BY RAY GALLAGHER
Rye High senior QB Andrew Livingston was everything he was billed to be, and then some, in last Saturday’s Section 1 Class A championship. The Brown-bound Livingston lit up the Mahopac sky, connecting on 8-of-11 passes for 257 yards and three TD passes in the No.1B Garnets’ 35-14 title triumph of No.1A Yorktown High.
Livingston also rushed for two TDs and moved the chains whenever he needed to with clutch completions and tough yards on the ground. In between, he set the Section 1 record for career passing yards (5,469) and won state-ranked (No.9) Rye (9-1) its first Section 1 title since 2008 when the Garnets moved from Class B to Class A.
He set the record on a 54-yard bomb, one of two heaves that would hit his WR Tim DeGraw in stride. Yale-bound DeGraw went for 183 yards and three scores.
Yorktown could not simulate this dynamic duo in practice unless they had brought in Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, so the Husker secondary was stunned by Livingston’s accuracy and DeGraw’s precision routes.
"Losing in last year’s championship (to Somers) was all the motivation we needed to come in and do our jobs this year," Livingston said after winning Rye’s 11th Section 1 championship.
State-ranked (No.8) Yorktown (9-1) seemed to be cast as the star in an episode of Breaking Bad, because just about everything did break bad for Coach Mike Rescigno’s Huskers, including the opening kickoff, which, when launched on-sides, bounded off a Yorktown player and into the hands of a Garnet, giving Livinsgton the first of several short fields to work with. Little did anyone know it would be a portent of things to come.
"Some things happened that you can’t draw up," Rescigno admitted. "You can’t simulate what we saw tonight."
Rye would build a 21-0 halftime lead, which ballooned to 28 points when Livingston came out gunning to open the second half. The Huskers, stunned and battered, fought valiantly for four quarters, cutting the deficit to 28-6 after a five-yard TD rush from FB Tim Forbes. Husker QB Ryan Baker (12-of-27, 150 yards) later hit Forbes for a 24-yard scoring strike. Husker receiver Dan Delbene caught three passes for 51 yards
Yorktown junior RB Nick Santavicca, who plays with the heart of a lion, finished with 32 carries for 220 yards and three grabs for 45 yards, putting the finishing touches on a record-setting season.
"It’s tough going out like this," Santavicca said. "Livingston's got some arm. He really does. You can't really defend that."
Yorktown, which had its finest season since going 10-1 in 1998 and advancing to the NYS semifinals, will now turn its attention to what it does better than almost anyone in the country; preparing for lacrosse season.
With its almost impenetrable close defense having graduated, including standout All-Section goalie Austin Graham, All-American Austin Fusco and All-Section pole Chris Cunnington, the Huskers will simply reload and retool one of the finest defensive units in Yorktown history in an effort to repeat as NYS Class B champions. The 2014 football season, the best in 16 years, was the icing on the cake of what was an exceptional start to the 2014-15 school year.
Yorktown was buzzing this fall, having the kind of post-seasons we normally see each and every spring. Girls’ soccer and field hockey made deep runs into the playoffs and the boys’ soccer team and girls’ volleyball program made riveting runs to the Section 1 Class A finals before losing heartbreakers to Byram Hills and John Jay, respectively.
Slice it, dice it no matter how you spice it; Yorktown had it going on with yet another strong senior class leading the way and a core of underclassmen doing more than just blending in.