AMSTERDAM - The last time the Averill Park Warriors visited Lynch Literacy Academy, they escaped with a 6-point victory after thwarting the Amsterdam Rugged Rams' attempt at a comeback.
This time, the Rams made sure there would be no doubt who would emerge victorious as they rode a 30-point second quarter to a 58-14 win over the Warriors in Friday's section II Class A quarterfinal.
"We improved every step and that's what we were looking for," Amsterdam coach Doug Edick said. "It was good redemption from Week 1. The kids deserved it because they all played hard. We preached 11 guys have to do their job every play in practice. The coaches stayed on our players and they bought into it and it showed tonight."
Amsterdam’s Hector Diaz is brought down by Averill Park's Collin Fleming during Friday’s Section II Class A quarterfinal game at Lynch Literacy Academy in Amsterdam. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
Even if it didn't look that way early on as the Rams' opening drive stalled on the Warriors' 9-yard line, evoking some memories of the first meeting.
"To get stopped in the red zone, nobody wants that," senior running back Brett Stanavich said. "That really put some fire under us and we really turned it around after that."
Stanavich made the interception that put the Rams in business, setting up his team on Averill Park's 36-yard line. Nine plays later, quarterback Geo Rodriguez got the Rugged Rams (5-3 overall) on the board with a 5-yard touchdown run with 12.5 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
It started a stretch where the Rams scored 51 points in about 14 minutes of game time.
"I told coach last night I don't want to have any mercy," Rodriguez said. "When we get up, I want to get up by more. And we did it. He took me out in the third quarter. I was mad, but you've got to have sympathy for other teams because you don't want it done to you."
What Amsterdam did was have its way with the Warriors (3-5 overall), and it was a punt attempt that got the Rugged Rams' offense in high gear. On fourth-and-6 from the Averill Park 23, the snap on a punt went over the punter's head and into the end zone, where the Warriors recovered it for a safety, giving Amsterdam a 9-0 lead.
Stanavich then returned the ensuing free kick 66 yards for the touchdown.
"We worked on [special teams] all week to try to break one," Edick said. "Our front line did a great job to get a body on a body and then they broke it and they worked on that."
After holding the Warriors to a three-and-out, Stanavich broke the first play of Amsterdam's next offensive series on with a 58-yard touchdown run on a draw play.
"We were getting some quick hitters," Stanavich said. "Our defense was playing real good tonight. Our line was playing good so everything just fell into place."
Things continued to fall into place, even after Averill Park's Ben Rice returned the ensuing kickoff 61 yards, leading to quarterback Chris Arnold's four-yard touchdown run.
Rodriguez threw two touchdown passes in a 30-second span. He connected with Louis Laboy, who juked his way through the entire Averill Park defense for a 50-yard catch-and-run for a score. Then, after Dan Banewicz intercepted one of Arnold's passes, Rodriguez hit Julian Gallup down the left sideline for a 28-yard touchdown pass.
"Geo has improved as a passer week after week," Edick said. "We always knew he was a great runner. He was a tailback/fullback last year. His throwing has come a long way. You give him time, he can complete some passes and we've got receivers that can go up and catch the ball."
Hector Diaz scored on a 30-yard run in the third quarter and Isaiah Martin returned a fumble 40 yards for a score. In the fourth quarter, Arnold scored on a 1-yard run and connected with Michael Hayes for the two-point conversion.
"Once we got on them a little bit, you can tell they were just walking around just a little bit," Stanavich said. "We were able to capitalize on some of their mistakes and we just wound up coming out on top."
Anthony Yevoli scored on an 8-yard run with 2:42 remaining in the third quarter.
Rodriguez completed six passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, while on the ground, Stanavich and Diaz combined for 167 yards on 13 carries.
"I've been saying all year offensively we have the weapons," Edick said. "If we get them out in space, we can score. Our offensive line did an incredible job. They struggled in our first game against Averill Park, but they came out and played unbelievable football. I give them a whole lot of credit."
The Rugged Rams will move onto next week's semifinal matchup at Troy, which beat the Gloversville Huskies, 56-7, on Friday night.
"Tomorrow is back to a new day and a new team," Rodriguez said. "Troy's a good, powerful team. They're going to be tough to stop. Hopefully, we have a great practice every day next week and step it up. It all depends on our line. If our line plays like it did today, it's going to be hard to stop us."
Amsterdam 58, Averill Park 14
Averill Park0 6 0 8 - 14
Amsterdam7 30 14 7 - 58
A - Rodriguez 5 run (Pritchard kick), 12.5
A - Safety, 8:56
A - Stanavich 66 kick return (kick failed), 8:43
A - Stanavich 58 run (Pritchard kick), 7:00
AP - Fleming 4 run (run failed), 1:28
A - Laboy 50 pass from Rodriguez (Rodriguez run), 29.6
A - Gallup 28 pass from Rodriguez (Pritchard kick), 8.6
A - Diaz 30 run (Pritchard kick), 11:33
A - Martin 40 fumble return, (Pritchard kick), 10:01
AP - Arnold 1 run (Hayes pass from Arnold), 10:18
A -Yevoli 8 run (Pritchard kick), 2:42.