SOUTH GLENS FALLS — There was a theme of firsts for the Amsterdam football team on Friday night.
None was more important to the Rugged Rams than it being the first win after a 0-5 “Fall II” season last spring that may have been in the rearview mirror, but hadn’t escaped their memory.
Playing in their first game this season, the Rams dominated South Glens Falls 52-28. Amsterdam scored on its first play from scrimmage to set the tone. Jhai Vellon found Louie Gonzalez on a little eight-yard out in the flat, and Gonzalez did the rest for a 63-yard score.
On South High’s first possession, a bad snap went over quarterback Trey Marcil’s head and into the end zone, forcing Marcil to cover it for a safety and giving the Rams an 8-0 lead 34 seconds into the game.
Vellon and the Rams’ offense displayed a comfort level belying their lack of games this season. He threw for four more touchdowns the rest of the first half and finished the first 24 minutes 12 of 15 passing for 204 yards and five touchdowns.
“We had a plan the whole week,” Vellon said. “We just went out there, followed the plan, watched film. We were all confident this week.”
After his first one, the lefty Vellon threw two scoring strikes to Caesar Thompson (14 and 9 yards), Gonzalez again (3 yards) and Thompson once more for a 43-yard score with 29 seconds left in the half.
“Our receivers and our quarterback, they’ve played together since they were 8 years old on Little Giants,” said second-year Amsterdam coach John Homich, who recorded his first win as the Rams’ coach. “They’ve had those connections all along. It’s just as the years go on, they get closer. They can read each other [like] the back of their hands.”
While the game wasn’t really in doubt, the next play reminded Amsterdam that things weren’t going to come that easily. After fumbling the kickoff, Josh Ahrens picked the ball up on the 7 and returned it 93 yards to close the Rams’ halftime lead to 36-20.
Both teams wanted to establish their running games in the second half, with Amsterdam getting a 7-yard score from bruising running back Garrett McHeard and a 30-yard jaunt from Matthew Miller.
The Bulldogs countered with a 19-yard scoring run from Orion DeLisle.
Vellon finished 13 of 16 for 242 yards and five touchdowns. Amsterdam, which never attempted a pass in the second half, finished with 285 yards rushing, as well. McHeard had 112 yards on the ground, while Miller added 71.
“We dealt with a lot of adversity our last ‘Fall II’ season, and it kind of carried in a little bit to our preseason,” Homich said. “We didn’t really have full strength in our scrimmage, and this is the first we were fully healthy.”
Ams 24 12 8 8 — 52
SGF 0 20 0 8 — 28
A — Gonzalez 63 pass from Vellon (pass failed)
A — Safety, Mercil covered ball in end zone
A — Thompson 14 pass from Vellon (Gonzalez pass from Vellon)
A — Thompson 9 pass from Vellon (Douglas pass from Vellon)
SGF — Ahrens 1 run (Ahrens run)
A — Gonzalez 3 pass from Vellon (pass failed)
SGF — Fallen 12 run (pass failed)
A — Thompson 43 pass from Vellon (pass failed)
SGF — Ahrens 93 kickoff return (run failed)
A — G.McHeard 7 run (Thompson pass from Vellon)
A — Miller 30 run (McHeard run)
SGF — DeLisle 19 run (Ahrens run)