MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Twenty-six years of frustration was dwindling down to the final few seconds, and when the semifinal of the Section 1 Class C Football Championship concluded Saturday, Rye Neck began a jubilant celebration.
Quarterback Thomas Pipolo scored three touchdowns, sending undefeated and second-seeded Rye Neck to a 25-7 victory over the third-seeded Dobbs Ferry. It was Rye Neck’s first win over Dobbs Ferry since 1987.
Rye Neck (7-0) will play top-seeded and undefeated Woodlands in the title game at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at Mahopac High School.
“When I came on the team as a freshman, we all said it doesn’t matter what our record is as long as we beat Dobbs Ferry,” said senior and captain Mike Spiegel. Rye Neck achieved its goal with the same game plan it has employed all season. The Panthers played smothering defense and utilized its ground game, led by the offensive line.
Even though Rye Neck allowed its first points of the season, Spiegel said he and his teammates played their best defensive game against a high-scoring Dobbs Ferry offense, highlighted by bruising fullback Tim Soave.
“We came in wanting to play fast, hard and tough and not allow them to score,” Spiegel said. “We could not allow ourselves to be intimidated by them because we had as much a right as they did to win the game.
“After the first couple of plays, we were as confident as we were at the end of the game. We wanted to shut down their running and we felt we did that.
Soave was held to a season-low 32 yards on 12 carries. Dobbs Ferry generated just 78 yards of offense in the first half and 90 through three quarters.
Pipolo had the first two touchdowns, punching it in from the 1-yard line both times. Dom Bresica’s 64-yard dash set up Pipolo’s second score. Halfback Jakob Calvini connected with fellow halfback Ryan Morningstar on a 19-yard touchdown pass just before halftime.
Morningstar gained 69 of his 88 yards in the second half.
“I can’t put into words what this means,” Morningstar said. “This is the biggest game I’ve ever played in and to win it feels great.”
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