AMSTERDAM - Early in the third quarter of Friday night's Class A Northwest Division football game, Gloversville's Mike Murray ran an interception back 53 yards for a touchdown.
The play, and David Vandenabeele's kick pulled the Huskies to within 10 points of the Amsterdam Rugged Rams and put momentum clearly on their side of the ball.
However, as they have all season, the Rams' playmakers came through in tough situations to turn the momentum back in Amsterdam's favor and pull away for a 40-17 victory Friday night at Lynch Literacy Academy.
Gloversville running back Mike Murray (44) is brought down by Amsterdam’s Geo Rodriguez as Amsterdam’s Dale Orengo and Gloversville’s Michael Fancher look on during Friday’s Class A Northwest game at Lynch Literacy Academy in Amsterdam.
The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis
"That is the story of us so far this season on defense, we have been, have been, have been then we give a huge play up," Gloversville coach Jared Bongo said. "Our defense has been decent then we give up big plays. If we are going to be a successful football team, we cannot keep giving up the big plays. It was 27-17 going into the fourth quarter and we let this thing get away. It was tough."
Amsterdam coach Doug Edick complimented his team's victory saying "We are happy but not satisfied at all," he said. "That is a tough Gloversville team. We got the ball in the hands of our playmakers and they made the big plays when we needed them. Brett Stanavich, Hector Diaz, Geo Rodriguez and Louis Laboy all made a lot of big plays, as did wide receiver Dan Banewicz."
Gloversville (1-3 overall, 0-1 Class A Northwest) had the Rams stopped on their opening drive of the game, but Rodriguez hooked up with Stanavich on a 20-yard screen pass, which he followed up with a 27-yard completion to Laboy. Four plays later, Diaz carried the ball the final four yards for the touchdown.
Amsterdam had a second first-quarter touchdown called back when Rodriguez again hooked up with Stanavich on a third-and-20 play that he carried 80 yards into the end zone only to have the play called back to the Gloversville 40 for a block in the back.
The Huskies picked up their first points of the game after driving from their own 33-yard line, with a 45-yard run from Asa Barnhill, only to have the drive stall at the 9-yard line as the opening period ended. The Huskies did not come away empty as Vandenabeele kicked a 22-yard field goal to open the second period.
It did not take Amsterdam (3-1 overall, 2-0 Class A Northwest) long to answer the score as Diaz broke around the left side of his line for an 80-yard touchdown run on the Rams' first snap of the second quarter.
Although Gloversville could not answer the scoring run, punter Michael Fancher put the Rams back on their own 33 to start the next drive. Two plays later, with a 38-yard run from Rodriguez and a 29-run touchdown run from Stanavich, the Rams pumped the score up to 20-3.
The Rams' defense held Gloversville again and Fancher's punt put Amsterdam in business on their own 49.
Amsterdam used deception to put another score on the board before the half. Rodriguez took the snap and handed the ball off to Stanavich who, in turn, handed it off to Julian Gallup on an end around. Gallup, a backup quarterback, stopped, threw a long pass to the left sideline that Banewicz caught for a 51-yard touchdown to help the Rams carry a 27-3 advantage into the locker room at the half.
"When we stopped the run, sometimes they went to trickeration," Bongo said. "They ran the reverse pass and a throw back. We've got to expect that and we have got to play and do our assignments."
The Rugged Rams attempted a trick play on the second-half kickoff, when they broke quickly from the huddle and rushed the ball. The kickoff bounced into the hands of the Huskies' Hunter Goodwin, who ran it back to the Amsterdam 49.
Back-to-back 4-yard runs from Fancher put the ball at the Amsterdam 41 before Barnhill broke through with a 41-yard touchdown run and Vandenabeele's extra point brought the score to 27-10.
A combination of penalty flags and a pumped-up Gloversville squad kept the Rams from gaining momentum. With a drive going backwards, Rodriguez attempted to toss a screen pass to Gallup on the outside that Murray read perfectly, intercepting the pass in full stride and carrying it 53 yards for the touchdown, which with Vandenabeele's PAT closed the score to 27-17 with just more than 15 minutes to play in the game.
"They started closing in and were within 10 so we needed to rally the troops and we did," Edick said. "We refocused and got back into giving our playmakers the ball and finished the job in the fourth quarter."
Amsterdam answered the play with a touchdown strike, when Rodriguez avoided the rush from Goodwin and launched a high-arcing pass that fell into the hands of Stanavich, who carried the ball 58 yards for the touchdown in the final seconds of the third quarter.
Even though the Huskies were able to contain Amsterdam's running game and put the Rams in second-and-long and-third and long situations, the Amsterdam playmakers came through with drive-saving plays to lead up to a final touchdown, a 15-yard run by Rodriguez late in the fourth quarter for the 40-17 final.
Amsterdam finished the game with 532 total yards of offense and held Gloversville to 186 total yards.
Diaz picked up the bulk of the Rams' 320 rushing yards with 126 yards on 13 carries. Rodriguez added 83 yards on 10 carries and Stanavich carried the ball 13 times for 74 yards. Rodriguez also passed for 212 yards, completing 8 of 17 attempts for a touchdown and two interceptions.
For Gloversville, Barnhill carried the ball 10 times for 103 yards, while Murray finished with 25 rushing yards and 20 receiving to go with the 53 yards interception return and a fumble recovery.
Gloversville will take to the road again next Saturday for the third straight time, traveling to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake for a 1:30 p.m. game.
"It doesn't get any easier," Bongo said. "We have Burnt Hills next week. Anytime you play in the Class A Northwest you are going to have a tough challenge ahead of you; it doesn't matter who you are playing, you have to come ready to play. We have to put it all together, we need to play four quarters of football and we haven't been able to do that this year."
Amsterdam will host Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk in a non-division game Friday at Lynch Literacy Academy.
Amsterdam 40, Gloversville 17
Gloversville0 3 14 0 - 17
Amsterdam6 21 7 6 - 40
A - Hector Diaz 4 run (kick missed), 8:36.
G - FG David Vandenabeele 22, 11:59.
A - Diaz 80 run (Marcus Pritchard kick), 11:45.
A - Brett Stanavich 29 run (Pritchard kick), 8:46.
A - Dan Banewicz 51 pass from Julian Gallup (Pritchard kick), 7:19.
G - Asa Barnhill 41 run (Vandenabeele kick), 10:46.
G - Mike Murray 54 interception return (Vandenabeele kick), 3:09.
A - Stanavich 58 pass from Geo Rodriguez (Pritchard kick), :47.8.
A - Rodriguez 15 run (kick missed), 8:12.