RYE – From the day he became Rye’s coach in 1976 until Saturday morning, Dino Garr and his Garnets had chased Harrison for control of Westchester County’s premier football rivalry. There had been moments good, bad and in between over those four decades, so no one understood the significance of Saturday better than Garr.
For the first time since 1974, Rye drew even in its famed all-time series with Harrison. The Garnets finally reached .500 with authority, throttling the overmatched Huskies 42-12 at Nugent Stadium to win for the 14th time in their last 15 meetings.
“It’s great,” Garr said after Rye tied the series 42-42-3. “It’s been a long, long haul to get there. I hope it keeps up. But I know this game and the momentum can change quickly. Now we’re even. Hopefully next year we can pull ahead.”
Rye-Harrison preview: Harrison tries to rebound against a formidable foe, Rye
The Garnets led throughout the 87th playing of Rye-Harrison after senior quarterback T.J. Lavelle connected with Mat Bruno on a 74-yard strike midway through the first quarter.
Lavelle had plenty of time to operate after a few early hiccups by a young and inexperienced offensive line that gained confidence as the game progressed. The offense piled up 536 yards (249 rushing, 287 passing) on just 53 plays.
“I think we really settled in at the end of the first quarter and opened things up,” senior Brett Egan said. “We opened up a lot of holes for the backs and protected T.J., and T.J. was throwing darts out there.”
Effective passing and running games guided the Garnets to a 21-0 halftime lead. Their lead reached 35-0 with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter, but Garr began to pull his starters, several of whom were suffering from cramps.
Lavelle did add one final touchdown when junior Gavin Kenny snared a one-handed grab and bounced free for a 56-yard jaunt to the end zone.
“We made some great catches,” Garr said. “When the quarterback missed, he missed. But when he was on, he was fun to watch. That’s for sure.”
Player of the game: T.J. Lavelle, Rye. Despite a couple early misses under pressure, Lavelle finished 11 for 18 for 287 yards and threw three touchdowns to three different receivers: Bruno (74 yards), Will Hynson (33) and Kenny (56).
Stat line: Rye (2-0) — Will Tepedino led the Garnets in rushing with 115 yards on just six carries, including an 84-yarder that produced one of his two touchdowns. Starter Jamie Chabot had 10 carries for 76 yards before leaving in the second quarter with a right leg injury. … Lavelle completed passes to seven different receivers. … Billy Chabot had an interception. Harrison (0-2) — Brett Silber came on late to rush for 88 yards and both Huskies touchdowns. Thomas Gresham added 73 yards on the ground, including a 64-yarder in the first half. … Brian Newsome had an interception to end one of Rye’s scoring threats.
Quotable: “Harrison always comes out really hard in this game,” Lavelle said. “Sometimes we start slowly, but once we get going, we really get going. We’re a really good team.”