The Rye High football team played not one, but two teams for the Sectional championship November 7 at Arlington High School: Our Lady of Lourdes and themselves.
By Mitch Silver
The Rye High football team played not one, but two teams for the Sectional championship November 7 at Arlington High School: Our Lady of Lourdes and themselves. Six turnovers sealed their fate in the rematch against the Warriors, a team Rye defeated by a touchdown five weeks earlier.
The game started off well, with the Garnet and Black bottling up Lourdes’ vaunted offense for the first three series. Things looked really promising halfway through the second quarter when they forced the Warriors to punt from their own end zone. But the catch was muffed, the fumble recovered, and, three plays later, record-setting OLL quarterback Dean Rotger pushed it in from the two.
Four minutes later Lourdes scored again. Joe Scaglione caught a pass out of the backfield and romped 55 yards for the score, making it 14-0 at the half.
Garnets Coach Dino Garr knew his boys faced an uphill climb. “Lourdes is an outstanding team with size, strong players at the skill positions, and a great coaching staff led by Brain Walsh. We took away most of what they wanted to do in both games, but it came down to opportunities: they made theirs (some of which we gave them) and we didn’t capitalize on ours.”
The second half, though, looked more like the Garnet team that ran off nine straight wins going into the game. The defense repeatedly made big stops on big plays, twice forcing OLL to go for field goals, missing both.
It was still 14-0 in the fourth quarter when the Garnets shifted into a hurry-up offense. It worked. After an 80-yard drive that took 14 plays, Rye QB T.J. Lavelle ran it in from the 8 to make it a one-score game.
But the Warriors, Section 1 Class B champs in 2014 who were moved up a class this year, connected on a crucial third-down pass from Rotger to 6’5” receiver Luke Timm — their only completion in the second half — to run precious time off the clock. The throw padded Rotger’s career passing numbers: his 5,851 total yards overtook Rye’s own Andrew Livingston for the record.
The Garnets had one more chance to even the score, but a fourth-down fumble that Timm recovered sealed their fate. After the game, Coach Garr was philosophical.
“It was a wonderful season. Our four captains — Tim Hale, Pat Hull, Chase Pratt, and Drake Turcotte — and the other ten dedicated seniors were outstanding in every aspect of leadership on and off the field.
Fast learners with tremendous football IQs, they not only stepped up to their starting roles but were also coaches on the field for our many younger players. They were a real pleasure and honor to coach.”