What a difference six days can make.
When the Amsterdam Rugged Rams were on the wrong end of a 40-0 Week 3 loss to the Queensbury Spartans that saw Amsterdam lose starting quarterback Trey Holloway for the next 4-to-6 weeks with a broken left fibula, there was plenty of soul-searching in the short week leading up to Friday's game at Lansingburgh.
Clearly, everything paid off.
The Rams turned in a vintage performance Friday night, battling through wind and rain with a brilliant gameplan on both sides of the ball in a 35-0 rout of the previously-undefeated Knights.
It was the kind of win reminiscent of how the Rams turned the corner at the midway point of the 2015 season on the way to the Section II Class A championship, and the team appears to be back on the right trajectory with three division games left to wrap up the regular season.
Let's take the weekly dive into the deep end of the bullet points pool and swim a few laps in the Rugged Recap:
* I'll start with the player who had the most pressure put on him heading into the game, sophomore quarterback Trey Ausfeld. He took his licks from Queensbury when he came in following Holloway's injuries, but with a full week to prepare for his first start, Ausfeld never seemed troubled. With gusting wind and about half the game played in rain, the Rams mostly stuck to the ground game, but Ausfeld did exactly what he needed to when he put the ball in the air. Sticking mostly to screens and quick hitches, the sophomore completed 7 of 10 passes for 55 yards and kept the chains moving. He threw one interception, but it came on a jump ball into the wind on the final play of the first half and was ultimately harmless. Ausfeld also had a couple of nice runs, including his first varsity touchdown.
* Making Ausfeld's job simpler was the decision to put the game on Dale Stanavich's shoulders. Stanavich had 37 carries through the first three games, but ran the ball 29 times Friday night and piled up 262 yards and three touchdowns. The Rams used a lot of inside zone runs out of the shotgun that allowed Stanavich to make use of his terrific ability to read his blockers, make one cut and accelerate. That's the exact way the Rams opened the scoring as he followed his blockers into the open field and pulled away for a 68-yard run.
* This was also the best performance of the season from the Amsterdam offensive line, paving the way for more than 300 rushing yards and making a few key downfield blocks when the Rams ran a couple of screen passes to pick up some crucial first downs in the second half. Also of note: Despite the wind, rain and a new quarterback, junior center Nico Orengo didn't have a single issue with a mishandled snap all night -- something he's been nearly perfect at since taking over at center early in the 2015 season.
* Moving to the defensive side, the conversation has to start with an incredible performance by linebacker Tyrone Watson. Head coach Doug Edick set Watson loose on a lot of blitzes, and he responded by blowing play after play up behind the line of scrimmage. He was involved in four sacks of Lansingburgh quarterback John Vandenburgh -- two solo, two shared -- and made several other huge plays behind the line of scrimmage. In the third quarter, he ripped the ball out of the hands of Lansingburgh running back Kieran Gilbert to get the ball back. In the fourth, he came free on a backside blitz and seemed to spook Vandenburgh into a fumble that Giovanie Adorno recovered. Watson is a game-changing defensive playmaker in the box.
* Big hat-tip has to be given to the Rams' scheme and execution defending Lansingburgh's passing game. Wary of Vandenburgh's big arm and the speed of receivers Eric Thompson III and Luke Pondillo, Edick brought a lot of pressure and had corners Robbie Spagnola, Jake Smitka and Anthony Aponte give plenty of cushion off the line of scrimmage. The result: Vandenburgh completed just 4-of-21 passes for 41 yards and was backpedaling all night.
* Look out, the Rams finally have a kicker. Junior Misha Murdoch didn't arrive in Lansingburgh until moments before kickoff after playing in Amsterdam's boys varsity soccer game against Scotia-Glenville earlier in the day, but came in and was 3-of-4 on extra point kicks while showing a good leg on kickoffs. That gives the Rams an added weapon in a position they'd struggled to fill early in the season.
* Amsterdam will be back in action Saturday at 3 p.m. at home against South Glens Falls. If the Rams can win their three remaining division games, they'll finish second in the Northwest Division and earn a first-round playoff game at home.
Contact ADAM SHINDER at firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Shinder/Recorder staff
Amsterdam linebacker Tyrone Watson (13) talks to assistant coach Scott Beatty on the sidelines during Friday's game against Lansingburgh in Troy.