Rugged Rams get early start with week of practices at Schalmont


Recorder Sports Staff

A week in June could give Amsterdam High School football coach a good indication about what he'll see when his team comes together in earnest for preseason camp this August.

Last week, Edick took the Rugged Rams to a session of spring practices at Schalmont High School, eschewing a late-spring 7-on-7 camp for full-squad workouts that saw more than 30 players hit the gridiron. And while foul weather near the tail end of the week cut things a bit short, Edick came away with a positive outlook heading into his second season at the helm of the AHS program.

"We had a good week. Friday was cut short because of rain, but we had four good days of practice," Edick said Monday at the start of the annual Purple and Gold Camp for local youth football players. "We had more than 30 kids, we were working on some different stuff and some young guys got some opportunities, which is nice."

Edick said he was approached by Schalmont head coach Joe Whipple about participating in the camp. The Sabres hosted Broadalbin-Perth for joint spring workouts in 2012, and Whipple told Edick he was planning on opening the week up to greater participation, with both Colonie and Niskayuna set to join this season.

When Edick brought the idea -- which consisted of an hour of individual team practices each day before moving on to 'thud' scrimmages with light contact against one of the other teams at the event -- to his team, the Rugged Rams jumped on board.

"The kids wanted to do it, so the coaches said, 'Let's do that instead of some 7-on-7,'" Edick said.

Going in, with the Rams not having been together on a football field since their loss to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake last November in the Section II Class A Super Bowl, Edick wasn't sure what kind of product he'd see -- especially from the younger players moving up to varsity to replace a deep senior class.

Once the week was done, however, Edick left pleasantly surprised.

"At first, we weren't sure what to expect, but that's exactly what happened," he said. "A couple of them stood out where we think they can fill some roles, either in backup roles or some of them as starters."

For Edick, the week was an excellent way to start getting his team in gear with the Sept. 6 season opener at Averill Park still three months away. However, it wasn't too early to start thinking about the Rams' early-season slate, with home games against Mohonasen and Troy preceding Amsterdam's Class A Northwest Division opener at Gloversville in Week 4.

That Sept. 20 game against Troy -- a rematch of Amsterdam's 40-21 Class A semifinal win from 2012 -- was of particular interest to Edick.

"That's a big rivalry. It'll be nice. We've got them at home, and that's always a big game -- two ex-Big 10 schools going at it," he said.

During the week-long camp, Edick said both Dal Orengo and Hector Diaz -- both coming straight into football practices off a long lacrosse season -- stood out on the defensive end of the field from the Rams' crop of returning players, while both C.J. Mercado and Nick Lomauro flashed signs that they'll be ready to take on expanded roles in the trenches this season.

The biggest surprise, Edick said, came from defensive end Troy Wyszomirski, who didn't see much action after being added to the varsity roster during the 2012 sectional playoffs to provide added depth, but who came away from the week in Schalmont having massively impressed the Amsterdam coaching staff with his potential.

But, until the Rams finish with their summer workouts, go through preseason camp in the August heat and open up their season at Averill Park, everything the Rams showed at Schalmont is simply that -- yet-to-be-tapped potential.

"It was a great opportunity for some of the guys to shine and prove what they can do," Edick said. "They've got to continue during the summer in the weight room."