In wild finish, Amsterdam football comes up just short in loss to Troy

Amsterdam head coach John Homich looks towards the field as the Rams faced Mohonasen in Class A football action Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022 at Wilbur Lynch Literacy Academy in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam head coach John Homich looks towards the field as the Rams faced Mohonasen in Class A football action Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022 at Wilbur Lynch Literacy Academy in Amsterdam.

TROY — Momentum is a fickle thing, in your corner one second and deserting you the next.

In a football game full of wild swings, Amsterdam ended up on the wrong end of the pendulum as the clock ran out Friday night in a 30-28 loss to Troy.

Amsterdam (2-2 Class A Capital Division, 4-3 overall) gave itself multiple chances to complete a wild comeback in the final minute of the fourth quarter, driving the length of the field for a touchdown only to fail on the tying 2-point conversion attempt, then recovering an onside kick and driving to the Troy 10-yard line in the final seconds, only for receiver Louie Gonzalez to lose the ball while fighting for extra yardage as Troy recovered to seal the win.

“All 39 guys we have on our football team, they’re all competitors,” Amsterdam coach John Homich said. “They all have the will to win. In that moment, they’re trying to make a play, trying to bust something and score — especially with the clock going down to about 10 seconds. It’s tough. It’s a learning moment right now for our kids.”

Amsterdam, which made several big plays on special teams throughout the night, took a 22-21 lead midway through the third quarter when Jhai Vellon hit Jo’el Baker for an 8-yard touchdown pass, then Vellon ran in the 2-pointer on his own.

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However, Troy (2-2, 4-3) responded with an 83-yard drive that covered 11:23 of game clock, capping off with a 22-yard field goal from Philip Ryan that gave the Flying Horses a 24-22 lead with 6:57 to play.

Two plays later, Vellon lost a fumble — one of four Amsterdam turnovers on the night — and Troy turned that into more points with a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Michael Dinardo, who ran for three scores and passed for another.

Amsterdam blocked the extra point that would’ve made it a two-possession game, giving the Rams some hope with 2:33 to play, and they rose to the occasion by driving 65 yards in six plays, pulling within 30-28 with 58.2 seconds when Vellon’s pass was deflected in traffic and somehow landed in the hands of an alert Talon Hollingsworth in the back of the end zone.

Vellon’s 2-point pass to Thompson was incomplete, but the Rams weren’t done yet, as after a flurry of timeouts from both teams that caused the final minute of play to last nearly 20 minutes, Dante Soto recovered Griffin Cozzocrea’s onside kick to give Amsterdam one last shot at a drive to win it.

“In that moment, we still felt momentum was on our side,” Homich said. “And it was, we were able to recover [the onside kick]. That’s all we could ask, is one more shot at winning the game.”

After a series of penalties backed Amsterdam up to its own 29, three straight Vellon passes — one to Hollingsworth, two to Gonzalez — got the Rams in scoring position before the fourth and final turnover of the night crushed the Rams’ hopes.

Amsterdam will wrap up its regular season next week at home against La Salle Institute, needing a win and some help to earn a playoff spot. 

Amsterdam 6 8 8 6 — 22

Troy 7 14 0 9 — 30

A — Vellon 1 run (kick failed)

T — Dinardo 2 run (Ryan kick)

T — Dinardo 25 run (Ryan kick)

A — Thompson 60 punt return (Thompson pass from Vellon)

T — Gilmore 35 pass from Dinardo (Ryan kick)

A — Baker 8 pass from Vellon (Vellon run)

T — Ryan 22 field goal

T — Dinardo 2 run (kick blocked)

A — Hollingsworth 5 pass from Vellon (pass failed)

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