Category Archives: Newtown

Pomperaug starts fast and wins Three’s for Charity Tournament 47-35 over Newtown

Tourney MVP Maggie Lee was 12-for-12 from the foul line

Ally McCormack and Karli Opalka with championship plaque

(Newtown CT) Newtown dug themselves a huge hole in the first half and never fully recovered, losing 47-35 to Pomperaug in the finals of the 3’s for Charity tournament on Thursday night.

Pomperaug (5-0) continues undefeated while Newtown (4-1) suffers its first loss.

Minus injured point guard Rylee Mulligan, the Hawks went scoreless for over nine minutes of the first half while the Panthers collected fifteen unanswered points. The 17-2 deficit early in the second period was the cushion Pomperaug needed to ride out comeback attempts by Newtown in the second half.

“It was a tale of two halves,” explained NHS coach Jeremy O’Connell afterwards.  “Pomperaug is loaded with talent.  If you get down to them early it’s a tough hill to climb.”

Ally McCormack passes from the floor as Jackie Matthews defends

The Hawks did get within eight a couple of times in the second half, the last time being 39-31 with two minutes left.  From there on in tourney MVP Maggie Lee clinched the outcome by answering every NHS possession with free throws.

Maggie was a remarkable 12-for-12 from the line and ended up with nineteen points to lead all scorers.

“Maggie shot poorly yesterday (against Cromwell) and she went to the gym early today and got 100 shots off,” said PHS coach Joe Fortier.  “We knew if we could get the ball into her hands she’d knock down the foul shots.”

Not having senior Rylee Mulligan was crucial to the outcome.  Rylee was a unanimous, all-league, first-team point guard for Newtown.

“Not having her available was probably a big reason for their start in this game,” added Coach Fortier.  “Hopefully she gets healthy and back on the floor.  She’s a great kid.”

Not only were the Hawks scoreless during nine minutes of the first half but they also had seven turnovers.

Karli Opalka and Claudine Legato (13 points)

Claudine Legato finished with thirteen points including four 3-pointers.  “They may have been overplaying Kayli (Opalka) and that gave Claudine some openings,” said Coach Fortier.

It would certainly make sense to overplay Kayli.  The six-foot senior already has over 1000 points and 1000 rebounds.

I was entertained by the matchup of sophomore guards Cyleigh Wilson and Maddie Villa.  They were tireless and handled the ball well.  “They are good friends off the court,” added Coach Fortier.

I was impressed with the defensive work of Jackie Matthews.  “She’s our best defender,” said Coach O’Connell.

Last February 11th, Newtown defeated Pomperaug, 47-45.  Nicki DaPra (16) and Rylee Mulligan (13) keyed the win for the Hawks.  Coach Fortier with a career 135 wins and 40 losses hasn’t forgotten that game. “The losses always stay with you,” he said.

The Panthers have everyone back from a team that was 18-6 last year and reached the Class L state semifinals.  They could be in line for another strong post-season run.

Rylee Mulligan could be back for Newtown’s next game which is a week from Saturday. “She has missed 2 ½ games and we’re taking it slow with her,” added Coach O’Connell.

Pomperaug box

Newtown box

(All of the pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Sophomores Maddie Villa (35) and Cyleigh Wilson (10)

Amy Sapenter surrounded by Panthers

Ally McCormack

Jackie Matthews

Nicki DaPra and Megan Todhunter

One of Newtown’s twelve turnovers

Carolina Stubbs fronts Karli Opalka

Karli Opalka spins for two

Scramble on the floor

Karli Opalka in close

Maggie Lee with MVP plaque

Newtown coach Jeremy O’Connell raises a concern

 

 

 

 

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Newtown chills Masuk 14-7 on two Dan Mason TDs

Dan Mason (7) breaks loose late in the first half

Dan Mason scored twice for Newtown

(Monroe CT) It was a passing down, but Newtown opted instead for a run up the middle.

The result was a momentum-changing 49-yard touchdown shocker by Dan Mason and Newtown went on to defeat undefeated Masuk, 14-7.

“Cold” doesn’t come close to describing the weather conditions on the Wednesday pre-Thanksgiving event at Benedict Field.  Add an occasional gale-force wind to the low temperatures and you could imagine the discomfort.

Jack Duignan (50) flies after Joseph Pagett (2)

Two years ago, Ben Mason the linebacker became Ben ball-carrier having a five-touchdown evening leading the 2015 Nighthawks to a 40-8 rout over Masuk.  Ben’s brother Dan didn’t get five TDs on this evening but he got two and that was enough to earn Newtown a sixth straight win over the Panthers (9-1).

The Nighthawks (7-3) showed in the first half that they were not going to be another team rolled over by Masuk’s high-scoring offense.

The Panthers, on occasion, did look like the teams that had 401 points in nine games, but Newtown limited lengthy drives by pressuring QB Matt Hersch and containing Jack Roberge.

“I’m quite sure that their quarterback hasn’t been sacked that many times in a game this year,” said NHS coach Bob Pattison afterwards.

Nicholas Lorusso (25) gets behind Connor Marlin (13)

Masuk scored their only touchdown in the first quarter.  Nicholas Lorusso ran a nice fade route into the right corner of the end zone and Matt Hersch delivered a perfect nine-yard pass (behind Connor Martin) for the early lead at 3:02.

It was the 12th touchdown catch for Nicholas and the 31st touchdown pass for Matt.

At the time, I thought that this would be the beginning of a parade of points for the undefeated Panthers.

But it wasn’t.  Why?  Newtown got the stunning equalizer before the half and had the ground game to control the clock in the second half.  Add a defense that held a team that had not been behind all season, and had scored at least twenty-points in every game, to one touchdown speaks for itself.

Most important play?  The Dan Mason touchdown at the end of the second quarter. With less than a minute left in the half and forty-nine yards to go it looked like a good time to go to the air.  Newtown opted for a running play instead.

“It was a passing down, but we thought we’d see what we could get with a quick hitter up the middle,” explained Coach Pattison.  What they got was pure gold as Dan Mason followed a key block on the Masuk linebacker and then split the safeties into open territory.

Dan Mason after the NHS upset

“The grass just opened up,” said Dan later.  “I knew that I wasn’t going to let anyone take me down.”

Masuk coach Joe Lato recalled that play: “Our techniques were wrong on the touchdown.  We fixed it at halftime, but we couldn’t take the points off the scoreboard.”

The team from Monroe had a promising second-half start when Robert Martinsky brought an interception back to the Newtown 17.  Enter the high-powered Masuk offense?  Not on this evening.

The Nighthawk defense held and then the wind sent Nolan McCarter’s 28-yard kick wide left.

While the Nighthawks’ turnover wasn’t costly, the Panthers weren’t as fortunate after Jack Roberge fumbled and Joe Pagett recovered at the Masuk 33 with 3:24 left in the 3rd quarter.

Patiently Newtown moved the ball, running the clock, and converting 4th downs along the way.  Dan Mason finished the job behind terrific blocking, rushing two yards into the end zone as the third quarter ended.

Ryan Kost (12) kicks Newtown’s second EP

The extra point confirmed that this was Newtown’s day!  Joseph Lewis kicked wide right and was injured on the play. But there was a penalty on Masuk.  No Joseph Lewis to kick?  No problem.  Quarterback Ryan Kost stepped in (He was Newtown’s kicker last year) and the extra point was added.

An earlier confirmation of it not being Masuk’s day was on Robert Martinsky’s interception.  Looked like a pretty clear path to the end zone for Robert but the gathering Masuk blockers turned into obstacles and one of them forced Robert out at the Newtown seventeen.

Why does this happen?  For such an important game, why would the roster handout be messed up for Newtown?

I was impressed with Masuk’s turf field.  Great surface.  I was at the Yale Bowl for the Harvard/Yale game Saturday on regular grass.  Very slippery and uneven.

“Some of the motivation in the game was from our seniors,” said Nighthawks first-year coach Bobby Pattison. “The papers predicted a big season for Masuk and not much of one for them.  This was a game that we weren’t supposed to win but the seniors made it happen.”

Dan Mason two touchdowns gave him six for the 2017 season.  I don’t doubt that he’ll have a few more next season.

Matt Hersch at the end of a 4th quarter trick play

Coach Joe Lato went the trick play route late in the game as QB Matt Hersch handed off to Ryan Shaw and then went downfield for a pass.  The wind got into Ryan’s pass, however, and Matt’s catch was way out-of-bounds.

Good luck to Masuk in the playoffs.  Tonight’s loss should toughen them up for the do-or-die games ahead.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably BUT you have to click on them to make it happen.)

Masuk team arrives

Jack Roberge sweeps

Jack Roberge (34) follows Nicholas Lorusso (25)

Ryan Shaw catches a pass along the Newtown sidelines at Matt Dubois defends

Trying to stop Dan Mason

Tyler Michalka brings down Dan Mason

Ryan Williams (62) goes for the block

Dan Mason stiff arms Tyler Michalka (4) on his TD run

Dan Mason steps into the end zone with his first half touchdown

Robert Martinsky runs back an interception chased by Jack Miller

Robert Martinsky

Shea Talbot (32) breaks up a pass intended for Ryan Shaw

Newtown blockers for Dan Mason (7)

Dan Mason (7) powers into the end zone

Joseph Pagett set to tackle Nicholas Lorusso

Jacob Riley and Rolt McIntyre

Kyle Good and Shea Talbot

Matt Dubois and Alex Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Newtown needs 4th quarter rally to get 35-28 win over Masuk

Some of the on-field action during the Masuk/Newtown Turkey Bowl

Some of the on-field action during the Masuk/Newtown Turkey Bowl

Mark Hall (1) celebrates his interception that ended the last Masuk chance.

Mark Hall (1) celebrates his interception that ended the last Masuk chance.

(Newtown CT) I’ll admit that I left the Newtown/Masuk, Thanksgiving Eve football game last year at halftime.

Trust me, I wasn’t alone in 2015 heading home from Masuk as the Panthers trailed 34-0 after twenty-four minutes.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving Eve of 2016.  Same matchup, but what a difference!

However, Masuk looked like the 2015 version in the first quarter (down 14-0) but rallied back thereafter to make an exciting game of it before losing 35-28 on a chilly Wednesday night at Blue and Gold Stadium.

Newtown extra point blocked but NOT by diving Jack Roberge

Newtown extra point blocked but NOT by diving Jack Roberge

Newtown (10-0) needed two scores in the final five minutes to pull this one out.  The final touchdown was essential for the Nighthawks after an extra-point block by Collin Briganti kept the visitors ahead, 28-27.

Masuk (7-3) would have been okay with that one-point lead if they could have moved the ball but they couldn’t. A run that went out of bounds and an incomplete pass stopped the clock twice and saved Newtown’s timeouts.  The Hawks took over at the Masuk 38 with 3:14 left trailing by a point.

The home team settled for the Ben Mason power game and were 4th-and-2 with 1:30 left.  Whether it was a hard count by QB Justin Dunn or something else, the Masuk defense jumped offside and Newtown had more downs to work with from the Masuk 9.

Michael Garner (24) in the end zone with his second TD reception of the final quarter

Michael Garner (24) in the end zone with his second TD reception of the final quarter

I thought that the Ben Mason power game inside would resume……so, it appeared, did Masuk.  The defense got caught inside and junior Michael Garner floated free to the outside.  Quarterback Justin Dunn, with terrific blocking all game, rolled right and spotted the wide-open receiver with 1:24 to go and connected for the game winner.

“We were in range to kick a field goal,” said NHS coach Steve George afterwards.  “I figured that we had time for one last shot at the end zone.  Thankfully it didn’t come down to a field goal try.”

It wasn’t that Masuk hadn’t seen the play before.  The Hawks had used the same play, same personnel to get the same result three minutes earlier in the final quarter.

There was still time (1:24) left for Masuk to answer.  However, a Matt Hersch pass to Ryan Shaw bounced off the junior and into the hands of defender Mark Hull.  Game. Set. Match.

What helped Masuk make a game of it was a Hunter Cobb injury in the second quarter.  After Masuk had rallied to tie the score in the second quarter, Hunter went down with a leg injury after a pass reception and never returned to action.

Hunter Cobb (30) sets single-season Newtown mark with 30th TD

Hunter Cobb (30) sets single-season Newtown mark with 30th TD

Prior to his departure, Hunter had registered both Newtown scores including a special second one that set the single-season Newtown record for touchdowns (30).

Without Hunter, the Newtown offense became more predictable (inside power) but the home-run pass plays in the second half worked as a result.  Masuk lost defensive numbers in the secondary in their concern for Newtown’s inside game.  The Nighthawk’s quarterback Justin Dunn had excellent protection and his receivers had time to get open.

The Masuk passing attack was surprisingly effective after the first quarter.  QB Matt Hersch was on target and he had receivers (Nick Dellapiano, Ryan Shaw, and Michael Zuk) with speed to get deep as well as catching ability.

Matt Hersch (3) registered three TD passes

Matt Hersch (3) registered three TD passes

Matt tossed three TD passes in this game to put him at thirty for the season.

Masuk punter Peter Fox’s attempt to run for a first down backfired in the first quarter.

Ben Mason had five touchdowns versus Masuk in 2015.

QB Justin Dunn scrambled for several first downs.

A Hunter Cobb pick-six in the first half was brought back because of a penalty.

Masuk's Jack Roberge finds the end zone

Masuk’s Jack Roberge finds the end zone

Panther Jack Roberge found big yards up the middle on two shuffle passes.

Masuk had the chance to take a 3-point lead on the last play of the first half but Nolan McCarter’s field goal attempt went wide left.

This game had a chilly start but once the back-and-forth action kicked in I hardly noticed it.

“Masuk is a well-coached passing team,” said Coach George.  “We expected to play better defense than we did.”

The NHS dance team and cheerleaders were excellent as usual performing at halftime.

Newtown seniors were honored before the game.

Newtown has only lost once in South-West Conference games in five seasons.

Ben Mason powers home a 2-point conversion

Ben Mason powers home a 2-point conversion

Newtown’s Ben Mason is signed on with Michigan while lineman Seth Willis will attend Brigham Young.

Scoring Details:

Newtown      14   0    7   14    =     35

Masuk          0     14   14   0     =     28

N – 69-yard run Hunter Cobb (Ryan Kost kick)

N – 1-yard run Hunter Cobb (Kost kick)

M – 49-yard pass Ryan Shaw from Matt Hersch (Nolan McCarter kick)

M – 9-yard pass Michael Zuk from Hersch (McCarter kick)

M – 18-yard run Jack Roberge (McCarter kick)

N – 5-yard pass Mark Hall from Justin Dunn (Kost kick)

M – 38-yard pass Nick Dellapiano from Hersch (McCarter kick)

N – 31-yard pass Michael Garner from Dunn (kick blocked)

N – 9-yard pass Michael Garner from Dunn (Ben Mason rush)

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Cormac Roe (14) drops punter Peter Fox

Cormac Roe (14) drops punter Peter Fox

Ball loose on Ryan Shaw (2)

Ball loose on Ryan Shaw (2)

Hunter Cobb follows some good blocking

Hunter Cobb follows some good blocking

Leaping catch by Nick Dellapiano (7)

Leaping catch by Nick Dellapiano (7)

Ben Mason (41) attracts five Panthers

Ben Mason (41) attracts five Panthers

Loose ball after Mark Hall fumble

Loose ball after Mark Hall fumble

Jack Roberge (34) breaks loose

Jack Roberge (34) breaks loose

QB Justin Dunn gets good blocking from Derek Ivey and Jack Riley

QB Justin Dunn gets good blocking from Derek Ivey and Jack Riley

Nick Dellapiano and Michael Zuk celebrate a touchdown

Nick Dellapiano and Michael Zuk celebrate a touchdown

Nick Dellapiano runs under a long Matt Hersch pass

Nick Dellapiano runs under a long Matt Hersch pass

 

 

 

 

 

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Nico Laveris (34 points) gets Stamford past Newtown 70-64 in overtime

Nico Laveris (34 points) hit five three-pointers

Nico Laveris (34 points) hit five three-pointers including this one from the corner.

Nico Laveris collected twelve points after getting his 4th foul early in the final quarter

Nico Laveris collected twelve points after getting his 4th foul early in the final quarter

(Newtown CT) It made perfect sense to use a triangle-and-two defense to try and stop Stamford guards Jay Devito and Yan Carlos Marte.

Why? The twosome had combined for forty-three points in the Black Knights’ opener against New Milford.

But while Newtown quieted Jay and Yan Carlos to just sixteen points between them, their teammate Nico Laveris lit up the Hawks for 34 points and was truly the key to Stamford’s 70-64 overtime win on Wednesday night.

Nico picked up his 4th foul early in the final quarter but strategic substituting by SHS coach Danny Melzer kept him out of the defensive end as much as possible. Good thing because this kept Nico available to score seven of Stamford’s last eight points in regulation, including a jump shot with forty seconds left to get the Black Knights into overtime.

The Hawks’ Nick Weiland had two glittering chances in the final forty seconds to cash the winner but not on this night. Nick’s second attempt was a half-court drive after a turnover in the final seconds that somehow Jay Devito and Nico Laveris avoided committing a foul on.

In the four-minute OT Nico set the tone on Stamford’s first possession draining a three and the Black Knight’s never trailed after that.

Dillon Palumbo (16 points) shoots from the corner.

Dillon Palumbo (16 points) shoots from the corner.

Newtown (0-2) got within one (65-64) but Dillon Palumbo missed the tying free throw attempt with thirty-six seconds left. The visitors made five-of-six free throws the rest of the way while Newtown had turnovers on both of their possessions.

This was one of those games in which you figured if you waited long enough the team that was trailing would soon catch up. There were plenty of ties and lead changes.

This was the home opener for the Hawks. Newtown, 14-8 last season, has had to replace all five starters.

Jay Devito had eleven rebounds to go with his thirteen points.

Dillon Palumbo (16), Nevin Zink (15), and Sam Duffy (14) had double figures for the home team.

Tevin St. John (12) reached double figures for Stamford.

Junior Sam Grossano fouled out early in the 4th quarter for Newtown.

Stamford (2-0) had a six-point lead (39-33) in the third quarter with 4 ½ minutes left but Newtown went on a 10-2 run over the next three minutes to pull ahead 43-41. Dillon Palumbo had six points in that segment including a 3-pointer.

Jay Devito (13 points) hit five of six free throw attempts in overtime.

Jay Devito (13 points) hit five of six free throw attempts in overtime.

Both teams were miserable at the charity stripe. Newtown: 14-for-25. Stamford: 21-for-37. Key to the win other than Nico? Stamford made 8 of 10 free throws in overtime.

Stamford, though undersized, played man-to-man throughout the game.

Next game for Newtown is hosting Kolbe Cathedral on December 28th.

Stamford visits Joel Barlow on the same day.

Newtown box

Stamford box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Joe Duero

Joe Duero

Nick Weiland tries to get around Yan Carlos Marte

Nick Weiland tries to get around Yan Carlos Marte

Evan Eggleston attacks the rim

Evan Eggleston attacks the rim

Nevin Zink (15 points) in for two

Nevin Zink (15 points) in for two

Tevin St. John and Sam Duffy - charge or block

Tevin St. John and Sam Duffy – charge or block

Stamford pressures Tom Cotton

Stamford pressures Tom Cotton

Yan Carlos Marte

Yan Carlos Marte

Jay Devito had a double/double

Jay Devito had a double/double

game on

game on

Nick Weiland's last-second shot in regulation

Nick Weiland’s last-second shot in regulation

Stamford coach Danny Melzer

Stamford coach Danny Melzer

Dillon Palumbo tries for a block on Steffan Harding

Dillon Palumbo tries for a block on Steffan Harding

Plenty of Hawks on defense

Plenty of Hawks on defense

 

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Ben Mason runs wild as Newtown routs Masuk 40-8

Ben Mason found plenty of daylight and the end zone five times in a career game on offense.

Ben Mason found plenty of daylight and the end zone five times in a career game on offense.

(Monroe CT) Remember Ben Mason the 6-3/240 pound defensive standout? Eighty-seven tackles and four interceptions.

On Thanksgiving Eve the Newtown coaching staff decided to feature Ben Mason on the offensive side of things against Masuk. Did he ever make an impression! Ben was a key piece in Newtown’s 40-8 thrashing of the Panthers on chilly Wednesday night at Masuk.

Ben’s stats? Fourteen carries. 120 yards. Five touchdowns.

Ben Mason with blockers aplenty and paydirt ahead

Ben Mason with blockers aplenty and paydirt ahead

Ben had played offense before (nine carries in 2015) but obviously in a limited fashion. Now the cat is out of the bag and down-the-road playoff opponents (selections announced Friday) will have another thing to consider defensively.

Ben Mason benefits from terrific interior blocking to score

Ben Mason benefits from terrific interior blocking to score

On this night it appeared that Masuk expected the Nighthawks to run inside and committed heavily to that assumption. Unfortunately, for the Panthers, Newtown opted to attack the outside edges from new formations with a new back. Five touchdowns in the first half spoke clearly of the rousing success of the Newtown approach.

Ben was able to get to the outside three different times with blockers looking in vain for Panthers to block on touchdown runs. Only the sideline official ran with Ben the final twenty yards. It was that kind of night.

Key moment? After the first Ben Mason TD, a penalty forced a longer than usual extra point attempt that was missed by Ryan Kost. Trailing just 6-0, you could envision Masuk evening the score and getting ahead with a PAT. What happened? Ryan Kost’s kickoff hit the ground and for some reason wasn’t picked up (fallen on) by any of the Panthers including nearby Collin Briganti. Aggressive Mike Doyle fell on the free ball setting Newtown up at the Masuk 21. So instead of having the ball and a chance to tie or go ahead, the home team was back on defense. Before you knew it, QB Justin Dunn connected with Ben on the right and the talented senior crossed the field to the left corner for his second score.

battle in the air

battle in the air

This turn of events started Masuk’s downhill slide that put Newtown in total command (34-0) by halftime. Many in the crowd chose the exits over another half of one-sided football.

Masuk finishes their season at 6-4. A promising 6-of-7 start turned into a season-closing three-game losing streak.

Seniors from Masuk were honored before the game.

No sign of Newtown’s Hunter Cobb or Jared Pearson in this one. Ethan Carpenter left the game early with a leg injury.

The Nighthawks (9-1) played without Hunter and Jared in the loss to Fairfield in their previous game. The setback ended a string of 40 straight wins for Newtown during the regular season in the South-West Conference.

Senior Mike Doyle had a memorable game……..158 yards, 10-yard TD, and fumble recovery.

The Nighthawks had two first-half interceptions including one on the goal-line.

For those of us easily confused, the program was a problem. There were two #5’s for Newtown as well as an unlisted #8. #8 turned out to be Nick Samuelson whose number was changed from 52 because he was getting some reps on offense.

Trying to keep Ben Mason out of the end zone

Trying to keep Ben Mason out of the end zone

 

Masuk’s Nick Dellapiano added to his impressive total yards (1415) getting a 45-yard score from QB Matt Hersch in the third period.

Newtown’s last state title was in 1992. I would like to think that a title in 2015 could happen.

The last Masuk win in their series with Newtown was in 2011. On that evening at Newtown the Nighthawks had no answers for Casey Cochran and the Panthers. It was a mismatch similar to the 2015 version.

(All of the pictures above and below should enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Joey Capodagli and other Masuk seniors honored before the game

Joey Capodagli and other Masuk seniors honored before the game

Ryan Kost extra point

Ryan Kost extra point

Masuk pass attempt

Masuk pass attempt

Newtown interception

Newtown interception

Fake punt wrecked by Nick Samuelson

Fake punt wrecked by Nick Samuelson

Mike Doyle (on the ground with the ball) reaches the end zone in the first half

Mike Doyle (on the ground with the ball) reaches the end zone in the first half

Action on the line of scrimmage

Action on the line of scrimmage

Ben Mason with lots of room on the left sideline

Ben Mason with lots of room on the left sideline

Ben Mason congratulated in the end zone

Ben Mason congratulated in the end zone

Mike Doyle around left end

Mike Doyle around left end

Justin Dunn and Mark Hall celebrate with Ben Mason

Justin Dunn and Mark Hall celebrate with Ben Mason

 

 

 

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Newtown gets easy 45-7 win over Notre Dame-Fairfield in home opener

Plenty of end zone celebrating for Newtown as they crossed the goal line six times against Notre Dame - Fairfield

Plenty of end zone celebrating for Newtown as they crossed the goal line six times against Notre Dame – Fairfield

Jared Pearson (2 touchdowns) single one for teammate Declan Sullivan

Jared Pearson (2 touchdowns) signals one for teammate Declan Sullivan

(Newtown CT) No one expected otherwise in this one.

Newtown (2-0) finished off visiting ND-Fairfield (0-2) in the first half and played reserves thereafter in a 45-7 win over the Lancers on Friday night.

No crystal ball was required in assuming that ND would be overmatched against Newtown. Why? The Lancers from Division S have not won more than one game in each of the last four seasons. Last time ND came to Blue-and-Gold Stadium they were down by 36 points after one period! You get the idea.

The Hawks slowed themselves down early in their home opener with penalties. Still they came away with two scores in the first quarter.

At 7:43 Ben Mason took a short pass from QB Justin Dunn into the end zone. Ben’s TD started an evening in which Hawks’ runners got into the Lancers’ secondary in the first half with regularity. Tackling Newtown’s big/fast/elusive ball-carriers was a first-half nightmare for ND.

Ben Mason takes a Justin Dunn pass for first Hawks score

Ben Mason takes a Justin Dunn pass for first Hawks score

Before the next TD, defender Jared Pearson leveled Notre Dame pass receiver Ryan Celini. Ryan was looking back toward passing QB Micah Brantley as the ball reached him. When he started to turn and look upfield, Jared put a full-speed hit on him. Credit Ryan for holding on although when he got up he walked as if he wasn’t sure whether he was on foot or horseback.

Ryan Celine takes a big hit from Jared Pearson

Ryan Celine takes a big hit from Jared Pearson

Just before the first period ended (:07) Jared Pearson carried tacklers into the end zone. Ryan Kost added the extra point.

Jared Pearson carries tacklers to the end zone

Jared Pearson carries tacklers to the end zone

Trailing 14-0, ND needed to put together a drive and avoid mistakes. Neither got done and the Hawks rolled up four more touchdowns in the second period.

The Newtown defense was clearly tuned into the presence of senior Hakim Fleming. Hakim tallied twelve touchdowns in 2014 including 1251 yards gained. The Hawks starting defense kept the 5’11” (255 pounds) back from even getting into their secondary. Therefore, sustaining a drive wasn’t going to happen for ND.

Miscues kill teams. In the fatal second quarter the Lancers were intercepted and lost a fumble. They also chose to fake a punt from their side of midfield and failed at it.

Ethan Carpenter (10:49) swept right and followed blockers into the end zone.

Blockers in place for Ethan Carpenter score

Blockers in place for Ethan Carpenter score

Jared Pearson (8:41) carried defenders straight ahead for a score from the ND 5.

Jared Pearson dives into the end zone

Jared Pearson dives into the end zone

QB Justin Dunn tossed a pass that Declan Sullivan (4:27) caught at the ND 5 and carried in. Justin’s pass may have been underthrown because Jared Pearson was about ten yards deeper in the end zone.

Declan Sullivan gets the corner

Declan Sullivan gets the corner

Elusive Hunter Cobb (1:52) used a good collection of blockers to get around right end and in for six after ND’s fumble gave good field position.

Hunter Cobb sweeps right

Hunter Cobb sweeps right

The halftime show at Blue-and-Gold is always a pleasure to watch. This is being said by someone who almost always takes his eyes off of the field during halftime. Not at Newtown!

rifles in the air

rifles in the air

flags flying

flags flying

I was hoping for running time in the second half. Newtown did their part by benching starters and having the reserves use running plays almost exclusively.

The only time the Hawks’ starters showed up was when kicker Ryan Kost successfully attempted a 33-yard field goal. Isn’t that 33-yard distance the same as the NFL extra-point distance?

Ryan Kost 33-yard field goal

Ryan Kost 33-yard field goal

The Lancers broke the 45-0 shutout in the fourth quarter. They also had a punt block in that frame by Klyde Auba. Hakim Fleming (3:56) tallied the TD after getting into a north/south running route in the Newtown secondary. Several reserve Hawks bounced off the defending Class S heavyweight wrestling champ on his way to the end zone.

Klyde Auba blocks a punt

Klyde Auba blocks a punt

Hakim Fleming eyes the end zone

Hakim Fleming eyes the end zone

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Micah Brantley chases a fumble

Micah Brantley chases a fumble

Ethan Carpenter runs to the right

Ethan Carpenter runs to the right

Jared Pearson gets opening to the end zone

Jared Pearson gets opening to the end zone

Declan Sullivan leaps for QB Justin Dunn pass

Declan Sullivan leaps for QB Justin Dunn pass

Hunter Cobb scores

Hunter Cobb scores

Justin Dunn

Justin Dunn

Declan Sullivan

Declan Sullivan

Jared Pearson (right)

Jared Pearson (right)

Hakim Fleming finishes his run for a TD

Hakim Fleming finishes his run for a TD

Hakim Fleming

Hakim Fleming

Ben Mason

Ben Mason

Ethan Carpenter

Ethan Carpenter

Lancers QB Micah Brantley helped off the field

Lancers QB Micah Brantley helped off the field

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Newtown, Notre Dame - Fairfield

Mali Klorczyk (26 points) leads Newtown past Masuk 59-52

Jana Migliaro (24 points) saw plenty of Newtown defenders

Jana Migliaro (24 points) saw plenty of Newtown defenders

Mali Klorczyk (26 points) made five 3-pointers

Mali Klorczyk (26 points) made five 3-pointers

(Newtown CT) Jana Migliaro (24 points) and Mali Klorczyk (26 points) put on quite a show.

In the end it was Mali’s Newtown Nighthawks defeating Jana’s Masuk Panthers, 59-52, in a non-league girls’ game on Tuesday night.

Newtown (4-1) took the lead for good in the second quarter on a three by junior Haley Ryan.

Mali Klorczyk drained three 3’s in the third period to raise the N’Town advantage to thirteen but Masuk (1-3) rallied back.  Seven unanswered points to start the final quarter had the Panthers one shot away at 39-36 with six minutes to play.

Lauren Wilcox (16 points) gets in close

Lauren Wilcox (16 points) gets in close

Newtown, however, answered immediately with seven straight points featuring Mali Klorczyk’s fifth 3-pointer and pushed the Hawks’ lead back into the ten-point comfort zone.

The pace was hectic throughout.  In the first half the pace troubled both teams as there were  missed shots and turnovers galore.  The teams combined for fifteen turnovers in the first quarter alone.

Newtown led, 19-16, at the half.

The Hawks put Masuk in some serious trouble in the third quarter with eleven straight points in a two-minute segment.  Mali Klorczyk converted a rebound and nailed two straight three’s during the breakaway run.  Mali ended up with thirteen points in the quarter.

floor burns

floor burns

Senior Jana Migliaro did her best for Masuk to keep the Panthers in the game.  She made three’s, drives, and free throws while every Hawk seemed to take a try at containing her.  She drove fearlessly and ended up making twelve free throws.

I was impressed with the Newtown passing in the second half.  With Masuk trapping the ball, there were openings to be found in close with consecutive passes.  Lauren Wilcox (16 points) cashed in from in close seven different times.

The basketball games I see (in Massachusetts) are played with a shot clock.  Without that clock, teams have to be able to pressure an opponent and be able to handle pressure.  A coach where a shot clock is used (Massachusetts) can hide players on offense or defense but not in Connecticut.

I liked the idea of having team captains (Sarah Lynch and Jenny Skoog) recite the crowd conduct requirements before the game.

Kelly Merrick (14) sets a screen for Lauren Wilcox (5)

Kelly Merrick (14) sets a screen for Lauren Wilcox (5)

Kelly Merrick went out in the third quarter with a leg injury.

Newtown was 10-11 last year after winning the state championship in 2012.  This year’s team has one senior (Sarah Lynch).  The 2014-15 Hawks could be headed for some good things in the post-season if tonight’s combo of speed, passing, defense, and 3-point shooting gets perfected.

Underwhelming foul shooting by both teams.  Newtown was 9-for-21 while Masuk was 15-for-26.  My theory on poor foul shooting is that players practice 3-point shooting a lot more than free throw shooting.

I continue to be surprised by the number of baskets scored on inbounds plays.

Next game for Masuk is hosting Bethel on Saturday at 7PM.

Newtown returns to action on January 3rd on the road at Saddle River School in New Jersey.

Newtown    6  13     20  20   59
Masuk       11   5   13   23   52

Newtown boxscore
Masuk boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably.)

Olyvia Shaw (12) passes

Olyvia Shaw (12) passes

Mali Klorczyk (0) surrounded

Mali Klorczyk (0) surrounded

Jenny Skoog (23) and Sarah Lynch (10) instruct the crowd

Jenny Skoog (23) and Sarah Lynch (10) instruct the crowd

Newtown cheerleaders

Newtown cheerleaders

Newtown coach Jeremy OConnell

Newtown coach Jeremy OConnell

Taylor Iorfino (34) defends

Taylor Iorfino (34) defends

Haley Ryan

Haley Ryan

Jana Migliaro

Jana Migliaro

Gabby Beckett, Olyvia Shaw, and Megan Sheridan

Gabby Beckett, Olyvia Shaw, and Megan Sheridan

Sarah Lynch (10) goes down the lane

Sarah Lynch (10) goes down the lane

 

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