RYE - There was never a question of whether the Rye football team could compete with elite programs in Class A. Nobody, though, thought the Garnets would make it look so easy.
In their first game moving up from Class B, the six-time Section 1 champs stormed past Ossining at home last night. Rye scored on three of its four first-half possessions and limited Ossining to one first down in the second half to secure a 21-6 victory.
"I think we proved a lot out there tonight," Garnets quarterback Connor Eck said. "We proved a lot to ourselves and a lot to any skeptics. We can compete in Class A."
Eck picked up last night where he left off last season. The junior threw for 93 yards and threw two touchdowns to T.J. Storino for Rye, which extended its state-best winning streak to 26 games.
The Garnets, who had captured three of the last four state championships in Class B, piled up 342 yards of offense. Cole McCormack rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts, and junior Kevin Turco gained 94 yards on 17 second-half carries.
Ossining, ranked second in The Journal News poll, managed just 16 yards of offense after halftime. Rye, ranked third, had four sacks, two by Brendan Nagle.
"To be honest, we have to find some people because we didn't have many guys who looked ready," Ossining coach Dan Ricci said. "Rye is a good football team, but this wasn't our best effort. We made some mental mistakes that we have to get together. And we need to have a little more pride in ourselves."
Ossining took a 6-0 lead on its opening drive when quarterback Lemar Johnson capped a 16-play series with an 18-yard touchdown run. The drive was keyed by a botched punt attempt, which Jamel Lucky scooped up and ran for a first down.
"I figured something like that would happen once or twice in the game because of the skill players they have," Rye coach Dino Garr said. "We talked about it as a team that, if something like that happens, don't get down. Stick with what we do and we'll be fine."
Rye responded on its first possession as Eck hit Storino for a 16-yard score. Early in the second quarter, McCormack broke a 73-yard score to make it 14-6, before Eck extended the lead with a 15-yard strike to Storino with 1:23 to play in the half.
"We came out ready to play hard and I think we did more than that," Nagle said. "It's hard to explain what it means to beat a team like Ossining.''
"I'm proud of our guys because a lot of them never played varsity until tonight," Garr said. "We've got kids who just stepped in and did a great job. I'd like to say we've established something here that's really good here. There were some doubts, but I knew we'd come to play.