At opposite ends on Rye's heralded defensive line are two football players who share devilishly similar styles and almost sinister intentions.
Topher Triano and William Ramsey expect to hit the opposing quarterback on every play. And they don't need to be motivated to do so.
"They're bookends," Garnets coach Dino Garr said. "They're very competitive with each other. They optimize our team in that one is always trying to outdo the other. That's what perpetuates throughout the entire team."
Garr calls the way the senior defensive ends play "controlled madness." Each is physically gifted at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, and they both possess the same fearlessness on the field.
"Ramsey is a nut job and Topher's right there with him. But it's in a good way," Rye linebacker Rob Santangelo said. "They're funny guys who've always been really good at football."
Triano and Ramsey will need to be at their best in today's Class B state final at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Rye (12-0), the defending champ, meets Section 3's Oneida and its talented quarterback, Ryan Kramer.
Every scouting report Rye has on Kramer is that he's a superior athlete with the ability to run and throw. He's a muscular 6-foot, 185-pound senior who does most of his damage when he breaks the pocket and bursts to the outside.
He'll likely run into Triano and Ramsey, who've emerged as a commanding pair. They've combined for 17 sacks and are at the forefront of Rye's first-team defense, which has allowed only five touchdowns in 12 games this season.
They're best friends, whether it's on the football field or bow hunting for deer. Each starts only on defense and, whether they're on the field or the sideline, they're constantly talking.
"We yell back and forth to each other on the line: 'See you in the backfield,' " Ramsey said. "We're always motivating each other. He and I grew up together and I was always a defensive end and he was a linebacker. But on JV he saw me there and wanted to switch."
To truly understand Triano and Ramsey, all you have to do it speak to them for a few minutes.
At practice on Monday they were both on the sideline in sweat pants, nursing minor injuries from last week's state semifinal, when Ramsey revealed a large cut on his neck.
"I killed a 250-pound deer and was pulling it through the woods," Ramsey said. "I wasn't looking and a tree branch jabbed me right in the neck."
No sooner than Ramsey finished his sentence, Triano whipped out his cell phone to proudly show the pictures he snapped of the deer.
Earlier this season, Ramsey missed time in a game against Nanuet because of a crushing hit - by Triano. On kickoff coverage, they both raced down the field and delivered crushing hits at the same time on the ballcarrier.
"We get in trouble for hitting the guys too hard at practice," Triano said. "Once the ball is snapped, we're not going to take the hit, we're going to deliver it. We're able to click on the craziness and go into what our defense calls 'beast mode.' "
Harnessing their emotions has been Garr's responsibility since last season.
"We don't want to curtail their aggressiveness," Garr said. "We just want to do it under controlled emotions. We're blessed with great athletes but we also have to do it in the system. We can't have reckless abandonment. They don't just lower their ears and go after people."
Triano and Ramsey, who are both standouts in baseball, are grateful to have one last shot to play together today at the Carrier Dome.
"We haven't really thought about it that much," Triano said. "We're looking to get the job done and celebrate after. We've all been playing together since the seventh grade and we have a lot of memories. We're going to cherish those forever."