North Rockland wins OT classic
Get the latest Section 1 football playoff updates on Twitter: @MSGVarsityHVC
** WATCH this game in its entirity on MSG Varsity iO Channel 14 on Tuesday at 9 p.m. **
MAHOPAC, N.Y. – When North Rockland lost its first game of the season to Clarkstown North in overtime, little was expected of the Red Raiders across Section 1. Nearly two months later, North Rockland found itself in overtime once again. This time, North Rockland came away with a 14-7 victory over John Jay-East Fishkill in the Section 1 Class AA championship. The title is the first for North Rockland since 2005.
“After that loss to Clarkstown North, people didn’t even think we were in the top 10 in the section,” junior tailback Nick Connell said. “But every day Monday comes, it’s a new week. Hard work pays off, now we’re champions.”
Connell was a big part of the victory over John Jay. He carried 12 times for 55 yards and scored both touchdowns in the second half and overtime. He didn’t touch the ball in the first half.
“We started spelling (starting running back Tom Ginty) about 6-7 weeks ago with Nick and (Rashon Johnson) in the second half of games to keep our guys fresh,” North Rockland coach Tom Lynch said. “Today, it looked like Nick had an extra bounce in his step, so we went with him a lot to finish the game.”
North Rockland used its depth to wear down John Jay, but the Red Raiders took advantage of some big breaks. The regulation touchdown drive consisted of only 30 yards on seven plays after an 11-yard John Jay punt. Connell carried five times on the drive and capped it with an 8-yard touchdown around the left end.
The Patriots tied the score with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Dan Bogucki to Tom Hagan with just over two minutes left in regulation. The late score didn’t shake the Red Raiders’ confidence.
“We gave up the touchdown, but we buckled down in overtime,” linebacker John Dapolito said. “We had to keep them out of the end zone in four plays, we just played as hard as possible.”
After Connell’s touchdown in overtime, John Jay took over from the North Rockland 20-yard line. During the series, the Patriots tried a reverse pass that North Rockland broke up in the end zone, and on fourth-and-6 from the 16, John Jay tried a throwback pass to fullback Bobby Henderson. Henderson looked open, but safety Jarrett Hilton broke on the ball and intercepted the pass to seal the championship.
“We took a chance there in overtime,” Patriots coach Tom O’Hare said. “Bobby was there initially, but their guy made a great play and came down with it.”
North Rockland advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2005 to face Section 2’s Shenendehowa High School. After the emotional victory, North Rockland will try to prepare for the next challenge on Saturday night in Kingston.
“This is a storybook ending for our season for sure,” Lynch said. “But this is such a great group of kids, I can’t even tell you. We want to spend as much time as we can with them and that involves continuing to win.”
The game was the first Section 1 championship to go to overtime since Harrison beat Horace Greeley 13-7 in the Class A final in 2005.
Email John Malone at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone
Section 1 Class AA Championship
North Rockland 14, John Jay-EF 7 (OT)
|North Rockland (9-1)||0||0||7||0||7||14|
|John Jay-EF (8-2)||0||0||7||0||0|
NR - Nick Connell 8 run (Prendergast kick)
JJ - Tom Hagan 17 pass from Dan Bogucki (Echevarria kick)
NR - Connell 4 run (Prendergast kick)
RUSHING (att-yards): North Rockland- Nick Connell 12-55, Tom Ginty 12-37, Rashon Johnson 4-15, John Dapolito 4-14, Devin Bovino 4-2. Totals: 36-123. John Jay-EF- Bobby Henderson 19-66, Dan Bogucki 12-35, Rob Haughton 9-19, Dale White 1-5. Totals: 41-125
PASSING (comp-att-yards-TDs): North Rockland- Bovino 5-13-52-0. John Jay-EF- Bogucki 3-9-85-1, White 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING (rec-yards): North Rockland- Taylor Vippolis 2-25, Leonard Gjeloshi 1-16, Jarrett Hilton 1-3, Dapolito 1-5. John Jay-EF- Nick Chiocchi 1-63, Hagan 1-17, White 1-5.
TOTAL YARDS: North Rockland 175. John Jay-EF 210.
Check back soon for a full article, photo gallery, video highlights and much more from this game