Amsterdam quarterback Trey Holloway is pictured on the sidelines during Friday’s game against Mohonasen in Rotterdam. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
Trey Holloway summed up his return to action at quarterback for the Amsterdam Rugged Rams after nearly a full year away from football pretty simply.
“When I got under center, it reminded me of my sophomore year, because last year wasn’t really what I expected,” Holloway said. “It just reminded me of the days we’d step on that field. It’s real Amsterdam football now.”
Holloway couldn’t have been much better in his return to the gridiron than he was in Friday’s 35-13 win over Mohonasen, completing 10-of-16 passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns. His return bolstered a Rams team that had overcome a sloppy start the week prior in a win over Scotia-Glenville, giving the offense a needed balance.
We’ll dig into Holloway’s offense and more from the Rams’ Week 2 win in this edition of the Rugged Recap:
• Starting with Holloway, he looked like a natural coming back to lead the offense after missing most of the 2016 season with a broken fibula before back issues limited him during the 2017 preseason and kept him out of the Rams’ Week 1 game. He completed his first four passes on the night, and his first pass in nearly a year was a memorable one as he connected with a streaking Louis Fedullo down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown on the fourth play from scrimmage. I’m not at all surprised the Rams opted to take a shot down the field early and quickly get their senior quarterback back into a groove.
Holloway’s night nearly looked even better, but was a fingertip away from hitting Deanthony Colon on a pair of deep throws that likely would’ve gone the distance.
• The Holloway-Fedullo connection should be a fruitful one throughout the season. At an athletic and rangy 6-foot-6, Fedullo is a unique matchup problem for opposing teams with an ability to make some incredible catches on jump balls in traffic. The senior wideout came down with five catches for 63 yards on the night and a pair of touchdowns while also drawing a pass interference call in the end zone to set up a score.
The first of Fedullo’s two touchdown catches was a case of him simply beating his man down field and getting on the end of a perfect throw from Holloway. The second was a beautiful piece of recognition at the line of scrimmage between quarterback and receiver. Noticing Mohon’s secondary cheating up, Holloway faked a quick wide receiver screen to Fedullo and then floated a pass toward the back corner of the end zone, allowing Fedullo to run onto the ball and extend for the catch.
• Fedullo was the most productive receiver, but the catch of the game came from Ryan Bradt, who made an insane one-handed catch after bobbling the ball in traffic as part of an Amsterdam touchdown drive in the second quarter. If you see a better catch than that all year, it’ll be one for the all-time highlight reels.
• There weren’t any eye-popping totals from the Amsterdam running game, but another solid week from the duo of Mikey Gomez and Jacob Greco, who combined for 118 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 combined carries. The bulk of Gomez’s game-high 76 yards came on a 47-yard touchdown run in the first quarter where he burst through the hole and raced to the end zone untouched. Greco had a 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and again looked shifty — especially on special teams, which I’ll get to in a bit.
• In addition to Holloway’s return, the Rams also got fullback and linebacker Jaden Fallen back after a preseason injury of his own. He only carried the ball three times for 14 yards and had 19 yards on a pair of receptions, including an 18-yarder that looked to be destined for even more until he lost his footing on a slick spot on the Mohonasen turf.
• Amsterdam continues to have organizational problems on special teams — yet again, they had a handful of plays with either too many or not enough men on the field — but when they line up correctly, the unit has been tremendous. Misha Murdoch went 5-for-5 on extra point kicks, kickoff coverage was again excellent and Greco turned in a dazzling punt return for the second straight week when he scooped up the ball at his own 10-yard line, weaved through traffic and bounced off a tackler on his way to a 60-yard return that set up his touchdown run three plays later.
• Defensively, the Rugged Rams continued to excel against the run, limiting Mohonasen to 85 rushing yards on 33 attempts (2.6 yards per carry). Through two games, the Amsterdam starting defense has yet to be caught off-guard and allow a big play in the run game, though that will certainly be tested this week with Queensbury and its double-wing rushing attack coming to Lynch Literacy Academy.
• The Rams’ passing defense will be an area the team needs to improve going forward. Coach Doug Edick said Amsterdam didn’t see much of a passing game from Mohonasen on film and probably didn’t prepare as much as they should have to defend it, leading to Warriors quarterback Alek Britten completing 14 of his 28 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. Amsterdam definitely adjusted as the game wore on, as after Britten started the game 11-of-13, he finished by completing just three of his final 15 attempts. The other positive sign is that most of what Amsterdam allowed in the passing game was short, underneath stuff and the secondary did an excellent job in pursuit and tackling. There was also a stellar play by defensive end Nico Orengo to drop running back Paul Archambault for a 9-yard loss when he sniffed out a screen pass.
• Penalties continue to be a nagging issue. Eight penalties might not seem like a lot, but the Rams were flagged three times in four snaps at one point in the second quarter to spoil a promising drive and committed a couple of silly personal fouls that had to frustrate Edick and his coaching staff. Against the elite of Section II Class A football — and the Rams will face their three toughest opponents all in the next four weeks — mental mistakes need to be limited.
• Area notes: Broadalbin-Perth picked up an impressive road win Friday, beating Lansingburgh 22-16. Lucas Coon and Joey Vitalis each ran for more than 100 yards on a night the Patriots put up 300-plus rushing yards as a team, and Brodryk Benton was an efficient 11-of-15 through the air. … Canajoharie-Fort Plain’s win over Helderberg Valley was very similar to Amsterdam’s Week 1 win over Scotia. C-FP looked really sloppy early on against an aggressive HV team, but swung the game with a couple of key turnovers and a dominating pass rush. Nick Kocjan did a little bit of everything, highlighted by an early Play of the Year contender with his 99-yard interception return for a score in the fourth quarter.