Wildcats Win FAA Championship and Qualify for NEPSAC Bowl Game

Rye Country Day’s young football team has taken the Fairchester Athletic Association by storm in what arguably has been their best season under head coach John Calandros.

Boasting a 5-1 record in league play and 7-1 overall, the Wildcats captured their first-ever FAA title by shutting out Hopkins 20-0 on the road in the regular season finale. The defense smothered the strong Hopkins running attack; senior Yawer Amin and junior Chibueze Nwakeze led the defense with 13 tackles apiece. The shutout was Rye Country Day’s fifth of the season.

Junior phenoms Garrett Washington, Sam Stern, and Andrew Miller carried the team on offense. Washington, who popped his collarbone against King a few weeks prior, returned under center and threw a 46-yard pass to Tyler McCaine late in the second half, capping the drive with a touchdown on foot.

From there, the tailback tandem of Miller and Stern took over. Miller rushed for a career-high 191 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries. Stern, a captain who averages nearly nine yards per carry, pounded out another 97 yards, with a touchdown as well. Stern, and Miller, who rushes for seven yards per tote, have put the team on their backs all year.

“Sam Stern was the MVP this season, he carried the team,” said senior captain Jake Heller. “And Miller was certainly the most improved.”

The spectacular season does not end here for the Wildcats. They’ve qualified for a bowl game November 20 against talented Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols of Cambridge, Mass. The NEPSAC Jack Etter Bowl will be played on a neutral field in Windsor, Conn., at 1 p.m.

Looking ahead, the Wildcats will graduate several talented seniors in June, including captains Jamie Mazur, Owen Grey, and Heller.

“We will need to rebuild our offensive line so we can have the running lanes needed to be successful,” said Washington. “With that said, everyone needs to come into preseason ready to work, get better and have the mindset that we can’t be beaten.”

– Andrew Farber

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