Tuesday through Friday this week, MyRye.com is bringing you "The Game: A History Lesson" - a series outlining the history our the 83 year strong Rye Garnet - Harrison Huskie football rivalry. The history is written by the Old Garnet, Stephen Feeney.
Installment four of four - see you at The Game Saturday!:
GARNETS’ AUGHTS & BEYOND - (‘00 – ‘12)
The 21st Century dawned with the Rye/Harrison game scheduled to kick-off as the first game of the ‘00 season for both squads. This uncharacteristic scheduling pattern was repeated in ’01 marking the first years since ‘37 that the “War Between Neighbors” was played on other than the final Saturday of the regular season. Such scheduling treatment was necessitated by the disparate student populations of the larger HHS (Class B) and the significantly smaller RHS (Class C).
The Garnets and Huskies alternated triumphs in ’00 and ’01, and in ’02, another “rivalry first” occurred - playing each other TWICE – once during the season and a rematch in the Class B Sectionals. Both games were played in Harrison with the Huskies sweeping. This “Double Jeopardy” returned in ‘03 and was perfectly symmetrical as the home Garnets captured both the regular season battle and the sectional playoff skirmish.
In ’02 the Huskies claimed their second state title (’99 & ’02). Like the ’02 Huskies, the ’03 Garnets steamrolled through the sectionals and regionals to face Chenango Forks in the same game one year later. Unluckily, Rye did not duplicate Harrison’s ’02 championship. What are the odds of both Rye and Harrison playing the same upstate opponent in consecutive years for the NYS Class B Football title?
By ’04 Harrison’s student numbers moved the Huskies to Class A, and Rye’s kept the Garnets in Class B. However to the chagrin of the locals, “The Game” was not scheduled in ’04. Section One’s Class B Football Committee denied Rye’s request for a scheduling accommodation to retain the annual Rye/Harrison classic. The Section One Executive Committee and the Executive Director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association each denied the joint Rye/Harrison appeals, and the rivalry fell eerily silent in ’04. But Rye once again advanced to the NY State Class B Championship Game, re-engaged Chenango Forks and placed second in NY State for the third time in twelve years (’93, ’03 & ’04). Rekindling the rivalry in ’05 when the scheduling gurus recognized the errors of their ways, the Garnets and Huskies met in the 75th Diamond Anniversary Game with Rye controlling by a 14-0 score and grabbing its third win in a row.
In what has been described as an “instant classic”, the ’06 contest featured a razor-thin 19-18 victory. Journal News headlines shrilled “Surreal Shocker” as New York State’s # 1 Class B team (Rye) bested New York State’s # 1 Class A team (Harrison) by a point in a game featuring 6 TDs but only 1 extra-point thus providing Rye with the slimmest margin of victory.
In ’07 through ‘09 Rye dominated closing the decade 8-3. The ’10 Rye win tied the ‘90s Huskies for the longest series winning streak at eight. In only the third game decided by one point, Rye embarked on what will be forever known as “The Drive” with less than 3 minutes on the clock trailing 21-13. Concluded with a TD pass from Connor Eck to Brian Pickup, “The Catch”, and followed by a daring 2-point conversion, the Garnets rocked 21-20. Harrison would then advance to the NY State Class A final only to fall short of a state title. Thru ’10 only two other Garnet/Husky tilts have been decided by a singleton – in ‘55 when Harrison cratered the Garnets first 33-game win streak 13-12, and Rye 19, Harrison 18 in ’06. In ‘11 Rye’s control of the scrimmage line, clock and scoreboard 17-7, extended the Garnets’ dominance to an unprecedented nine straight contests. In an uneventful ’13 contest the Huskies broke Rye’s streak 21-0.
The historical record after 82 scuffles stands at 42-37-3 (.532) in favor of the Pups. May the deep tradition and respectful sportsmanship exhibited in past Rye/Harrison encounters be present in the ’13 renewal of “Section One’s Most Storied Rivalry Football Game”.