The sun had shifted in the sky, draping an ominous shadow over half of the football field at Nugent Stadium. Rye, trailing archrival Harrison 20-13, faced a harrowing fourth-and-12 situation from its own 42-yard-line. With little over three minutes remaining in the 80th installment of “The Game”, the Rye Pep Band began playing the notes to Journey’s timeless classic, “Don’t Stop Believin’”, during the time-out.
Working hard to get my fill, everybody wants a thrill
The Garnets broke the huddle and senior quarterback Connor Eck lined up under center. Eck, one of five captains, was not even supposed to play. The three-year starter hadn’t competed in a game since the first half of October 1’s game with Spring Valley, which he left with an ankle injury. He then sliced open his right hand – his good one – the next week at home in a freak accident. The wound required 10 stitches that weren’t removed until three days before the Harrison game
Payin’ anything to roll the dice, just one more time
Eck took the snap and faked the handoff to Kevin Turco. He rolled back into the darkness, turned, looked downfield, and set his feet. Gripping the football with a bandaged hand covered only by a thin glove, the quarterback unleashed a pass that soared roughly 25 yards, crossing the threshold of the shadow into the light
Some will win, some will lose, some are born to sing the blues
On the other end of the pass, in mid-air between a Bermuda Triangle of Harrison defensive backs, was senior captain Brian Pickup. The tight end made The Catch, ripping the ball out of the shining sky a la Dwight Clark, and came down with a first down that breathed new life into an eventual 80-yard touchdown drive capped by Eck’s game-winning, pandemonium-inducing, two-point conversion run.
Oh, the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on …
When the Huskies’ desperate 50-yard field goal fell wide right and far short as time expired, the Garnets and their thousands of supporters on hand celebrated a 21-20, instant-classic victory that goes down with the best in Rye-Harrison lore.