Amsterdam running back Mikey Gomez carries the ball during football practice Friday at Lynch Literacy Academy. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
Eight days ago, as the Amsterdam Rugged Rams walked off the field at Lynch Literacy Academy at the end of their humbling 34-0 loss to Queensbury, senior center and defensive end Nico Orengo made the statement that it was time for the Rams to get “back to basics.”
In the week preparing for today’s noon Homecoming game against Gloversville at Lynch, that’s exactly what the Rams have done.
“We started off the first two days of practice with no helmets, going through everything that we did in camp,” said Orengo, one of the team’s tri-captains alongside Trey Holloway and Louis Fedullo. “(We got back to) hitting, going through our plays mentally. I think we got very sharp doing that.”
It was a conscious effort on the part of the coaching staff to get the Rams (2-1, 2-1 Section II Class A) to hit the mental reset button following a loss that saw Amsterdam dominated in every aspect of the game and held to just nine yards of cumulative offense.
“We had a good week of practice,” Amsterdam coach Doug Edick said. “Back to the fundamentals, work on tackling, blocking. The first few days, we didn’t want to kill them with the hitting, so we went back to what we did at the beginning of the preseason.”
Amsterdam will hope to right the ship today when Gloversville (0-3, 0-2) comes to down. The Huskies may not have won yet this season, but all three of their games have been decided by two possessions or less — including a down-to-the-wire Week 2 loss to 2016 Section II Class A runner-up Averill Park, which entered Week 4 as one of only two remaining undefeated teams in Class A.
With the loss to Queensbury putting the Rams on their heels, there’s little margin for error in any of the Rams’ four remaining Class A contests — today against Gloversville, then back-to-back road games against Averill Park and Burnt Hills and a Week 8 trip to South Glens Falls — if they want to ensure themselves of one of the four Class A playoff spots.
“We can’t take any of these teams coming up lightly,” Orengo said. “One loss, and it could ruin the season.”
Gloversville’s spread offense is the polar opposite of the packed-in, rush-heavy double wing the Rams saw against Queensbury. The Huskies spread things out and give dual-threat quarterback William “Buck” Galster plenty of license to throw the ball. Galster’s thrown 73 passes in three games, most of any Class A quarterback in Section II.
Galster has thrown for 475 yards and three touchdowns with a pair of interceptions thus far this season. The Huskies line up versatile senior Trevor Mee all over the field, and in Gloversville’s Week 3 loss to Broadalbin-Perth, he had a huge night as a receiver with three catches for 114 yards, highlighted by an 84-yard touchdown. Running back Jared Malagisi rounds out a potent offensive trio for a Gloversville team that has talent, but has struggled due to an overall lack of depth.
“They don’t have that many guys, but they’ve got Trevor Mee and a quarterback (Galster) that runs around and scrambles, so we’ve got to be able to contain him,” Edick said. “They’ve got some players. They played both (South Glens Falls and Averill Park) tough, and we’ve got to be prepared for a hard-fought game.”
Gloversville’s ability to move the ball through the air is something of a concern for Edick. When Mohonasen quarterback Alek Britten opened up his passing attack against Amsterdam two weeks ago, the Rams struggled at points from giving up too many easy completions. Coverage in the secondary and, perhaps more importantly, an improved pass rush will be paramount today.
“We’ve got to be able to cover and put pressure on the quarterback,” Edick said.
With two crucial road games coming up, a win today is something Edick hopes can set his team on the right path for the rest of the year and help erase the sour taste of the Queensbury game.
“Gloversville’s on our radar and we’ll move on from there,” Edick said. “We want to get that taste out of our mouths and get back in the winning column.”