CLIFTON PARK - The scene is starting to look a little familiar.
For the second straight season, the Amsterdam Rugged Rams and the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Spartans will face off for the Section II Class A championship at 7 p.m. tonight at Shenendehowa High School.
This is the second straight year in which Amsterdam and Burnt Hills have squared off for the title. Last season, the Spartans won their fourth straight title with a 26-23 win over the Rams in the final seconds of the game.
This year, Amsterdam is looking to end that dominance with a victory of its own.
"That was our goal from Day 1, to make it back to the Super Bowl and get another taste of it," Amsterdam first-year coach Doug Edick said. "And hopefully the outcome's different. They got us the first time at our place and we're going to go to Shen and give it our best shot. I know they want it and I know this coaching staff wants it. I know they do, too. Hopefully, it will be a great game."
Earlier that season, the Rugged Rams defeated the Spartans, 23-7.
Class AA Championship
Shaker 14, Shenendehowa 0
Class C Championship
Hoosick Falls 40, Chatham 0
Now, the Rugged Rams suffered a loss in the two teams' head-to-head matchup during the regular season. Amsterdam fell into an early 19-0 hole, closed the gap to three points before falling, 32-22, at Lynch Literacy Academy.
"As soon as we lost that game, we wanted another shot at them," senior Brett Stanavich said.
Since that loss, the Rugged Rams have won their next three games by a margin of 160-47 to ensure their second shot at the Spartans.
The loss to Burnt Hills merely sent Amsterdam to the regular-season finale as the No. 2 seed out of the Northwest Division. A loss tonight will end the season.
"We consider our team a family," senior Geo Rodriguez said. "When we play other teams - especially nowadays when it's one-and-done - they're trying to split us up. We're not going to let this family be split up."
The Spartans (8-1) have been on a roll of their own, winning eight straight games after losing their season opener to Troy on Aug. 31.
The Spartans trailed last week against Queensbury but rallied for a 36-20 victory.
The Rams' 40-21 victory over Troy last week looked started in an eerily similar fashion to the loss to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. They fell into a 14-0 hole before scoring 34 unanswered points to pull out the victory.
"We made some mistakes and hopefully we can clean that up by next week and do better on those," Edick said.
Stanavich scored four touchdowns, one on a pass from Rodriguez, who also completed a touchdown pass to Julian Gallup. Rodriguez also returned an interception for a touchdown against Troy.
"You've got to keep the ball in [Rodriguez's] hands," Edick said. "You put the ball in his hands and he'll run; he'll throw and he'll get you the job done."
Should the Rugged Rams get the job done tonight, they will move on to the New York State Class A quarterfinals, where they will face the Potsdam, a 40-0 winner over Massena in the Section X Class A championship game Friday.
That game is scheduled to be played in Section X.
"We know what we're going for," Rodriguez said. "We're going for a Section II championship. We're the underdogs. They win it every year. They beat us last year. I'm proud that my team stepped it up and that we're returning. When we face adversity, we're best at it. That's when we step up and make big plays."