In what will be the 96th meeting between the rivals, The Game between Rye and Harrison this upcoming year will have an odd feeling to it for some. Contrary to tradition, the Garnets and Huskies will not be hitting the gridiron for a late-season tilt in the 2023 season. Instead, Section One’s most storied football rivalry will be played in Week Zero, which falls on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.
Due to New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s (NYSPHSAA) new classifications for the upcoming academic year, Rye and Harrison are forced to meet during a time outside of the regular season. The classifications are determined by school population size, and Rye was recently re-classified to Class B while Harrison remained in Class A. The only option for the two schools is to meet in the first game of the season.
For decades, The Game would occur at the end of the regular season before bowl games would start. Ever since 1993, however, when the state championships were introduced, Rye and Harrison have never really met in the regular season finale. The rivals have met at various points in the regular season schedule since 1993, but rarely have clashed on Labor Day weekend.
“Obviously we’d like to have the game be later in the season,” Rye Boys Varsity Football head coach Dino Garr said. “But in order for us to play it this year, it would have to be what we call a game zero.”
The schools are aware that some community members may be vacationing on the Labor Day weekend, but this is the only option.
“I still think we’re going to get a big crowd,” Garr said. “It’s going to be in Harrison, and I think that there’s a lot of town pride in both communities to get there.”
While the Rye and Harrison communities may have to adjust to the early-season date, Coach Garr is confident that both teams will be ready to compete regardless of these circumstances.
“This is a Rye–Harrison game — this is a rivalry,” Garr said. “You’re going to get ready for the game…..I don’t think it’s going to be any different than the past.”
The hype and excitement during the week leading up to kickoff should be the same as usual, as well, with many of the “rivalry week” staples, like the Rye Rotary luncheon, still scheduled.
“Everyone’s concerned about, you know, the tradition is being broken,” Garr said. “The tradition is not being broken. We’re still playing. The rivalry is still there, it’s just when you play it. We played it two other times as the first game of the season, and we had good crowds then, so I don’t see it as a problem.”