the turnover battle by giving the ball away four times with two interceptions and two fumbles.
Sweet Home had a tough time staying disciplined as well committing 12 penalties for 116 yards while Burnt Hills only committed two.
Burnt Hills got the scoring started with 8:18 left in the first quarter when #11 Daniel Maynard , who led Burnt Hills in rushing with 128 carries on 14 yards, took it in from three yards out. After a missed extra point the Spartans led 6-0 with 8:18 left in the first quarter.
Later on in the quarter Burnt Hills would strike again when #22 Daniel Nuzzi caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback #15 Ryan McDonnell and after another missed extra point Sweet was trailing 12-0 at the end of the first quarter.
A touchdown catch by #8 Eric Dillon with 9:07 left in the second quarter and a Maynard three-yard touchdown run with 6:09 left in the second quarter quickly spun the game into a 26-0 Burnt Hills advantage.
The Panthers are a team that has made a habit of making comebacks the past couple weeks and showed glimmers of hope at points in this game before the Spartans seized back momentum. Sweet Home was driving towards the end of the second quarter until a Torrillo pass into the end zone was tipped and intercepted by #44 David Newell.
Then in the third quarter Sweet Home drove down the field on their first drive capping it off with a six-yard touchdown run by #16 Jordan Evert to make it 26-7. Later on in the game #44 Brad Zaffram made a nice play for the Panthers on an interception only for #2 Michael McCoy to fumble it on Sweet Home's next offensive play which resulted in a #4 Daniel Porter five-yard touchdown run with 5:24 left in the third quarter to extend the lead to 33-7.
"Whenever you get this far a loss hurts more than any other loss because it's the last one and your seasons' over," says Coach Faller.
Although the loss was a tough one it's an experience Sweet Home players can carry with them forever.
"I'm proud of these guys and it's something we could carry the rest of our lives," says Torrillo, who finished the day 26-44 for 283 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Sweet Home finishes the season 13-1 as runners up in the Class A championship. On the bright side the Sweet Home program hopes to continue to strive.
"It's the greatest program in New York, I believe, because won two. I don't know, we're probably the most dominant," says sophomore Brad Zaffram, who caught an impressive 47-yard touchdown pass towards the end of the third quarter. "And mark my words we will be back here next year."