Rye Country Day Football

By Mitch Silver

Quick, who are the Capital Prep Harbor Sharks? If you guessed they’re a football team from Albany or Hartford or Trenton, you’d be wrong. The Harbor Sharks hail from Bridgeport, and, in only the program’s third year of varsity play, they’re already a scary opponent.

How scary? Rye Country Day Head Coach John Calandros put in a new rush-out-of-the-huddle kickoff formation to counteract their speed. “Their two returners have been recruited by Division 1 schools. Together they average a touchdown on kickoffs every game. So we weren’t going to let them do it to us.” Instead, the Wildcats tried six onside kicks, recovering two.

The good news is six kickoffs mean you’ve scored a bunch of touchdowns. But so did the Harbor Sharks, and they scored first. QB Andre Woodson, one of those D1 recruits, scrambled around midfield on a 3rd and 23 before completing a desperation pass at Rye’s one-foot line. Woodson took it in and then made the two-point conversion: 8-0 Sharks.

One play into the second quarter, burly sophomore running back Cullen Coleman shed three tackles on the way to a Wildcat score. The pitch-back on a two-point attempt failed.

That 8-6 score soon became 14-6 when, after a roughing-the-kicker penalty kept a Capital drive alive, Woodson connected on 4th and 9 to his receiver in the right corner of the end zone. A bad snap ruined the PAT attempt. Even so, the Sharks’ fans were playing the theme music from “Jaws” on their iPhones.

Rye Country Day knotted the score with six and a half minutes to go before halftime. First, another Coleman — junior linebacker Cam — used his 4.4 speed to nail Woodson for a 15-yard sack. Then, when the locals got the ball, junior quarterback and co-captain Nick Owens found classmate Justin Mandell wide open at the 20. The two-pointer was good.

Capital Prep scored what seemed like a back-breaker with nine seconds left in the half when Woodson took the ball in on a sneak. The Wildcats stopped the two-point run, but were penalized on the play. Amazingly, they stopped the next try as well, and went into the break trailing by only 20-14.

The Harbor Sharks took the third-quarter kickoff down to the Wildcat 25, but a huge sack by senior co-captain Jack Curry gave his team the ball. Junior co-captain Allen Houston caught a pass, freshman Ben Pearce cut back for another first down, and a little pitchout to Cullen Coleman brought the team even again at 20-all. For variety, a fake kick failed on the PAT attempt.

But the “good hands people” recovered the ball on the ensuing kickoff and Cullen Coleman did the rest, running for a couple of first downs before barreling through for the go-ahead score. Wouldn’t you know it, though, the two-point run was stopped. Still, the home side was up by 26-20.

The defensive turning point of the game came a minute into the fourth period when Justin Mandell when high in the end zone to intercept a Woodson TD attempt. Less than a minute later, Owens found junior Conrad Crakes on a fly pattern along the left sideline, and Crakes went in untouched to make it 32-20. The kick, for once, was good.

Game over? Not quite. A 14-yard Wildcats punt with five minutes left in the game gave the Sharks another bite at the apple, and a little flare pass to the right flat found the end zone 62 seconds later.

Capital Prep had the ball one last time with 90 seconds to go. Cam Coleman hit Woodson as he was looking to throw and Curry wrapped him up for the sack. It forced the visitors to try a desperation pass that Mandell saw coming all the way. “The receiver broke off his route, but I was able to stay with him,” the defensive back said afterwards of his second, game-saving interception. “We were all on this one the whole way.”

So they were. The Wildcats look to go 4-1 on the season tomorrow when they host Hopkins Grammar at 3:30 p.m.

Cullen Coleman carries three defenders into the end zone.

Cam Coleman is all over the ball carrier as Justin Mandell closes in.

Conrad Crakes hauls in a 79-yard TD pass from Nick Owens.


Rye High School Girls’ Soccer

Rye High School Girls’ Soccer Team won the Section I Class A League championship October 16, beating Ardsley 7-0 at home, fittingly on Senior Night. The following day, they completed their undefeated League record of 10-0, a first, by beating Byram Hills at home 1-0.

The Byram game was scoreless until the final three seconds, when Garnet Molly Broderick lifted the ball over the Bobcats’ defense and Rachael Adelson found the back of the net in a dramatic end to a thrilling season.

The Garnets overall record was 14-1-1. Their only non-league loss was to Arlington in their first game of the season. The Garnets only allowed four goals against in 10 league games and had nine shut outs in 16 games.

Coach Rich Savage summed up the season, “It’s been fantastic, with 21 of 24 girls scoring goals.”

Playoffs begin October 21.

— Melanie Cane

Holy Child Volleyball

By Melanie Cane

In a thrilling come-from-behind victory, Holy Child defeated Maria Regina 3-2 at home October 12. The Gryphons won the first game 25-16. Junior setter Caylee Premoli served eight consecutive points. Holy Child lost the second game, 9-25, owing to a breakdown in communication, but got back on track in the third game and won 25-13.

Both teams sharpened their focus in game four. Most of the points included long rallies rife with diving saves, kills, and blocks. The teams traded the lead throughout the game, but Maria Regina prevailed on their serve to win 25-23.

In the fifth game, the Gryphons were down 10-13. Senior outside hitter Lily Hurley served the last five points with two aces for the win. Hurley had six aces in the five games.

Premoli led the team with 27 serves without an error over the five sets. She had seven aces, ten kills, 12 assists, and six passes. Senior setter Cece Hylton had five kills, six assists, and six pushes. Senior middle hitter Carly Okon had five kills and two blocks.

Gryphons Coach Jennifer Tracy thought it was a good match and her girls did a great job. “The back row was as effective as the front row. They often made plays that surprised me!”

Caylee Premoli going for the kill

CeCe Hylton

Rye Town Park was the place to be the weekend the first weekend of fall. Friends, families, and volunteers cheered on hundreds of young athletes who participated in the Kids’ Triathlon on Saturday. The winners in the age 7-10 division were Layden Kennedy and Caroline Doyle; Ollie Smeal and Saedi Gibbs came out on top in the 11-14 division.

Grownups got up early for the 32nd Annual Westchester Triathlon, which sold out early and included over 1,000 topnotch athletes. Jacob Slife was the winner in the male division for the second year in a row. Teresa Groton came out on top in the female division.

The Westchester Triathlon donates 100% of race proceeds to deserving local and national charities.

Photos by Melanie Cane

Athlete in the News

At the Manhattan High School Cross-Country Invitational on October 14, <<Marek Nowak,>> who captains Rye High School’s Cross-Country team, took fourth place in the Varsity A 2.5 mile event. The Invitational at Van Cortland Park is the largest high school meet in the country, with 15,000 participants from all over the Eastern seaboard.

Nowak, a senior, was the only Garnet entered in the race. He ran a personal best of 13.19.3, missing third place by a mere 0.7 seconds, but beating roughly 150 other runners.

— Melanie Cane

Rye Neck Football

Well-Traveled Black Hats Fall to Woodlands, Drop to 2-3 on the Season

By Mitch Silver

It’s been an up-and-down season for Coach Nick Ianello’s Panthers. Literally. Their 46-0 defeat at Woodlands High continued a lose-win-lose-win-lose pattern that leaves them with two non-league wins and three league losses.

After dropping their season opener to Haldane in the Putnam County village of Cold Spring by 20-7, the Black Hats did everything right in an easy 39-13 victory in their home curtain raiser September 9 against their Duchess County visitors from Pine Plains. Pedro Cueto ran for three touchdowns and threw for another to sophomore Matt Quartararo as the locals rolled up 451 all-purpose yards.

Their Homecoming game the following weekend saw them lose to league foe Tuckahoe 36-20 despite a 189-yard rushing and receiving day from junior Tyler Simon. But they bounced back with a stunning come-from-behind win in the Catskills against Tri-Valley High School of Sullivan County. (Putnam, Duchess, and Sullivan counties all appear on Rye Neck’s schedule this year thanks to New York State’s decision to allow small-enrollment schools to go farther afield in looking for games.)

Tri-Valley was up 22-14 at the half before the Black Hats tied things up at 22-all in the third. Senior Derick Ramirez recovered a fumble and sophomore Mike Colasanti picked off a crucial aerial and returned it 25 yards for the touchdown to sink the Bears from Neversink, despite making only five first downs on the day to 21 for their foes.

The hope before the Woodlands game — played on a Thursday afternoon due to the religious holidays — was that the defending league champion Falcons, victors over the Black Hats a year ago by a score of 32-0, might be having a down year. A loss to Chester and a blowout administered by Goshen Catholic, another school in the Catskills, had Rye Neck thinking upset.

No dice. Woodlands jumped on the visitors for an 18-0 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. The Panthers would gain only 152 yards from scrimmage all afternoon.

Rye Neck has another toughie coming up when they host 4-1 Albertus Magnus tomorrow at 3 p.m.