Rick Carpiniello was on hand Friday as Rye ended its four-year drought and booked its first trip to a sectional final at Mahopac since 2008. Here’s his story on the game:
RYE – It’s been a little while, but Rye High’s Garnets are headed back to a Section 1 football championship game.
Rye (9-0) defeated Tappan Zee 28-7 in a Class A semifinal at John Nugent Stadium Friday night.
Rye will play defending Class A champ Somers, which beat Ossining in the other semifinal, next Saturday at Mahopac High in a battle between the two winningest coaches in Section 1 history, Dino Garr and Somers’ Tony DeMatteo.
“Starting with Harrison and last week with Yorktown and now this game, we’ve had three physical games in a row,” said Garr. “We’re beat up, but our kids just showed tremendous resilience. I’m so proud of what they’ve done.
“It’s going to be tough next week, but we’re going to come to play, I’m sure.”
The top-seeded Garnets (9-0) won in ’08, the last of its six consecutive Section 1 championships – which included five trips to the state final and three state championships. Since then, it’s been two semifinals, one quarterfinal, and last year’s “rebuild” in which Rye missed the playoffs.
“We’re used to seeing state titles and seeing Section 1 finals,” said quarterback Andrew Livingston. “It’s great to be back.”
Tappan Zee (7-2) has risen from the ashes under coach Andy DiDomenico, having spent seasons as an independent team and in a developmental league.
Livingston was 14 for 20 for 235 yards and three touchdowns, two of those to Tim DeGraw, who caught six balls for 163 yards. Shane O’Malley (pictured above) rushed 17 times for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Tappan Zee’s Giuseppe Maddalena rushed 23 times for 101 yards.
The Garnets got off on the right foot as Alex Raynor picked off a Maddalena pass on the second play of the game, setting up O’Malley’s four-yard touchdown run.
Four plays later, Raynor forced and recovered a Tappan Zee fumble and Rye, before Livingston lobbed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Chase Pratt to make it 14-0.
On the second play of the second quarter, when Maddalena, on fourth and four, hit Ryan McWilliams with a 40-yard touchdown pass.
With 1:17 left in the half, Livingston threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to DeGraw, and on the second play of the third, they hooked up again on a 76-yard touchdown.
“We played Garnet football,” Livingston said. “We play force to force all the time. People think we’re a finesse team, but we show them every week that we can run the football.”