For openers, they’ll take it.
The Griffins of Bishop Maginn ended a long drought against Amsterdam with a 27-13 win over the Rams in the Class A season opener for both at Bleecker Stadium.
“It’s been a while since we’ve beaten Amsterdam,” said Maginn coach Joe Grasso, whose team overcame a 13-10 deficit as Tymear Mallory scored two touchdowns in the final minute for his team’s first win over the Rams since a 21-12 victory on Week 6 of the 1995 season, a stretch of 13 games that includes a playoff matchup.
“We had to get the seniors a win against Amsterdam,” said Mallory, a junior who took a pitch from senior quarterback Bunbuka Kargo and went 27 yards around right end for the winning touchdown with 53.5 seconds to play. “We’re a senior-oriented win, and we had to get them out of here with a win against Amsterdam.”
Mallory’s winning run was the result of good blocking and a runner wanting to get it done.
From spot in the backfield after making the toss, Kargbo had one thought.
“I was thinking, ‘Get in the end zone, Ty. Get in the end zone.’
“He told me in the huddle, ‘Don’t worry, Ben. I’ve got this.’ I believed him. He tells me that every play,” said Kargbo, who like many players on both teams battled lower leg cramps on the unseasonably hot evening.
“You want players like that, who are confident they can make the plays. And he did.”
Mallory saw nothing but open space when he turned the corner.
“When I got to that second level, I saw that the fullback had cleared it and I was gone,” he said. “Everybody did a great job blocking.”
Mallory put an exclamation point on the win when he picked off a pass and returned it 50 yards for the game’s final points, with four seconds to play. Justin Notaro had returned a pick 20 yards for a score to give the Griffins a 10-3 halftime lead, and senior Mitchell Dickson kicked field goals of 25 and 46 yards.
With a steady breeze at his team’s back, Grasso was going to send Dickson out to try for a game-winning three-pointer before Mallory made the point moot.
“Ty will be the first player to tell you he didn’t have a good first half,” said Grasso. “But he came up with the two big plays at the end that put us over the top.”
“This is a such a good win for us, not just the seniors, but the whole team,” said Kargbo. “That’s a good team, and they’ve had our number.”
“Unbelievable,” said senior James Torres, who, like the many of his teammates played both ways. “Just a great feeling.
“We finally beat them. It’s a great way to start off our season. Now, we have to keep going.”
Dickson gave the Griffins a 3-0 lead, but senior quarterback Frank Peluso gave Amsterdam the lead when he connected with Dan Peluso on a 38-yard TD pass late in the first quarter.
After Notaro returned his interception for a TD, the Rams’ left-handed quarterback put his team back ahead with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Robertshaw, one play after Andrew Hastings recovered Maginn fumble in the third period.
“We were hoping to come in here the first week, steal one and get out and start on a good note. We almost did,” said Amsterdam coach Pat Liverio.
“It was a tough ending. I’m proud of the effort the kids put out. They stuck with a good team down to the last minute of the game.”
Liverio was concerned about his line play, after, graduation wiped those spots out. But the offensive line kept Peluso upright long enough to be effective.
“They didn’t do a bad job,” Liverio said of the unit. “But we thought we might be able to run the ball better.
“I think what hurt us is we haven’t been able to practice at a pace comparable to what you get when you get on the field. We just don’t have the guys to do that.
“Being as young and inexperienced as we are, we didn’t do a bad job.”
Grasso praised the work of his defense, which held Rams’ running backs Ben Miseikis, Dan McNamara and Tom Regal pretty well in check.”
“The big thing was, our defense held up and really played very well,” Grasso said. “We had a couple of adverse situations in the second half where we could have folded, and we kept battling back.
“Beating a good Amsterdam team is a good impetus for the rest of the season, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.
“But, for our guys to get over this hump early, it was important for them.”
Liverio is looking to see how his team will react as it prepares to host Troy in six days.
“The next week will be the most important week of our season, to see how they react.”
Amsterdam 6 0 7 0 — 13
Bishop Maginn 3 7 3 14 — 27
BM — Dickson 25 FG.
A — D. Peluso 38 pass from F.Peluso (kick failed).
BM — Notaro 20 interception return (Dickson kick).
A — Robertshaw 25 pass from F.Peluso (Flint kick).
BM — Dickson 36 FG.
BM — Mallory 27 run (Dickson kick).
BM — Mallory 50 interception return (Dickson kick).
More from The Daily Gazette: