You be the coach, or coaches, in this case. Your team is up 24-0 at halftime under the lights October 17 at home.
By Mitch Silver
You be the coach, or coaches, in this case. Your team is up 24-0 at halftime under the lights October 17 at home. You’re playing non-league Scarsdale, with your first playoff game coming up in a week. Do you leave your starters in and risk a season-ending injury, or do you give your second stringers some valuable game experience?
If you’re the triumverate of assistant coaches Mike Bruno, Jim Rinaldi, and Joseph King — running things with Head Coach Dino Garr away in Asia for a family wedding — you sit Andrew Livingston, Tim DeGraw et al for the second half.
What had been a laugher turned into a handwringer and then a tearjerker as 6-1 Scarsdale, ranked second behind New Rochelle in the southern half of Class AA, came roaring back to tie, and eventually beat, the shell-shocked Garnets.
But first, a little about the happier half of the game: Scarsdale took the opening kickoff and was forced to punt. Rye, penalized on the play, was sent back to its own 10. For the next two and a half minutes they drove downfield, finally scoring with 7:05 left. 7-0.
Though Scarsdale looked good, pushing the ball into Garnet territory, the quarter ended with that single score and Rye on the Raiders’ 10. QB Andrew Livingston continued picking apart the Scarsdale defense in the second stanza. A minute and a half in, it was 14-0.
When the Dalers’ QB Michael Rolfe fumbled, Rye recovered and marched the ball into the red zone. On 4th and 10, a 37-yard field goal made it 17-0.
A tweet from a Scarsdale supporter during the second quarter tells the story:
“24-0 Rye. From a Scarsdale perspective, half cannot end soon enough.”
All right, coaches. You’ve decided to bench the A team. Let’s see how the second half goes.
Scarsdale scores first, on a Rolfe to Cook aerial, and the 2-point conversion is good. 24-8.
Scarsdale’s Johnson’s sack forces a fumble, which he picks up and rumbles with for a 35-yard TD. The 2-pointer is good again. Now it’s 24-16 with 8:48 to go in game.
Four minutes later, Michael Rolfe connects with Cook on an 80-yard touchdown. Unbelievably, the Raiders convert their third straight two-pointer to deadlock the game at 24 with four minutes left.
So you get Livingston warming up and bring the first team back on. Sure enough, on 4th and 7, he hits his favorite receiver, Tim DeGraw, for a 50-yard TD to, maybe, sew up the game. But the kick’s no good, and the lead is 30-24 with the game almost over.
But it isn’t. The Raiders claw their way down to the Rye 1-yard line. Rolfe, who’d thrown for two and run for two on the night, goes over for the score with six seconds on the clock, and all the Raiders need is an easy PAT for the win. But…NO GOOD! OVERTIME!
The first OT is more of the same. On 4th down and 15, Rolfe hits Thorton at the 2. Then he runs it in himself. 36-30. And, to prove practice makes perfect, he rolls out and connects on their fourth 2-point PAT to make it 38-30!
A late Rye score made this thriller of a game even more thrilling, but, again, Rye couldn’t match the Raiders in the 2-point department and fell to 6-1 on the season, 38-36.
The game didn’t affect Rye’s No. 1 seed in Class A League 2, so expect them to host League 1’s fourth-seeded Beacon (actual pairings announced post-press time this weekend with Coach Garr back on the sidelines).
So, is it a loss? Or an asterisk? You decide.