Rugged Rams advance to Class A semi-finals

It was a tale of two brothers on Friday night. Brian and Dale Stanavich teamed up to rush for over 300 yards and score three touchdowns, and were complimented by an Amsterdam defense that came up with several key stops as Amsterdam defeated South Glens Falls 34-14 in a Section 2 Class A football quarterfinal at Lynch Literacy Academy Field.

“Brian and Dale came to play,” Amsterdam head coach Doug Edick said. “They responded and were tremendous.”

Being a running back is nothing new for senior Brian Stanavich, who surpassed the 1,000 yards mark rushing the football on Friday. He’s been carrying the bulk of the workload for the Rugged Rams running game for the past two seasons. His younger brother Dale however, entered the game after an injury sidelined junior Adel Rosario in the first half.

“I actually hadn’t played full back before,” Dale Stanavich said. “I always wanted to be a running back since we (Brian and I) began playing football.”

The younger Stanavich certainly made the most of his chance in the second half as he and his older sibling accounted for all three Amsterdam touchdowns.

With the Rugged Rams leading 20-14 after a tie breaking 25 yard touchdown run by Brian Stanavich, Dale took the hand off from AHS quarterback Trey Holloway on the opening play of the fourth quarter and broke through three Bulldogs tacklers on his way down the sideline to a 69 yard score. The play was called back because of a holding penalty, but an instant replay moments later proved Dale Stanavich had his touchdown. The Rams ran nearly the same play twice. Following a two point catch by Ben Rhodes, AHS led 28-14 with 11:31 left to play in the game.

“We scored on the same play twice,” Brian Stanavich said. “They knew it was coming.”

In fact Dale Stanavich’s second touchdown run with 47.7 seconds left in the game was nearly a mirror image of his first score. But, the second time around he broke through not just one tackle, but two, then three, then forget it – he was gone – 62 yards to the end zone putting an exclamation point on a 34-14 win.

“It was a good time,” Brian Stanavich said. “We got cut backs and good blocking from our lineman.”

Some of those lineman even suited up on defense. Nelson Quinones made a big play on defense on the last play of the third quarter with the Bulldogs driving in Amsterdam territory. Trailing 20-14, South Glens Falls tried to regain some momentum by going for it on fourth down with the ball on the AHS 30 yard line. Bulldogs quarterback Zach Ahrens dropped back to pass and looked at receiver Mike Higgins, but Quinones made sure the ball never left Ahrens’ hand putting him on the turf at the AHS 32. Two plays later Dale Stanavich raced into the end zone.

“That was a big sack by Nelson,” Coach Edick said. “I thought our defense played really well. We gave up a couple of big plays early, but we responded. Our defense played really well.”

Amsterdam gave up a game opening kick off run of 90 yards to John Styzcynski that put the Bulldogs up 6-0 with only 14 seconds gone in the first quarter. Styzcynski scored again with 1:34 left in the first half on an 80 yard touchdown reception, but that was all the Amsterdam defense gave up. Elijah Newborn, Francisco Alejandro, and Austin Brock stopped Bulldogs fullback Evan Benosky on third and goal from the Amsterdam seven yard line late in the second quarter, and Keenan Holloway and Robbie Spagnola broke up a fourth down pass preserving a 7-6 AHS lead. Holloway and Brock were key on another sack with the Bulldogs driving in the fourth quarter that led to an interception by Brian Stanavich.

Dale Stanavich also got an interception at a key moment in the game with the Bulldogs on the move again after on the an interception by Styzcynski on the Rams opening drive of the game. Dale Stanvich returned the ball to the AHS 34 where his brother Brian took over from there, rushing the ball on consecutive plays to the South Glens Falls two yard line before AHS quarterback Trey Holloway ran it in on an end around sneak, and after a kick by Jake Rodecker, AHS led 7-6.

The Bulldogs drove inside the Amsterdam 20 yard line late in the second quarter but the Rugged Rams defense line was strong and stopped them on fourth down and four. On the ensuing drive, Trey Holloway found Jake Smitka for a 45 yard touchdown pass and a 14-6 AHS lead. Styzcynski’s second touchdown and a two point conversion then tied the game for the Bulldogs.

“Another slow start,” Coach Edick said. “We’re a second half team.”

Amsterdam advances to play Class A top seed Burnt Hills- Ballston Lake in a semi final next week on the road. Coach Edick knows a slow start against the Spartans would not be to the Rams advantage.

“They’re a great team and can put up a lot of points, we can’t come out with a slow start.” Coach Edick said. “We have to come out strong and play them tough.”

With a talented group of running backs and a determined defense, Amsterdam is more than ready for the challenge.

“Another big game against them,” Brian Stanavich said. “We will be ready.”

Coach Edick also stressed to his team after the game that they have fun playing football. Have fun in practice and against next weeks’ opponent, the undefeated Spartans. The Rugged Rams will take that to heart.

“We’re going to go out there and have fun,” Dale Stanavich said. “We’re going to win.”

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.