New Rochelle romps to repeat as Class AA champions

New Rochelle romps to repeat as Class AA champions

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New Rochelle romps to repeat as Class AA champions

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New Rochelle's Najee Bass rushes for a 79 yard touchdown during the Section 1 Class AA football championship against Scarsdale at Mahopac High School Nov. 6, 2016. New Rochelle defeated Scarsdale 41-13.

New Rochelle’s Najee Bass rushes for a 79 yard touchdown during the Section 1 Class AA football championship against Scarsdale at Mahopac High School Nov. 6, 2016. New Rochelle defeated Scarsdale 41-13.

MAHOPAC – If this was a week from hell designed to take New Rochelle to football heaven, the players sure didn’t notice. If they did, they didn’t seem to mind.

“I think these were the five best practices we’ve had all year by far,” junior Jonathan Saddler said.

After drawing the ire of hard-to-please coach Lou DiRienzo last week, the Huguenots brought their best to Mahopac High School Saturday afternoon. The slumping offense found its rhythm and the defense forced four turnovers as No. 2 New Rochelle routed No. 5 Scarsdale 41-13 to claim a second straight Class AA championship.

CLASS AA SEMIFINALS: Even New Rochelle shutout leaves DiRienzo wanting more

“We realized how serious this is to us and how important this is to everybody here,” said Saddler, who threw three touchdowns, had a sack and delivered several quarterback hits. “We’ve been working at this since June. We want to go and win — you know what we want to win. I won’t even say it.”

The victory actually moved the Huguenots two steps closer to that goal. They automatically advanced to the state semifinals based on the region’s rotating bye and will play at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 at Dietz Stadium.

New Rochelle, the No. 2-ranked team in the state, should move forward with plenty of confidence. The offense broke out with a 454-yard day that included 330 yards rushing. Junior Jared Baron, the offensive MVP, had 130 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and junior Romeo Holden also had 130 yards of offense (66 rushing, 64 receiving) and scored three times.

They helped the Huguenots win their 11th Section 1 title in the state-playoff era — all since 2000.

New Rochelle's Cedrice Paillant wraps up Scarsdale quarterback Barry Klein during the Section 1 Class AA football championship against Scarsdale at Mahopac High School Nov. 6, 2016. Scarsdale defeated Scarsdale 41-13 in

New Rochelle’s Cedrice Paillant wraps up Scarsdale quarterback Barry Klein during the Section 1 Class AA football championship against Scarsdale at Mahopac High School Nov. 6, 2016. Scarsdale defeated Scarsdale 41-13 in

Player of the game:Cedrice Paillant, New Rochelle. A year after playing sparingly as a reserve, the big senior had a dominant day for the Huguenots. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder recorded a pair of sacks and disrupted Scarsdale’s option offense by swallowing up blockers.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my guy,” Baron said of Paillant, the game’s defensive MVP.

“It’s all just part of the grind,” said Paillant, as teammates stopped to congratulate him. “I worked hard in the offseason to get to this point. Now I’ve got to do it.”

Turning point: Scarsdale fell behind two scores early, thanks partially to a fumble on the second play of the game. But the Raiders cut their deficit to 19-13 midway through the third quarter on a touchdown by Barry Klein. That shot of momentum proved to be short-lived.

New Rochelle answered with a four-play, 65-yard scoring drive, then essentially put the Raiders away on the ensuing possession. On a third-down pass, Klein was sacked by Lloyd King, whose hit popped the ball loose. Jaylin McGhee fell on it and Saddler threw a 31-yard strike to Holden on the next play, giving the Huguenots a 34-13 advantage.

Stat line:New Rochelle (10-0) — Najee Bass scored New Rochelle’s final touchdown, breaking free for a 79-yard run. … In addition to his fumble recovery, McGhee had an interception. Scarsdale (7-3) — Henry Zurkow rushed nine times for a team-high 83 yards. Ezekiah Bacchus and Nick Leone each added 64 yards on the ground. Klein had 55 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Quotable: ”
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I was really proud of the way the boys played, but at the end of the day they were a little bigger, a little faster, a little more athletic than us,” said Scarsdale coach Andy Verboys, whose team played in its first Section 1 championship game ever. “If we play that team 10 times, they probably beat us nine or 10 times. We were hoping for that one chance.”

Twitter: @lohudinsider

New Rochelle's Jared Baron tumbles into the end zone for a touchdown while being pursued by Scarsdale's Ajani Bowie during the Section 1 Class AA football championship against Scarsdale at Mahopac High School Nov. 6, 2016. New Rochelle defeated Scarsdale 41-13.

New Rochelle’s Jared Baron tumbles into the end zone for a touchdown while being pursued by Scarsdale’s Ajani Bowie during the Section 1 Class AA football championship against Scarsdale at Mahopac High School Nov. 6, 2016. New Rochelle defeated Scarsdale 41-13.

New Rochelle's Romeo Holden rushes during the Section 1 Class AA football championship against Scarsdale at Mahopac High School Nov. 6, 2016. Scarsdale defeated Scarsdale 41-13 in

New Rochelle’s Romeo Holden rushes during the Section 1 Class AA football championship against Scarsdale at Mahopac High School Nov. 6, 2016. Scarsdale defeated Scarsdale 41-13 in

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