KINGSTON - Midway through the first quarter Saturday, Joe McMurry, Hudson Falls' stellar tailback, took a handoff and darted into a hole in the line.
A split-second later, McMurry was slammed to the frozen turf, blindsided by Rye linebacker Kyle Ramalho.
That's how little room McMurry and the Tigers had to work against a much quicker Rye defense.
And with no room to run and no time to throw, Hudson Falls had no chance in a 34-7 state Class B semifinal loss to the Garnets.
Playing in brutally cold, windy conditions, the fourth-ranked Tigers (10-2) were held to 126 total yards -- 86 from McMurry -- by the No. 1-ranked team in the state.
Rye (12-0) will defend its state championship next week against Oneida, which blanked Bath 27-0 in Saturday's other semifinal. It is the Garnets' fifth trip to Syracuse in six years.
"They're better and they deserved to win. That's the bottom line," said Bill Strong, Hudson Falls' first-year head coach. "We certainly didn't help ourselves. Things went bad from the start and got worse.
"But I'm still very proud of our young men, especially our seniors, who have raised the bar for this program," Strong added.
One who will be missed most is McMurry, who ended his senior season with 2,563 yards, second-most in Section II history.
McMurry scored on his final high school carry -- his 27th of the game -- as he dashed 20 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, allowing the Tigers to avoid a shutout.
"That was a little pride factor, and I'm very happy Joe scored it," Strong said.
What happened on McMurry's first 26 carries, and most of Hudson Falls' offensive plays in general, was an exercise in frustration against a much quicker, sharper Rye defense.
"They're very fast, they gang-tackle well," said McMurry, who was named Hudson Falls' offensive player of the game. "I was getting hit by two or three guys every play."
"They close to the ball very quickly," Strong said. "There was room, but the holes closed so quickly it was unbelievable. They were getting off the ball so quick, and we tried everything in the book. We ran empty (backfield), we changed blocking schemes, we tried running screens. We couldn't get anything going."
Said Rye head coach Dino Garr: "That was a great display of total team defense. We did everything we could to contain No. 1 (McMurry) -- stay in the lanes, no cutbacks and when we got our arms around him, help out and wrap him up."
It worked like a charm in the first half, as the Tigers were held to 22 yards and one first down. Hudson Falls went three-and-out three times, had a bad snap on a punt and also threw an interception on the third play of the game.
Patrick O'Callaghan's pickoff and return to the Tigers' 11-yard line led to Rye's first points, a 1-yard touchdown by Ramalho just four minutes into the game.
The Garnets added to their lead with three touchdowns in the second quarter -- a 13-yard pass from Connor Eck to Matt Foristel, and scoring runs of 26 and 29 yards by Cole McCormack for a 27-0 halftime lead.
McCormack led all rushers with 166 yards on 13 carries to earn Rye's offensive player of the game honors. Ramalho added a 3-yard touchdown in the third quarter for a 34-0 lead.
"I thought our defense played pretty well overall, actually," Strong said. "They didn't quit, they played till the end. I couldn't be prouder of them."
McMurry finally got in the end zone with 1:29 left in the game, sweeping around right end from 20 yards out to cap a 69-yard scoring drive.
"It's disappointing, but we accomplished so much this year," senior lineman Nate Mattison said.
"It's not the ending we wanted, but we won two good titles (Section II and regional)," senior center Mike Palangi said. "It hurts, but I think the guys are pretty happy overall."
Rye (12-0) 7 20 7 0 -- 34
Hudson Falls (10-2) 0 0 0 7 -- 7
R - Ramalho 1 run (Kelleher kick), 8:10
R - Foristel 13 pass from Eck (kick failed), 11:14
R - McCormack 26 run (Kelleher kick), 5:56
R - McCormack 29 run (Kelleher kick), :12
R - Ramalho 3 run (Kelleher kick), 7:42
HF - McMurry 20 run (Raggi kick), 1:29
First downs 13 7
Rushes-yards 40-230 31-114
Passing yards 51 12
Comp.-Att.-Int. 5-6-0 5-13-2
Punts-avg. 3-30 4-28.8
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-45 5-25
RUSHING -- Rye: McCormack 13-166, 2TD; Ramalho 11-36, 2TD; O'Malley 6-20, Storino 4-11, Bonaventura 1-2, Eck 2-(-2), J.O'Callaghan 3-(-3). Hudson Falls: McMurry 27-86, 1TD; Streeter 1-40, Mellon 3-(-12).
PASSING -- Rye: Eck 5-6-0, 51 yards, 1TD. Hudson Falls: Mellon 3-10-2, minus-1 yard; Thomas 2-2-0, 13 yards; McMurry 0-1-0.
RECEIVING -- Rye: Matthews 2-24; Foristel 1-13, 1TD; Keough 1-10, Ramalho 1-4. Hudson Falls: Ali 2-13, McMurry 2-(-1), To.Hammond 1-1.