NEW ROCHELLE – New Rochelle may have come in as a heavy favorite to beat Carmel, but the Rams refused to go quietly.
The Huguenots, the No. 1 seed in Class AA, advanced with a 6-0 victory on the strength of a touchdown by Jared Baron.
On second-and-goal from the 2-yard line with 1:18 to go before halftime, Baron ran the ball in for the game’s only score.
“It’s always great when our team can make a big play,” Baron said. “Every time I’m able to score it’s big, but knowing that score was the one that won the game makes it more special.”
“Jared’s been there before. He’s only a junior but he’s been on the team for three years already,“ New Rochelle coach Lou DiRienzo said. “ He’s been with us for a lot of battles already.”
The victory was the 200th in DiRienzo’s career.
“This is very humbling. It’s never been about me, it’s all about the players and coaches that I’ve had, and trusting our process” DiRienzo said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to coach here for 25 years, but really it’s not about me, it’s about the great players I’ve had.”
Carmel had the ball with 90 seconds left in the game but couldn’t crack the New Rochelle defense all night.
“I thought that was the best game we played all season,” Carmel receiver Henry Flocco said. “We worked really hard, but we just couldn’t pull it out at the end.”
“The Carmel defense really came to play tonight,” DiRienzo said. “ Sometimes it felt like they had 12 guys on the field. They did a really great job.”
Player of the game: Not only did Jared Baron have the game’s only score, but he was able to move the chains whenever his team needed him to, running the ball for six first downs. He finished with 45 rushing yards and the touchdown.
Carmel had the ball on the New Rochelle 20-yard line with eight minutes left in the game. Quarterback Kyle Shilling dropped back to pass and was sacked by Khairi Manns for a 5-yard loss. The sack killed Carmel’s momentum and any chance it had of scoring.
Stat Line: Carmel’s Henry Flocco finished with 65 receiving yards. Myles Taylor and Jaylin McGhee each had an interception for New Rochelle.
Quotable: “We’ve got to stick together going forward,” New Rochelle’s Baron said. “Coach always says don’t play like five fingers, play like a fist.”