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Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019: New Rochelle defense smothers McQuaid in 'AA' final

   Leading off today: New Rochelle put on a defensive clinic Saturday en route to a 28-0 victory over McQuaid for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA football championship at Syracuse University.

   The Huguenots surrendered just 74 yards of offense and six first downs. Darren Kabba recorded four sacks and 13 tackles as New Ro won its third state title and first since 2012, finishing unbeaten for the first time since 1980.

   "Losing was not an option. We had to go 13-0," Kabba said. "Nobody else has done it. Not Ray Rice and them back in 2003. Not in 2012. Not last year with Jordan Forrest, Khairi Manns, Mac Coughlin. Us -- we had to pull this off."

   And the team did it without coach Lou DiRienzo, suspended for the state playoff run while being investigated by the school district.

   "Honestly, it's been one of the biggest motivators," said Jessie Parson, who broke the game open with two TD runs in the second half. "Even right now without him, this doesn't feel real. It feels like something's missing, like something's off. I'm pretty sure he's that missing piece."

   Parson, who had nine touchdowns in his previous three games, had scoring runs of 40 and 60 yards en route to 177 yards on just 12 carries.

   New Ro outgained McQuaid 358-74.

   Dominating day for S-WR: Shoreham-Wading River capped an overpowering postseason by defeating Seaford 49-7 to win the Long Island Class IV championship at Hofstra.

   Senior quarterback Xavier Arline turned in another memorable performance, rushing for 252 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries and throwing for 80 yards and two more scores.

   "He is just a magician. You put the ball in his hands and you know something extraordinary is going to happen," junior Jake Eckert said. "His last football game? No surprise what you saw here."

   Arline's TD passes of 9 yards to Jake Wilson and 35 to Mike Casazza staked the Wildcats to a 14-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game. He added touchdown runs of 6, 51 and 67 yards before halftime and a 54-yarder in the third quarter, when he also made an interception.


   The title was the fourth in six years for S-WR, which averaged 44.5 points a game in four November playoff games and outscored opponents 533-118 for the year.

   "This is when you want to have the momentum," Arline said. "We started rolling and didn't stop."

   More football: Sunkonmi Agunloye's blocked punt set up Jaden Barber's 55-yard TD run in the fourth quarter as Lindenhurst came back from a 13-point deficit for a 14-13 win over Garden City in the Long Island Class II championship game.

   "We needed to make a big play," the 6-foot-6, 252-pound Agunloye said. "I broke through the line and got my hand on it."

   Garden City responded to Lindenhurst's first TD with an 11-play, 53-yard drive to the Bulldogs' 35 before being forced into a fourth-and-15. Then Agunloye blocked the punt. Three plays later, Barber raced around the left end and bolted into the open field untouched to tie the score at 13. Nick Antos kicked the extra point for a 14-13 lead with 5:36 left.

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  •    "The block will go down as one of the greatest plays ever," Lindenhurst coach Nick Lombardo said. "They were trying to pin us deep in our own end."

        • Petrides twice rallied from deficits in the first half before pulling away with a 25-14 triumph over William Grady in the PSAL Cup Conference title game in Brooklyn. It was the school's first-ever football crown in 12 seasons.

       After Daniel Brown's second rushing score of the day gave Petrides a 14-6 lead, Anthony Caserta and Mike DiForte ran for scores covering 63 and 49 yards, respectively for a 19-14 lead.

       The Panthers defense then came through with a Brandon Fallon interception in the end zone and four straight stops at the goal line, then an additional red-zone stop near the end of the game.

        • In the PSAL Bowl Division final, James Madison edged New Utrecht 20-13 to complete defense of its title.

       Alex McBurnie scored from 14 yards out on a 4th-and-2 play with 1:29 to go. That came after Christopher Molien had but New Utrecht ahead 13-12 on an 18-yard run up the middle late in the third quarter.

       Decision coming soon: The state Board of Regents is due to decide next month whether it will make a major change to the age restrictions for the Unified Sports program across the state.

       Unified Sports, still largely limited to basketball and bowling but steadily growing across the NYSPHSAA membership, brings young people from the entire student body together on the same roster. In Unified basketball, for instance, three players with developmental disabilities share the floor with two teammates from general education programs.

       At the moment, Unified Sports athletes are bound by the same age restrictions as varsity athletes in that they cannot turn 19 years old before the start of the school year. That's at odds with the policy that allows students with developmental disabilities to remain in school through the age of 21.

       Unified Sports has proven to be popular and motivational for students, creating disappointment when the learn they ave aged out and can no longer participate.

       Sean Kirst tackled the issue in a column for The Buffalo News last week.

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