AMSTERDAM — Each game is a big game. That’s a mantra all high school football coaches lean on at some point, and Amsterdam head coach Doug Edick is no different.
“We’ve just stressed that every game is huge. You can’t have a slip-up,” Edick said in advance of his team’s Week 3 game at 7:15 p.m. Friday against Queensbury. “But maybe we’ve stressed that a little more than in past years.”
That’s because Section II Class A football moved to a four-team postseason format for 2017. The classification only includes nine area teams this season, so Section II’s Class A squads are playing eight-week regular seasons before starting a sectional postseason with only two rounds.
In classifications offering eight postseason bids — locally, classes AA, B and C do that — the focus around midseason for potential contenders becomes about jockeying for the best possible postseason seed. In classifications with four-team postseasons — locally, classes A and D — that maneuvering started back in Week 1, but there is an extra emphasis simply on winning because one early-season defeat is more difficult to overcome.
“You only have a top four, so every week is about vying for a playoff spot,” Edick said. “Week 1 was huge. Week 2 was huge.”
Now, Week 3 is huge for the Rugged Rams — and the Spartans. Amsterdam (2-0) plays host Friday to Queensbury (1-1) in a game that has major implications for the postseason. While both Amsterdam and Queensbury are expected to reach the playoffs, a win Friday for Amsterdam puts the Rams in realistic position to continue to chase the classification’s No. 1 seed. A win for Queensbury means the Spartans are still in good shape to secure a home game in the semifinals.
A loss? For either side, that means the next several weeks become more about solidifying a postseason berth than anything else.
Amsterdam is healthy for this week’s big game. Senior quarterback Trey Holloway and senior fullback Jaden Fallen debuted in last week’s 35-13 win against Mohonasen. Holloway, who broke his left leg during the 2016 season, was 10 of 16 passing for 122 yards and three touchdowns in Week 2. Senior wide receiver Louis Fedullo caught five passes from Holloway and scored two touchdowns.
“He started coming on at the end of last year,” Edick said of Fedullo. “We knew to expect big things out of him.”
Heading into Week 3’s matchup with Queensbury, Edick said he wants to continue to see his team grow.
“It’s been what we’ve expected so far,” Edick said. “We’re inexperienced and we’re young, so we knew there’d be some growing pains — but we’re improving every practice.”
Besides Queensbury’s trip Friday to Amsterdam, here are four other notable Week 3 matchups.
Guilderland at Saratoga Springs, Friday, 7 p.m.
The Blue Streaks’ schedule lines up in a way that it could clinch the Section II Class AA Empire Division as soon as right after Week 5. To keep that scenario alive, Saratoga Springs needs to deal Guilderland its third consecutive loss.
South Glens Falls at Averill Park, Friday, 7 p.m.
This is likely the most important game of the week when it comes to figuring out a postseason bracket. These Class A teams are both 2-0, and Friday’s winner puts itself in position to continue to chase a home playoff game in this classification’s four-team postseason. But, with Amsterdam, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Queensbury looking like strong bets to reach the postseason, the loser of this matchup faces a tough path to securing a postseason spot.
Broadalbin-Perth at Gloversville, Friday, 7 p.m.
Fresh off a victory last week against Lansingburgh, Broadalbin-Perth travels to take on a Class A squad. Gloversville is seeking its first win of the season.
Corinth at Fonda-Fultonville, Friday, 7 p.m.
Both these Section II Class C North Division squads are 0-2. The winner of this matchup heads into Week 4 with some momentum, while the loser could be mathematically eliminated from postseason contention after next week.