TROY -- Talk about the right game at the right time.
The Amsterdam Rugged Rams headed into Friday's football game against Lansingburgh desperately needing to regain some momentum after Saturday's 40-point blowout loss to Queensbury that featured the loss of starting quarterback Trey Holloway for the next 4-to-6 weeks with a broken left fibula.
Amsterdam rose to the occasion with a ground-and-pound performance. Dale Stanavich led a punishing rushing attack with a career-high 265 yards and three touchdowns, and Tyrone Watson had three sacks and two forced fumbles to spearhead a dominant defensive effort as the Rams powered to a 35-0 victory.
"It was nice to see our whole team put a full game together," Amsterdam coach Doug Edick said of the Rams' first shutout win since blanking Bishop Maginn in Week 7 of last season. "It's Week 4, and it drives me nuts that we start this late, but hopefully we can continue this and move forward. They were 3-0, that's a good Lansingburgh team, and we did well."
With Holloway sidelined, sophomore Trey Ausfeld got his first career start under center and efficiently led the Amsterdam (2-2, 0-1 Class A Northwest) offense. Outside of an interception on a jump ball on the final play of the first half, Ausfeld played mistake-free football, completing seven of his nine passing attempts -- mostly on short hitches and screens -- to help the Rams move the chains. Ausfeld also made a couple of key conversions with his legs, including his first career touchdown on a 2-yard run that made it 28-0 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
"He did everything we asked. He did a super job," Edick said. "We needed a first down, he snuck it in. We needed a touchdown, he ran it in or he gave it to Dale. No complaints. It was a great, great first game out of Trey Ausfeld."
"We accepted (Holloway's injury) for what it was, and we know Ausfeld can do just as good," Stanavich said.
Working a new quarterback into the lineup, the Rams based their offense around a simple strategy: Give Stanavich the ball and let him roll. The senior responded with a career-best performance, opening the scoring with a 68-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and adding an 11-yard scoring run in the second quarter that gave Amsterdam a 13-0 halftime lead. By intermission, Stanavich had 151 yards -- already his best total of the season -- and he added another 114 in the second half to complete a stellar effort against the previously unbeaten Knights.
"That's a good team and they came out ready to play, but we showed what we could do," Stanavich said.
On defense, the Rams were nothing short of dominant. They let the Knights string together multiple first downs on a couple of occasions, but locked down as soon as the Lansingburgh offense neared midfield.
The prime catalyst on the defensive end was Watson, who created havoc as a blitzing linebacker and continually made life miserable for Lansingburgh quarterback John Vandenburgh. He had three sacks and two more tackles for a loss in the first half, then turned in his best play of the game early in the third quarter when he stood up Lansingburgh fullback Kieran Gilbert after a short gain and ripped the ball away. That turnover set up Stanavich's third touchdown run of the night midway through the third.
"The defense stood up good up front, so I had time to come up and get the ball. That was what we needed," Watson said.
Edick came into the game concerned about Lansingburgh's big-play ability through the air, but a combination of wind, rain and excellent coverage from cornerbacks Robbie Spagnola, Jake Smitka and Anthony Aponte forced Vandenburgh into a night where he was just 3-of-20 for 41 yards.
"They covered really well and nothing got behind him," Edick said. "The kid (Vandenburgh) has a cannon and they've got some speed on the outside. We did not want to get beat deep. We gave up a few underneath and sideline passes, but we came up and made the tackle. We gave a little, but they never scored on us."
Adel Rosario also had a touchdown run for Amsterdam, which will return to Northwest Division play a week from today when South Glens Falls comes to Lynch Literacy Academy for the Rams' homecoming game.
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Adam Shinder/Recorder staff
Amsterdam head coach Doug Edick talks to his team in the postgame huddle following Friday's 35-0 win over Lansingburgh in Troy.