RYE - With Nanuet focused on stopping Rye fullback Kyle Ramalho last night, a collection of inexperienced teammates stepped in to lead the Garnets to another victory.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Eck ran for two touchdowns and completed 5 of 7 passes for 92 yards, junior Cole McCormack had 75 yards on nine carries and wingback Patrick O'Callaghan ran three times for 79 yards as Rye defeated Nanuet 35-12.
The first-team offense scored touchdowns on five of its six possessions as the Garnets, the top team in The Journal News Class B football poll, won its 49th straight game against Section 1 competition.
"They wanted to take away Kyle, that was pretty evident," Rye coach Dino Garr said. "If you're going to do that, hopefully other things are open and I like to see that our offense is starting to use other things we have available for us."
After being intercepted by Nanuet counterpart Tom Hanney in the second quarter, Eck directed three straight touchdown drives in the third quarter to break open the game. Four of his five completions came on third down, sustaining drives with crisp passes under pressure.
"I feel like I'm improving every day," Eck said. "I learned a lot of things (last night). I just need to be consistent, come into every day hungry and with a lot of desire."
This was the second straight week that Rye handled a top challenger in Class B - Nanuet is ranked second, and last week the Garnets defeated Pleasantville, currently ranked No. 3.
"We say that a team's better than us until we beat them, so we have to stay levelheaded and just take it one week at a time," McCormack said.
Rye took the lead six minutes in. After a bad snap on a Nanuet punt attempt gave Rye the ball on the 29, Ramalho (20 carries, 89 yards) scored on a 1-yard plunge.
Nanuet followed with its best play, a 52-yard run by Bret Bonomolo to the Garnets 11. Four plays later, Hanney snuck in from the 1, but Rye blocked the extra point to stay ahead, and the Golden Knights got just three first downs the rest of the game.
"We all realized that we needed to stay to our assignments, and after that we pretty much shut them down so I was real happy with that," safety Donald Keough said.
Up 14-6 at the half, Rye went 69 yards in 3:32 to start the third quarter, finishing on Ramalho's touchdown run from 2 yards out. On their next drive, O'Callaghan ran two sweeps for a combined 70 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown run that made it 28-6. And after a one-handed interception by Max Yanker, Eck scored on a 4-yard option keeper.
"They have a lot of weapons and they use them all," Nanuet coach Rich Conklin said. "I think we played a pretty solid first half. The problem was we couldn't sustain it. They've been in big games the past four years, and when you're in that situation, they know it's time to turn it on