The streak is over: Harrison beats Rye
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Nine years of frustration and heartache were finally washed away, cleansed by the cold, murky green water of the brook adjacent to Rye High School.
Jumping in to the water on Saturday didn’t erase the losses Harrison had endured to Rye for nearly a decade. But it was a refreshing sign that the tide of Section 1’s premier rivalry just might be changing.
The Huskies celebrated their convincing 21-0 victory at Rye in the 82nd renewal with a ceremonial plunge into the brook, a ritual typical reserved the Garnets when they’ve won the rivalry matchup.
“It feels so good,” Harrison freshman defensive end Brendan Pyne said. “It was cold and deep. But it felt great.”
Pyne highlighted a lockdown defensive performance. He had four sacks, several quarterback hurries and came up with a tackle-for-loss on a botched Rye punt attempt in the first quarter.
“That was the best I’ve ever seen a freshman play in this game,” Harrison coach Art Troilo said, “including Sammy (Maldonado).”
Rye (4-3) managed just 25 yards rushing and 88 through the air, committed two turnovers and was sacked five times.
The Harrison (7-0) running game took care of the rest, gaining 265 yards. Mike Amicucci ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and Kevin Nathanson ran for a game-high 93 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts.
Harrison, which leads the all-time series 42-37-3, opened up a 21-0 lead early on its opening series of the third quarter and rode out an emotional, and long overdue, victory.
“It’s a relief. I feel like a thousand pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Troilo said. “It’s great for the kids. We really wanted it. They deserved it.”
The Harrison players had been preaching their confidence and laid-back approach all week despite feeling the pressure from the community to end the streak.
Many of the players on the current roster were in the first or second
“We finally beat Rye,” Harrison lineman Charlie Credendino said. “And it’s about time. The right team won today. It feels great.
“This year was like any other game. We treated that way. We just came out and executed and I’m proud of the way our team played.”
Pyne’s play seriously disrupted what Rye was doing offensively. He didn’t blitz on every play, but it seemed every time he did he got to Garnets quarterback Andrew Livingston.
“I was in awe of Brendan Pyne,” Credendino said. “I’m in awe of what he did. I’m proud because he’s such a great kid, a great teammate and a great athlete.”
Credendino and Harrison quarterback Vinnie Nicita are both four-year starters for Harrison. Like so many have done before them, they couldn’t imagine graduating without beating Rye at least once.
“This one is for everyone else I played with,” Credendino said. “They’re all a part of this win. I can’t describe it.”
While the Harrison players jumped into the brook, Troilo stood stoically on the Huskies sideline with family and friends. His players understood what the victory meant to the long-time coach.
“Internally, this is something that he can’t describe. He’s definitely elated and just isn’t showing it. I’m happy that this was something that we could do while I was here and I got to see him win.”
Harrison doesn’t have much turnaround time before their next game — which is Thursday in the Section 1 Class A playoffs. Unofficially the top-seeded Huskies are projected to face defending champ Poughkeepsie in the quarterfinals.
Rye is out of playoff contention. The official playoff matchups will be announced on Sunday.
“We’ll celebrate today and that’s it,” Credendino said. “We’ve got business to take care of. This isn’t the end.”
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at email@example.com