Rye grinds out tough win

By MIKE SMITH

Harrison linebacker John Abadir delivers a hit on Andrew Livingston. The Huskies pressured the junior signal caller all day and held the Garnets to 80 yards through the air. Photos/Bobby Begun

Harrison linebacker John Abadir delivers a hit on Andrew Livingston. The Huskies pressured the junior signal caller all day and held the Garnets to 80 yards through the air. Photos/Bobby Begun

Heading into the latest installment of the Rye-Harrison rivalry game, it seemed that many fans in the area had written Harrison off, believing that the storied match-up would be nothing more than an exhibition for the undefeated Garnets. Some even posited that Rye would flash their high-octane offense, then focus on getting healthy for their first-round playoff match-up the following week.

Apparently, Harrison never got the memo.

Though the Huskies would eventually fall to the Garnets by a score of 8-2, they proved one thing; when it comes to “The Game”, records simply don’t matter.

For nearly 48 minutes, the Garnets and Huskies played hard-nosed, physical football; neither offense able to push in a score until Conor Murphy struck on a seven-yard rumble with just 3:08 left to play, a touchdown that, coupled with the ensuing two-point conversion, would seal the win for the Garnets.

Harrison’s Jake Marino tries to escape a tackle on Oct. 19. Marino and the Huskies fought valiantly, but ultimately fell 8-2 to the Garnets.

Harrison’s Jake Marino tries to escape a tackle on Oct. 19. Marino and the Huskies fought valiantly, but ultimately fell 8-2 to the Garnets.

“People said that we weren’t going to play our starters, that we would be focused on next week, but that wasn’t the case,” said Garnet quarterback Andrew Livingston after the game. “This is the Harrison-Rye game, this is so important to the community.”

Livingston, who entered Sat-urday’s game coming off a six touchdown performance against Sleepy Hollow, would not find the end zone on the day as Harrison’s potent pass rush limited him to just seven completions for 80 yards.

“They are a great ball club,” said Livingston of his Huskies opponents. “We knew they were going to come out and play us tough.”

Offensively, the Huskies threw a wrinkle at the Garnets, installing a wildcat package that had some success against Rye’s defense. Because the Garnets had not prepared for this new Huskies look, adjustments had to be made during the half.

Harrison defenders John Abadir and Joey Nannariello converge on Conor Murphy on Oct. 19. Despite entering the game as underdogs, Harrison gave the Garnets all they could handle.

Harrison defenders John Abadir and Joey Nannariello converge on Conor Murphy on Oct. 19. Despite entering the game as underdogs, Harrison gave the Garnets all they could handle.

“We started putting our ends on their tight ends,” Murphy said. “We knew that if the C-back was lined up on the opposite side of the quarterback they were probably going the opposite way.”

Harrison still moved the ball effectively, but turned the ball over four times. No turnover proved as costly as a fumble on the three-yard line that stalled Harrison’s best scoring chance on the afternoon. Although the Huskies were able to record a safety when Jake Marino sacked Andrew Livingston in the end zone on the ensuing possession, their inability to put more points on the board left the door open for the Garnets.

Murphy’s score capped an 11-play, 56-yard drive that stemmed from a Paul Staudinger blocked punt. Both Murphy and wideout Chris Santangelo, who played big parts in Rye’s win–played through injuries to help Rye secure the victory.

Tim DeGraw makes a diving catch in the fourth quarter of the game. Rye’s 56-yard drive set up the game-winning touchdown.

Tim DeGraw makes a diving catch in the fourth quarter of the game. Rye’s 56-yard drive set up the game-winning touchdown.

“I think it shows you the character of this team,” Livingston said. “These guys were hurt and they battled through it.”

“It’s an amazing feeling to come out with the win,” Murphy said. “We beat them my sophomore year, last year we got whupped 21-0. This is [my] senior year, we had to beat Harrison.”

Rye (7-0) will face a stiff test in the first round of the playoffs when they host Yorktown on Oct. 25. Harrison, who was eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 12 by the Huskers, will host Byram Hills in the first round of the Fifth and Six Place Bowl Series.

“It’s a big statement win, it’s not putting up 50 points against Ossining or [43] against Sleepy,” said Murphy. “It’s an 8-2 victory and our line got it done.  There’s not much more I can say, it was just a great physical game.”

Michael Amicucci tackles Laz Chavez on Oct. 19. On the offensive side of the ball, Amicucci was effective as part of the Huskies’ wildcat package.

Michael Amicucci tackles Laz Chavez on Oct. 19. On the offensive side of the ball, Amicucci was effective as part of the Huskies’ wildcat package.

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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.