Recorder Sports Staff
SOUTH GLENS FALLS -- Amsterdam's Hector Diaz likes to remind people that he's not your garden-variety fullback.
Plugged in front of starting tailback Brett Stanavich as part of the Rams' effort to pack their offense with as much speed and skill as possible, Diaz is a natural tailback, and Saturday afternoon against South Glens Falls, he showed what he's capable of when opposing defenses focus too much on Amsterdam's other weapons.
Diaz only needed seven rushing attempts to put on a show in Amsterdam's regular-season finale, racking up 153 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Rams' historic offensive performance in a 62-12 rout of South Glens Falls.
"Every team is keying Brett," Diaz said. "And when every team is keying Brett, they kind of forget that I'm a tailback. I'm not really a fullback. I get the ball up the middle and its that open, anyone can make a play."
The 62 points are Amsterdam's most since at least 1971, when the program's current record-keeping begins. The only other time the Rams have breached the 60-point barrier in that stretch was in a 61-0 victory over Albany in 1972.
Saturday afternoon, the Rams' (4-3, 3-1 Class A Northwest) offense shredded through the South Glens Falls (1-6, 0-4) defense repeatedly, with Diaz's 55-yard touchdown run on the third play from scrimmage setting off a stretch of seven Amsterdam touchdowns in the team's first eight possessions.
On Diaz's opening touchdown run, the Rams lined up Stanavich in the slot and put him in motion into the backfield. With the Bulldogs' defense cheating to the outside to try and cut off the sweep to Stanavich, Diaz got the ball up the middle on a quick handoff from quarterback Geo Rodriguez and had to make just one cut before finding nothing but open real estate on the way to the end zone.
"My line blocked really well, and the whole defensive scheme that the other team had, they were just bringing guys to the outside," Diaz said. "The middle was wide open, so I found some green and made a move."
The Rams operated with quick-strike efficiency, as seven of their eight offensive scoring drives -- Amsterdam also scored on a Robert Santiago 52-yard interception return in the third quarter -- consisted of five or fewer plays. That was aided greatly by the fact that the Rams were often operating on a short field thanks to a defensive effort that forced five South Glens Falls turnovers -- including fumbles on each of the Bulldogs' first three possessions.
"Our D-Line really stepped it up. They played real well," Rodriguez said. "They caused some fumbles, caused some turnovers and we executed when we needed to off the turnovers."
Rodriguez helped account for four Amsterdam touchdowns, tossing scoring strikes to Julian Gallup and Robbie Sherlock and running for two of his own. Luis Laboy added a 77-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to complete the Rams' offensive eruption, one that was made even more impressive considering that head coach Doug Edick started heavily rotating backup players into the game before halftime, with Gallup taking over for Rodriguez at quarterback late in the second quarter.
Amsterdam's starters, however, were more than happy to let the reserves take center stage in the second half, whooping and hollering on the sidelines whenever someone made a positive contribution.
"I'm proud that we got our second-teamers and third-teamers in there," Rodriguez said. "They've helped us work hard all season during practices. Our scout team is a big part of our wins and why we're so successful."
Edick was pleased to see his team turn in four strong quarters, halting a two-game losing streak before heading into the playoffs, which open Friday night as the Rams host Averill Park in a rematch of a Week 1 game the Warriors won 30-24 at Lynch Literacy Academy.
"They played four quarters of football, and that's what I wanted," he said. "Hopefully, it continues with Averill Park and we focus on that. Now it's a new season in the playoffs. That's what we're trying to get ready for."
The Rams' players having been itching for another shot at Averill Park ever since Week 1, and with the knowledge that the matchup was set even before the final week of regular-season action, they've already started to get ready.
"We had a clue that we'd end up playing them in the playoffs, and it's good because this whole week we've been preparing not only for South Glens Falls, but for Averill Park. We're ready," Rodriguez said. "Hopefully, we have a great week of practice and we all step up, because they beat us, so they're coming in knowing they already beat us once. Hopefully, the intensity drives us and we beat them."