Rye High Football
By Mitch Silver
What happens when a team coming off a 35-7 playoff-opening victory meets a team coming off a 35-7 playoff-opening win? That’ll be the unusual situation tonight when 5th-ranked Rye travels to Cortlandt Manor to play 4th-seeded Walter Panas High School.
A week ago, the Garnets registered an easy victory over the Nyack Indians. Senior Billy Chabot ran for 138 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Classmate Grant Meyerson scored and played tough defense. Sophomore Declan Lavelle completed 12 of 19 passes for 195 yards and two scores, including a stunning 46-yard hook-and-ladder completion to Gavin Kenny, who immediately pitched the ball to Andy Bach to put Rye up by 21-0 at the half.
Afterwards, Chabot was heard to say, “I think we have the best line in Section 1.” Lavelle used three more words to say the same thing: “If our line is blocking like that, there’s nobody that can beat us.”
Panas, a 35-7 winner over Sleepy Hollow, presents an interesting matchup. The 7-1 Panthers have scored ten more points than the 5-2 Garnets, who’ve given up 35 fewer against tougher opposition. To wit: Panas has beaten Peekskill (0-4 won-loss record), Lakeland (1-5), and Sleepy Hollow (1-8). But they lost 36-0 to Yorktown, while Rye scored 30 points in their loss to the undefeated Huskers.
Rye will field a plethora of offensive weapons tonight. With a couple of completions, Lavelle will go over 1,000 passing yards, the most in Class A. Gavin Kenny has nearly 100 more receiving yards than the next guy on the list, while Kyle Doran is fifth. Kenny and the two Chabots — Billy and Peter — all have scored at least four touchdowns.
Best of all, Head Coach Dino Garr’s boys are playing better defense than they have all season. While the attack has rung up 30 points or more in every game, save the early-season loss to Somers, Rye’s D is coming on, allowing but a single touchdown in each game since September.
Still, they play the game on the field, not on paper. Should the Garnets survive, they most likely will get a rematch against top-seeded Yorktown, which should be all the incentive they need.
“The best line in Section 1” is ready to fire off the ball against Nyack.
Lavelle to Lavelle: Declan throws to Brendan for a first down.