Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Rochelle Bounces Back In Dramatic 21-14 Win

At around 10:30 Saturday night, New Rochelle Quarterback Nas Sinkfield-Shelton was alerted by constant chirping from his cell phone.
Within minutes, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound dual threat was thumbing through a barrage of motivational text messages.
All texts were from the same two contacts: Joe Clarke and Khalil Edney, key pieces who led New Rochelle to a 2012 New York State Championship.

Clarke and Edney are now at Dean College, a Division-I JUCO in Franklin, Mass.

Through words, the loyal alumni pushed their former teammates to bounce back from a 22-14 upset by revitalized R.C. Ketcham in Week 1.

“They texted us all last night,” said Sinkfield-Shelton, who helped pilot New Rochelle to a pivotal 21-14 win over Mahopac this afternoon.

“They said basically, ‘keep playing how you guys play. One loss doesn’t mean anything.’ After the first game, we were crushed. People were saying, ‘they are down this season, they're all young.’ We just knew that with New Rochelle football, there’s never time to stop and rebuild. We want to keep playing how we play.”
Sinkfield-Shelton and bullish running back Jon Forrest took Clarke and Edney’s words to heart.

The threat of an 0-2 start (for the first time in recent memory) wouldn't penetrate New Rochelle’s mind. The focus was on dissecting a Mahopac team that played them to the wire, for the second consecutive season.

Sinkfield-Shelton fed Forrest early and often.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior racked up a game-high 160 yards on the carpet. He barreled his way to three touchdowns, none bigger than an eight-yard scoring scamper with 1:03 remaining. That was the fatal wallop. The extra point kick sailed through the uprights, as New Rochelle gutted out a blood feud.

Forrest bulldozed his way to the Mahopac 30 during the game-altering drive.  He got the Huguenots, who trailed 7-0 at the half, on the board with a one-yard plunge in the third.

With 3:03 remaining in that decisive quarter, the Huguenots looked to--surprise, surprise--Forrest.  He answered, breaking off a 40-yard touchdown run to cap a 14-0 spurt.

“When you have players around you capable of stepping up in big moments, you always have confidence,” explained Sinkfield –Shelton.

“Jon Forrest is probably one of the best running backs in the Section. Getting him the ball, I’m confident he’ll do big things.”
Mahopac, thirsting to avenge a deflating 6-0 loss from 2012, did big things offensively in the third.  

The Indians’ Brendan Donahue unveiled a nifty halfback option play, whizzing a pass to Andrew Neilis.

After a touchdown pass from quarterback Ethan Ryan to receiver Eric Donahoe was nullified (illegal formation), Mahopac battled. Ryan fired in a 10-yard dart to Eric Giorno with 9:14 remaining, eliciting an eruption from a raucous, traveling Mahopac Maniacs fan base.

 Ryan, who targeted 6-foot-4 senior tight end Ryan Simone and Giorno while New Rochelle's corners lined up deep, came out slinging. The senior nailed Giorno for a 27-yard touchdown pass with 3:15 remaining in the second quarter.

The Indians emerged from the bus hot.

 Max Littleton delivered a sack, Danny Puglicia ran the ball effectively, and Frank DellaCamera booted the snot out of the ball with a strong punt.

Hampered by penalties and constant work stoppages due to New Ro’s rash of contagious cramps, Mahopac wouldn’t wilt.
“They didn’t lay down, they played tough until the very end,” said Indians head coach Tom Donahoe, whose team fell to 1-1.

“I think we have a very good team that’s going to come back next week and play very hard (against White Plains). In all phases of the game the guys played very tough. They don’t lay down, they execute. The two teams here are very familiar with each other, so it’s not surprising with the game we had today.”

New Rochelle’s defensive line was pivotal.

Defensive tackles Corey Holder, Max Theobalds, Kyvon Campell, and nose guard Jasper Baskerville helped neutralize Mahopac's backfield.
The Indians’ fullbacks helped spearhead Mahopac to a 28-0 thrashing of Scarsdale in Week 1. The Huguenots' defensive line recited the scouting report and broke down film, capping the groundwork off by limiting the Indians' ground game.  

Like Frick and Frack, like Ray Rice and Geoff McDermott nearly a decade ago, Clarke-Edney was a lethal football-basketball tandem at New Rochelle last year.
On Saturday night, as wandering voices and skeptics labeled New Rochelle too young, Clarke and Edney chimed in.

They delivered influential text speeches. Like their former teammates, they couldn’t envision a 0-2 start. Not at New Rochelle.

The motivational messages were sent from 193 miles away. Three hours and 35 minutes away, by car.  New Rochelle chose to listen.

The result?

A bounce back win, one which quelled the residual pain of a rare Week 1 loss.