(Newtown) It would have taken a pretty significant dose of optimism to favor Newtown in a football game with powerhouse Masuk.
But there was Newtown (10-0) defeating the Panthers, 21-14, before a huge crowd (3000) at Blue and Gold Stadium on Wednesday night. The victory gave the Hawks the SWC championship.
Newtown pulled this off with Dan Hebert (arguably the Hawks best player) on the sidelines out of uniform wearing a cast.
I’ll admit I was leery of Newtown’s chances after absorbing some of the Newtown hype before last year’s 46-7 blowout.
But this time around the Hawks (9-1) weren’t the defensive sieves Masuk, led by QB Casey Cochran, made them look like in 2011. In fact, they shut out the Panthers (#1 in the state in total offense) in a second half in which they would rally from a 14-7 halftime deficit and get two touchdowns of their own. Masuk averaged 49 points per game during their first nine games.
Game MVP Cooper Gold (222 yards) ran around and over people all night and tallied two touchdowns including the game winner early in the final quarter.
Hawk QB Drew Tarantino tossed his 20th touchdown pass of the season (to Julian Dunn) and had no interceptions.
Thomas Milone (165 yards) surely scared the Newtown faithful half to death every time the ball was in his hands. The talented senior raced in for two first-half scores and was a threat to do almost anything when he lined up to punt.
Thomas has committed to Uconn for a baseball scholarship.
I was impressed with the execution of Newtown on the touchdown pass to Julian Dunn. The Hawks had run the play earlier with the pass going high. On the one that connected, the ball was in the air from QB Drew Tarantino long before Julian reached the end zone. Julian made a leaping catch over Kyle Fontneau and landed on his back.
Masuk QB Malik Cunnings suffered two interceptions in the second half. He had only two interceptions during the first nine games.
Terrific field with wonderful lighting. That still doesn’t explain why there were no programs available but maybe everybody knows everybody?
The halftime show put on by Newtown was simply awesome.
This was the first time Newtown entered the final game of the season undefeated since 1996.
Both football teams are in the playoffs and should be hosting quarterfinal games.
(The pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)