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MSG Playoff Preview 2011-RYE

Posted Monday, October 24, 2011 by Kevin Devaney

Dino Garr (35th season)
Class: A
Record: 4-3, 4-2 in League I
Seed: 3
Preseason rank: 4 (out of 27)

Path to a title: Rye will play at No. 2 Pearl River in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The winner will face either John Jay-CR or Somers in the semifinals on Tuesday, November 1 at the higer seed. Rye and Pearl River did not meet in the regular season.

Recent playoff history (2006-2010)

Year Record Result
2006 10-1 Beat Pelham in finals
2007 12-0 Beat Sleepy Hollow in finals
2008 13-0 Beat Pleasantville in finals
2009 6-3 Lost to Poughkeepsie in semifinals
2010 5-3 Lost to Somers in quarterfinals

Section 1 championships: 7
Most recent title: 2008 (Class B)
State championships: 3

Regular season results

Date Opponent Result MSGV Coverage
9/9 at Somers L 28-20 Article/Highlights/Photos
9/16 John Jay L 14-7 Article/Highlights
9/23 at Ossining L 22-14 Article/Photos
10/1 at Greeley W 26-7 Article/Highlights
10/6 Roosevelt W 34-0 Highlights
10/15 at Harrison W 17-7 Article/Highlights/Photos
10/21 Lakeland W 20-0 Article

Marquee victory: C’mon, is that a serious question? Harrison will always be Rye’s best win, which they’ve done now nine times in a row. The Greeley victory, though, was the turning point of Rye’s season after an 0-3 start. The dominant effort against the Quakers has been a springboard to the postseason.


Joe Simolacaj, Sr., RB/LB: Already one of the best linebackers in the section, Simolacaj is coming off a jaw-dropping 36-carry effort against Harrison. He can carry the load, move piles and make plays.

Jake Meyerson, Sr., RB/QB/DB: The mid-season move from quarterback to running back has suited Meyerson just fine. He runs like a fullback and has deceptive speed and an ability to take on tacklers in the open field.

Matt Keough, Sr., G/DT: Keough is far stronger and more athletic than the average 6-foot-1, 235-pounder. He’s the lineman Rye runs behind most and is a run-stuffer on defense.

Peter Wittwer, Sr., T/DT: The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder is not somebody you want to get in the way of when he has a full head of steam. He proved that against Harrison as he anchored a Rye line that controlled the trenches.

Teddy Ice, Sr., TE/DE: Ice is a superb blocker but has been a nightmare for opposing lines as a defensive end. He had two touchdowns against Somers, including a fumble return for a score.

Unsung heroes

Andrew Livingston, Fr., QB: A freshman quarterback? That shows how much trust Garr has in Livingston, who is a terrific passer and plays with far more poise than most players his age.

Dylan Lynch, Sr., WR: All Lynch does is catch touchdowns. Well, maybe not quite. But he had two in Rye’s 17-7 win over Harrison last week and is adept at finding open space in the secondary.

Playoff outlook

What must go right: As the Harrison win proved, the Garnets are clearly at their best when they split carries between Simolacaj and Meyerson and they let Livingston burn defenses with a sudden pass. As long as Rye sticks to that model and plays possession football, it will play with any team in this bracket.

Who must step up: The offensive line. The quintent of Wittwer, Keough, Will Croughan, Patrick Powers and Andrew Aquilino have grown into a stellar unit and might be one of the few, if only, that has the size and athleticism to play with Poughkeepsie.

Devaney’s take: Rye is an interesting team heading into the postseason. At 0-3, they were on course for a woefully underachieving year before the flip switched and things started to click. Moving Meyerson to running back and installing Livingston at QB as a freshman was certainly gutsy. If it leads Rye to a title — which is not totally impossible, although I don’t see it happening — it could be one of the great moves ever by the legendary Garr.

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