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Posted Saturday, October 25, 2008 by Lohud Staff

Top-seeded Rye defeats Kennedy in Class B

By Dan Marra • The Journal News • October 25, 2008

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RYE - The target on its back is something that Rye has come to expect.

After building up its football program by winning five straight Class B titles and two state titles in the last five years Rye has become accustomed to being that program. The program that other teams want to emulate and that other teams focus a little harder on beating.


Last night was no different, as the top-seeded Garnets ended up beating No. 4 Kennedy 48-14 in the first round of the Class B tournament.

"The target grows every week," Rye junior Cole McCormack said. "The target gets bigger and bigger. Everyone wants to knock us off."

Rye still knows there is a work to be done for the team to play in Syracuse later this year.

But after five years of success, the bar has been raised in Rye. Sectional titles and state finals have become an expectation for this team.

"It's a lot to carry on your back, especially playing with a lot of guys since freshman year," said Kyle Ramalho, who scored two touchdowns. "Everyone's telling me on Facebook and calling me and texting me saying, 'Bring it home, bring it home.' It's a lot to live up to.

"We'd love to (win the title), but being section champs the past five years it just puts more of a target on your back and you know everyone wants to take you out."

The Garnets (8-0) were able to avoid being the target this week as the team used multiple running backs to wear out the Kennedy defense. At the heart of that running game was Ramalho, who pounded the middle of the Kennedy line.

After the Gaels (3-5) focused on shutting down Ramalho, McCormack raced around the edge, gaining 99 yards on five carries and scoring his only touchdown on a 71-yard run midway through the second quarter.

"It works great. I don't care about the carries, I don't care about the yards, I just want the 'W' and (to) get back to Syracuse," Ramalho said.

After holding Rye to seven points in the first quarter, the Kennedy defense was unable to slow the Rye attack as the Garnets scored 28 points in the second quarter to go up 35-0 at halftime.

After McCormack's second-quarter touchdown run, the Gaels tried to come out throwing, but Brendan Nagle picked off a pass and returned it 25 yards for the score as Rye jumped out 28-0.

It took Kennedy until late in the fourth quarter before it got on the board, with Eric Mercado (184 yards rushing) scoring twice.

"We put a program together that's developing and this is a tough loss for us," Mercado said. "We took it as far as we could. ... We stuck it out until the end and did the best we could."

As Rye moves another step closer to Syracuse the expectations continue to grow, but that's fine with the Garnets.

"All the teams out there would like to be in our position," Rye coach Dino Garr said.

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