Rye starts new streak with 28-6 win
RYE -[0x0f]It sounded simple enough when coach Dino Garr said it: "I've lost before."
Sometimes it doesn't feel like he has. There was a whole generation of Rye players who didn't know what it was like to lose a regular-season game.
On those rare occasions when they went down it was always in the state tournament. Their season, at that point, would be over. There was never a bounce-back opportunity. There was never a week of recovery. There was never a next time, a next opponent, a next chance.
This time there was. When Rye lost to Eastchester last weekend - its first regular-season loss since 2002 - it was only Week 3 of the season. Preparing for Week 4 and Sleepy Hollow was done in a different atmosphere than the Garnets had experienced in a long time.
No matter how normal Garr pretended it was.
"I think everyone had a different attitude," senior Brendan Nagle said. "It really made us view reality in a different way. I mean, we lost, and we had to bounce back from that."
Bounce back they did, with a 28-6 win over Sleepy Hollow.
The winning streak versus sectional opponents, once 59, is now at one.
"Completely focused," junior Brian Pickup said of their week. "We were ready to go. Everyone had revenge, they wanted to step it up for us, the alumni, for everyone else."
Pickup scored twice, the defense had three interceptions, and Connor Eck, a week after being stuffed at the goal line on the game's deciding play, threw two touchdown passes.
Rye (3-1) led 21-0 at the half despite being outgained on the ground 109-18 and losing the battle of first downs, 9-3.
On its first series, Eck completed a 38-yard pass to Pickup, then an 18-yard touchdown to him two plays later. Nagle ran in a 2-yard score on the next possession after T.J. Storino intercepted Sleepy Hollow quarterback John Bucci to give the Garnets a short field.
Eck completed another short scoring drive in the second quarter with a 22-yard strike to Storino.
Sleepy Hollow (1-3) had two chances to score at the end of the half. First Nagle forced a fumble with Sleepy Hollow at Rye's 10-yard line that Pickup recovered. When Eck subsequently threw an interception, the Headless Horsemen got the ball back on Rye's 7. But Bucci threw his second pick, this one to Gunther Kempin, to end the threat.
"Just because we lost last week," Garr said, "doesn't mean we all of a sudden don't know how to play."
Sleepy Hollow's last chance was dashed on its first snap of the second half. A fumbled handoff was scooped up by Pickup, who ran it 10 yards into the end zone. On the same play Bucci hurt his ankle.
He sat on the bench the rest of the game with the ankle in ice.
Bobby Small ran back a kickoff 85 yards for the only Headless Horsemen score