Tuesday through Friday this week, MyRye.com is bringing you "The Game: A History Lesson" – a series outlining the history our the 83 year strong Rye Garnet – Harrison Huskie football rivalry. The history is written by the Old Garnet, Stephen Feeney.
Installment two of four:
RYE’S FABULOUS FIFTIES – (‘51-‘62)
Starting late in the ‘51 season, Rye embarked on an unusual journey covering 4 years and 33 straight victories including 4 consecutive shutouts of the Huskies. As the widely anticipated ‘55 game approached, the ledger tallied 11-10-2 in favor of HHS with Rye eagerly expecting to knot the record for the 1st time in series history. Both teams were undefeated, and a crowd of 20,000 jammed the entire bowl at Rye Stadium after weather had twice postponed the game to its ultimate Thanksgiving Day clash. Rye led 12-0, but the Huskies scored to make it a 12-6 game as the clock wound down to its waning seconds. On the game’s final snap Harrison scored on a flea-flicker and converted the extra-point stunning the Garnets and cracking the longest winning streak in Westchester football history.
Coach Ben Bedini’s Garnets began another march toward destiny, when from ‘56-‘60 they again won 33 straight. Entering the final contest of the ‘60 season would history repeat itself with a Harrison upset or would the Garnets finally break through for a 34th straight win? It was déjà vu all over again when on a cold November Saturday two undefeated teams waged battle before a packed house at Harrison’s Feeley Field. In a teasing switch from the ‘55 game, Rye trailed 13-7 late in the 4th quarter as the Garnets drove to a 1st and goal at the Husky 1-yard line. On 4th down and inches, Rye ran a QB option only to be stopped for no gain by Husky tackle Jimmy Pauline who knifed through a block by his Rye cousin Bobby Pauline to stop Rye inches short of pay dirt, breaking the Garnet’s hearts once more and halting Rye’s second, 33-game victory skein. For decades Rye’s Bedini questioned his play calling on that final drive.
From ‘51 to ‘62, Rye dominated 10-2 and finally led the rivalry 16-13-2 following the ‘62 season.
FRIEDGEN TO FREIDGEN & TROILO TO TROILO – (‘62-‘82)
Throughout the ‘60s and most of the ‘70s, the teams frequently played even – with an unusual pattern of alternating road victories with home losses. Epic Rye/Harrison battles matched the best Westchester football coaching minds of Harrison’s Ralph Friedgen, Sr. and Art Troilo, Sr. against Rye’s Ben Bedini and John Nugent. In what has become a familiar Harrison pattern, Ralph Friedgen, Jr. played quarterback for his father during the ‘62-‘64 seasons and went into coaching. Friedgen, Jr became this “Old Garnet’s” college roommate at the University of Maryland where Rye’s Coach John Nugent’s brother was head coach and recruited Freidgen.
Two classic games occurred in ‘70 & ‘71. Rye squeaked out a 3-0 win on a late, 29-yard field goal by place-kicker Bob Marx on his only attempt of the season. The following year the Huskies trapped Rye QB Mark Bockeloh for a safety and a 2-0 shutout win.
By ‘74 the series was deadlocked again at 20-20-3, but HHS reeled off 8 straight surging into series control which hasn’t been relinquished since. Repeating the Friedgen tandem, during the ’76-’77 seasons Art Troilo, Jr., Harrison’s current head coach, excelled at tailback and established all-time Husky records lasting for 25 years under his coach, father, and ‘50’s Syracuse University gridiron star during the Jim Brown Era, Art Troilo, Sr.