AMSTERDAM — It was a classic case of contrasting styles: the controlled running game of Ballston Spa versus the speed-enriched passing game of Amsterdam.
For one half, it looked like Ballston Spa had the right formula. The Rams, however, pulled off a remarkable second-half rally for a 38-37 Class A win Friday night at Lynch Literacy Academy.
Amsterdam (2-0 Class A Capital, 4-0 overall) didn’t take its first lead until the go-ahead touchdown with 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter — a 5-yard quarterback keeper by Jhai Vellon on the only running play during a hurry-up, five-play drive covering 49 yards after recovering an onside kick.
Ballston Spa (0-1 Class A Grasso, 2-3 overall) could not have asked for a better start. The Scotties scored their first touchdown after nine consecutive rushing plays, and later tackled an Amsterdam player in the end zone for a safety before adding another rushing touchdown by Blaine Zoller for a 17-0 lead with 27 seconds left in the first quarter.
So dominant was Ballston Spa’s ground game that Amsterdam didn’t even have the ball that much to try and pass its way back into contention in the first half. After the first 24 minutes — with the Scotties leading 24-7 — Ballston Spa had a 190-0 advantage in rushing yards, and Amsterdam’s passing attack was just 2 for 6 for 22 yards with an interception.
For a while in the second half, it looked like the Scotties might have enough to withstand Amsterdam’s furious comeback efforts. Furthermore, the Rams didn’t help themselves on a couple Ballston Spa scores with penalties.
Ballston Spa still led 31-19 after three quarters. But the Scotties’ collars got tight when Vellon found Louie Gonzalez for a 40-yard touchdown to make it 31-25 with 9:55 left.
The Scotties added an insurance score on Tyler Leahey’s 20-yard run with 5:27 left to make it 37-25.
But then the Rams did what is becoming their usual: make the seemingly impossible, or at least implausible, happen. Vellon hit Gonzales for a 25-yard score to make it 37-32 with 1:45 left.
Amsterdam recovered the onside kick — a very close play that the Ballston Spa coaches believed didn’t travel the necessary 10 yards, but that went the Rams’ way.
After the rough first half passing, Vellon rose to the occasion in the second half, going 15 of 19 for 265 yards and four touchdowns, beside rushing for the eventual game-winner.
Darrien Insogna had 90 yards rushing and three touchdowns for the Scotties, while Blaine Zoller had 114 yards and one touchdown.
Ballston Spa 16 8 7 6 — 37
Amsterdam 0 7 12 19 — 38
BS — Insogna 4 run (Kramer run)
BS — Safety
BS — Zoller 4 run (Potter kick)
A — Thompon 85 kickoff return (Covey kick)
A — Thompson 2 pass from Vellon (kick blocked)
BS — Insogna 1 run (Potter kick)
A — Acevedo 46 pass from Vellon (pass failed)
A — Gonzalez 40 pass from Vellon (pass failed0
BS — Leahey 20 run (run failed)
A — Gonzalez 25 pass from Vellon (Covey kick)
A — Vellon 5 run (pass failed)