LINCOLNDALE — Just like last year, Rye faced an early moment of adversity against one of the best opponents on its schedule. Though one negative outcome wouldn’t sink a season alone, it could point it in the wrong direction.
The Garnets learned that during a Week 2 loss to Sleepy Hollow last year, as they ultimately missed the postseason. On Sunday, they rallied to beat defending Class A champ Somers 20-13 on the road behind a pair of second-half touchdown passes from Andrew Livingston to Chris Santangelo.
“This year, we’re a much better mentally prepared team,” said Livingston, who finished 10 for 22 for 183 yards, two scores and an interception. “Last year, we didn’t do the bestjob of managing the high and lows of a game. This year, we’re doing a much better job at that.”
Rye (2-0) needed to maintain focus early as Somers (1-1) pounded the ball downfield. On the 14th play of the Tuskers’ opening drive, the Garnets punched the ball loose and recovered for a touchback just as Matt Morgante stretched toward the goal line.
“I felt like we could move the ball doing some things, and if 14 (Livingston) is on the bench he can’t hurt me,” said Somers coach Tony DeMatteo, whose team led just 7-6 at half despite running 30 of the first 38 plays. “We were down there a few times, but we just couldn’t finish it.”
Rye pulled ahead 12-7 late in the third quarter, but Somers regained the lead 13-12 early in the fourth when junior Joe Spor faked the double handoff and ran 40 yards to score on his only carry of the game.
Again, the Garnets responded. They capped an eight-play drive when Livingston hit Santangelo on a short fourth-and-3 rollout pass that Santangelo took 17 yards into the end zone.
“I thought it was important that once we got behind both times we were able to come right back,” coach Dino Garr said. “That last drive was super for us. That’s a real character-building drive.”
Rye forced another fumble on the ensuing Somers possession, and junior Tim DeGraw recovered.