SOMERS, N.Y. – In Week 3 of the regular season, Somers rallied from a 17-point deficit to hand Rye a four-point loss. The come-from-behind win was the start of a six-game winning streak.
But in the Section 1 Class A semifinals, third-seeded Rye turned the tables on second-seeded Somers, overcoming a 13-point deficit to hand the Tuskers a 28-20 defeat on Nov. 1.
The turning point of the game came right before halftime. Somers was leading 20-7 but Rye’s Declan Lavelle launched a 30-yard touchdown pass to Matt Tepidino in a crowd as time expired. The Garnets trimmed the deficit to 20-14 at the break.
“They have great receivers and the kid made a great catch,” said Somers coach Tony DeMatteo. “We had six guys back there and he just jumped up between all of them and caught it.”
It was all Rye in the second half.
Midway through the third quarter, the Garnets took a 21-20 lead when Lavelle fired a 23-yard touchdown pass. On their next possession, Lavelle found Tedino again on a 9-yard touchdown route and the Garnets gained a 28-20 lead.
“The kid Lavelle is terrific and he’s got great receivers,” DeMatteo said. “We had guys in the area but they were just making great catches.”
The Tuskers couldn’t gain any traction offensively in the second half as the penalty flags started to fly.
“I think what was happening was that any time we got any kind of movement we got a penalty,” DeMatteo said. “With the kind of offense we run, I can’t be in second-and-25 or second-and-15. I think the penalties is really what hurt us.”
On Somers’ final possession, Jack Kaiser was stopped on fourth-and-1 with 2:55 to play. The Garnets then kneeled it out and held on for the win.
Somers stormed out of the gate in the first half. Charlie Balancia rushed around the right edge and jetted down the sideline for a 39-yard touchdown run to put the Tuskers up 7-0 with 8:40 left in the first half.
Rye answered when Lavelle rushed for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:02 left in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, Somers quarterback Jackson Kossow capped off a drive with a 2-yard touchdown run as he dove for the pylon.
Kossow found Kenny McGrane in the back of the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 35.6 seconds left in the first half.
Balancia finished with 13 carries for 100 yards rushing. Kaiser picked up 76 yards on 18 carries.
Jake Polito had eight tackles on defense including two for a loss. T.J. Deagan had seven tackles and a sack. Anthony Cheek tallied seven tackles and a fumble recovery.
After falling to Yorktown in their second game, the Tuskers (7-2) rattled off six straight wins on their way to the semifinals. The season ended for them in the same round as last year. In 2018, they fell to eventual champion John Jay (Cross River) in the semifinals.