HARRISON, N.Y. -- During their scholastic days, Sam Goldman and Connor Eck played in the best rivalry in Section 1 football -- the Harrison-Rye game -- and were bitter rivals.
“Growing up in Harrison, the Harrison-Rye game was everything,” said Goldman, a Harrison graduate and senior captain on the Union College football team. “When I was on modified, that was the Super Bowl to me. You wanted to beat Rye.”
Eck and his Rye teammates got the best of Goldman and Harrison during their high school careers, but now the two are Union College football teammates and friends.
“When you were on the field, they were my opponents and clearly the enemy,” said Goldman, who is majoring in the classics and economics. “Once I finished, I understood they were just like me. They were trying to be their best and do what they had to do to win the rivalry for their team.”
When Goldman, a starter at safety, learned Eck was being recruited, he said he was excited.
“I had always heard good things about Connor,” Goldman said. “The rivalry had simmered down by then and I was more concerned with Union-RPI. I welcomed Connor. You learn to appreciate your section and your county. Having Connor come to Union made me feel good that we had another good player from our area.”
Goldman said when Eck, now a sophomore, arrived, he wanted to help his new teammate get acclimated to the freshman routine so they shared a meal.
“At first, I think he may have been taken aback,” said Goldman with a laugh. “I wanted to be hospitable to him and make him feel comfortable. Our senior quarterback had graduated and I wanted to help groom him to be our next guy.”
Goldman said the friendship went on hold last year in the week leading up to the Harrison-Rye game, which Rye won. The teammates were going back-and-forth all week, but Goldman said it was in good fun.
Though Rye has owned the series recently with eight consecutive wins, Goldman did mention a trump card.
“In my senior year I picked off Connor at the goal line,” Goldman said.