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Rye, Harrison meet for 81st time in "The Game"

HARRISON, N.Y. - Young boys who play football in Harrison and Rye grow up dreaming of the day when they can play in “The Game.”

These boys will have their opportunity as Harrison and Rye will play in the 81st renewal of the annual rivalry, Saturday, 1:30 p.m., at McGillicuddy Stadium. It will be the first Rye-Harrison game, hosted by the Huskies, that is not being played at Feeley Field.

Feeley Field was the site of many memorable post-game celebrations. The winning team climbed the fence behind the bleachers, on the Harrison side, and jumped into the duck pond for a celebratory swim.

Harrison leads the series, 41-36-3, but Rye is currently on an eight-game winning streak. This follows a string, beginning in 1990, in which Harrison won 12 of 14 games played through 2002. The teams played twice in 2002, including a Section 1 Class B semifinal, with Harrison prevailing both times.

Two of the most memorable games during Harrison’s last run were the 1991 and ‘93 games. In 1991, Harrison won, 6-0 in a fierce, defensive struggle. Harrison denied Rye the end zone in the final minute to preserve the win. The 1993 game featured a shocking finish.

Rye entered the game undefeated and would go on to play in the first New York State Class C championship game. Harrison was without starting quarterback Craig Persiani, who left the game with an injury.

Second-string quarterback Rich Peperone stepped in and completed an improbable touchdown pass to sophomore David Beitler, Beitler, who in 1995 became the first Section 1 running back to amass 2,000 yards, went up between two Rye defensive backs, came down with the ball and raced into the end zone.

Rye has had a couple of thrilling wins during its recent stretch, 19-18 in 2006 and 21-20, last year.

The Garnets, 2-3 this season, enter the game riding a two-game winning streak. Last week, Rye crushed Roosevelt, 34-0, as Connor Murphy and Jimmy Dugan each scored twice.

Harrison rebounded from an overtime loss to John Jay-Cross River to manhandle Ossining, 31-0. Will Hillard ran for 131 yards, his second consecutive 100-plus-yard rushing day, and had a 77-yard scoring scamper. In the loss to John Jay, Hillard had an 81-yard touchdown run.

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