CHAPPAQUA — On the eve of Saturday’s home game against Harrison, Horace Greeley quarterback Cameron Ciero read a letter to the team. It was written by his brother Justin Ciero, a three-year starter who suffered a broken foot in a one-touchdown loss to the Huskies in the 2010 Class A championship.
“It was a great letter,” said Greeley’s second-year coach Tim Sullivan, who was an assistant on the 2010 team. “There’s a lot of pride in that family. They’re gamers. Cam was really ready to play. He’s always ready to play. You don’t have to worry about motivating him – or this group.”
“This was a huge game for me personally,” said the younger Ciero, a junior. “I’ve been looking forward to this game all season.”
On Saturday, he proved it, throwing for a pair of touchdowns and rushing for the go-ahead score as his Quakers won 21-15, beating the top-ranked team in The Journal News’ Class A poll.
Junior Connor Schinderman stopped Harrison’s Jake Marino on fourth down at the Greeley 35 with 4:21 to play.
“That was a big stop,” Sullivan said. “He really got off the ball there and came across the field to make that play. That’s a big-time play.”
The Quakers (3-1) burned the remaining time behind a dominant offensive line that included captains Vinny Hriskonich, Billy Marino and Will Rothschild.
“It’s huge,” said Sullivan, whose team had lost 35-6 at Harrison last season. “We found out who we were. We dug deep.”
After Ciero threw early touchdowns to Dean Marrazzo and Brandon Okun to give Greeley a 14-0 lead, his counterpart, Brendan Pyne, rushed for a 2-point conversion and threw for a score. He and Rashan Gilmore, who rushed for the other touchdown, helped give Harrison a 15-14 halftime lead.
Greeley went ahead for good on a Ciero run just 49 seconds into the second half. The drive was aided by 38 yards of Harrison penalties.
“We’re not focused right now,” Harrison coach Art Troilo Jr. said. “We haven’t been on the right track all year.”
The Huskies played without senior star Mike Amicucci, who suffered a sprained ankle against Pearl River and missed the remainder of the game but returned last week against Tappan Zee. One of Amicucci’s replacements, Rashan Gilmore, played sparingly in the second half because of cramps. Pyne also left the game on multiple occasions because of cramping. He also had to sit out a key play on Harrison’s final drive after suffering a cut that left blood on his uniform.
Triolo said Saturday’s loss was a byproduct of his team’s inconsistent play all season.
“We were due for this because the focus is just not there,” he said. “It starts with me. I have to reevaluate myself. I’ve been doing it for too long for it to be like this.”
Despite beating Harrison, Greeley’s playoff future remains in doubt. The Quakers travel to Yorktown and John Jay the next two weeks.
“This was a big deal for us. This was the season right here,” Sullivan said of beating Harrison. “If we go down two losses it could’ve been it, but now we have a chance.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story did not credit Rashan Gilmore with scoring Harrison’s rushing touchdown.