It’s a tradition under Rye Coach Jared Small: The Garnets end each season with a game, and a love-in, with their opposite numbers from Yonkers High.
By Mitch Silver
It’s a tradition under Rye Coach Jared Small: The Garnets end each season with a game, and a love-in, with their opposite numbers from Yonkers High. Bulldogs’ coach Janet Ryan explained. “Our program was not as competitive a few years ago as it is today. Coach Small took it upon himself to have his team show ours respect. His kids worked with ours, and now we want to return the favor.”
So, after the hard-fought 2-0 Garnets win on the pitch October 19, the teams lined up for the traditional handshake. Then every Yonkers player returned with a red “goodie bag” for a Rye counterpart. Coach Ryan presented Coach Small with a plaque that will be engraved with the winning team’s name in each season to come.
This isn’t the first time the two teams have shared the pitch. Several of the Yonkers players came to cheer on the Garnets at home last month against Pelham. When Rye took that contest 1-0 for its first win of the season, the Rye and Yonkers boys joined together for pictures after the game.
Coach Ryan was a little teary after last Sunday’s game. “I’ve been coaching the varsity since 2011 and this is the first year my dad isn’t here. We lost him not long ago, and he was as moved as I am with the generosity of the people of Rye.”
As for the game on the field, the two squads were closely matched, with the Garnets having an edge in positional play and a greater advantage in time of possession. The first-half difference showed up in Rye’s 6-1 edge in shots on goal (shots for the game would end up 15-4 in Rye’s favor).
The gap widened in the second half, thanks in part to the play of the Man of the Match, junior forward Leo Gomes. With 13 minutes gone, he took the ball into the right corner, beat two defenders and shot at a severe angle. The Yonkers keeper was only able to parry the ball out front, where junior midfielder Will Colwell was Johnny-on-the-spot to put it away for a 1-0 lead.
Ten minutes later, Colwell was at it again. After two fine saves by their netminder, Yonkers was unable to clear the ball and the Garnets’ “garbage man” was there once more.
What did Coach Jared Small think of his 2-0 winners heading into the playoffs? In a word: “Great.”