WEST NYACK – For the second straight week, Clarkstown South’s defense proved opportunistic. This time, however, the Vikings more than took advantage.
The defense forced three early turnovers and four for the game, which resulted in a key 31-14 victory over visiting Scarsdale in a game between Class AA hopefuls.
“It really stopped the momentum for the other team,” said junior Will Longing, who had an interception and two fumble recoveries. “No matter where they were on the field, when we get the ball back we know we can score at any time. Our offense getting the ball back is key.”
Clarkstown South hadn’t taken nearly enough advantage last week against unbeaten New Rochelle when it forced six turnovers. The Huguenots overcame the mistakes to win 39-18. The Vikings ensured that didn’t happen again against Scarsdale, which entered the game with just one loss and having posted two straight impressive wins.
The Raiders’ issues began on the opening drive. Nick Leone scooped up a loose ball on the kickoff and returned it 99 yards to the end zone, but it was called back to the 13 because of a penalty. Robert Rolfe’s helmet popped off an ensuing second-and-goal. By rule, Rolfe had to sit out the next play. The normal starter, Barry Klein, entered with his broken left wrist protected by a brace. He and Leone fumbled the exchange and the Vikings recovered.
After two more early fumbles, Scarsdale pulled even 7-7. It had a chance for more with 31 seconds left in the half. Facing a fourth-and-11 at the Vikings’ 32, Robert Rolfe was sacked for a 14-yard loss by Patrick Naughton. South set up strong-legged kicker Michael Tagaris, who boomed a 41-yard field goal at the buzzer to give the Vikings a 10-7 cushion at halftime.
They led just 17-14 in the fourth quarter when senior Kyle Samuels picked up a key fourth-and-3. Three plays later, senior Matt Jung hit a wide open Samuels down the middle for a 42-yard touchdown.
“That was the knife. That sealed the win for us,” Samuels said. “They were done after that. They couldn’t come back.”
After some uncertainty this week, Clarkstown South coach Mike Scarpelli was on the sideline for the game. Scarpelli had a health scare last week and still has not learned the cause, but he coached the game without incident.
“We were all worried about him,” Samuels said.
Player of the game: Will Longing, Clarkstown South. Longing scored three turnovers, including an interception at the 1 in the third quarter that he returned 61 yards to set up a touchdown drive.
Stat line: Clarkstown South (5-1) — Samuels rushed for 67 yards, including the clinching 53-yard touchdown. He also caught five passes for 91 yards … Jung finished 19 for 28 for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Sam Mistretta caught eight passes for 136 yards and two scores. Scarsdale (4-2) — Rolfe threw for 109 yards and Klein came in to complete a 55-yarder to Ezekiah Bacchus. Thomas Jacobson caught four passes for 109 yards.