The “team with only three seniors” is on a winning streak as it prepares to host its final non-conference game of the season Saturday against Long Island Lutheran.
By Mitch Silver
The “team with only three seniors” is on a winning streak as it prepares to host its final non-conference game of the season Saturday against Long Island Lutheran. The sophomore- and junior-laden Rye Country Day squad first rolled over St. Dominic’s of Oyster Bay 35-0, then prevailed in a physical struggle against Christ the King 13-7, and finally breezed past Hopkins Grammar this past weekend in New Haven, 34-0.
Fullback Hannes Boehning, just a sophomore, scored a touchdown and was named offensive player of the game against Hopkins. Junior DB Peter Sanchez, with five solo tackles and an interception, took defensive honors. And two-way standout (running back and corner) Jared Jones, another sophomore, was named the overall star for rolling up 111 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries.
Veteran Coach John Calandros would have named the entire team the Star of the Game if he could have. “We are an amazingly balanced team, probably the most evenly balanced group I’ve had in my eight years coaching here,” he told me afterwards. “The offensive line is playing so well, it opens holes for everyone. And we have the speed to get through those holes.”
The balance shows up on both sides of the ball. Boehning has rolled up 319 yards on the young season. Junior Ryan Wolitzer leads the Fairchester Athletic Association with six sacks. Between them, Wolitzer and Boehning have accounted for 76 tackles. Junior Cameron Kinder, who also runs the ball, has two interceptions on defense.
“We want to run first and pass when they come up to stop the run,” Calandros explained. “Our attack runs through our fallback, but I have complete confidence in our quarterback, Reed Connor, to make the big play.” Connor, yet another member of the talented junior class, has thrown for five TDs on the season in just four games.
The Wildcats’ record isn’t an unblemished one. They dropped their opener back in September to Our Lady of Lourdes up in Poughkeepsie 21-14. Time ran out that day with Rye Country Day on the Lourdes three-yard-line. The coach smiled. “That loss might have been the best thing that could have happened. That team is good (undefeated at 5-0 on the season), a top-10 football team in New York’s Section One. To hold our own against them showed our kids what we’ve got.”
After non-league LI Lutheran, the Wildcats will need everything they’ve got when they host one of the FAA’s powerhouses, St. Luke’s of New Canaan, October 18. If they take that one, there will be no stopping the boys from Grandview Avenue.