Rye coach Dino Garr walks away after the loss.
Rye High Football
Garnets lose huge lead and then the game to Somers, 28-24
By Mitch Silver
“That kid is a beast. He just rolled right over us.”
The “kid” Rye Head Coach Dino Garr was describing is Somers High running back Jack Kaiser. The only junior named to The Journal News’ pre-season Elite 11, Kaiser led the Tuskers all the way back from a 24-7 third-quarter deficit Friday night in Lincolndale by gaining 147 yards on the ground and scoring three touchdowns. His last TD, with less than 20 seconds left on the game clock, came on a two-yard smash into the end zone that capped a 15-play, 66-yard final drive.
Meanwhile, the man with the second-most wins among active Section 1 coaches watched the victory fall from his grasp across the way. “This game is all about blocking and tackling. In the end, it always comes down to that. And DeMatteo’s team did it better than we did.”
That’s Tony DeMatteo, the veteran Somers coach who notched victory number 349 and extended by one his all-time career lead in wins over Garr. After the game, he told The Journal News, “Without a doubt, this is the biggest regular-season win of my career. We had five guys out tonight, including running back Charlie Balancia. We got knocked around last week by Yorktown and everybody was down in the dumps.”
Rye, too, had important contributors out with injuries, including senior RB/LB Brendan Lavelle and classmate OL/DL Preston Greto. Even so, the team rolled to that 17-point lead on the road thanks to senior quarterback Declan Lavelle’s 155 yards through the air—including a touchdown to classmate Mark Surhoff—and nifty running by Declan Lavelle’s replacement, super-sophomore Caden Whaling, who gained over 100 yards on the ground.
But it was a different Somers team in the second half. Garr said, “They got angry to be losing by so much, and they started blocking and tackling…that was the difference.”
Rye returns home to host league foe Pelham Friday night under the lights.