By ADAM SHINDER
Recorder Sports Staff
The Amsterdam High School football team's Week 6 Homecoming loss to the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Spartans was a tightly contested, testy affair. That boiled over a bit in a brief postgame exchange between the respective coaching staffs -- but that's not playing a bit in Amsterdam head coach Doug Edick's mind in preparation for tonight's Section II Class A Super Bowl and the rematch with Burnt Hills.
At the end of the Week 6 game, Edick engaged in a short verbal spat with BH-BL athletic director Bob McGuire, who was speaking with the game officials, which eventually resulted in some shouting exchanged by both teams' assistant coaches.
The situation was over in a matter of moments, and Edick hasn't paid it any further attention.
"I have a lot of respect for that whole staff and the school, and I think likewise they have it for us," Edick said.
"It was a competitive game, and that's about it," he added.
Covering their bases
Edick's been pleased with how the Rams have progressed in all three phases of the game -- offense, defense and special teams -- but there's one part of the third phase he'd like to see his team clean up tonight: Kickoff coverage.
"We've stressed that all week," Edick said.
In the Week 5 matchup between Amsterdam and Burnt Hills, the Spartans had several long kickoff and punt returns -- though a couple were called back due to penalties. In the last couple of weeks, however, long kick returns have been responsible for the few blemishes against Amsterdam's starting defense.
Against Averill Park in the opening round of the playoffs, the lone touchdown that the Warriors scored against the Amsterdam starters came on the heels of a 61-yard return by Ben Rice.
Then, in last week's 40-21 semifinal win over Troy, the only touchdown scored by the Flying Horses over the game's final 43 minutes came after Da'Quann Mosley returned a Devin Dzikowicz kickoff 75 yards to give Troy possession on the Amsterdam 16-yard line.
Edick has made a special point to his team that they can't allow Burnt Hills to break the game open on special teams tonight.
"(Burnt Hills) had a couple good returns on us, Troy had a good return on us," he said. "We have to be able to break down and make plays on special teams."
It's a family affair
As the playoffs wear on, it's common practice for football teams to add players from the junior varsity squad as a way of bolstering roster depth and bringing a new element to the scout teams during practice.
Edick's made a few additions to the Rams' roster, with JV quarterback Tony Isabel -- who has served as Amsterdam's third-string varsity quarterback on game days -- running the scout offense and sophomore Brady McGillin getting reps on the scout defense at linebacker.
But, for standout senior tailback and cornerback Brett Stanavich, there's one that stands above the rest -- his younger brother Bryan, also a running back.
"It's been fun at the house when we go home," Brett Stanavich said. "We're going back-and-forth at each other. It's been a great experience to play with him."
With Bryan rotating in as a running back on the scout offense, there's been a chance for some brother vs. brother comeptition -- especially when the younger Stanavich has been called upon to throw halfback option passes in practice.
Wednesday, on the last play of the practice session, Bryan's throw was batted down by his big brother in the end zone, giving Brett the chance to celebrate. Friday, Bryan turned the tables, hitting Robbie Sherlock streaking past Brett for a touchdown -- and subjecting Brett to some friendly taunting from coaches and teammates as he jogged back to the defensive huddle.
Odds and ends
For years, the water station on the Amsterdam sideline has been the domain of Pat Liverio Sr., father of former head coach Pat Liverio. This season, the elder Liverio has been on the sidelines for several games, but when he hasn't, the duty of doling out water and Gatorade to the Rugged Rams has fallen to Peter Pritchard, father of placekicker Marcus Pritchard and a member of the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education. ... The Amsterdam coaching staff gives out player awards -- cups, flags or t-shirts -- from the previous week's game at the end of each week of practice. Friday, the coaching staff was so split on which defensive player should be awarded that every starter got a token of appreciation.