Never before in the history of Section 1 football have two coaches with more wins met on the same field. Of course, the same could have been said when Tony DeMatteo and Dino Garr squared off in Week 2, yet something tells me both see this as a tad bit more important.
And they should. DeMatteo — Section 1’s winningest coach with 310 — and Garr — No. 2 at 268 wins — have never met in a sectional championship. Their presence on the sideline will be one of many storylines in a game dripping with them.
Check out my preview below to read the recent history and what both coaches had to say about one another’s team.
1. Tony DeMatteo, Roosevelt/Somers (active): 310
2. Dino Garr, Rye/Westlake (active): 268
3. Joe Casarella, North Rockland: 255
4. Skip Violante, Dobbs Ferry/Somers: 227
5. Brian Walsh, Brewster/John Jay-EF/Lourdes (active): 223
6. Rich Conklin, Nanuet: 220
7. Art Troilo Jr., Harrison (active): 197
8. Dick Rote, Pleasantville: 191
9. John Castellano, Nyack/Poughkeepsie (active): 183
10. Carl Ferraro, Pawling/Highland: 175
Class A championship
No. 1B Rye (9-0) vs. No. 4B Somers (8-1)
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Where: Mahopac High School
2013 meetings: Rye won 20-13 on Sept. 15 at Somers
Key players: Rye — Andrew Livingston (6-1, 170), Jr., QB; Tim DeGraw (5-10, 145), Jr., WR/DB; Shane O’Malley (5-9, 170), Sr., RB/LB. Somers — Tim Fazzinga (5-11, 185), Jr., FB/LB; Tim Cousin (5-10, 175), Sr., QB; Connor Vlasaty (5-7, 160), Sr., RB/DB.
Outlook: This game will pit Section 1’s two all-time winningest coaches against one another in a championship for the first time. Somers coach Tony DeMatteo ranks first and Rye coach Dino Garr is second after he passed former North Rockland coach Joe Casarella last year. Of course, they met on Sept. 15 at Somers in a game won 20-13 by Rye, which dominated the second half after the Tuskers controlled play in the first. Rye’s leading rusher, Conor Murphy, had 23 carries for 114 yards to aid the comeback, but he is expected to be out this week due to injury. The Garnets will also play without starting tackle Will Oberlander, who was ejected during last week’s win over Tappan Zee, warranting an automatic one-game suspension. Rye may rely more than ever on Livingston, who threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns in the last meeting. Although he and Rye have gone undefeated so far, Somers hasn’t lost since these teams’ first meeting. Fazzinga has evolved into the team’s top rushing option. He had five touchdowns in last week’s wipeout of Ossining.
Next up: The winner will meet the Section 9 Class A champion at 8 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Dietz Stadium in Kingston in the state quarterfinals.
Rye coach Dino Garr: “They’re an outstanding football team that executes very well in whatever they try to do on offense or defense. They don’t make many mistakes, which is typical of a Tony DeMatteo team. They are very aggressive in what they do defensively. Offensively, they make you defend the whole field, from the inside to the perimeter.”
“I don’t think there’s any difference. I think they’ve gotten better, but hopefully we’ve gotten better. We’re a little banged up, but I think they’re in the same boat. Obviously, if you’ve played nine games, you’ve fine-tuned what you’re doing. I think that what they do they do very precise. They’re a machine in terms of what they do.”
“You have to defend everything. You can just take one thing away.
I think there are ebbs and flows to the game. I think that’s just a part of two good football teams when they play. You’re going to get some momentum on one side. Hopefully, you can stymie that and get it on your side. I just think that’s what happened when you play two good teams.
Hopefully, they don’t make it one-sided because they can. I don’t think that’s going to happen and vice-versa. There will be some ebbs and flows for both teams, just like you have in the past.”
“It is special. We have gone against each other in the regular season or even in the playoffs in the quarterfinals or semifinals, but this is obviously a championship game. Tony’s been coaching a long time. He loves what he does. The kids obviously love him. I think it’s the same situation this year at Rye. We work hard. We want to get the kids prepared to do the best they can. It should be a great game.”
(On playing without tackle Will Oberlander, who was suspended) “We don’t know yet. We’re still trying to figure out what’s the best situation. We’re thin in the line and we’re trying to figure out what’s best for us, but right now it’s a struggle.”
Somers coach Tony DeMatteo: “We’re doing what we always do. We know we have to defend the pass, but the thing about Rye is they can run the football, too.”
“Dino and I have been coaching a long time. He may come up with a trick play, I may come up with a trick play, but whatever team plays the best is going to win the game. It’s simple.”
“You have to play a full game. It wasn’t like they were doing anything different. They just came out in the second half and just played better.”
“We had coverage breakdowns (in the first meeting). We were a little too complicated for that time of the year. We’re a lot better now because we’ve been practicing for a while. Last time we didn’t play the coverage the right way, but hopefully we have that corrected.”
“I think we have constantly improved since the beginning of the year. We’ve been getting better each week. I’m happy with our improvement. Does that mean we’re going to beat Rye? I don’t know. But I’m happy with where we’re at.”