VALHALLA, N.Y. – Pedro Cueto was not expecting the offensive play call as Rye Neck faced fourth-and-9 from the Valhalla 29-yard line Friday.
However, once Rye Neck football coach Nick Ianello called Cueto’s number, the junior fullback made an impact. He burst outside for a 29-yard touchdown run, fueling Rye Neck to a 22-0 victory over Valhalla in a Section 1 Class C football game.
The Panthers concluded the regular season undefeated and unscored upon. Rye Neck will now wait as the Section 1 Football Championships seeding meeting is held Sunday. The Panthers, now 6-0, are in line for a top-two seed, at the least.
“When I heard the play, a 31 fullback toss, I knew I had to get right in there,” said Cueto, who had 10 carries for 79 yards. “As soon as Ryan (Morningstar) made his block, my eyes lit up and I saw the hole.”
Cueto took the toss, ran right and shook off a tackle at the 25-yard line. From that point, it was a clear path to the end zone. “It felt great scoring the first touchdown,” he said.
The scoring run was no surprise to senior and captain Mike Spiegel.
“When it’s fourth down, Pedro knows what he has to do and that is to get the first down,” Spiegel said. “We’ve been looking to Pedro, and he’s been doing it all season.”
Cueto was not the only Rye Neck fullback to have success. Sophomore Dom Brescia had a 19-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
After playing Valhalla in a preseason scrimmage, Rye Neck had a good idea of what would work, Cueto said.
“We did really good against them in a scrimmage,” Cueto said. “I had a couple of touchdowns against them. We felt the belly and the fullback toss would work great against their defense.”
Cueto smiled when asked about the double accomplishment of an undefeated and unscored upon regular season.
“It feels great and it shows that all of our hard work during the offseason and now has paid off."