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Old Huskie, NEW Garnet has unique look at the GAME

Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 by Lohud


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The Journal News

Foristel gets a new perspective on rivalry


By Kevin Devaney Jr.
The Journal News • September 26, 2008

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The recurring dreams began over the weekend.

Matt Foristel envisions himself standing on the Rye sideline at tomorrow's game with Harrison, anxiously waiting to step onto the field before a crowd of thousands. Foristel isn't nervous or intimidated. It's that, even in his dreams, he still feels a little awkward.


Foristel will be in a unique position tomorrow afternoon at Rye when the storied Rye-Harrison rivalry is renewed for the 78th time. The senior will suit up and start at linebacker for Rye - one year after starting at defensive end in "The Game" for Harrison.

"It's definitely going to be a little weird," Foristel said Tuesday. "The dreams have been every night. Nothing has scared me. I'm just pumped up to play against them and be on this side of the rivalry."

Foristel's shift from one side to the other adds a little more spice to the fiercest rivalry in the Lower Hudson Valley.

In a weird way, this past week hasn't been all that different than last year for Foristel. There are decorations covering the walls in the Rye High School hallways. There are fundraisers, pep rallies, a bonfire -all the same things he had at Harrison.

Still, even to Foristel, the concept of trading in Husky maroon for Garnet black is hard to tackle.

"It's probably the most difficult process of his life," Rye senior Clark Antico said. "I have a lot of respect for him for playing. I couldn't put myself in his shoes. I still can't believe it's happening."

It's not the first time a player has crossed the border of the Rye-Harrison rivalry.

In 1997, James Scoli played the first game of the season for Rye before moving and finishing the year at Harrison. There have been several families who've had children play on both sides, most notably Mark Maraglino in 1997-99, who starred at Harrison after his brothers played for Rye.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Foristel left Harrison in late August. He had actually planned not to play football for the Huskies during the offseason and to instead focus on lacrosse and academics.

Many of his best friends, however, were Rye lacrosse players he met the previous three summers as a member of the Sound Shore Select travel team. When Foristel moved to Rye and enrolled in the district, his friends convinced him to come out for the reigning Class B state champs.

"I wanted a chance to come and play with them," he said. "A lot of these guys have become my best friends through lacrosse, and even when I was at Harrison, I was hanging out with these guys a lot.

"A week before school started, I was a little nervous. But I don't feel weird at all. They've been good to me."

With few exceptions.

It took a few days for Foristel to shed the nickname "Husky," playfully given to him by Rye manager Luke Walsh. Foristel has heard it a few more times this week, all in fun.

"We've been teasing him the whole year. Just messing around, of course," Antico said. "We've been hanging around with him since all last year, so I think this has been easy for him."

Once the game kicks off at 1:30 tomorrow, the Foristel family will be divided. Matt's parents will take their seats in the Rye cheering section. His brother, Mike, will be one of the loudest Harrison supporters.

Mike Foristel was a captain and Golden Dozen Award winner on the 2002 Harrison team that won a Class B sectional title. He still attends games and won't conceal whom he's rooting for tomorrow.

"He'll be the guy running up and down the sideline going crazy for Harrison," Matt said. "Mike isn't mad at me or anything. But he's been giving me a hard time the last few weeks."

The laid-back Matt Foristel doesn't mind the razzing, whether it's playful or mean-spirited. But he expects the reception from his former teammates, and the Harrison crowd, to be cold.

"Matt's a friend. But I'm not going to be friendly with him on the field," Harrison senior Sam Goldman said. "After the game, we'll be fine. But not on the field.''

"Him being there is definitely more motivation for us," Huskies quarterback Phil Dillulio said. "We want to beat him. He's still a good kid and he's going to be our friend. Come Saturday, though, he's just another member of the opposing team."

Foristel insists he has no hard feelings toward any of the Harrison players or coaches. He's still in close contact with some of his former teammates, and will pull for the Huskies every game.

Except tomorrow.

"I'll never root against Harrison at all," Foristel said. "I still have friends over there and I want them to win every game.

"Except one

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