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Sports Rush: New Rochelle football heads to state championshipPosted: Updated:
New Rochelle High School's football team won its second playoff game without its head coach Saturday.
The Huguenots took on powerhouse Shenendehowa in the Class AA state semifinal in Middletown without head coach Lou DiRienzo, who has been reassigned during a disciplinary investigation.
New Rochelle was up 3-0 on Shenendehowa in the second quarter when senior Jessie Parson took the reverse and scampered 9 yards to the end zone. Parson finished with 125 yards on 17 carries.
The score was tied at 10 at the break, but in the third quarter, Shen took their first lead when Brody Vincenzi went deep to Joshua Szwarcberg for a 56-yard score.
It was still 17-10 in the fourth quarter when New Rochelle's Tariq Benjamin hit junior Gary Phillips III, who weaved his way through traffic 49 yards to pay dirt to tie the game at 17.
Then a little over two minutes later, Benjamin went down field to Raymond Dixon who made an incredible one-handed catch for the score and a 24-17 lead.
Shen still had some time left to tie, but the Huguenots defense stepped up. Malik Darden came up with an interception to seal the win 24-17.
For the second straight year, the Huguenots are headed to the Syracuse's Carrier Dome for the state championship game. The team says it is determined to win it for coach DiRienzo. "We've been going through a lot of adversary and that's motivation for us. It just keeps us going on and on until the clock says zero. We're going to keep balling out. Carrier Dome second straight year. It's amazing this year we're going to win it," says senior Jessie Parson.
For the week's best highlights, tune in to the Sports Rush every Monday night. The show airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on News 12+, channel 61.