NEW ROCHELLE Backed up to its 16 with two minutes to go, New Rochelle knew Clarkstown North would have one last, good chance. When the ensuing punt was shanked just 18 yards, that chance went from good to great.
But if you ask Kevin Singletary, the team facing a great opportunity was his.
“I was clapping. I was telling my teammates to calm down,” said Singletary, New Rochelle’s senior linebacker. “We were good.”
True to his word, Singletary and the defense held firm. He sacked Clarkstown North’s Jack Abrams on second down and the Huguenots regained possession without a threat. The defensive stand pushed New Rochelle to 5-0 by virtue of a rain-soaked 12-6 victory over the previously unbeaten Rams.
“Our defense, we came through,” said Singletary, who had a pair of sacks.
It needed to. After two early touchdowns – one aided by Clarkstown North’s fumble on the opening kickoff – the Huguenots were stagnant on offense. They gained just 38 yards total in the second half as the stout Rams began to gain momentum.
Clarkstown North shaved a 12-0 halftime deficit in half when Abrams capped a 10-play, 60-yard drive with a 15-yard keeper on his team’s first series of the second half.
“We were 4-0. New Rochelle was 4-0, but New Rochelle has that mystique with their program,” Clarkstown North coach Joe Trongone said. “We could’ve gave up at halftime, but we didn’t. Our kids fought. I’m proud of the way we played tonight.”
Player of the game: Kevin Singletary, New Rochelle. The senior linebacker was a consistent deterrent to Clarkstown North’s vaunted running game. He also recorded two sacks of Jack Abrams, including one for a 10-yard loss on second down as the Rams tried to tied the score. The play essentially ended Clarkstown North’s chances.
Turning point: Down 12-6 in the fourth quarter, Clarkstown North dominated the field position battle. Its four drives started at its 45, the 50, the New Rochelle 45 and the New Rochelle 34, but the Huguenot defense held firm. The Rams ran a total of 15 plays from scrimmage in the fourth quarter and produced -16 yards of offense.
Stat line: Greg Powell scored both of New Rochelle’s touchdowns. He rushed 12 times for 60 yards, including scores of five and nine yards in the first quarter. … Singletary had two of the Huguenots’ four sacks. Jonathan Saddler and Dylan Cohen had the others. … Sophomore Jared Baron had an interception for New Rochelle. … Michael Porco 78 of Clarkstown North’s 126 yards of offense. … The Rams forced their only turnover late in the third quarter when Kenichi Oti batted a pass at the line of scrimmage that was intercepted by Cedric Lafontant.
Quotable: “We loved it,” Powell said about the weather shortly after the win. “It was like it was 75 degrees out here, man.”