Carbone helps Rams reach Class A final

Chris Carbone returned an interception 76 yards for an Amsterdam touchdown with 54.2 seconds left to

Chris Carbone returned an interception 76 yards for an Amsterdam touchdown with 54.2 seconds left to put the finishing touches on a 21-6 win over Queensbury in a Section II Class A semifinal football play Friday night.

Carbone had an exceptional game with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

The Rugged Rams, 9-0 and ranked ninth in the New York State Class A poll, will meet Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake for the championship at Shenendehowa.

It’s the second time Amsterdam has beaten Queensbury this season. It marked Rugged Rams head coach Pat Liverio’s last home game.

“That’s one of the toughest games I’ve ever coached. I told our guys at times they [Queensbury] looked like they had the best of us. We couldn’t run the ball. They’re a strong, strong, physical team. We made a few plays on speed. All in all for the most part, but I knew we had what it took inside,” said Liverio.

Carbone’s fine defensive performance got started in the second quarter when he knocked down a Mike Hewitt pass on a fourth-down play. The Rugged Rams took over on their 29, and nine plays later, Matthew White outjumped a Queensbury defender in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Vinny Sobkowich with 1:54 left for a 7-0 advantage.

On the scoring series, Sobkowich and White also teamed up for a 41-yard connection.

Queensbury started the second half from its 24 and put its patented running game to work. Seven straight plays on the ground netted 31 yards and brought the ball to the Rugged Rams’ 45.

Then, Hewitt pitched the ball to Nic Ketter who tossed a 40-yard halfback option pass to Dylan Borkowski and the Spartans got to the five. Geo Rodriguez made a touchdown-saving tackle for Amsterdam.

Ketter rushed for three yards and Evan Earle went up the middle for the final two and the Spartans cut the deficit to 7-6 with 6:17 left in the third quarter.

After both sides failed to generate any offense, Queensbury again used its rushing game to eat up about eight minutes, but the end result was no points. The Spartans kept the ball on the ground for 13 plays and the Rugged Rams’ defense rose to the occasion and took over on its 25.

Then Sobkowich connected with Rodriguez on a 66-yard pass to the 10. A facemask penalty moved the ball five yards closer and Sobkowich scored from five yards away to give Amsterdam a 14-6 lead.

“[Assistant coach] Bobby Noto [made] a great call as he has all year. Whenever we’re in trouble, he seems to make the right offensive call and get us what we need. He’s a great student of the game even when things are going rough. As long as he’s got a little room on that sideline so he can think, he’s going to pull something out. It was a great call,” said Liverio.

Then Carbone was in the spotlight a final time when he cut in front of Ketter and sped down the sidelines untouched for a 76-yard interception.

“It was fourth-and-11. I knew they were going for a first-down route. I jumped the ball as soon as I saw it in the air. I knew I should’ve gone down, but I had to keep running. I saw nothing but open field, and had to get it [touchdown],” said Carbone.

Liverio raced down the field and raised his arms in celebration as the Rugged Rams were on their way to the Super Bowl.

“We talked at halftime about it would come down to heart and we need a stand and see what we had inside . . . [we] had the mental toughness to finish,” said Liverio. “We bent a lot, but didn’t break. When you’re getting pounded play after play, what they do is break your will to win. But these kids are a lot stronger than that and have been like that for a few years. They have a will to win and that’s one thing I’ll remember about this team.”

Ketter was the leading rusher for the Spartans with 113 yards on 20 carries.

“He’s definitely a big guy. We definitely had to get low on him. We didn’t do so well at the beginning of the first quarter. We talked it over with our coaches, they told us what to do and we got it done,” said Carbone.

Queensbury 0 0 6  0 —  6

Amsterdam 0 7 0 14 — 21

A — White, 15 pass from Sobkowich (Rouse kick)

Q — Earle, 2 run (run failed)

A — Sobkowich, 5 run (Rouse kick)

A — Carbone, 76 interception (Rouse kick)

Categories: High School Sports

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