TROY — After a pair of wild, one-point wins earlier this month, Friday night a one-point game resulted in heartbreak for the Amsterdam Rugged Rams.
Amsterdam went up by 14 points with 2:35 left in the fourth quarter of Friday’s Class A Capital Division football game with La Salle Institute, only for the Cadets to pull off the exact type of wild rally that the Rams themselves had executed two weeks earlier to beat Ballston Spa.
Quarterback Eddie Yamin ran for a pair of touchdowns in the final 68 seconds of regulation, sandwiched around a successful onside kick, as the Cadets forced overtime, where Yamin’s third touchdown run and Matt Carberg’s ensuing extra point gave La Salle a 27-26 win.
La Salle’s victory forced a three-way tie atop the Capital Division with one week remaining in the regular season. Amsterdam (3-1 Capital Division, 5-1 overall), La Salle (2-1, 4-3) and Averill Park will all head to the final week of the regular season with one division loss, with all three teams owning 1-1 records against each other — all coming in one-point games. If all three teams win in Week 8, a quarter points tiebreaker will be necessary to determine the division championship and which two teams advance to the Class A postseason.
La Salle, which lost a 21-20 overtime heartbreaker to Averill Park in Week 6 when Averill Park’s game-winning extra point was controversially called successful, scored a walk-off win of its own Friday when Yamin responded to a touchdown run from Amsterdam’s Jhai Vellon to start overtime with a 20-yard scoring run of his own.
Amsterdam had been unsuccessful on its 2-point conversion attempt following Vellon’s score, so when Carberg’s kick split the uprights, the Cadets got a chance to celebrate.
“I reminded the official to make sure he stood under the left post and made sure he watched the thing go in,” La Salle coach John Audino said. “We didn’t have to make a left turn there, we just hit it down the middle.”
The stunning ending put a bitter end on what had been a brilliant performance from Amsterdam. The Rams’ defense forced three turnovers — including a pair of interceptions by Tyrell Douglas — and didn’t allow La Salle to score an offensive touchdown for the game’s first 46:52, while Vellon threw touchdown passes to Ceasar Thompson and Louie Gonzalez before taking the game over with his legs in the fourth quarter.
An incredible sequence in the fourth quarter saw Vellon turn a third-and-25 from the Amsterdam 4-yard line into a touchdown with three straight runs off right tackle, giving Amsterdam a 20-6 lead.
However, La Salle responded with a quick scoring drive and, down 20-12, successfully recovered an onside kick to get the ball at the Amsterdam 44 with 1:05 to play. Six plays later, Yamin scored from nine yards out and JJ Thompson ran in the game-tying conversion with 11.4 seconds to play.
It was the third one-point game of the month for both teams. Amsterdam had won its previous nail-biters against Averill Park and Ballston Spa, while La Salle beat Queensbury and lost to Averill Park.
“It’s been a really good three weeks,” Audino said. “We’ve played in some really, really good ball games. It’s a credit to the kids and to the coaches. We kept our poise. We had a lot of opportunities early on in the game that we didn’t cash in on, but when the chips are down, the kids really came through.”
Amsterdam coach John Homich declined to comment following the game.
Amsterdam 0 6 6 8 6 — 26
La Salle 0 6 0 14 7 — 27
A — C. Thompson 7 pass from Vellon (kick failed)
LSI — JJ Thompson 31 punt return (kick blocked)
A — Gonzalez 18 pass from Vellon (pass failed)
A — Vellon 18 run (Gonzalez run)
LSI — Yamin 7 run (kick failed)
LSI — Yamin 9 run (JJ Thompson run)
A — Vellon 9 run (run failed)
LSI — Yamin 20 run (Carberg kick)