When you're expected to go 10-0 every year, but especially this season with a star-powered roster, the pressure can be tougher than expected and that was the case for New Rochelle in the Section 1 Class AA championship game against Clarkstown South.
The Huguenots started slower than they wanted, but eventually started to play 'New Rochelle Football' and rolled to their 12th sectional title since 2000, 40-15, over the Vikings.
"We just keep working. We didn't play New Rochelle Football to start this game, but then we settled down," Khairi Manns said. "This is what we work for every day. There is no offseason. It's just when champions are made."
Manns led a New Rochelle defense that was dominant as usual limiting Clarkstown South to just one first down in the first half as the offense got its feet underneath it. Once the Huguenot offense settled in they exploded with touchdown runs from Jared Baron, Romeo Holden, and Jonathan Saddler as New Ro built a 20-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Saddler hit Myles Taylor for a 53-yard touchdown to break the game open.
"We just had to play like ourselves. We were nervous in the beginning because everyone is telling us we're supposed to win," Holden said. "But then we played New Rochelle Football like we're supposed to."
Holden finished with 103 yards rushing and a touchdown on 10 carries and added a 44-yard punt return touchdown. Baron led the way with 111 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
"This is great to do as a senior with my best friends," Baron, a four-year varsity player and three-time champion, said. "I love these guys and it's amazing to win this way."
New Rochelle built a 33-0 lead before pulling its starters and then 40-0 after Holden's punt return to officially put the game away. Now the Huguenots turn their attention to the Section 2 and defending state champions Troy. The Flying Horses ended New Rochelle's season last year before winning the state title.
"We start thinking about Troy right now," Baron said. "We get back to practice, recover our bodies, and go back to the drawing board."
NR: Jared Baron 1 yd Rush (TD) 0-7
NR: Romeo Holden 39 yd Rush (TD) 0-14
NR: Jonathan Saddler 1 yd Rush (TD) 0-20
NR: Myles Taylor 53 yd Pass from Jonathan Saddler (TD) 0-27
NR: Jared Baron 6 yd Rush (TD) 0-33
NR: Romeo Holden 44 yd Punt Return (TD) 0-40
CS: Sam Franco 48 yd Rush (TD) 7-40
CS: Johnathan Thom 2 yd Rush (TD) 15-40
|Game Summary||Clarkstown South||New Rochelle|
|3rd Down Conv||1||14||8||14|
|4th Down Conv||2||3||2||6|
|Tackles for loss||3.0||4.0|
|32||Sam Franco||8||46||1||0||6||Jared Baron||15||111||2||0|
|23||Will Longing||7||38||0||0||2||Romeo Holden||10||103||1||0|
|15||Johnathan Thom||10||25||1||0||1||Jonathan Saddler||12||27||1||0|
|44||Kyle Walker||4||5||0||0||4||Omari Walker||3||17||0||1|
|6||Reginald Lamarre||2||-10||0||1||8||Jordan Forrest||1||9||0||0|
|12||Drew Tallevi||3||10||30||0||0||1||Jonathan Saddler||7||11||114||1||0|
|4||Conor Roadarmel||1||20||0||3||Myles Taylor||4||76||1|
|32||Sam Franco||3||20||0||4||Omari Walker||1||26||0|
|23||Will Longing||1||5||0||2||Romeo Holden||1||6||0|
|44||Kyle Walker||1||1||0||6||Jared Baron||1||6||0|