In Rye’s season opener on Sept. 7, the Garnets were led out onto the field–as usual–by Luke Walsh. But Walsh, who has long been the Garnet’s flag-bearer–both literally and figuratively–wasn’t carrying any old Rye banner onto the field, but instead proudly hoisted a brand-new oversized flag, a new symbol for Rye student-athletes to rally around for coming years.
The new flag, which was ordered by avid Rye supporter Stephen Feeney last year, is a 5-foot by 8-foot behemoth made by All American Flags and Banners, a company out of Austin, Texas, that supplies flags to big-time college football programs including the University of Maryland.
“I knew they bought it for me last year,” Walsh said. “It’s a beautiful flag.”
The flag also holds another distinction–one that is near and dear to the heart of Walsh and fellow Rye fans; it is significantly larger than the flags waved by Harrison’s pep squad.
In fact, Walsh had to have a special practice session on Labor Day in order to get accustomed to maneuvering the festive banner.
“We did a practice run at the field on Monday, and Steve Feeney and Ted Livingston were there,” Walsh said.
Saturday night’s debut of the flag went swimmingly, Walsh said, and the moment was made even sweeter by the play of the Garnets. Rye quarterback Andrew Livingston led the way in a convincing 38-6 win over Spring Valley, completing 11 of 19 pass attempts for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns on the evening. His top receiver was Tim DeGraw, who gained 152 yards. Shane O’Malley led the ground game with 61 yards and a score.
“It was fantastic and we played fantastic,” said Walsh. “It was great to pump up the crowd.”
Rye, now 1-0, will take on the defending Class A champions from Somers on Sept. 15.
-Reporting by Mike Smith