With a 22-21 win over North Rockland on Oct. 19, the New Rochelle Huguenots find themselves in unique position when they gear up for their first-round playoff game this weekend. For the second time in seven days, New Ro will be taking on the Red Raiders.
New Rochelle came from behind to beat the Rockland in the regular season finale, scoring in the game’s waning seconds to topple the Raiders. Jon Forrest scored a touchdown from the three-yard line to make the score 21-20 before New Rochelle completed the two-point conversion when quarterback Nas Sinkfield-Shelton hit tight end Demetrius Rodriguez in the end zone for the go-ahead score.
The win put both New Rochelle and North Rockland at 5-2 on the regular season, setting up a first-round match-up between the two squads as New Rochelle will again travel to Thiells on Oct. 26.
If their last meeting is any indication, the quarterfinal showdown should be an interesting one. Both teams battled mental miscues, as New Rochelle had six minutes on the clock after Rockland’s go-ahead touchdown to make the score 21-14, but that drive sputtered out on the 11-yard line after Sinkfield-Shelton was intercepted. North Rockland, however, was unable to get a first down that would have ended the game, going three and out, giving the Huguenots 55 seconds to orchestrate the game-winning score.
The Huguenots have struggled this year–or what amounts to struggling for a team that has been one of the best in Section I in the last 10 years‑losing to two teams who have qualified for berths in the playoffs. They dropped a season opener to RC Ketcham and also fell to a resurgent Scarsdale program that nabbed a four-seed in the Class AA bracket. However, they have shown that they have the resiliency to win tight games, as evidenced by the win over Rockland and a similar last-minute win against rival Mahopac back on Sept. 14.
If New Rochelle can cut down on the penalties, they’ve got a solid chance to beat the Red Raiders two weeks in a row. Jon Forrest will again be key as New Rochelle’s top running back, and if Sinkfield-Shelton can find an early connection with his receivers, the Huguenots could be riding high on momentum into the semis.
The semifinals will be played on Nov. 2 against the winner of the RC Ketcham-Clarkstown South game.
-Reporting by Mike Smith