AMSTERDAM -- Growing up, Peyton Ausfeld spent a big part of his summer months on the baseball diamond, playing for the Amsterdam Rams travel team followed by stints for elite Capital District-based select squads.
It was always about baseball for the Ausfeld family, with parents Art and Melissa chauffeuring Peyton and older brother Trey to venues in Aberdeen, Maryland, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
But slowly, the Amsterdam senior embraced football, and what started out as a pipe dream to play on the gridiron at the collegiate level is now a reality.
On Thursday, Ausfeld signed his National Letter of Intent to play football at Division II Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. It marks the highest profile Amsterdam graduate football-signing since Ben Miseikis signed to play at University at Albany back in 2009.
Ausfeld will be used as a running back, slot receiver and punt returner at Assumption.
“I just love football,” said Ausfeld, who had played quarterback for most of his young football career before moving to running back at the start of his junior year. “I can’t wait to get started. Their recruiting coordinator [Buck Blasco] always kept in touch with me. He showed that he really cared and always sent out messages followed by exclamation points. I’ll be able to play different positions. If I was recruited only as a running back, I’d have to put on 20 pounds.”
Ausfeld, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, received an offer to play Division II baseball at The College of Saint Rose and also had offers to play both football and baseball at the Division III level at Utica College, Western New England, Union and Springfield. But in the end, his desire to play a higher level of football at the Division II level, plus his comfort with the Assumption coaching staff and campus, made his decision an easy one. He plans on majoring in the health/science field and will be part of the first class to take advantage of Assumption’s new state-of-the-art three-story Health Sciences building.
“The building will be ready when I get on campus, so that’s exciting,” Ausfeld said. “There will be a lot of opportunities for internships. This is the right thing for me.”
On the football field, Ausfeld finished his senior season logging 161 carries for 1,372 yards and 19 touchdowns.
But it was how Ausfeld reached the eye-popping yards and touchdown total that delighted the Amsterdam coaching staff. In a Week 2 loss to Troy, Ausfeld suffered a broken left wrist that put his senior football season in jeopardy, but after sitting out four practices, Ausfeld received medical clearance to play in the Rams’ Week 3 Homecoming game against Columbia.
“I was determined to play,” Ausfeld said. “I had to make adjustments on how to carry the football.”
Not only did Ausfeld play, he contributed. Wearing a purple cast on his left wrist, Ausfeld delivered with a key one-handed interception that sealed the Rams’ 35-28 win over Columbia.
Six days later, Ausfeld, this time, wearing a white cast, produced the greatest statistical rushing performance in program history, running a school-record 322 yards and scoring five touchdowns in a win over Albany.
“I wore the white cast because we were wearing white away jerseys,” Ausfeld said. “The white tape was stickier than the purple, so it helped a bit. It was a great team effort. The offensive line opened up so many holes for me that day.”
Head coach Doug Edick wasn’t surprised at Ausfeld’s ability to overcome physical obstacles and make a hefty contribution to the Rams’ march to postseason football.
“Peyton was a hard-nosed football player for us, and we could always count on him when the game was on the line,” said Edick, who stepped down as head coach following the 2019 season. “He wouldn’t shy away from such situations. We as a staff will remember Peyton much more for his love of the game. When Peyton competed, he gave the game his all and let the chips fall as they may.”
Peyton’s parents were at Thursday’s ceremony inside the Amsterdam High School media center and have been with their youngest son every step of the way, cheering his exploits in football, basketball and baseball. Now, they’ll be attending more games, at least for the next four years.
“It really worked out,” his dad said. “It was worth every mile and every dollar we spent. There’s also the chance of him earning a better financial package depending on playing time. So, he’s gonna have a chance. I mean, they’re gonna use him in ways to get him the ball.
"Number one, academically, as a parent, we’re happy for him and we’re excited that he’ll have a chance athletically. If he went Division I, he may not have seen the field in five years. We’re all happy with the decision and we are all looking forward to the next four years.”