By MIKE SMITH
Both the Rye Neck Panthers and Rye Garnets remained perfect this week, winning games in
dominating fashion. On Oct. 4, the Garnets hammered Hen Hud 40-0, while the Panthers continued their winning ways against Valhalla on Oct. 5, bludgeoning the Vikings 51-0 at home.
Rye Neck ground the Vikings into submission, using nine running backs to tally 292 yards on 28 carries. Pedro M. Cueto lead the way with 101 yards and two scores, but the ability to plug different running backs in to the system has been a big reason for Rye Neck’s current 5-0 mark, said head coach Nick Ianello.
“It’s a unique situation,” Ianello said. “All of our backs are excited when the other guys get the ball.”
Running back Jakob Calvini picked up one of Rye Neck’s rushing touchdowns and also picked up another through the air when he connected with senior quarterback Tom Pipolo. According to Ianello, while the play from his skilled position players has been tremendous over the last few weeks, the play of the line has improved dramatically from the beginning of the year.
“They’re playing great,” he said. “They’re really starting to mesh up front.”
Rye Neck will face a much stiffer test on Oct. 12 when they travel to Woodlands to take on the squad that knocked them out of the section playoffs in 2012.
Woodlands—the reigning Section I champion—is currently 4-1 but is coming off an impressive win against Dobbs Ferry, in which star running back Tyrone Barber rushed for 349 yards and four scores. So far this season, the Falcons’ standout has amassed 1,086 yards and 16 touchdowns.
“They’re the section champs, we know they’re going to be tough,” said Ianello. “We have to forget about what happened last year and focus on what we have to do. We’ve got to play hard every single play.”
Across town, quarterback Andrew Livingston led the Garnets to a win on Friday night, while the Garnet defense stuffed the Hen Hud Sailors to remain undefeated on the year. Livingston proved why he’s one of the most accurate passers in the section, completing nine of 12 passes for 101 yards and two scores before the Garnets took their foot off the gas pedal.
The Garnets will play two of their biggest games of the year in the next two weeks, as they gear up for an Oct. 11 showdown with Sleepy Hollow and take on rival Harrison a week later. This week’s game against Sleepy Hollow pits the co-owners of first place in Class A League 2 against each other and will go a long way towards determining sectional seeding.