By MIKE SMITH
On Oct. 25, a banged-up–but still undefeated–Garnets team took the gridiron minus a few key players for their first-round playoff match-up against a tough Yorktown team, looking to advance to the Class A quarterfinals. By the time the final whistle blew, Rye proved it had tons of guts to go with an explosive offense, downing the Huskers 36-20.
Behind impressive days from Shane O’Malley, who rushed 31 times for 185 yards, Tim DeGraw, who had 182 receiving yards, and Andrew Livingston, who threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns, the Garnets were able to overcome a shaky start that saw them enter the half trailing the Huskers by six points.
According to head coach Dino Garr, the 22-unanswered points the Garnets rattled off in the second half were the result of a few adjustments and tremendous second-half effort by the unbeaten Garnets.
“Of course we made some adjustments,” Garr said. “But the players went out and executed well.”
Rye was a bit short-handed after last week’s somewhat Pyrrhic victory over Harrison, as “The Game” star Conor Murphy was unavailable to play on Friday night and receiver Chris Santangelo - who was far from 100 percent – only played limited snaps against Yorktown.
“Harrison beat us up pretty good,” Garr said. “Everyone has had to step up this year, from early in the year when we lost Jake Teitler and then Jimmy Timmons, who were both two-way starters. I don’t even want to call them kids; the players have really stepped up.”
Rye will have no respite in the semis as they are set to host a physical Tappan Zee squad that will certainly look to use its size to its advantage against the Garnets. Tappan Zee is coming off a dominant first-round win over Sleepy Hollow, which saw them beat the Horsemen 50-14 thanks to a six-touchdown performance by running back Guiseppe Maddalena.
“They’re a big, physical football team and their gameplan is going to be to hold the ball on offense and pound it against us,” Garr said. “We’re going to have to be able to stop that because this is a team that can run 15, 20 play drives and keep our offense off the field.”
As for the health of the Garnets, Garr said on Monday that the team would take a wait-and-see approach.
“We were definitely concerned before last week about this,” he said. “When we go out and take the field today, we’re going to find out who’s banged up.”