PEARL RIVER — Rye had just gotten stuffed by Pearl River’s goal-line defense, leaving the Garnets still clinging to a one-point edge, heading for the final 12 minutes of football on a steamy opening day.
“We had the momentum in our way,” Pirates coach Jeff Michael said.
Then Rye grabbed it back. Andrew Livingston threw his second touchdown pass and the Garnets were on their way to winning the fourth quarter and the game Saturday, 28-13. For a team with a lot of young parts, this was a confidence-boosting beginning to the 2012 journey.
“Our expectations are high at Rye all the time,” said coach Dino Garr, who saw his team rally from an 0-3 beginning last season to reach the Class A semis. “We want to get in the playoffs. … Once you get in those playoffs, anything can happen. This is a good start for us.”
This was a distant replay for Pearl River, considering it also lost at home to Rye last year in the quarterfinals, 14-7.
“You always look for a second chance,” Michael said. “That’s certainly something we hyped up in the offseason when the schedule came out and even in the preseason, building up to today. It was frustrating.”
Livingston contributed to that, hitting on 7 of 12 for 102 yards. He took over at quarterback as a freshman in Week 3 and now he’s a poised captain as a sophomore. He ran the ball in from the 3 and kicked the PAT to give the Garnets a 7-0 first-quarter edge. Livingston also found Conor Murphy, who would later leave with an ankle injury, for a 31-yard score, and it was a 14-0 game in the second quarter.
Before the half was done, Livingston turned the ball over on a pitch gone bad, setting Pearl River up at the 2, and Robert Gullo plowed in from there. Then Eric Corcoran broke free for a 41-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Ronan Curry missed the kick, but now Rye’s lead was just 14-13.
After Corcoran tackled Tim DeGraw at the 2 on fourth-and-goal from the 3, the Garnets forced a three-and-out and took over on Pearl River’s 36. Livingston capped the drive by throwing a strike to DeGraw in the right side of the end zone for a 6-yard score. Shane O’Malley picked up all 53 yards on Rye’s next drive with four carries, ultimately running it in from the 2.
“Age isn’t really something we’re worried about,” Livingston said. “Our coaches do a great job of getting us game-ready.”
Michael still sees good games coming for his Pirates, who went 6-3 a year ago.
“We’re built on speed,” Michael said. “We’re a physical team. It’s just a matter of finishing.”