NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Lou DiRienzo reminded his players this week that New Rochelle’s last two sectional quarterfinals have not gone exactly as planned. Both games — with his Huguenots as a home favorite — were decided by a touchdown and were in doubt in the final minutes.
“Two years ago we beat Mamaroneck 28-20 and had to intercept a pass at the end. Last year we beat Carmel 6-0,” senior Jared Baron said. “So we just had to come out here and do what New Rochelle does, which is win big.”
This time, the second-seeded Huguenots began their latest playoff run in drama-free fashion. They rolled to a 43-point lead early in the third quarter and finished with a 49-20 victory over No. 7 Clarkstown North.
Baron rushed nine times for 160 yards and two touchdowns, one of which covered 66 yards. He led an offense that gained 334 yards on just 35 plays before heading to the sideline up 49-6 midway through the third quarter.
“It can be tough when you have so many good guys,” Baron said. “It’s not easy to make big plays, so when you do it’s a big deal.”
New Rochelle’s bevy of playmakers have grown adept at taking advantage of their opportunities. Senior Romeo Holden also scored twice and Jonathan Saddler threw a touchdown to Myles Taylor and rushed for another score.
Holden, who rushed for 70 yards on just five carries, said the players have kept sharp by competing in games against one another at practice.
“The coaches really break us down in practice,” Holden said. “They don’t let us get ahead of ourselves. They make us keep working so we don’t think we’re better than we are. That helps.”
The Huguenots (8-0) built a 35-6 lead by halftime Saturday. They held Clarkstown North’s offense silent outside of Mike D’Ettore’s 29-yard reverse pass to Joey O’Hara that came off a New Rochelle turnover.
New Rochelle scored on the opening possession of the third quarter and then struck on the next play from scrimmage. Lloyd King sacked Rams quarterback Jake Katz and Halim Dixon-King returned the fumble for a touchdown.
The Huguenots will enter next Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. home semifinal against No. 3 John Jay-East Fishkill having outscored their opponents 321-43.
“It just shows us that we know we’re a better team when we’re not playing down to the competition,” Baron said. “We come out ready to play every week. We know we’re the better team, but we have to play like we’re the better team.”
Clarkstown North (6-2) will visit Scarsdale next week in a matchup game.