The New Rochelle defense found itself in a position in the first quarter on Saturday that it hadn’t faced in over a month. The Huguenots’ backs were dangerously close to the Scarsdale end zone.
“We got down there and we just said we weren’t going to let them score,” New Rochelle linebacker Jonathan Saddler said. “We just wanted to flex our muscles on defense again.”
The Huguenots stood strong in what was supposed to be their only true test of the season. New Rochelle stopped Scarsdale on a first-and-goal on its marathon opening series and dominated the rest of the way, powering to a 35-0 rout for its fifth straight shutout entering the postseason.
Two-time champion New Rochelle (6-0) secured the No. 2 seed in the Section 1 Class AA tournament and will host No. 15 Ketcham in the qualifying round next weekend.
“Right now, we are flowing and we just want to keep this going,” New Rochelle junior Myles Taylor said. “We know now we are 0-0 and we have to keep it going. It’s a new season and it’s more time for us to get better.”
Scarsdale (5-1), which earned the No. 6 seed and will host No. 11 Suffern, struggled to get anything going offensively after a 10-minute opening drive, which was kept alive by a muffed punt at midfield.
The rematch of last year’s Section 1 title game was only a 14-0 New Rochelle advantage at the half before the Huguenots busted the game open quickly in the third. Omari Walker took a 49-yard catch to the Scarsdale 4 on the opening series, setting up a short Saddler touchdown run.
Minutes later, a Raiders turnover led to a 45-yard touchdown run by Jared Baron. New Rochelle scored for the third time in under three minutes when Romeo Holden scored on a 2-yard run to make it 35-0 midway through the third.
“We had a long conversation at halftime,” Walker said. “We knew what we had to do in the second half and we did it.”
Walker opened the scoring in the game with a 45-yard burst with 10 seconds left in the first quarter. On the next series, Saddler hit a streaking Myles Taylor deep downfield for a 65-yard score to make it 14-0.
That was more than enough for the New Rochelle defense, which hasn’t allowed a point since the season opener against Mamaroneck. The first-team has unit only allowed one score all season which came on an end-around pass in that game.
“This is what New Rochelle football is built upon,” Saddler said. “That’s what we work on and that’s what coach (Lou DiRienzo) is known for.”
Saddler, Khairi Manns, and Aidan Lilly were among the players consistently in the Scarsdale backfield for the New Rochelle defense. Storm Jones intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble.
The Huguenots captured another league title with the win and the shutout matched the five regular season shutouts of the 2012 team, which won the program’s last state title.