Iona Prep is busy searching for a football game. New Rochelle hopes to schedule a non-league opponent as well. It would seem logical that the two old rivals would renew their historic series in 2013, but it appears there is no chance of that happening this fall.
Iona Prep coach Vic Quirolo confirmed that he reached out to New Rochelle this offseason. Quirolo wanted to revive the rivalry to fill his team’s Week 1 open date.
“We would love to play them,” Quirolo said.
But when I spoke to him last week, New Rochelle coach Lou DiRienzo gave two reasons why it either can’t or won’t happen, one of which is he doesn’t want it to.
“I’m not interested in playing that game,” DiRienzo said. “Number one, I wouldn’t be able to commit to it for two or three months. Two, there’s such a close relationship there. I like clinicing with them. I like our relationship with them. I like where it is.”
The teams attend camps together at both Iona Prep and New Rochelle during the summer. Their players often participate in drills and 7-on-7 situations against one another, but they have not played an official game since the 2002 Turkey Bowl.
To DiRienzo’s latter point, while the CHSFL has finalized its schedules for the fall season, Section 1 has only begun the process to create its schedule and it won’t be complete for some time. The New York State Public High School Athletics Association has not issued its 2013-14 BEDS numbers, which are enrollment-based figures used to determine classifications for its member schools. Those figures are expected to be released soon along. They are used to determined cutoff numbers for sports in the NYSPHSAA, including football. Once the classifications are set it will allow the section to proceed with its football schedule.
The Section 1 football committee has already sent questionnaires to its member schools. That information is then used to power rank teams for the upcoming season.
The CHSFL schools typically schedule their non-league games during the winter. The Section 1 schedule has not been released until the spring the last two seasons.
Iona Prep has moved on. In fact, Stepinac has reached out to Section 9 on behalf of both schools to schedule games for Week 1.
Once New Rochelle learns when and if it will have a non-league opening, DiRienzo intends to pursue a game out of state. Last year, in his team’s regular season finale, New Rochelle lost 21-20 at North Bergen, a public school in New Jersey. The Huguenots squandered a 20-0 lead, but they used that moment as something of a rallying cry. They went on to win their next five games, including the Class AA Section 1 and state championships.
DiRienzo said he will aim to find a similar experience for this year’s team, but it will depend on whether or not Section 1 does not need to match up New Rochelle against another sectional opponent to finalize its schedule.
“Section 1 requirements come first,” he said.