It only took one year for Rye to retake command of the famous rivalry between the Garnets and Harrison.
With 3:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, Conor Murphy capped a 56-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown run for the game's lone offensive points in a classic 8-2 victory by the Garnets over their bitter rivals.
“Someone made a speech before the final drive and just said this is now or never,” Murphy said. “They bottled up our pass game most of the day and we committed to the run on that drive and the offensive line did a nice job. We ran the same play five or six times and just pounded the ball.”
Harrison outgained Rye 223-173 in offensive yards, but the Garnets forced three turnovers, blocked a punt, and stopped the Huskies three times inside the red zone. Murphy jumped on one of the fumbles down on the three-yard line.
“The defense really stepped up today, it was incredible,” Murphy said. “We didn’t allow any points to their offense all day. We pitched a shut out.”
After Murphy’s recovered fumble, that defensive aggressiveness from Harrison proved fruitful.
Two plays later, Jake Marino sacked Livingston for a safety and a 2-0 lead for Harrison. Jeremy Altamuro and Drew Estes also had sacks for the Huskies.
It was Rye’s turn for the defense to make a play though. After the safety punt, Rye forced a three-and-out, then Paul Staudinger blocked a punt to set up the game-winning drive.
Tim DeGraw was the offensive bright spot for Rye in the victory with three catches for 56 yards and two rushes for 46 yards. He also had an interception to seal the win in the final seconds. Andrew Livingston was under duress for the second straight year against a ferocious Harrison pass rush, but was able to engineer the game-winning drive. He finished 6-for-15 for 75 yards.
“We expected them to play that way on defense because it worked well for them last year,” Murphy said. “They were very aggressive, and it took away our deep throws.”
Jake Marino led Harrison with 84 yards on nine carries. Mike Amiucci added 77 yards on the ground on 23 carries.
Harrison controlled the first half with its ground game and stiff defense. Alamuro, Ryan Knox, and Drew Estez were great defensively for the Huskies, and Pyne and the secondary locked up the passing game.
Harrison finishes the season 4-3 after having high expectations for the season. The Huskies will miss the playoffs and a win over the Garnets would’ve salvaged their season.
Rye, on the other hand, will head to the postseason unbeaten and the league champions. The Garnets will host Yorktown on Friday night in the Section 1 Class AA quarterfinals. With the playoffs looming, there was pregame talk about Rye not going all out against Harrison.
“This is Rye-Harrison, this is the whole season for us,” Murphy said. “Guys were going to be on the field no matter what. A couple guys got banged up and went right back in there. There’s no way we would not play our toughest against Harrison.”