Rick Carpiniello’s game story on New Rochelle’s 41-0 win over Clarkstown North:
NEW ROCHELLE — A week earlier, following a loss to Scarsdale, New Rochelle football coach Lou DiRienzo had told his team that Saturday’s game would be the most important game he’d coached in 23 years.
“Going to 1-3,” the coach of the defending state AA champs said, “I have no idea what Monday would have looked like. I don’t know how the kids would have responded to that. I don’t know how I would have responded to that.
“I told them to forget about all the New Rochelle mystique, forget about playoffs.”
New Rochelle just went out and played, with a strong start that carried throughout on the defensive side, led by Corey Holder’s three sacks in the first half, and then some big-play strikes that made it a runaway late in a 41-0 win over Clarkstown North at McKenna Field.
“Our backs were against the wall, and we stepped up and got the win,” New Rochelle’s Jonathan Forrest, who had 72 yards rushing, said. “We knew we had to win. … We just have to contain this momentum into next week when we play a great team in (4-0) White Plains.”
The young and banged-up Rams played without running back Matt McMullin, who is out for the season after suffering an Achilles’ injury two weeks ago. They were held to 17 rushing yards in the first half.
Still, they were right there for a while, in a scoreless game until three seconds remained in the first quarter, when Forrest scored. And it was only 7-0 midway through the second, when Nas Sinkfield-Shelton (60 rushing yards, 52 passing) threw a touchdown pass to Demetrius Rodriguez.
“We’re a young football team,” North coach Joe Trongone said. “That’s no excuse. We started off OK, playing aggressive, then some things didn’t go our way. We make a lot of fundamental mistakes right now. We’ve got to get meaner and we’ve got to learn the game better. That’s our job as coaches.”
Holder’s third sack of quarterback Jack Abrams and a short punt quickly turned into Cameron White’s touchdown run and a 20-0 lead. It got out of hand only when, with 58 seconds left in the third, Tajmir Anderson returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown, and then New Ro’s subs got fourth-quarter scores from Jayson Prince, after Haitim Coughlin blocked a punt, and Bryce Davis, after Jack Stern recovered a high-bouncing kickoff.
Holder had been kind of harnessed in a role where he was assigned to cover the fullback the previous two games, but was turned loose by DiRienzo for this game.
“He needed that,” DiRienzo said of the 6-foot-2, 212-pound two-way lineman. “He’s an emotional kid, a sensitive kid. … He had his day in the sun today.”
“I was waiting for that,” Holder said with a smile.
He added, “We had to play it like it was our last game.”