Tag Archives: Justin Dunn

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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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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