My story on New Rochelle, which, with its season perhaps on the line, found some mojo:
NEW ROCHELLE — Their playoff future was in jeopardy, but Lou DiRienzo never wanted to talk about that. Once his team dropped to 1-2, the New Rochelle coach simply hoped to play better and get above .500, a mark the proud Huguenots had yet to reach this season.
When White Plains led by 12 points late in the third quarter Friday night, playing better ceased to matter. The Huguenots needed to win to get in — and by any means necessary.
“Of course that was on our minds,” junior running back Jonathan Forrest said. “That’s what was driving us. We knew we needed this win, and we got it done.”
New Rochelle scored the game’s final 22 points and continued its hold over White Plains, beating the Tigers for the 11th straight time, 36-26, at McKenna Field in the 113th renewal of their rivalry.
Forrest continued to prove why the likes of Auburn, Rutgers and others covet him. He rushed 25 times for 144 yards and four touchdowns, including all three after White Plains had grabbed its 26-14 lead.
The Tigers needed good fortune to take that lead. Will Ahern caught a tipped pass in stride from quarterback Cameron Crabbe (14 for 31, 295 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) and raced 58 yards to the end zone.
New Rochelle (3-2) then made its own luck, scoring twice in just 14 seconds.
Two plays after cutting the deficit to 26-21 on the first play of the fourth quarter, Forrest charged in from 13 yards out to give the Huguenots the lead. Teammates Corey Holder and Demetrius Rodriguez had sacked and stripped Crabbe, and Rodriguez recovered.
“That was a huge momentum changer,” Forrest said. “That really got us going.”
The Tigers (4-1) had rallied from three- and two-touchdown deficits the previous two weeks, but this White Plains comeback attempt ended in vain. Forrest scored again after a defensive stop, and Mack Quincy intercepted Crabbe at the Huguenots 10 with less than four minutes to play.
“It’s very tough,” Tigers coach Skip Stevens said. “They’re a good football team. I said that going in. They haven’t played the best they could all year long, but they’re New Rochelle. It wasn’t going to be easy.”
White Plains still leads the all-time series 55-53-5, although New Rochelle has won 23 of the last 29 meetings.