Troy’s opportunity to claim a monumental victory slipped away in overtime last week.
“That one hurt right there,” Troy coach Jack Burger said of the
18-12 four-overtime setback against defending state champion Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. “We had our chances. We were up, 6-0, late in the game, and in the third overtime, we missed an extra point.
“We played our tails off and came up short. It wasn’t for lack of effort.”
The Flying Horses will look to reverse their fortune tonight against an Amsterdam group that put up big numbers in a pair of victories to open the season. Both teams begin Class A division play after the highly-anticipated crossover on the Rugged Rams’ turf.
“Momentum is nice,” Burger said. “It’s much better to have something in the left column than the right column.”
Troy’s right column reads 0-2 for the first time since the 2004 season, with a 40-22 loss to Queensbury preceding the four-overtime setback in the rain against the Spartans. Troy rattled off four straight wins after that rough start in 2004.
“They’re coming off a tough loss to Burnt Hills and a tough one against Queensbury. They’re definitely going to be ready,” said Amsterdam coach Doug Edick. “We have to match their intensity. We’ve preached that all week.”
Burger believes he has a team capable of going on a win streak, beginning tonight. His cast includes one of the area’s top two-way tackles in Roy McClary, middle linebacker Ryan Byrnes, quarterback Joe Germinerio, and Maurice Jones, who ran for 138 yards and a touchdown last week while playing every down in the defensive secondary.
“When you take the No. 1 team in the state to four overtimes, you’ve got to feel you’ve got a pretty good football team,” said Burger.
Despite its two losses, Troy is among the honorable mention teams listed in the first set of Class A high school football rankings put out by the New York State Sportswriters Association. Amsterdam is listed at No. 19 after beating Averill Park, 56-44, and Mohonasen, 49-19.
“They took Burnt Hills to four overtimes,” Edick said. “They deserve it.”
Though the Flying Horses managed just the two touchdowns last week, including Isaiah Thomas’ scoring catch in the third OT, Edick is concerned with their offensive potential.
“Our offense has played well, but our defense has to play better against Troy,” Edick said. “They’re big up front, and we have to match their physicality. They’ve got several good athletes, and they’ll try to get them in space. We need to run to the ball and tackle better.
“Our first game, we didn’t do much of it. Last week, we made an improvement. We’ve gotten better.”
Amsterdam was best in terms of points produced by Section II Class A teams over the first two weeks. In last Friday’s win over Mohonasen, the Rugged Rams generated 28 second-quarter points, with quarterback Julian Gallup throwing a touchdown pass and catching one himself as part of the outburst.
“We want to keep them off the field as much as possible. To do that, we’ve got to control the ball. We want to mix it up and put ourselves in good down situations,” said Burger. “We’ll play defense, but we’ve got to play offense and have good special teams, too.”
Gallup, who moved from receiver to quarterback, has a host of skill players to call on, led by runners Bryan Stanavich, Gabriel Mendez and Kolbie Gliona, wide receiver J.V. Valentin and tight end Marcus Pritchard. Tyler Cranker anchors both lines.
“We’ve seen a lot of Amsterdam over the years,” said Burger, whose team lost to the Rugged Rams in the 2012 sectional semifinals. “They’re similar to other years, and that means they’ll present a great challenge. They’ll show a lot of formations. They have a mobile quarterback and receivers who go get the ball. If you don’t watch out, they can hurt you.”
Tonight begins a demanding four-game stretch Amsterdam, which afterward meets Northwest Division foes Gloversville, Queensbury and Burnt Hills. Those teams are all 2-0.
“We’re going to Gloversville after this one and that’s a rivalry game,” said Edick. “We want to keep momentum going.”
Sabres Star Out
Schalmont coach Joe Whipple said standout running back Devon Willis will sit out tonight’s Class B West Division game at Schuylerville (1-1, 1-1) as a precautionary measure. Willis sustained a high-ankle sprain early in last Friday’s 39-7 win over Scotia-Glenville.
“We’re going to get him healthy,” Whipple said of the all-state first-teamer, who needs just over 100 yards to become Schalmont’s career rushing leader. “We’ll have him back next week, ready to go.”
Schalmont (2-0, 2-0) won its 26th consecutive division game despite the absence of its offensive leader, who returned the opening kickoff and then ran once before departing.
“We’re pretty lucky this year because we’re pretty deep,” said Whipple. “We didn’t skip a beat and kept rolling. That says a lot about them.”
Nick Gallo was among the
Sabres who stepped up last week. The junior’s performance included two short touchdown runs and two scoring receptions on fourth down passes from Dalton Cooke.
“It’s a great feeling knowing the coaches trust me when we’re close to the end zone,” Gallo said after the contest.
Tonight’s Class AA Empire Division game between Ballston Spa (0-2, 0-2) and Shenendehowa (1-0, 2-0) has been moved to Union College’s Frank Bailey Field.
Ballston Spa was scheduled to host the contest, but has field damage that is expected to be repaired by its Week 5 homecoming.
Tonight’s lone Class AA game pitting unbeaten teams sends Saratoga Springs (2-0, 2-0) to Colonie (1-0, 2-0) for a crossover, while Guilderland (2-0, 2-0) plays at Bethlehem (0-1, 0-2) in an Empire Division game that will be televised by Time Warner Cable SportsChannel-50.
Hoosic Valley (0-0, 0-2) and new head coach Pete Porcelli travel to Duanesburg Saturday for a Class D South Division game with Schoburg (0-0, 1-1). Porcelli replaced Chris Lutgens, who stepped down due to work constraints. Porcelli had previous stints at Catholic Central, Lansingburgh, Albany and Green Tech. His Lansingburgh teams won four Super Bowls.