The Amsterdam Rugged Rams varsity football team used an effective running game Friday night, scoring four touchdowns in the second half to defeat the Niskayuna Silver Warriors at Lynch Literacy Academy Field.
Amsterdam led 20-7 at halftime and faced a battle from a tough Niskyuna team that drove deep into Amsterdam territory three times in the first half. The Rams had to turn up their level of play a notch on their first possession of the second half. The team rode the fleet feet of senior Brian Stanavich and junior Adel Rosario to the Silver Warriors one yard line where AHS quarterback Trey Holloway reached the ball over the goal line with 9:57 left in the third quarter. The score on the opening drive was an important one in setting the tempo for the rest of the game.
“That was big,” said Amsterdam head coach Doug Edick. “We needed to get our emotion and intensity going in the second half.”
Stanavich was key on the Rams next trip down the field after the AHS defense forced Niskyuna to punt on its opening drive of the half. Stanavich took the hand off on the second play from scrimmage and bolted 75 yards for a touchdown less than a minute later. The Rugged Rams took a commanding 34-7 lead with 9:07 left in the third frame after Jake Rodecker connected for his fifth extra point kick of the game. Rodecker also added a pair of field goals in the first half. The Rams continued to run the ball straight at the heart of the Silver Warriors defense.
Stanavich was on center stage in the Rams next trip down the field as well. Rams running backs Rosario and senior Omari Sturdivant shared the workload pushing the ball inside the Niskyuna 20 yard line. Stanavich later took the ball at the thirteen yard line, spun out of three tackles and propelled himself into the end zone giving AHS at 41-7 lead. Stanavich finished the night with four touchdowns and over 200 yards rushing. Sturdivant tacked on another score in the fourth quarter getting plenty of help from a determined offensive line and bolting in from nine yards out to produce the final margin of victory. The Rugged Rams ground attack was crucial in the victory.
“Brian and Omari made some nice cuts and they have speed,” Edick said. “Our offensive line did a great of job of blocking and creating those holes for them to score.”
As good as the AHS offensive line was, the Rams defense held its ground in the first half when Niskyuna produced a pair of scoring threats early in the first quarter behind the running of sophomore Ismail Stewart, who took the Silver Warriors inside the AHS 20 yard line on their game opening drive. Amsterdam’s Keenan Holloway sacked Niskyuna quarterback Jake Shephard on third down to push the Silver Warriors back seven yards, and the drive was halted on an incomplete pass on fourth down.
The defensive stop set up Amsterdam’s first score, a 38 yard dash by Brian Stanavich with 7:43 left in the opening quarter. The AHS defense went right back to work on the Silver Warriors next possession when Rugged Rams senior Dylan Valkonis knocked the ball loose from Shephard and recovered the fumble at the Niskyuna 41 yard line. Three plays later, Brian Stanavich scored his second touchdown on a 28 yard run. The Rams defense led by Valikonis, Holloway, Elijah Newborn, Austin Brock, and Dale Stanavich kept the Silver Warriors out the end zone after drives inside the AHS 20.
“They regrouped and did a good job on defense,” Edick said. “Niskyuna played us tough tonight and our guys showed they could bring it.”
Rodeckers’ field goals were from 22 and 21 yards out to close out the scoring in the first half for the Rugged Rams. Niskyuna got a pair of touchdown catches from senior Jared Houghtaling. The first came in the second quarter on a fourth down play at the AHS 18 cutting the Rams lead to 17-7. The second was a 67 yard catch with 1:21 left in the third quarter trimming the lead to 41-13.
Amsterdam improves to 2-2 in Section 2 Class A and will play at Averill Park next Friday. The last five meeting between the two teams have produced a lot of points. Averill Park defeated Amsterdam in last years contest.
“We have to play an Averill Park team next, and we have to be able to stop the option,” Edick said. Amsterdam will close out its regular season schedule with a game at Bishop Maginn on October 17.
(Photos by Scott Mulford)