Amsterdam’s Jaden Fallen (20) lunges for extra yardage while being wrapped up by Gloversville’s Kameren Port (7) and Samuel Getman (42) during Saturday’s game at Lynch Literacy Academy. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
A fractured foot during the preseason stopped Amsterdam senior fullback Jaden Fallen from getting to full speed early in the 2017 football season. Fallen, and the rest of the Amsterdam running game, got their wheels pointed in the right direction in an emphatic manner Saturday against the Gloversville Huskies.
Eight days after being thrown around by Queensbury and netting minus-41 rushing yards as a team, the Rugged Rams’ rushing attack had a resurgent performance against Gloversville, putting up 363 yards on 39 carries as the Rams surged for a 34-17 win. Mikey Gomez ran for a team-high 135 yards and scored three total touchdowns, and Fallen ran for 109 of his career-high 113 yards in the second half as Amsterdam surged after a slow start to pull away for the win.
“It felt good. The coaches and kids, we’re really starting to trust each other now and everything’s coming together,” Fallen said. “I’m finally starting to pick up from last year where I left off.”
Trey Holloway added two touchdown passes and ran for a score on a scorching afternoon that saw the Rams (3-1, 3-1 Section II Class A) pile up a season-high 472 yards of total offense — 463 more than the nine total yards the Rams were held to in their 34-0 Week 3 loss to Queensbury.
Jake Greco added 75 rushing yards on nine carries as Amsterdam averaged 9.3 yards per carry and broke off four runs of 40 yards or longer, including touchdown runs of 48 and 52 yards by Gomez.
“We challenged the kids during practice. We went back to the basics,” Amsterdam coach Doug Edick said. “The second half, we responded. Our offensive line really came out and blocked, and I thought defensively we held up very well in the second half also.”
Gloversville (0-4, 0-3), as it has through most of its hard-luck season thus far, kept things close early on and rode big plays from quarterback William “Buck” Galster and tailback Jared Malagisi to lead 10-7 at halftime, but the Huskies’ paper-thin 23-man roster wore down as the game progressed. Tired legs led to missed tackles on defense and two crucial turnovers on offense that allowed Amsterdam to put the game away.
“You can definitely tell that with a light roster, things make a difference,” Huskies coach Jared Bongo said. “We have some guys who can play, but when you’ve got 22 guys on the bench, you’re playing 18, you’ve got guys who are wiped out. That’s no excuse, we’ve got to get the job done. Today came down to missed tackles. We were in spots to make plays and didn’t make them down the stretch.”
Trailing 10-7 after a sloppy first half that included several drive-killing penalties and a pair of failed fourth-down conversions in Gloversville territory, Amsterdam opened the second half with a display of power football that set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Fallen carried the ball four times for 20 yards as part of a six-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that was highlighted by a 42-yard burst by Jake Greco and capped off by Holloway’s 2-yard quarterback sneak into the end zone for a 14-10 lead.
Gloversville answered back with its only big passing play of the day, a 68-yard strike from Galster to Julien Deumaga, and recaptured the lead at 17-14, but Amsterdam responded with one of its most complete drives of the season to take the lead for good.
Facing a third-and-16 from their own 38-yard line, the Rams got a 14-yard scramble from Holloway to set up a manageable fourth-down try, and Greco surged for the remaining two yards to move the chains. Runs of 14 yards by backup quarterback Deanthony Colon, 15 yards by Fallen and 12 yards by Greco put the Rams on the doorstep, and Holloway — who had to come out for a couple snaps earlier in the drive — finished the drive by flipping a 1-yard pass to an uncovered Ryan Bradt for the touchdown.
After forcing a Gloversville punt, Amsterdam finally made it a two-possession game by running the ball down the Huskies’ throats. Starting at the Amsterdam 37-yard line, the Rams ran the same play three times in a row — a handoff to Gomez off the right side — and Gomez broke the third one for a 48-yard touchdown and a 28-17 lead with four seconds left in the third quarter.
“In the second half, the coaches said the seniors had to step up and lead,” Gomez said. “We did, and we ended up taking the ‘W.’”
An Amsterdam fumble early in the fourth quarter gave Gloversville a chance for a drive to get back in the game, but the Rams’ defense held firm and pressured Galster on four straight snaps, with the last one ending up as an interception by Colon on a pass intended for Deumaga. Fallen busted loose for a 64-yard run on Amsterdam’s next offensive play, and on the play after that, Holloway fired a pass down the seam that looked like it was going to be intercepted by Gloversville’s Kameren Port, only for the ball to bounce out of his hands and right to Gomez, who made the catch and scored the 23-yard touchdown without breaking stride.
“I was not gonna give up if that ball got tipped in the air,” Gomez said. “We practice the tip drill all the time.”
Holloway completed 6 of 11 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns for the Rams. Malagisi led Gloversville with 93 rushing yards on 12 carries, while Galster threw for 72 yards on 6-of-16 passing and added 66 rushing yards, including a quarterback sneak for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Gloversville will host Green Tech in its Homecoming game this Saturday, while Amsterdam will hit the road Friday night to face Averill Park, with the winner earning the inside track to locking up a Section II Class A playoff berth. It’s a crucial game for the Rams, part of a two-game road trip that also includes an Oct. 7 visit to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, the lone undefeated team left in Class A.
“We’re going in the right direction,” Edick said. “We’ve got the meat of our schedule right now.”