The Little Brown Jug game between Nanuet and Pearl River reached its golden anniversary Saturday, but the teams still managed to accomplish a first in the rivalry.
Nanuet won 20-14 at Pearl River High School when junior running back Jake Stein scored from a yard out on the final play of the game. It was the first Little Brown Jug game ever decided in overtime.
“It’s something that is very cherished in our towns and this was the 50th anniversary of the game,” Nanuet coach Phil Carbone said. “It was very rewarding to see all the seniors go out on that note. You don’t often get to win your last game and to have it be a game of such magnitude.”
The Golden Knights (7-3) were forced to regroup after Jonathon Farley’s 5-yard run on fourth down with about 5 minutes remaining pulled Pearl River into a 14-14 tie. Nanuet responded by driving into Pirate territory, but had its last-ditch pass intercepted on the final play of regulation.
Pearl River picked up a quick first down to start overtime, but Nanuet’s defense earned a fourth-and-goal stop at the 1. On the ensuing possession, Stein and senior Connor Breit carried the offense to within range, setting up Stein’s winning touchdown.
Breit had not only scored a touchdown earlier in the game, but his punting pinned Pearl River inside its 10 on five occasions.
“That was a real difference-maker in the game,” Carbone said.
The victory bumped Nanuet’s all-time series lead to 34-15-1.
Attendance spikes at Section 1 finals: Saturday’s Class AA, A and B championship tripleheader may have produced the biggest single-day crowd in Section 1’s 15-year history at Mahopac High School. After an average number of fans watched New Rochelle and Scarsdale in the Class AA final, the rivalries played in the Class B and A finals pushed the crowds beyond capacity. The 2,500-seat bleachers were filled for both games and hundreds of fans lined the fences that faced both end zones and, at times, stood several rows deep. Section 1 executive director Jennifer Simmons said the estimated crowd was 5,200.
Harris Jr. making a difference for Stepinac: With key players out for the season and others nursing injuries, sophomore Shawn Harris Jr. has found a role for Stepinac. The Mount Vernon resident returned a kick for a touchdown for the second straight week, this time bringing a kickoff 89 yards to the house. He also raced for a 68-yard touchdown run during No. 3 Stepinac’s 44-21 defeat of No. 6 Chaminade in the CHSFL AAA quarterfinals.
“I was thinking about that all week, getting another chance against the same team,” said Harris Jr., who brought a punt back for a score the previous week — also against Chaminade. “It worked out.”
The Crusaders (7-2) will now have an opportunity to avenge one of their regular season losses Saturday when they visit No. 2 Monsignor Farrell at noon. The Staten Island school won 23-20 at Stepinac on Oct. 15 on a last-second field goal.
“We’re confident we can beat them because we’re ready,” Harris Jr. said. “We’re preparing this week very seriously. The coaching staff has done a great job of geting us ready for this game.”
Player of the Week: Matt Pires, Somers. Other players had more yards from scrimmage over the weekend, but Pires’ play set the tone for Somers’ resounding 42-6 upset of previously unbeaten Yorktown. The senior had a stress-inducing impact on the Husker defense from his first touch, a 68-yard catch-and-go touchdown from Kevin Olifiers. That play gave Pires his third touchdown against Yorktown on just his fourth touch this season. That ratio declined throughout the night, but Pires still added two more touchdowns in what was a stirring performance.
Coach of the Week: Tony DeMatteo, Somers. Championship weekend at Mahopac High School included several notable team achievements. Three schools beat higher-seeded opponents after losing by three touchdowns or more during the regular season. One of them was Somers, and it was DeMatteo’s team that executed the biggest turnaround. The Tuskers led Yorktown 42-0 at one point by dominating every phase of the game. The most stark difference from their first meeting, a 34-13 Husker win on Sept. 16, was Somers’ dominance at the line of scrimmage. At 74, Section 1’s all-time winningest coach proved again that he remains at the top of his game.