THIELLS, N.Y. - No. 8-seeded North Rockland held on for a 21-14 win over No. 9-seeded Clarkstown North on Saturday to decide which team would advance to this week's opening round of the Section 1 Class AA football playoffs.
The Raiders charged out to a 14-0 lead, but North made things interesting in the fourth quarter, scoring on a long drive to make it a one-score game, then grabbing an interception (by Chris Marchena) at midfield with 1:10 to go that really give the home team - and the home crowd - a scare.
But North Rockland's defense stiffened when it mattered most - coming up with big sacks - from Damien Colon and Hervens Mulatre - and big tackles to silence the Rams' final threat, as the Red Raiders prevailed.
North Rockland sophomore Jayden Cook had a key interception in the end zone - killing a crucial Rams drive that could have tied the game - and also made a spectacular, contested catch on what turned out to be the game-winning TD.
Rams QB Jake Katz connected with Brian Fuller on a North TD that made it a one-score game in the fourth, but three interceptions were game-changers.
It was North Rockland's second win over North in a week, after the Raiders needed overtime to earn a 35-34 win to close out the regular season. Both teams are now 4-3.
Watch the video to see Daily Voice talk to North Rockland coach Tom Lynch, Cook and Mulatre about the win.