The 1993 Rye varsity football team holds a distinction that no other Garnets team can boast - pioneers.
In the inaugural year of the New York State High School football championships, the Garnets played in the first Class C championship game. Rye was led to the state final on the strength of a tremendous senior class, led two-way starting lineman Brad Somma.
Somma, Conor Byrne, Sal Fazzolari, Chris Mello and Blair Moynihan, were captains on a Garnets team that went 9-2 and lost 38-19 to Caledonia-Mumford.
"I was getting a haircut recently and I saw Doug Mello, Chris' dad in the barber shop," said the 32-year-old Somma, who is married and has a 1-year-old son, Dominic.
"He said to me that Dino (Garr) is doing a helluva job, but then he said, 'Brad, you guys started it all,'
"It was nice to hear. We were lucky enough to have that opportunity that other guys didn't and we capitalized on the opportunity."
Entering the '93 season, Somma felt confident about the possibility of playing in Syracuse, site of the state finals.
Rye was a veteran team with numerous offensive weapons and a hard-hitting defense spearheaded by Somma and the linebacking tandem of Fazzolari and Mello.
"From day one, every guy on our team knew, for some reason, that we would be there," said Somma, a 1993 Journal News Westchester/Putnam first-team football all-star selection.
"We had the coaching and we had the talent.
"There wasn't one guy who stood out, we had a lot of good talent and we were really well-balanced.
And it came down to coaching. Dino (Garr) got us ready and coached us to our strengths."
Somma was a starting guard on a mammoth offensive line that opened holes for a running game that shredded opponents.
Rye ran behind Somma consistently, especially when it needed the tough yards because Somma crushed opposing defensive linemen and linebackers.
"What a super person and player," Rye coach Dino Garr said.
"Brad was a leader in every way possible by his example and actions on and off the field. He was a coach on the field and was respected and loved by his teammates and coaches.
"Brad sacrificed his personal ego for the benefit of the team. On the modified and JV teams, he was a fullback, but gave up the glory for the betterment of the team."
Somma's outstanding scholastic career also included ice hockey, where he was a punishing defenseman with a howitzer of shot from the point, and track and field.
Somma was a four-year starting lineman and track and field performer at Middlebury. He graduated with his degree in American Studies and U.S. History.
Somma, a Port Chester resident, is currently a partner with New York Life in the Manhattan office.
Somma remains a Rye fan and program supporter. Garr asked Somma, Fazzolari, Moynihan and Doug Mello to speak to the team following the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Somma said this was especially difficult because Chris Mello was lost that day.
"More than anything, Dino said he needed the players to relate to something in the program and remind them that no one promises you tomorrow," Somma said.
Somma enjoyed his scholastic career, athletically as well as academically.
"There is nothing like Nugent Stadium and that brook," Somma said.
"It's a phenomenal facility and mystical to go there and play a football game.
"I still look back extremely fond of my time at Rye from an overall experience because of the tremendous faculty and excellent coaches."