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It wasn’t the prettiest of games. And it probably wasn’t the way North Rockland wanted to play the week before the biggest test of its title defense. But Saturday’s win over Clarkstown South was just that — it was a win.
The Red Raiders used another overwhelming defensive effort to secure a 17-3 win at home. A second-quarter field goals was the first points allowed on the season for North Rockland, which is 3-0 heading into Friday’s showdown with New Rochelle.
Nick Connell ran for 108 yards and the game-clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter. The senior was pretty much the only source of offense for either team in a game that featured 16 punts, three turnovers and 21 drives of four plays or less.
Connell’s 48-yard run on North Rockland’s first play from scrimmage set up a John Dapolito 1-yard touchdown run just three minutes into the game.
The teams, though, simply couldn’t move the ball on each other after that. Clarkstown South (1-2) caught a huge break in the second quarter when it recovered a fumble at the Red Raiders 3-yard line. South, though, couldn’t move the ball and settled for a 20-yard field goal by Shane Cronin.
It was 7-3 until late in the third quarter when Paul Prendergast kicked a 23-yard field goal to make it 10-3. Clarkstown South, which had minus-3 yards of offense in the second and third quarters combined, went three-and-out on its next three possessions.
Connell eliminated any chance of a comeback in the closing minutes, running in a 2-yard touchdown.
Two of the stars of the game were Prendergast and Cronin, who put on a show at times kicking the football. Prendergast had four touchbacks on kickoffs, a 64-yard punt that pinned South inside its own 5, and four punts inside the 20. Cronin had a 74-yard punt.