AMSTERDAM - The Amsterdam Rams couldn't find an offensive rhythm and gave up big plays on defense as they lost for the first time this season, 26-14, to the Troy Flying Horses on Friday.
Coming off a crushing quadruple-overtime loss to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake last week, Troy (1-2) came into Amsterdam (2-1) with a 0-2 record and a lot of confidence.
"It's huge for us because I think we're a pretty good football team," Troy head coach Jack Burger said. "Last week, against Burnt Hills we took them to four overtimes. We thought we were a very good football team that had nothing to show for it, so tonight it was a great relief for the guys to get on track."
Amsterdam’s J.V. Valentin, left, looks for running room as Troy’s Francisco Rivera (31) and Alex Little, right, close in during Friday’s game at Lynch?Literacy?Academy in?Amsterdam. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
The first score of the game, and the first big play on the ground for Troy, came early in the first quarter when Maurice Jones ran the ball 42 yards for a touchdown. At just 5-8, Jones is one of the smallest players on the team along with fellow running back Rayshawn Johnson (5-7), who scampered for a 73-yard score later in the contest.
"Mo's a warrior," Burger said. "Last week he had 30 carries and played every play on defense. Our guys are tiny, Rayshawn Johnson and Jones, but they've got huge heart."
Amsterdam quarterback Julian Gallup didn't look comfortable from the start, as the defensive pressure by Troy forced an early first quarter interception.
"[Gallup] was running for his life," Amsterdam head coach Doug Edick said. "We've got to block better up front."
The Flying Horses returned a punt for a touchdown to start the second quarter, but the play was called back on a penalty. Near the end of the quarter and backed up to their own 1-yard line after a terrific Amsterdam punt, Jones scampered 68 yards to set up an eventual 1-yard touchdown run by Troy quarterback Joe Germinerio. Troy would take a 13-0 lead into halftime.
"You can't give up big plays," said Edick. "We gave up too many big plays on defense."
After a 50-yard Troy touchdown run by Di'Kemm Edmundson was called back due to holding, Jones scampered for 23 yards to regain nearly half of the yardage. Despite turning the ball over on downs later in the series, Amsterdam couldn't put together a solid drive during the quarter. Troy extended their lead to 20-0 after Johnson's 73-yard score.
Amsterdam was able to put together a nice ensuing drive starting from their own 35 yard line. Gallup found Dal Orengo for a quick 9-yard pickup, and Bryan Stanavich rushed for 24 yards during a drive that culminated in an 11 yard touchdown pass from Gallup to Marcus Pritchard. Pritchard bobbled the ball while falling to the turf but held on for Amsterdam's first points of the game.
Troy's next drive featured yet another big run, as Jones ran 50 yards to set up a 1-yard rushing score by Johnson. Stanavich found the end zone for Amsterdam with 1:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Rams ran out of time in their bid for a comeback despite recovering an onside kick.
"We ran into a very hungry team," said Edick. "You knew Jack [Burger] was going to have them ready, and they were ready."
The Rugged Rams will look to rebound in Gloversville next Friday as they take on the Huskies.
Troy 26, Amsterdam 14
Troy7 6 0 13 - 26
Amsterdam0 0 0 14 - 14
T - Jones 42 run (Bush kick)
T - Germinerio 1 run (kick failed)
T - Johnson 73 run (Bush kick)
A - Pritchard 11 pass from Gallup (Pritchard kick)
T - Johnson 1 run (kick failed)
A - Stanavich 1 run (Pritchard kick)