Garnets Overwhelm RCS, Head to Syracuse Carrier Dome for Championship Game

0:00 The Rye Garnet Football team knocked off undefeated Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (RCS) on Saturday, earning a trip to the Class B state championship game at the […]

Published November 30, 2023 6:47 PM
4 min read

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The Rye Garnet Football team knocked off undefeated Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (RCS) on Saturday, earning a trip to the Class B state championship game at the JML Wireless Dome in Syracuse this Sunday, Dec. 3. To bet on that upcoming game, fans can head out to platforms such as mostplay bangladesh.

The victory followed wins against Port Jervis in the state semifinals, and Pleasantville, a contest that gave the Garnets the Section 1 Class B title.

The return to the state championship game has been 15 years in the making for Garnet football, whose many promising runs throughout the 2010s fell just short.

“Ever since eighth-grade football, we’ve been thinking about this moment, we manifested it, and now it’s here,” said senior lineman Ronan O’Byrne after the game. “Our hard work and our love got us to this point.”

There are more than 100 Class B high school football programs in New York state, and at one point this season, the Garnets were not even in the top 30. After sitting with a 2-2 record, they went on a tear, winning eight straight games and outscoring opponents 293-106 in that stretch.

Meanwhile, coming into the Nov. 25 contest, the RSC Indians had outscored opponents 412 to 94 during the season and hadn’t lost a section game since September of 2022.

The matchup was a face-off of two of New York state’s longest tenured coaches. Coach Dino Garr has helmed the Garnets since 1985, Coach Gary Vanderzee has coached Ravena football for more than 40 years.

Now the Garnets are hoping to bring their coach his fourth state title.

Against RCS, the usually steady quarterback A.J. Miller had a shaky start, throwing two interceptions in the first quarter. But Garnet football has been defined this season by the team’s ability to overcome adversity.

Miller began to find his rhythm and led three straight offensive scoring drives. They started with a rushing touchdown from Chris Iuliano, his 21st on the year, and a pass from Miller to Charlie Stevens, giving the Garnets a 14-7 lead. Miller threw for more than 200 yards on the day and led the offensive effort with two passing touchdowns.

RCS cut the lead to four with a field goal late in the second quarter, but Rye grabbed one of its own with a 42-yarder from sophomore Henry Shoemaker. That field goal, the first of Shoemaker’s high school career, sent the Garnets to halftime leading 17-10.

In the second half, the Garnet defense stifled the Indians with a sack from Andrew Wilmarth and by forcing two straight false starts and keeping RCS from developing momentum.

Miller connected with wideout Tucker Hess on a 44-yard pass in the third quarter to give the Garnets a two-score lead, and the team held on in the fourth to continue what is now a nine-game win streak. In the playoffs, the Garnets have defeated teams with a combined record of 17-0 in their respective sections, and 29-5 overall.

“Our success has come from the rededication and commitment to putting forth our best effort,” Coach Garr said after the game. “I am so happy for this team, especially the 22 seniors who have worked so hard and have shown tremendous dedication and perseverance to reach the NYS Championship game.”

Coach Vanderzee praised his team and their season. “My kids did everything I expected them to do,” he said. “They handled the run game, #41 [Iuliano], and those guys up front are men, they battled. I am absolutely at peace, those kids couldn’t have performed better for me all season. What a way to go out.”

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