RYE, N.Y. -- John Jay-Cross River held a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter when host Rye began mounting a comeback, Friday. The Garnets closed the gap to seven points with 6:28 remaining when the Indians began having flashbacks to their opening week loss to Ossining. John Jay had the lead only to lose it and the game. The Indians would not allow it to happen a second consecutive week. John Jay held off Rye for a 14-7 victory at Nugent Stadium.
The win evened John Jay’s record at 1-1 while Rye fell to 0-2 for the first time this millennium. “We could not let that happen again,” said quarterback Tyler Keech. “That loss to Ossining was so painful. After the game, we felt to play our hearts out and not come through in the end, we never wanted to have that feeling again.”
Fullback Joe Simolacaj walked in untouched from the three-yard line and Andrew Livingston added the extra point with 6:28 remaining in the game. Rye forced John Jay to punt on the ensuing possession and moved from the Jay 43 to its four-yard line. Rye had fourth-and-1, but a fumbled pitch left the Garnets a yard shy of the first down. Keech was a prime factor in John Jay’s win, rushing 22 times for a game-high 153 yards as the Indians went with a no-huddle offense throughout the game. Operating from the shotgun, Keech consistently thrust his way through holes created by his offensive line. Keech set up his touchdown, a five-yard run -- with a 29-yard pass to Tom Wieingarten.
Following a Danny Caiola interception in Jay’s end zone to negate a Rye scoring drive, Keech went to work. He burst through the line and scampered 51 yards. Eight plays later, Jack Lambert punched it in from the two with 3:37 left in the half. “The offensive line was pushing their guys back, making holes for me and all of us,” Keech said. “They did a great job.”
John Jay’s defense stifled Rye’s offense, limiting the Garnets to 112 yards in the first half and only 23 yards in the third quarter. The Indians recovered a fumble and had two interceptions. “Our middle linebacker, Zach Herzog was stuffing the middle and our outside linebackers, Declan Myer and Anthony Scapperotti, stuffed the outside,” Keech said.
Freshman quarterback Andrew Livingston rallied Rye in the fourth quarter. He replaced starter Jake Meyerson, who left the game with an injury. Livingston’s 12-yard run on fourth-and-10 gave Rye a first down, Livingston connected with Andrew Hudson, for 16 yards, and Tim DeGraw, for 14 yards, enabling Simolacaj to score. Simulacra led the Garnets with 78 yards on 18 carries and Hudson had two catches for 35 yards.