SCARSDALE – The personnel on the Scarsdale offense has had some turnover in the last couple weeks, but that may not be a bad thing.
Backup quarterback Robert Rolfe was thrust into action when starter Barry Klein broke his wrist last week against White Plains and Nick Leone has transitioned from halfback to fullback, which raised questions as the Raiders prepared to host North Rockland on Friday.
Those questions were answered emphatically as both played well in their new positions, guiding Scarsdale to a thorough 31-7 win in a contest that was never in doubt.
“It was a great week of practice, which definitely helped me out — just taking some snaps and getting adjusted,” Rolfe said. “The O-line did everything that they could for me, the backs were making those runs and the defense played great.”
Any nerves that Rolfe may have had quickly dissipated on Scarsdale’s opening drive. On the first pass of the junior’s varsity career, he hit a streaking Thomas Jacobson in stride for a 33-yard touchdown.
Leone took over from there, scoring the next two touchdowns for Scarsdale while chewing up 213 yards on 30 carries in his expanded role.
“I’ve been getting a lot more carries,” Leone said. “It’s really all my offensive line. If I get space, I can make things happen. Since I’m getting the ball a lot more, it’s giving me an opportunity to break tackles and make big runs.”
Player of the game: Nick Leone, Scarsdale — The 5-foot-8, 170-pound senior was an absolute workhorse for the Raiders with over 200 yards, including 132 in the first half. Despite predictably being fed the ball over and over, Leone was still able to wear down the North Rockland defense and pick up big chunks of yards at a time.
“It feels great,” he said. “I’ve always wanted the ball more, and now that I’m at fullback, they’re finally giving me the opportunity to do that.”
Turning point: North Rockland received the opening kickoff and returned it into Scarsdale territory, eventually deciding to go for it on fourth down from the Scarsdale 25-yard line. The Raiders’ defense made the stop and the offense proceeded to march down the field for a quick touchdown. Scarsdale never looked back.
Stat line: Scarsdale (4-1) — Leone ran for two touchdowns and 213 yards on 30 carries and Ezekiah Bacchus ran for 69 yards on four carries. Rolfe threw for two touchdowns, including a 10-yard score to Robbie Keith in the fourth quarter. North Rockland (2-3) — Cameron Lewis ran for 46 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries and sophomore Jeffrey Abrams completed 8 of 15 passes for 96 yards.
Quotable: “After (a loss to) New Rochelle, we knew we had to make a lot of adjustments,” Rolfe said. “The environment at practice has definitely shifted. Everyone is more aggressive, and it’s definitely helped us with our play.”