The Mohonasen football team came close to ending Amster-dam's reign as Section II, Class A champions, but the Mighty Warriors couldn't complete a late comeback.
Mohonasen marched into Amsterdam territory late in the fourth quarter, but Pat Barnes' fourth-down pass was batted away to seal the Rugged Rams' 14-12 class A quarterfinal victory last Saturday in Rotterdam.
They played great pass defense, said Mohonasen coach Scott Sabourin. "Going in, we knew that they were going to be the best pass defense we faced all year. They did some things with their down linemen that created a little confusion for us."
Amsterdam (6-2) built a 14-0 lead on two big plays by receiver Vinnie Nicosia. The first was a 20-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, and the second was a 78-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter.
Mohonasen (4-4) got back into the game when Barnes hit Josh Provost for a 17-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter, but the extra point was blocked. Then, Vincent Gabriele blocked an Amsterdam punt and returned it 20 yards for another Mighty Warrior touchdown to pull his team within two points.
"Our special teams coach, Jim Huggins, saw something, and we changed some things around (for the blocked punt)," said Sabourin. "We moved Vinnie over to the weak side, and he just busted through and got the block."
Barnes tried to tie the game with a two-point conversion pass, but it fell incomplete. As it turned out, that was the last time Mohonasen had a chance to tie or take the lead from Amsterdam.
The Rugged Rams limited Barnes to 78 passing yards " well under the senior's average of 180 yards per game. Campo led Amsterdam with 149 passing yards on 14 completions.
Mohonasen finishes the season Friday by hosting class AA team Schenectady in a crossover game, where Barnes will try to break the school's single-season record for passing yards held by Ralph Barone.