New Rochelle and North Rockland High Schools first met as Section 1 foes in 1984. Until 2000, North Rockland completely dominated the series, winning 11 of 12 games, with New Rochelle winning for the first (and to that point, only) time in 1990.
Control of the series shifted beginning in 2000. Ever since, New Rochelle vs. North Rockland has been one of the section’s best, the result (or results) often defining the season. They meet again at 1:30 Saturday at New Rochelle High School.
Is it a rivalry? Sure, but not the typical kind. The schools are nearly an hour apart, separated by the Tappan Zee Bridge, Hudson River and county lines. Still, from an organic standpoint, it’s hard to argue there are many rivalries more important than this one. Almost every year, if you’re talking about champions in Class AA football in Section 1, the discussion begins and ends with New Rochelle vs. North Rockland. Their large enrollments and strong feeder systems and coaching staffs have made them the very best for a very, very long time.
As you probably know, New Rochelle and North Rockland won every Class AA championship from 1999-2012, a streak that finally ended last year when White Plains beat North Rockland to win it all. But even then, North Rockland’s path to Mahopac went through New Rochelle. (Twice.) It almost always does. In fact, the teams have met 10 times in the playoffs alone since 2000, meaning only four times was a Section 1 Class AA season determined without these two playing a pivotal football game.
NEW ROCHELLE vs. NORTH ROCKLAND, 1984-present
2000: New Rochelle, 30-14
2000: New Rochelle, 34-11 (Class AA championship)
2001: North Rockland, 31-0
2002: North Rockland, 20-0
2003: New Rochelle, 19-8 (Class AA championship)
2004: New Rochelle, 35-7
2004: New Rochelle, 38-7 (Class AA semifinals)
2005: North Rockland, 24-0 (Class AA semifinals)
2006: New Rochelle, 24-14 (Class AA semifinals)
2007: New Rochelle, 27-0 (Class AA championship)
2008: New Rochelle, 21-7
2009: New Rochelle, 38-0
2010: New Rochelle, 14-7
2010: New Rochelle, 21-0 (Class AA quarterfinals)
2011: North Rockland, 19-14 (Class AA semifinals)
2012: New Rochelle, 12-6
2012: New Rochelle, 28-0 (Class AA championship)
2013: New Rochelle, 22-21
2013: North Rockland, 13-10 (Class AA quarterfinals)
OVERALL (1984-present): North Rockland leads series, 17-14.
Top: New Rochelle’s Ray Rice (5) holds off North Rockland’s George Chalsen for the first down during the game at North Rockland High School in Thiells, Sept. 10, 2004. (Karen Vibert-Kennedy)
Middle, top: It takes three New Rochelle defenders to bring down North Rockland’s Anthony McCoy (32) late in the third quarter of a 20-0 North Rockland victory on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2002, at North Rockland High School in Thiells. (John Angelillo)
Middle, bottom: New Rochelle’s Jonathan Forrest is tackled by North Rockland’s Justin Repress (4) and Samuel Pierre-Louis during their Class AA football quarterfinal at North Rockland Oct. 26, 2013. North Rockland won 13-10 in overtime. (Peter Carr)
Bottom: North Rockland quarterback Patrick Rolf gets of a pass while being pressured by New Rochelle’s Brendan Ballantoni during the Class AA football semifinals at New Rochelle High School, Oct. 31, 2006. New Rochelle defeated North Rockland 24-14.(Seth Harrison)