As cliche as it might be, too little too late should be the slogan of the Class B State Championship where Oneida fell 16-12 to Rye Sunday night at the Carrier Dome.
Although Oneida got on the board first (on their very first possession), it was all Rye until the fourth quarter when Oneida tried hard to overcome a 16-6 deficit.
"I was proud of the fact the kids didn't quit, they kept playing hard until there was only 10 seconds in the game when they knew all Rye had to do was take a knee," head coach Bill Carinci said.
Quarterback Ryan Kramer had a long kickoff return to open the game, followed by a 16-yard run by junior Nate Mallinder, putting Oneida up 6-0 early in the game. Rye answered quickly with a 28-yard run from Ryan McCormack, followed by the extra point that gave the Garnets a lead they would not relinquish. Rye scored once more before the opening quarter's end, making the score 13-6.
Just before halftime, Rye extended its lead with a field goal.
The Indians scored one more touchdown off a pass to Brandon Miles to make it 16-12 with a little over two minutes left in the game, but a failed onside kick attempt gave Rye the ball.
Rye recovered the kick despite the best efforts of the Indians' special teams who pummeled the receiver, Rye's Paul Reisner. It was to no avail as Rye held on to retain possession.
The Garnets capitalized on the opportunity to run out the clock and as the seconds ran out, so did the dreams of a state championship for the Indians.
It was a run to be pleased with, however, as the Indians kept it close despite Rye's storied history, which includes a state championship last year and a finals appearance in five of the last six years.