By ADAM SHINDER
I think we all should take a moment and mourn the end of defense in the game of football.
Good. On we go.
My head's still buzzing from what I saw Friday night on the neatly-trimmed grass at Averill Park High School as the Amsterdam Rugged Rams and Averill Park Warriors combined for exactly 100 (100!) points in a wild, wacky shootout that saw the Rams somehow get out of town with a 56-44 victory that featured 15 total touchdowns and a staggering 1,073 yards of offense combined between the two teams.
If I tried to recap everything that happened, you'd finish reading this sometime in the middle of the Rams' Week 3 game against Troy, so I'll try and keep this to the major points of the game, with only minimal random rambling.
Thus, onward to the land of bullet points.
* I'll get the rough stuff out of the way first: The Amsterdam defense has plenty of issues to fix over the next couple weeks. Week 2 against Mohonasen shouldn't be a massive test, but the Rams will need to improve drastically next week to prepare for a tough Week 3-6 stretch (Troy, at Gloversville, Queensbury, at Burnt Hills). The issue Friday night was open-field tackling, as Averill Park's 5-foot-9, 235-pound fullback Garrett Ryan bulled and dragged his way to 189 yards, most of them coming after contact.
* If there's a positive to be taken from the Amsterdam defense, it's that they made three key stops that essentially saved the game. In the second quarter, Troy Wyszomirski stripped Ryan at the Rams' 10-yard line, with Kolbie Glionna and Dal Orengo falling on the ball to recover. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Julian Gallup intercepted AP quarterback Chris Arnold at the Amsterdam 6-yard line and on the final drive of the game, the Rams forced three negative plas to halt any chance of a last-ditch Warriors comeback.
* On the offensive side, the Rams were simply brilliant in execution and scheme. Gallup at quarterback, along with offensive coordinator Tim Holloway, did a fantastic job adjusting to an Averill Park defense that brought eight-man pressure on nearly every play and took away most of Amsterdam's inside running game. The Rams responded by exploiting the edges with sweeps, screens and play-actio passes that let Gallup break contain and work on the edge. The result: 515 yards of total offense (245 passing, 270 rushing).
* In his first start at quarterback, Gallup was simply outstanding. The senior finished 12-of-17 passing for 245 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 69 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns. Most of his passes were either on designed rollouts or resulted in scrambles, but I can't recall a single throw that actually missed its target. His best pass was a 35-yard touchdown to J.V. Valentin with 11 seconds left in the first half when Gallup scrambled away from pressure, stepped up and found a wide-open Valentin, who ran the scramble drill to perfection.
* The Rams twice took advantage of AP's blitzing defense with screen passes to Gabe Mendez out of the backfield, and both worked for touchdowns. Gallup faked an inside handoff to Mendez, who leaked out into the flat with blockers lined up for him. The second touchdown -- a 70-yarder in the fourth quarter -- was a thing of beauty. Tyler Cranker threw a phenomenal downfield block to spring Mendez down the sideline for the score.
* Fullback Hector Diaz was limited due to a shoulder injury and eventually left the game early, while Mendez found his running lanes clogged up -- save for a 63-yard touchdown on a jet sweep in the first quarter -- but the Rams got big contributions from their other backs. Sophomore Bryan Stanavich was stopped for a 1-yard loss on his first varsity carry in the third quarter, but caught a 30-yard pass from Gallup on the next play and scored on a 41-yard run that was eerily reminiscent of his older brother Brett on the play after that. On the drive that sealed the game, Glionna got the Rams out from the shadow of their goal line with a 65-yard run, then finished off the drive by hauling in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Gallup.
Amsterdam 56, Averill Park 44
Amsterdam 21 6 15 14 – 56
Averill Park 12 13 13 6 – 44
Amst – Julian Gallup 26 run (Marcus Pritchard kick)
AP – Garrett Ryan 75 run (Kick fail)
Amst – Gabe Mendez 63 run (Pritchard kick)
AP – Logan Fahrenkopf 37 pass from Chris Arnold (Kick fail)
Amst – Mendez 18 pass from Gallup (Pritchard kick)
AP – Jack Ainsley 10 run (Kick fail)
AP – Ryan 70 pass from Arnold (Joe Lettko kick)
Amst – J.V. Valentin 35 pass from Gallup (Kick fail)
AP – Jake Mosher 44 pass from Arnold (Lettko kick)
Amst – Gallup 4 run (Gallup run)
AP – Ryan 28 run (Pass fail)
Amst – Bryan Stanavich 41 run (Pritchard kick)
Amst – Mendez 70 pass from Gallup (Pritchard kick)
AP – Mosher 35 run (Run fail)
Amst – Kolbie Glionna 13 pass from Gallup (Pritchard kick)
AP – Chris Arnold 5-of-9, 186 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Amsterdam – Julian Gallup 12-of-17, 245 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT
AP – Garrett Ryan 16-189 (2 TD); Jake Mosher 4-54 (1 TD); Jack Ainsley 6-47 (1 TD); Chris Arnold 11-51; Ben Rice 4-17; Isaiah Moak 4-14
Amst – Julian Gallup 15-69 (2 TD); Gabe Mendez 11-68 (1 TD); Bryan Stanavich 6-60 (1 TD); Kolbie Glionna 4-71; Hector Diaz 7-12
AP – Garrett Ryan 1-70 (1 TD); Logan Fahrenkopf 2-48 (1 TD); Jake Mosher 1-44 (1 TD); Ricky Mosall 1-24
Amsterdam – Gabe Mendez 4-127 (2 TD); J.V. Valentin 3-51 (1 TD); Bryan Stanavich 1-30; Kolbie Glionna 1-13 (1 TD); Hector Diaz 1-16; Marcus Pritchard 1-9; Dal Orengo 1-minus 1