Football: Horses use big plays to stop Rams
AMSTERDAM Troy played like a football team desperate for a win Friday night.
Maurice Jones and Rayshawn Johnson combined for over 300 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and Troy pinned down the Class A league’s highest-scoring offense for more than three quarters in a 26-14 victory over Amsterdam at W.H. Lynch Literacy Academy.
“Their backs were up against the wall, and they were hungry,” said Amsterdam coach Doug Edick. “All week I told my guys to be ready for that. Troy came here ready to play.”
Jones capped Troy’s first drive with a 42-yard touchdown run, and Johnson provided the clinching score on a one-yard dive into the end zone with 5:28 left in the final quarter. Johnson broke off a 73-yard touchdown run on the first play of the final quarter, part of the senior’s big effort that also included an interception and two sacks on Rugged Rams quarterback Julian Gallup.
“Big plays killed us,” Edick said. “The first two games we were the big-play team. They made big plays.”
Amsterdam outgunned Averill Park to begin the season, 56-44, and rolled past Mohonasen a week ago, 49-19. Troy fell behind early in a season-starting 40-22 setback against Queensbury before last week’s four-overtime 18-12 setback against reigning state champion Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
“It was hard. It was hard,” Johnson said of the season-opening defeats. “We practiced hard all week and showed what we could do on the field.”
Troy avenged last year’s 40-21 Section II Class A semifinal loss to Amsterdam, and also avoided what would have been its first 0-3 start since the 1995 season.
“We felt we were a pretty good football team,” said Troy coach Jack Burger. “This takes the monkey off our back. Now, we can build on this and move forward.”
The Flying Horses moved primarily on the ground, sprinkling in big plays with four, five and six-yard chunks that ate up the field and the clock. In the end, they amassed 400 rushing yards, with Jones gaining 227 on 15 carries and Johnson picking up 122 on 16 attempts.
“That’s the way we play football when we’re good. We run the ball,” said Burger. “When we’re good, we go for 300, 350, 400 yards.”
Troy quarterback Joe Germinerio tucked in behind center Ryan Byrnes and guard Sean Breland to score on a one-yard sneak with 22 seconds left in the second quarter, giving the visitors a 13-0 advantage.
Brynes, Breland, fellow offensive linemen Noah Williams, Dylan Wood, Reid Crobok and Raiquan Ward, along with tight end
Isaiah Thomas, were key players in Troy’s bounce-back triumph over the state’s No. 19-ranked team.
“We challenge them every day,” Burger said of his line group. “We’re only as good as they are.”
Jones raced 68 yards, and Germinerio hit Thomas with an 18-yard pass to set up the Troy quarterback’s touchdown plunge. Jones broke off a 50-yard run to set the stage for Johnson’s one-yard clincher.
“Our line did a hell of a good job,” said Johnson. “They really picked it up.”
Troy’s defense excelled for much of the contest, too. Amsterdam didn’t mount its first legitimate threat until late in the third quarter before breaking through in the fourth on Gallup’s 11-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Marcus Pritchard in the back of th end zone with 8:59 left.
“We made things happen on defense,” said Burger, who saw DiKemm Edmundson and Cory Gushlaw record sacks. “We made things tough on them.”
J.V. Valentin caught a 15-yard pass, and Bryan Stanavich ran for 24 yards to help set up Pritchard’s touchdown grab. Stanavich scored Amsterdam’s second touchdown with 65 seconds left on a one-yard run, with Kolbie Glionna making 14 and 21-yard gains beforehand.
Stanavich recovered an onside kick after his TD, and the Rugged Rams’ final drive ended on Johnson’s second sack.
“The first half we had too many penalties and mental mistakes. We played sloppy,” said Edick. “We got better in the second half.”
Stanavish rushed for 64 yards on 13 carries, and of Gallup’s 10 successful passes, the sophomore caught four of them for 37 yards.
Troy 7 6 0 13 — 26
Amsterdam 0 0 0 14 — 14
T — Jones 42 run (Bush kick).
T — Germinerio 1 run (kick failed).
T — Johnson 73 run (Bush kick).
A — Pritchard 11 pass from Gallup (Pritchard kick).
T — Johnson 1 run (kick failed).
A — Stanavich 1 run (Pritchard kick).