Yet again, I will host a LIVE online chat during today’s game. It will be posted shortly before 6 p.m. and will allow you to engage in the conversation during the game.
Tonight, it will be New Rochelle against defending state champ Orchard Park for the state title. This is New Rochelle’s fifth trip to the Dome, but the Huguenots have won just once (2003). Orchard Park has been perhaps the state’s best public-school program in recent years, winning state titles in 2008 and 2011.
Like yesterday, if you can’t follow the LIVE chat for some reason, I’ll post some updates on Twitter @LoHudInsider. I’ll also return shortly after the game to post the final score; a game recap with reaction from the coaches and players; awards; and a complete box score.
As always, enjoy the football!
Saturday’s games -
Class AA state championship
At Carrier Dome, Syracuse:
New Rochelle 34, Orchard Park 0
Class AA state championship
New Rochelle 34, Orchard Park 6: Senior quarterback Khalil Edney threw two touchdowns and rushed for two more to lead New Rochelle to the second state championship in program history. The Huguenots beat defending state champ Orchard Park 34-6 Saturday night in the Class AA state final at the Carrier Dome.
The 28-point margin of victory was their second largest in any game this season. Their four largest margin of victories all came during their five-game playoff run.
“This was our best game of the season. It couldn’t have come at a better time,” senior Joe Clarke said. “It’s a great feeling to win a state championship as a senior. Words can’t describe it.”
“It still doesn’t feel real,” said senior Jason Ceneus, who was named the game’s MVP. “I don’t know, maybe it will hit me later on tonight.”
New Rochelle (11-1) jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and did not punt until the third quarter. The Huguenots scored on all four of their offensive possessions in the first half until taking a knee on the final play of the second quarter.
“It was in all facets of the game. We played well on offense, on defense and on special teams,” New Rochelle coach Lou DiRienzo said. “It was a total team victory and totally unexpected. I was just praying for a competitive game and fortunately my kids played well and are state champions.”
Edney was named the game’s most outstanding offensive back six years to the day his mother lost her battle with cancer. He threw touchdown passes to Ceneus and Clarke and added a 47-yard keeper on the ground.
Edney finished 6 for 10 for 93 yards and the two TDs. He also rushed for 91 yards and two TDs.
“This game and this moment were very special for me,” Edney said. “When I stepped on the field before kickoff started, I had a moment with her.”
“He’s a great brother, a great quarterback. We all wanted to get this for him,” Clarke said. “His mother passed away on this day six years ago. It’s just a great feeling for him and the rest of us that we could get it for him.”
Ceneus rushed for 75 yards, caught the 40-yard TD and forced a fumble that led to a New Rochelle touchdown. On his touchdown catch, he caught a short pass from Edney, escaped the grip of two tacklers while spinning and took it the rest of the way.
“We kept it simple. The more we knew about what we were doing, the faster we were going to play,” Ceneus said. “We had to use our speed today. They had a little bit of weight on us, but speed kills and we got it done.”
Shayne Forbes, who missed the first three games of the season after knee surgery, led the New Rochelle defense with 11 tackles and three sacks.
“It meant a lot,” Forbes said. “A lot of the credit goes to Coach D. He tells us to do our one-eleventh and everything will come together. I just kept working hard at it.”
Ray Ganley and Terrence Holden also had a sack. Holden finished with five tackles and Ganley blocked an extra points. Gavin Harley added four tackles and recovered the fumble forced by Ceneus.
The defense narrowly had its seventh shutout of the season, but Orchard Park scored on its second-string players with 2:22 remaining in the game.
This is New Rochelle’s first state title since 2003 when a team led by future NFL players Ray Rice and Courtney Greene beat Webster Schroeder 32-6.
MVP: Jason Ceneus, New Rochelle
Most valuable offensive lineman: Steven Noake, New Rochelle
Most valuable offensive back: Khalil Edney, New Rochelle
Most valuable defensive lineman: Tucker Gamble, Orchard Park
Most valuable defensive back: Shayne Forbes, New Rochelle
Sportsmanship: Wijante Holden, New Rochelle; Christopher Sanflippo, Orchard Park
FINAL: New Rochelle 34, Orchard Park 6
New Rochelle (11-1) … 13 15 6 0 – 34
Orchard Park (11-2) … 0 0 0 6 – 6
Scoring plays -
NR- Jon Forrest 1 run (Joe Clarke kick)
NR- Jason Ceneus 40 pass from Khalil Edney (kick failed)
NR- Edney 47 run (Edney run)
NR- Clarke 9 pass from Edney (Clarke kick)
NR- Edney 3 run (kick failed)
OP- Raphael Pagliei 26 pass from Ben Holmes (kick blocked – Ray Ganley)
First downs: New Rochelle, 19-14
Rushes-yards: 48-244 New Rochelle; 22-132 Orchard Park
Passing: 6-10-93 New Rochelle; 10-27-125 Orchard Park
Total offense (plays-yards): 58-337 New Rochelle; 54-257 Orchard Park
Punts: 4-37.8 New Rochelle; 3-29.3 Orchard Park
Fumbles-lost: 1-1 New Rochelle; 1-1 Orchard Park
Penalties-yards: 6-69 New Rochelle; 3-36 Orchard Park
Possession: 30:06-17:04, New Rochelle
Third-down conversions: 7 of 11 New Rochelle; 2 of 11 Orchard Park
Fourth-down conversions: 2 of 2 New Rochelle; 1 of 5 Orchard Park
Rushing: New Rochelle
Khalil Edney 7 for 91; Jason Ceneus 12 for 75; Jon Forrest 16 for 54; Wijante Holden 8 for 26. Orchard Park Ben Holmes 12 for 109; Mitchell Wilson 8 for 21; Austin Goltz 2 for 2.
Passing: New Rochelle
Edney 6 for 10, 93 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT. Orchard Park Holmes 10 for 26, 170 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; Kevin Goltz 0 for 1.
Receiving: New Rochelle
Joe Clarke 2 for 30, TD; Ahmad Encarnacion 2 for 16; Ceneus 1 for 40, TD; Keimon Barrow 1 for 7. Orchard Park A. Goltz 6 for 108; Raphael Pagliei 2 for 37, TD; Jason Dolce 1 for 25; Wilson 1 for 0.
Tackles (solo-assist-TFL): New Rochelle
Shayne Forbes 10-2-4.5; Terrence Holden 5-0-1; Gavin Harley 4-0; Ray Ganley 3-0-1; Tyrique Rideau 3-1; W. Holden 2-0; Ceneus 2-0; Cory Holder 1-2-0.5; Forrest 1-0; Clarke 1-0; Demetrius Rodriguez 1-0; David Hudson 1-0; Tajmir Anderson 0-1. Orchard Park Jett Modkins 9-0-1; Bobby Akinyele 6-1-1; Tucker Gamble 4-2; Connor Eddy 4-1; Jacob Dogal 3-2; Ryan Falsone 3-1; Christopher Sanfilippo 2-3; Hans Weisnasal 2-0; Jason Dolce 1-0-1; John Becker 1-0; James Duffey 1-0; Shawn Cushman 1-0; Adam Belica 1-0; Michael Senn 1-0; A. Goltz 0-1.
Fumble recoveries: New Rochelle
Harley. Orchard Park Weisnasal.
Sacks: New Rochelle – Forbes 3, T. Holden 1, Ganley 1.
Interceptions: New Rochelle – Harley 1.