SYRACUSE - Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet could keep Rye High School's football fans from the Carrier Dome, nor the Garnets from completing their appointed rounds.
Well, maybe the weather kept some of the fans away, but a hardy, outnumbered following saw the Garnets win their second consecutive state Class B championship and third in the past four years yesterday.
They saw Rye hold off Oneida - which had a big crowd because of its relatively close proximity to Syracuse - by a 16-12 score.
And then they had to hit the road again, even with warnings from the public address announcer about the icy conditions outside and on the highways.
"A lot of people were nervous about coming," Rye's co-captain and the game's most valuable player, Kyle Ramalho, said. "My girlfriend and my mother were nervous about coming. My mother came really early this morning with the car packed. She heard the roads were going to be really bad.
"I thank all the fans that came because they made the fourth quarter," Ramalho continued. "Fans being loud makes it hard on the other team, and I know because it makes it hard on us. So I thank them very much, especially for traveling on the road year after year. It's just amazing."
The year-after-year thing is what's truly amazing. In the past six years, Rye has reached the state Class B championship game five times and won three championships, piling up 71 wins and just three losses - two of those in the final. Rye has won 25 consecutive games going back to the 2006 state semifinal, by far the longest active winning streak in the state.
"I think it's phenomenal," said Rye fan Wendy Nagle, whose son Brendan is a junior on the team. "I think (coach) Dino Garr has done a phenomenal job with the team. Last year, we lost only 12 seniors. We had 12 seniors and we did it. This year we have 27 seniors. And next year we'll be back here."
"I think it's just unbelievable," added fan Jim Dianni, who has made all five trips to the Dome with Rye. "It's a credit to Dino and his staff and the whole program."
The trip sure wasn't easy. There were three busloads of fans that left from Rye and plenty of fans who came in cars. The rides were interrupted by closed roads along Route 17 and on Interstate 87 and by traffic snarls caused by accidents.
"A lot of accidents," said Colleen Powers, whose son Brian is a junior on the team. "We left early. Right by the Palisades mall, it was shut down. But we were lucky. It was definitely worth it."
Garr made sure to point out that it was appreciated, too.
"The fans came up here," he said. "Again, this is not the easiest weather to make the trip up in. I'm proud of our community and what they do and how they support us. The players are, too."