Queens­bury marches on

Of­fen­sive line paves way for O’mara’s six scores; Burnt Hills can’t keep up in bat­tle of un­beat­ens

Albany Times Union - - SPORTS - By James Allen

Liam O’mara capped the open­ing drive of the game when he scored a rush­ing touch­down on the first play of the sec­ond quar­ter for the Queens­bury foot­ball team Fri­day night. Burnt Hills spent two quar­ters fight­ing back to get nearly even.

But O’mara scored on the open­ing play of the fourth quar­ter and this time around, Burnt Hills was un­able to keep up.

Queens­bury, be­hind su­perla­tive work from its of­fen­sive line, scored six rush­ing touch­downs. All of them were au­thored by O’mara, three of which came in the fourth quar­ter as Queens­bury se­cured the Class A Grasso Di­vi­sion ti­tle with a 42-21 road vic­tory over Burnt Hills.

“It was a heavy­weight fight,” Queens­bury coach Matt Cross­man said. “It went back and forth, toe-to-toe, but we took the mo­men­tum at the end.”

“I’ve never beaten them, so that (win) means so much to me,” said O’mara, who rushed for 180 yards and set a school record with his six touch­downs.

“This feels awe­some,” Queens­bury se­nior quar­ter­back Nate An­gell said. “Ev­ery time we have played them, it has been a bat­tle.”

Queens­bury (7-0 over­all, 6-0 Grasso Di­vi­sion) dropped two games against Burnt Hills (6-1, 5-1) in 2017. The sec­ond loss, a 27-20 set­back, came in the Su­per Bowl.

Fri­day, Queens­bury watched Burnt Hills draw within 22-21 en-

ter­ing the fourth quar­ter on a pair of touch­down passes from Darien Lapi­etro to Rece Go­bel. The teams each gained 161 yards of­fense through 36 min­utes of ac­tion.

The fourth quar­ter, how­ever, was all Queens­bury as O’mara helped his team out­gain Burnt Hills 121 to mi­nus-3 over the fi­nal 12 min­utes.

“This game gives us some­thing to work for,” Burnt Hills linebacker Jack Wy­att said.

“We knew the key to the game was the of­fen­sive line,” Cross­man said. “They proved to be what we needed. They got pushed around a lit­tle in the third quar­ter, but they re­sponded.”

“I thought it was go­ing to be a grinder like it was in the fi­nal last year,” O’mara said. “We just know they could come back. They are a good foot­ball team. We kept that fire we had the whole game.”

Queens­bury pos­sessed the ball the en­tire first quar­ter, run­ning the ball 18 times to go along with one pass — a 9-yard com­ple­tion from An­gell to O’mara. Twice, Queens­bury con­verted fourth downs.

“That’s Queens­bury foot­ball: run up the mid­dle, chew clock and keep get­ting first downs,” An­gell said.

Queens­bury opened the sec­ond quar­ter at the Burnt Hills 3-yard line and scored on a touch­down run from O’mara to cap a glo­ri­ous 20-play, 96-yard march.

Burnt Hills tied it at 8 with 1:58 left in the sec­ond quar­ter on an 8-yard touch­down run from Vince Daviero and a two-point con­ver­sion pass from Lapi­etro to DJ Lash­ley.

In re­sponse, Josh Ro­driguez de­liv­ered a 57-yard kick­off re­turn to set up Queens­bury at Burnt Hills’ 24. Two plays later, O’mara scored from 4 yards out on a toss sweep right to pro­vide a 14-8 lead.

“A lot of peo­ple rec­og­nize him for his speed, buy don’t they re­al­ize how hard it is to bring him down,” An­gell said of O’mara. “He set the tone for the rest of the game get­ting those fourth-down con­ver­sions on the first drive.”

O’mara’s third touch­down run cov­ered nine yards and gave Queens­bury a 22-8 edge.

“He is bet­ter than we thought he was,” Wy­att said of O’mara. “They kept get­ting first downs when we were try­ing to get the ball back.”

The work up front by Queens­bury se­nior line­man Kellen Gan­non, Sean Collins, Jer­im­iah Davis, Devin Hunt and Ryan Tubbs, along with se­nior tight end Zaki Farah and ju­nior tight end Hunter Mont­gomery helped closed the game in fine fash­ion for the vis­i­tors.

O’mara raised his touch­down rush­ing to­tal to 13 this sea­son with fourth-quar­ter scores cov­er­ing 17, 5 and 18 yards, re­spec­tively.

“Our guys keep smash­ing them ev­ery play. Even­tu­ally, they get tired,” An­gell said. “They keep smash­ing them and they opened up holes.”

Hans Pen­nink / Spe­cial to the Times Union

Queens­bury’s Liam O’mara, left, looks for yards against Burnt Hills’ Ryan Sal­is­bury. O’mara fin­ished with 180 yards and six rush­ing touch­downs.

Hans Pen­nink / Spe­cial to the times union

Burnt Hills’ Jakai townsend, right, runs the ball against Queens­bury dur­ing the first half of a matchup of un­beat­ens. Burnt Hills trailed 14-8 at the half but was outscored 28-13 the rest of the way as Queens­bury won.

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