John Homich could sum up his first two games as Amsterdam head football coach fairly succinctly.
“It’s a little frustrating,” Homich said after last week’s 25-8 loss to La Salle Institute, “on all ends.”
The start of the “Fall II” football season certainly hasn’t gone the way the Rams would have envisioned. After the team’s scheduled Class A Capital Division opener against Albany was called off due to COVID-19 quarantine issues within the Amsterdam program, the Rams officially opened their season with back-to-back losses to Troy and La Salle by a combined margin of 80-14.
In both losses, it’s been a case of the team’s problems quickly snowballing and compounding on top of each other.
Against Troy, Amsterdam was swamped early, with the Flying Horses scoring three first-quarter touchdowns to quickly put the game out of reach.
Against La Salle, the Amsterdam defense gave the team an early lead with a safety, but penalties and missed opportunities plagued an offense that was unable to record a point on any of its first seven trips into opposing territory.
With two regular-season games remaining, Homich is hopeful that the Rams can begin to settle into a groove, starting with Friday’s 7 p.m. road game against Averill Park.
“When things do go wrong, and not our way,” Homich said, “we’ve got to keep our composure and mental strength, and push through.”
Amsterdam’s brightest spot so far this season came from its defense, which in the first 18 minutes of the La Salle game recorded a safety and two interceptions. However, that stretch was immediately followed by a 99-yard touchdown pass from Eddie Yamin to Brady Fenton that gave La Salle the lead for good.
Offensively, Amsterdam has struggled in the run game to replace the production of 2019 1,300-yard rusher Peyton Ausfeld. The Rams’ offense hasn’t scored a point in the first three quarters of either of its games.
“We had a lot of opportunities we just missed out on,” said senior two-way lineman James Shatas. “That’s something we’re always looking to fix, is our mistakes — and capitalizing on their mistakes, too.”
After playing its lone regular-season home game on the renovated turf at Lynch Literacy Academy against La Salle, Amsterdam will be on the road for weeks 4 and 5.
Friday’s opponent, Averill Park (2-1), breezed past Columbia and Albany in its first two games before running into Troy, which used a 20-point second quarter to set the tone for a 46-0 victory over the Warriors.
“The weeks we have coming up, AP’s going to be a tough game, you’ve got Columbia the week after,” Homich said. “It’s not an easy road. We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
It’s been a tough road already, but there’s still a belief in the Amsterdam huddle that the Rams can make something out of this abbreviated season on the gridiron.
“We’re growing every game and just building off of that,” Shatas said. “We’re a very tight-knit group. We’re a family. It’s just building off of that.
“Once you have that, I think you’re good.”