NEW ROCHELLE — With two of its best players cramping up and two long drives halting near the goal line, New Rochelle was giving Mamaroneck every opportunity to pull off a major upset on Friday night.
The Huguenots were struggling to put up points, and with less than two minutes to go, Mamaroneck was driving with a chance to tie the score. Daniel O’Rourke took a screen pass inside the New Rochelle 10-yard line with 1:14 remaining, but he was swarmed by a sea of purple. One of the hits popped the ball out, and once the referees were able to sort through the pile, the signal was given.
New Rochelle had the ball, and had somehow hung on for a sloppy 14-6 win.
“That was a huge relief,” senior Keelan Thomas said of the fumble recovery. “We’ll take the win, but we have to clean up a lot of mistakes.”
It had been five years since New Rochelle and Mamaroneck met in football, and notion coming into the game was that the Huguenots had a decided edge. They were coming off of a huge win over defending Class AA champ John Jay-East Fishkill, while the Tigers were playing without quarterback Bill Flatow due to a right shoulder injury.
New Rochelle (2-0) had a 14-6 lead late in the second quarter, but failed to add to it for the rest of game. The Huguenots were stopped on fourth-and-goal right before halftime and again early in the fourth quarter.
“You have to give it to (Mamaroneck),” New Ro senior Greg Powell said. “They stopped us four times in the red zone. I don’t think that’s happened since I’ve been here.”
Player of the game: Greg Powell, New Rochelle — Despite dealing with cramps (as well as star running back Jared Baron), the senior quarterback still completed 8 of 11 passes, including a 5-yard touchdown to Jonathan Saddler in the second quarter. He also played defensive back and helped hold Mamaroneck to six points.
Turning point: After Kieffer Barchetti intercepted Powell late in the third quarter to give Mamaroneck (0-2) the ball near midfield, the Huguenots’ defense responded on the very next play by forcing a fumble to seize possession right back.
Stat line: New Rochelle — Thomas scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 7:36 left in the first quarter and Powell threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Saddler with 2:51 remaining in the first half. Mamaroneck — On fourth and 13 with 5:51 remaining in the first half, Peter Solimine completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Cotter for the Tigers’ only score.
Quotable: “We were really inconsistent today,” Powell said. “I don’t think this was one of our better days. We didn’t give a New Rochelle performance today or a New Rochelle effort.”