WEST NYACK The records coming into Friday’s Class AA first round playoff game meant nothing to Clarkstown South.
All that the Vikings cared about was the name on the front of the jersey, and they knew that any team wearing the red and white from North Rockland must be taken seriously.
“We saw that we didn’t have them on our schedule and we just wanted to meet them in the playoffs,” Clarkstown South junior Kyle Samuels said. “We came out like this was the finals. We hadn’t beaten them in 20 years.”
That drought ended under the lights on Friday night, a 14-2 win for South that sends the No. 7 seed to next week’s quarterfinals against an opponent to be determined after Saturday’s games are completed.
The Vikings (6-1) scored on their second drive, a 1-yard touchdown run from Sam Mistretta, to take a 7-0 lead. The offense sputtered after starting quarterback Matt Jung went down in the second quarter with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, but the South defense made sure that the 10th-seeded Red Raiders (1-6) did not find the end zone.
“I have a lot of confidence in all of my players,” Samuels said. “I knew we could bounce back and rally behind our second string quarterback, Dan Collamore. It was heartbreaking, but I knew (Collamore) could perform.”
North Rockland picked up a safety early in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 7-2, but after a Jack O’Shea interception gave the Vikings the ball inside the North Rockland 10, Samuels punched in a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal to make it 14-2.
“They were not stopping me on that play,” Samuels said. “That made it a two possession game. We knew if we just ran the clock down a little bit more, the game was ours.”
Player of the game: Kyle Samuels, Clarkstown South: The junior running back was the most dynamic player on the field. He finished with 12 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown, breaking big runs of 61 and 46 yards in the first half. He also had a 38-yard kickoff return.
“I knew coming into this that I had to perform to beat this team,” Samuels said. “And I did.”
Turning point: Trailing 7-0 late in the second quarter, North Rockland put together an 18-play drive, which was aided by three penalties from South — two of which came on fourth down to extend the drive. But the Vikings came up with big stop on fourth-and-4 on their own 24-yard line to force a turnover on downs.
“We had a lot of penalties that sort of messed us up, but the defense did not break at all,” senior Vince Maraia said. “Credit to the defense for holding them. That was huge.”
Quotable: “After we lost (the season-opener) to (Clarkstown) North, we were pretty down,” Maraia said. “We were 0-1 and lost to our rival, but six straight (wins) is better than anything we could have asked for.”