It would have been understandable if all the attention given to the reassignment of head coach Lou DiRienzo proved to be too much of a distraction for the New Rochelle High School football team to overcome in the state playoffs.
But that didn't happen.
Instead, the Huguenots won three straight games without DiRienzo on the sideline, including a 28-0 victory over McQuaid Jesuit of Rochester in the Class AA state title game on Saturday night, Nov. 30 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
New Rochelle, which led only 7-0 at halftime, broke it open in the third quarter with a pair of touchdowns - a 23-yard pass from Tariq Benjamin to Anthony Paul and 49-yard run by Jessie Parson. Parson scored the only touchdown of the fourth quarter -- on a 60-yard run. He finished with 181 yards on 12 carries as the Huguenots finish the season with 13 wins and no losses.
The New Rochelle School District announced on Wednesday, Nov. 13, saying that DiRienzo had been “reassigned from his teaching and coaching responsibilities.”
Few details have emerged regarding the reassignment, as the Board of Education, Superintendent Laura Feijoo, and DiRienzo have been mostly tight-lipped during the process.
The school's third-ever state championship in football comes a year after the Huguenots lost a heartbreaker to Aquinas 21-14 in the title game, also played at the Carrier Dome.
"It's absolutely an amazing feeling," New Rochelle senior tight end/defensive end Calvin Jackson said. "This team has come so far. We worked so long for this, starting last year with this loss right on this field. We came so far. It feels so amazing."
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