WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Smalltown football goes big time when traditional Westchester high school border rivals Rye and Harrison and Sleepy Hollow and Ossining meet in their respective annual rivalries on Saturday, Oct. 19.
Those are two of the big games on tap for this weekend. Here's a look at both those contests and some others of interest.
There's big news even before the start of the Rye-Harrison 11 a.m. game at Harrison High School's McGillicuddy Field as the 83rd meeting between the teams will start in the morning for the first time in the rivalry's history. For more on that, check this article published in The Daily Voice on Thursday, Oct. 17.
Harrison holds a 37-42-3 edge in the series and come off a shutout victory in last year's game at Rye, when fans engaged in a post-game altercation that had local police and other local department at the site.
The Sleepy Hollow Horsemen host their Route 9 neighbors, The Pride of Ossining, at 1:30 p.m. in the 40th meeting of the two Class A teams vying for playoff position. Sleepy Hollow leads the series 19-18 with two ties since they began play in 1955.
Sleepy Hollow quarterback Devin Lopez led his team to a win last year 34-21 victory last year, rushing for 235 yards and three touchdowns and throwing for 125 yards and two touchdown passes. Lopez will be a fan this year as he is sidelined nursing a shoulder injury.
"Captains from both teams had dinner (Tuesday, Oct. 15) at the Horsemen Diner," Lopez said. "Our athletic directors, principals and head coaches were there all enjoying dinner and conversation. We all know this game is hyped up and we (the players) understand that this is just another game. Yes it is important to us, but both teams are in the playoffs."
Lopez said he loves the rivalry, but needs to be healthy for the postseason.
"I'm saving myself for playoffs," said Lopez, who also missed last week's loss to Rye. "Even without me on the field, I believe both teams will really fight to be on top."
Ossining is rolling off last week's 33-25 victory over Nyack that clinched a playoff spot. Senior quarterback Justin Davidoff passed for 100 yards and a score and ran for 101 yards and a touchdown to lead the Pride.
Steve Feeney, a Rye alumnus who has been following his Garnets since graduating in 1965, said the annual rivalry serves as a reunion for many on both sides.
"Our class has been meeting at the game for the last nine years, sort of a reunion for us," Feeney said. "The games always draw big crowds. I think the event is even bigger these days because fans of other schools also attend."
At Sleepy Hollow, the game festivities are expected to include an appearance by the Headless Horseman on horseback and the National Football League will be present marketing an app and displaying the Vince Lombardi Trophy that denotes the league's Super Bowl Champion.
"This is a great event for both communities," Sleepy Hollow Athletic Director Chuck Scarpulla said. "There's a lot of pride on both sides. We're looking forward to a great day."
Unbeaten Rye (6-0) comes off a convincing 43-18 victory over previously unbeaten Sleepy Hollow with quarterback Andrew Livingston throwing for 280 yards and six touchdowns. Tim DeGraw, Chris Santangelo and Jay Little each caught two touchdown passes.
Harrison, 4-2, is reeling from a 28-7 loss to Yorktown and is the home underdog. A victory over the Garnets would make the recent losses easier to take.
The early kickoff time at Harrison allows Section 1 football fans to see "The Game" and to attend later games such as the Sleepy Hollow-Ossining tussle.
More games with playoff ramifications
There are also several other high school football games in the area that have playoff ramifications.
* Class C Dobbs Ferry (5-1) hosts rival Tuckahoe for Homecoming at Gould Park with a start time of 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. The Eagles are playing for playoff position.
* Defending Class AA and state champion New Rochelle (4-2) visits North Rockland, Saturday, Oct. 19 at 1:30 p.m. with playoff seeding in the balance.
* Class B Pleasantville (5-1) visits Our Lady of Lourdes (5-1) Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in a battle for seeding position.
* Ardsley (5-1) is at winless Valhalla at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 with an eye on a playoff spot with a victory. The Panthers are the heavy favorite.