BALLSTON SPA — For the second consecutive week, the Amsterdam football team lost a late-game heartbreaker on the road.
Ballston Spa quarterback Andrew Kramer found Owen Walsh in the end zone as time expired Friday night, and the Scotties escaped with a 34-31 Class A win over the Rams.
Less than 45 seconds earlier, Amsterdam had taken a 31-28 lead as backup quarterback Jhai Vellon orchestrated a 58-yard scoring drive, carrying the ball six times for 50 yards before throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to starting quarterback Tommy Ziskin for the go-ahead score.
“When we had that timeout [with three seconds left in the contest], we discussed what couldn’t happen,” Amsterdam coach John Homich II said. “And again, two weeks in a row, we discuss it and it happened.”
Leading in last week’s road game against Averill Park, Amsterdam gave up a 82-yard touchdown return with less than 90 seconds left, giving up the lead. The Rams rallied to score with 18 seconds left, pulling within a point, but the 2-point conversion run failed.
Homich reminded his players that there were no points awarded for moral victories.
“It’s life, you either get the job done, or you don’t,” Homich said. “It’s a good life lesson. Life is going to throw you curveballs and, unfortunately for us, we’ve been thrown quite a few curveballs this season.”
The Rams had their season-opening contest delayed due to several team members exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and then lost to Troy 55-6, followed by a home loss to La Salle 25-8, followed by last week’s last-second loss to Averill Park.
Homich took a chance last week on the decision to go for a 2-point conversion against Averill Park. On Friday, he took another chance — on Vellon.
Vellon started the second half in place of Ziskin, who was picked off twice by Ballston Spa in the first half.
“We came out a little flat in the second quarter after all the momentum we gained in the first quarter,” Homich said. “Turnovers came out to bite us and put us in a hole two weeks in a row and were fighting to claw back into it.”
Vellon organized two successful drives in the fourth quarter, including carrying the Rams during their final possession.
“We had a package with him the whole year and the way he came in, put his head down, fought for every single yard, he played great,” Homich said. “For a sophomore to come into a big game like this, the way the situation was and to do what he did, we’re proud of him.”
Amsterdam 16 0 0 12 — 28
Ballston Spa 6 14 8 6 — 34
A — Hughes 8 pass from Ziskin (Ziskin run)
B — Acacio 48 run (run failed)
A — Acacio 80 kickoff return (Ziskin run)
B — Kramer 1 run (Walsh pass from Ziskin)
B — Acacio 4 run (run failed)
B — Gottman 50 pass from Kramer (Acacio pass from Kramer)
A — Gonzalez 17 run (Newborn pass from Vellon)
A — Ziskin 5 pass from Vellon (Welch kick)
B — Walsh 25 pass from Kramer