Things looked tenuous for the 7-0, No. 2 seed Rye Neck football team in the first half against third-seeded Bronxville at home in the Section C semifinals on October 26.
By Melanie Cane
Things looked tenuous for the 7-0, No. 2 seed Rye Neck football team in the first half against third-seeded Bronxville at home in the Section C semifinals on October 26. After giving up a touchdown to Bronxville early in the second quarter, and then finally did score with less than two minutes left in the half — Pedro M. Cueto ran it in — they failed to make the 2-point conversion. They were down 7-6 at the half.
The Panthers’ lassitude continued into the third quarter, when the opening kickoff was recovered by the Broncos, and with 5:56 left in the quarter, the visitors hit a 36-yard field goal, making it a 10-6 game. The tension was palpable on the Rye Neck side, from the players, coaches, and fans. But then, suddenly, the 5-hour energy kicked in and Rye Neck seized control of the game.
Ryan Morningstar ran 41 yards on the kickoff return, igniting the Panthers’ offense. With a first down at Bronxville’s 35-yard line, Cueto, Dom Brescia and then Cueto again drove for a touchdown and a 2- point conversion, giving Rye Neck their first lead of the game, 14-10, with 3:44 left in the third quarter.
With their offense on fire, with runs by Morningstar, Brescia, and Cueto, and quarterback Thomas Pipolo’s 62 passing yards, the Panthers were unstoppable. Matt Garcia and Cueto each crossed the end zone in the fourth quarter for a 28-10 win. Overall, Cueto had 14 carries, 105 yards, and three touchdowns. Brescia ran for 117 yards and Garcia had 25 yards and one touchdown.
They meet Woodlands in the Section 1 Class C finals at Mahopac High School November 2 at 3:30 p.m., in a rematch of last year’s final, which they lost 35-0. But on the bright side, they beat Woodlands 41-40 in an exciting come-from-behind overtime game on October 12.