By Mitch Silver
The 2022 fall football season seemed stacked against the Rye Garnets. Last season’s Sectional runners-up lost 26 seniors to graduation, among them their veteran quarterback and star running back as well as many key contributors on both sides of the line of scrimmage. In addition, the schedule has them playing their first three games on the road. They opened against Section 9 powerhouse Cornwall September 2, with quarterback A.J. Miller starting his first varsity game. Most experts favored the Dragons, but the Garnets won handily, 43-22.
We asked Head Coach Dino Garr about it. “Cornwall is a very strong team; we’ve had trouble with them in the past. Plus, we’re a very young team, with first-time starters in lots of positions. To win, it took an outstanding team effort on both sides of the ball —offensively and defensively.” Coach Garr went on, “Tommy Richardson did a great job running the ball. Junior A.J. Miller showed real leadership at quarterback, and there were strong performances by the wide receivers. The defense did a super job at containing Cornwall’s potent offense. This was definitely a total team effort.”
Miller completed 15 of 26 attempts for 361 yards and four touchdowns. Richardson, a senior, ran for 149 yards on 15 carries, with his longest jaunt going 80 yards. Junior Shepherd Griffiths caught six balls for 120 yards and two TDs.
Week Two was a different story. The Garnets were down 17-0 at the half against Brewster. “The other team was playing well, they really came after us. And we had a bunch of early turnovers,” the coach said. “At halftime, I told them we had to tackle better, we had to execute better.” And so they did. Even though the Bears scored twice more in the second half, Miller, Richardson and the defense led the charge back, scoring with 30 seconds left in the game to win 34-30. Spencer Griffiths had another six catches, as did junior classmate Rafferty McSweeney, who scored twice on the evening.
“Thirty-four points in the second half of play! The coaching staff couldn’t be prouder,” Coach Garr said.
Next up is Yorktown. The coach said, “Yorktown beat two Class AA teams, Fox Lane and John Jay-Cross River. We’ve met them in the playoffs in the past. They’re always tough.” The game is set for Friday night at 7 p.m.