By MIKE SMITH
On the strength of a huge second half effort, New Rochelle earned its first win of the 2013 season on Sept. 15, beating a game Mahopac squad 21-14 at McKenna Field. For a young Huguenot team highly aware of some preseason criticism leveled at it early in the summer, the win over the Indians could be seen validation of the team’s abilities.
“It felt so good to get that first win,” said Huguenot quarterback Nas Sinkfield-Shelton. “With so many people doubting us, we had to come out and prove something today.”
New Rochelle, coming off a week one loss to R.C. Ketcham, took some time to get going on Sunday, and trailed Mahopac 7-0 heading into halftime. The defending state champs elevated their game in the final 24 minutes of the game, however—thanks in large part to the play of senior running back Jon Forrest, who found the end zone three times—to narrowly edge their rivals from up north. New Rochelle’s game-winning drive was an 80-yarder that took five minutes off the clock, giving Mahopac little opportunity to respond late in the fourth quarter. Forrest would finish the day with 160 yards on the ground to pace the Huguenots.
“We knew it was going to take 48 minutes to win this game,” Sinkfield-Shelton said after the game. “We knew we were going to have to fight all game long and we did.”
Perhaps this game was more important to the Huguenots considering many questioned that the defending Class AA champs—who were hit hard by graduation last spring—could live up to the hallowed Huguenot tradition. The team’s Sept. 7 loss to Ketcham marked the first time the Huguenots dropped their season opener since 2008, further raising concerns about the team’s prospects in 2013. Sunday’s win should start to quiet some of the naysayers, though the Huguenots showed they need to improve somewhat defending against the pass.
“People are saying that this was going to be a rebuilding year because we lost so many guys, but, at New Rochelle, we don’t have time to rebuild,” Sinkfield-Shelton said. “So we definitely came out with a chip on our shoulder today.”
New Rochelle will look to extend their win streak to two when they travel to Scarsdale to take on the Raiders on Sept. 20. The Raiders are currently 0-2 and are coming off a Sept. 12 loss to Ketcham. In the opening week, Scarsdale was shutout by Mahopac in a 34-0 rout.