It has been at least 10 years since we’ve been to Ballston Spa to carry a football game live. I think David Sunkes was an assistant coach at that time, and now Sunkes is the athletic director. Additionally, current first-year head coach Jason Ohnsman was probably a lineman on that team.
FAST TRACKING TO THE PRESENT
Here we are in 2019 getting ready to go back to Ballston Spa and the Scotties have earned it. In talking with the players, they understand how hard it’s been to get to this point, and they want to be the team to put Ballston Spa football back on the map.
“It’s awesome. I have been looking forward to this since I was a little kid coming to the games in second grade,” said senior Aidan Thomas.
All of these seniors have been waiting for this with Ballston Spa at 2-1. They lost a tough 10-6 game to Queensbury to start the season, but they were right there. This is a different Scotties team than we’ve seen in a while.
HEAD COACH JASON OHNSMAN
Ohnsman is the new head coach, but he’s been in Ballston Spa for about six years now, so he knows the players and they know him. Maybe the coach who could give him a run for his money is Ohnsman's own former coach at Ballston Spa, John Bowen.
Ballston Spa has a good senior class, and they are ready. Burnt Hills is very good and very tough, but the Scotties say they just have to be physical.
For those who claim to not know players from the start of the season on Burnt Hills, they say to view them as the epitome of “we don’t rebuild, we reload.” The entire backfield is new, but as head coach Matt Shell says, they can play.
Shell was a standout receiver, but he understands it’s the lines that make teams successful. His entire offensive line is new, but they’re coming together.
"Those guys have to be great every game if you’re going to be successful. They’re doing the dirty work,” Shell said.
HEAD COACH MATT SHELL
Shell is so humble and will never take credit for the team’s success. He always talks about his staff and players, and while they deserve a ton of credit, it starts at the top. Shell has built an empire at Burnt Hills, and he handles himself with class and grace on the field and off of it as well.
One thing Shell and I talked about at practice this week — this is not the first time we’ve talked about this — is the fact that Shell likes multi-sport athletes. He says those kids are usually easier to coach.
Many teams start team workouts in December, but Shell says the players and coaches need a break, so they don’t really start until the summer.
THINGS TO WATCH
Ballston Spa held its own against state-ranked Queensbury in Week 1. If the Scotties can do that this week against Burnt Hills, this could really be the start of the Scotties putting themselves back on the map.
Burnt Hills didn’t execute very well last weekend against South Glens Falls. Credit to the Bulldogs for making it hard on the Spartans, but Burnt Hills wants to clean some things up right away in the first quarter.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Class AA (Friday):
- CBA at Bethlehem
- Shenendehowa at Colonie
- Niskayuna at Shaker
- Guilderland at Schenectady
Class AA/A Crossover (Friday):
- Queensbury at Saratoga
Class A (Friday):
- Averill Park at La Salle
- Green Tech at Troy
- Burnt Hills at Ballston Spa
- South Glens Falls at Gloversville
- Mohonasen at Scotia
- Amsterdam at Albany
Class A/B Crossover (Friday):
- Schalmont at Columbia
Class B (Friday):
- Ravena at Cobleskill
- Broadalbin-Perth at Johnstown
- Hudson Falls at Schuylerville
- Hudson at Glens Falls
Class B/C Crossover (Friday):
- Lansingburgh at Mechanicville
Class C (Friday):
- Stillwater at Lake George-Hadley Luzerne
- Fonda at Watervliet
- Hoosick Falls at Cambridge
- Greenwich at Hoosic Valley
- Taconic Hills at Cairo Durham-Catskill
- Coxsackie-Athens at Voorheesville
Class C/D Crossover (Friday):
- Cohoes at Tamarac
- Chatham at Canajoharie (at Fonda High School)
Class D (Saturday):
- Warrensburg at Whitehall
- Helderberg Valley at Corinth-Fort Edward