New Rochelle blanks White Plains
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As New Rochelle quarterback Khalil Edney exited the field at White Plains High School on Friday night, he yelled at some fans on the far sideline.
"That's what we've got the defense for!" Edney shouted.
Of course, Edney was thankful for it.
The Huguenots' defense stole the show against White Plains, limiting the Tigers (0-2) to just 145 yards of total offense en route to a 14-0 shutout win. In its first two games, New Rochelle's defense has relinquished just one touchdown. The Huguenots (2-0) downed Clarkstown South, 31-7, in Week 1.
"Our defense won the game, basically," Edney said. "Two weeks in a row they held it down. Our two games go out to our defense."
Against White Plains, the defensive backs took on a starring role. Jason Ceneus, Gavin Harley and Terrence Holden were omnipresent, recording one interception apiece to stifle strong-armed quarterback Cameron Crabbe.
"It is an honor to be a defensive back on New Rochelle's defense," Harley said.
"We practice defense a lot — the hardest. Everything is full tempo in practice. We have early morning workouts and there's nothing else to it."
Harley's interception — which came late in the third quarter — was undoubtedly the biggest, as it setup New Rochelle's game-sealing score. He picked off Crabbe on a deep route down the sideline and returned it to the Huguenots' 45-yard line.
"We have been practicing the deep passes all week and we had been expecting it," Harley said. "I was able to execute it. There was nothing more to it."
Edney, who completed 8 of 19 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, threw a 24-yard strike to tight end Joe Clarke on the very next play. Suddenly, New Rochelle's offense was alive and rolling.
Fullback Jon Forrest took over from there. The sophomore bulldozer carried the ball on four of the next five plays, ripping off runs of 7, 9 and 8 yards. He capped it off with a 3-yard plunge into the end zone at the 10:40 mark of the fourth quarter. Wjhante Holden ran in the ensuing two-point conversion to make it 14-0.
"We started out pretty slow in the first half and came out with intensity in the second half and ended up coming out with the win," said the 5-9, 193-pound Forrest.
For a New Rochelle offense that is known for spreading the ball around, Forrest's stat line — 18 carries for 97 yards — was definitely noteworthy. Even former Huguenots great and current Baltimore Raven Ray Rice took notice of Forrest this past summer.
"As a sophomore, (Forrest) is a strong runner," said Edney, who also ran for 33 yards on 11 carries. "Even last year as a freshman he put in a lot of work at that spot. This year, he's there and he's our power back."
On a night when New Rochelle struggled with penalties and its passing game, Forrest was responsible for keeping the chains moving. "I feel like I'm a power guy," he said. "I have some speed and my side-to-side movement is good."
Ahmad Encarnacion rounded out the scoring for New Rochelle, hauling in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Edney with 58 seconds left in the opening quarter to give the Huguenots an early 6-0 lead.
"It was a two-man read and he was open," Edney said.
To its credit, White Plains refused to back down, playing inspired defense to keep the game interesting throughout. After giving up 30 points in a Week 1 loss to Harrison, Tigers coach Skip Stevens was much happier with what he saw on the field in Week 2.
"Our defense made a complete turnaround from last week," Stevens said. "I'm so proud of them because we fought through five or six injuries this week and played the No. 10 team in the state to the bitter end. We didn't quit or put our heads down."
Still, White Plains struggled to maintain a constant rhythm on offense. Crabbe completed 6 of 17 passes for 100 yards. Marshon Morris, who was a bright spot with three catches for 71 yards, accounted for most of it. Ari Shamery paced the ground game with 15 carries for 60 yards.
The Tigers drove inside New Rochelle's red zone just once. That drive stalled out when Huguenots defensive tackle Justin Douglas blocked a 40-yard field goal attempt late in the second quarter.
Overall, Crabbe was under constant duress and forced to throw into double and triple coverage.
"Sometimes when you are forced to throw the ball a little bit they kick their heels back and come after you," Stevens said. "(New Rochelle) was a little bit quicker at some points, but we couldn't get our tackle and guard kicked out the way we should have."
The final outcome was a familiar one in a rivalry that dates back to 1900. New Rochelle has now won 10 straight over White Plains, however, the Tigers still control the overall series with a record of 55-52-5.
While the rivalry has been one-sided as of late, neither team takes anything for granted come game day.
"It doesn't matter who is on the field," Edney said. "It's going to be a close game either way. These are two teams that know each other. The best man wins."
Game Airs Monday 9/17 @ 730pm, iO TV ch. 14
* Follow Isaac Cass on Twitter @MSGV_Icass *