Tag Archives: Newtown High School

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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Julian Dunn leads undefeated Newtown past Masuk 28-7

Julian Dunn crosses the goal line into the Connecticut state record book with his 48th touchdown reception

Julian Dunn crosses the goal line into the Connecticut state record book with his 48th touchdown reception

Julian Dunn gets his 49th touchdown reception

Julian Dunn gets his 49th touchdown reception

(Newtown CT) “Julian Dunn has done some amazing things for Newtown football,” said Nighthawks coach Steve George on Tuesday night after the game.

It’s probably a line that the NHS coach has used regularly when asked about the talented senior.

Julian was key to the Newtown victory over Masuk, 28-7, in the rescheduled Thanksgiving Eve game.

In the midst of a terrific catching/kicking/defending performance, Julian slipped into the Connecticut high school record book.  He entered the game tied with Aaron Hernandez (Bristol/Florida/Patriots) on the all-time list of touchdown catches with 47 but by game’s end had added two more to his total.  With at least one more game left, and possibly two, his totals could increase.

Julian Dunn picks off pass intended for Joe Capodagli

Julian Dunn picks off pass intended for Joe Capodagli

The final score in this game was very misleading.  At first glance you’d suspect that undefeated Newtown dominated 7-4 Masuk.  You would be wrong……….at least during the first half.  The second half?  All Newtown.

Because Newtown was in the South-West Conference championship game on Saturday, they only had a few days to get ready for Masuk.  The Panthers, on the other hand, had over a week.

“Joe Lato (Masuk head coach) is one of the best coaches in the state,” said Coach George.  “We knew he was going to have some funky stuff going on.”

Nick Dellapiano (7) sweeps right for 7-yard TD

Nick Dellapiano (7) sweeps right for 7-yard TD

And sure enough he did.  It seemed to me that Newtown spent most of the first half trying to figure out where to line up defensively against a variety of formations.  Underdog Masuk was not only able to move the ball but also overwhelmed the Nighthawks defensively with an assortment of blitzes.

Things got so bad that after one lengthy first-half Masuk drive, their fans began to chant, “Over-rated, Over-rated.”

Jacob Burden leaves at halftime with trainer

Jacob Burden leaves at halftime with trainer

In that dismal first half, Newtown QB Jacob Burden was sacked and injured.  Sophomore Justin Dunn came on and his first pass bounced off of the normally reliable hands of his brother Julian.  Things were that bad!

Masuk threatened to score in the first quarter but the drive petered out at the Newtown 19.

In the second quarter the Panthers took the lead.  A fake punt by Newtown failed and the visitors from Monroe had a short field to work with. The big play in the scoring drive was a nifty 25-yarder by quarterback Zach Kaufman.  Zach started left and then cut back across the middle of the field. Sophomore Nick Dellapiano finished the job for Masuk running a reverse to the right from seven yards out at 8:16.

Masuk coach Joe Lato

Masuk coach Joe Lato

The second half was a whole new ballgame!  Masuk’s 7-0 halftime lead vanished on Newtown’s first possession and the Nighthawks had answers for the Panthers “funky” formations thereafter.

Julian Dunn jumped ahead of Aaron Hernandez in TD receptions on that first series.  Julian lined up on the right and slanted into the middle.  His brother Justin’s pass hit him in full stride.  Julian (6-3/230) bounced off safety Bryan Acevedo for the 16-yard record-setting tally and the score was tied after the extra point.

With the score now tied, Masuk took a huge chance on 4th down deep in their own territory.  Coach Lato said afterwards that, “he saw the momentum changing and wanted to stop it.”  Keeping a drive alive at the Masuk 34 on a 4th-and-one seemed do-able after a great first half, but after a timeout, an inside run was stopped cold.

Newtown quickly capitalized on the field-position gift with a nice run by sophomore Hunter Cobb setting up the Nighthawks at the Masuk 10.  It wasn’t hard to figure out what would happen next: Julian Dunn slant over the middle.  Newtown was now up 14-7 with 6:32 remaining in the second quarter.

Nick Rubino (34) gets 13th touchdown

Nick Rubino (34) gets 13th touchdown

Masuk had bad field position most of the second half.  A short punt early in the final quarter, followed by a long Hunter Cobb run, had the Panthers on the Masuk doorstep.  Two straight runs by Nick Rubino got him into the end zone for his 13th TD of the season.

Worse field position set up another punt for Masuk on their next possession.  Senior Ethan Carpenter collected Bryan Acevedo’s punt at the Masuk 39 and shot straight up the wide-open middle.  He was instantly alone and ended up with two blockers nearby, with no one to block, as he streaked across the goal line.

Ethan’s TD was at 7:29 and put the Newtown at the final score of 28-7.

Running back Jaret DeVellis was in uniform for Newtown but didn’t play.  “Jaret could have played but we wanted to do the right thing with him and give his ankle more time to heal,” said Coach George.  I watched Jaret in pregame and, despite his best efforts, he still wasn’t running without limping.

QB Jacob Burden didn’t return after his injury to his non-throwing left shoulder in the second quarter.  “Jacob could have come back,” added Coach George.

Julian Dunn and Zach Kaufman after the game

Julian Dunn and Zach Kaufman after the game

Good to see the players from both teams interacting pleasantly after the game.

Coach George downplayed Julian’s record breaking by saying that, “the type of person he is is even more important as far as I’m concerned.”

Weather was cold but with no wind.

The impending snowstorm led to the game date change.  Coach George broke the news to his team afterwards that there wouldn’t be any school Wednesday.

I continue to be very impressed with the performances of the Newtown dance team and cheerleaders.  Their state-wide recognition is well deserved.

(This blog is easily corrected.  Let me know.)

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

Touchdown signaled

Touchdown signaled

halftime show

halftime show

Bryan Acevedo (3) and Ethan Carpenter (1) sky for a pass

Bryan Acevedo (3) and Ethan Carpenter (1) sky for a pass

Nick DeLorenzo (34) breaks free early

Nick DeLorenzo (34) breaks free early

Chris Lindquist

Chris Lindquist

Coach Steve George and Ethan Carpenter

Coach Steve George and Ethan Carpenter

Ethan Carpenter finishes a punt-return touchdown

Ethan Carpenter finishes a punt-return touchdown

jump ball

jump ball

Tim Krapf and Jake Lambert lower the boom on QB Zach Kaufman

Tim Krapf and Jake Lambert lower the boom on QB Zach Kaufman

Hunter Cobb (30) finds daylight

Hunter Cobb (30) finds daylight

Newtown defense makes crucial stop

Newtown defense makes crucial stop

 

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Undefeated Newtown knocks off Brookfield 21-14 in South-West Conference football

Action in the trenches at the Newtown-Brookfield SWC game

Action in the trenches at the Newtown-Brookfield SWC game

Julian Dunn hauls in what turned out to be the game winner

Julian Dunn hauls in what turned out to be the game winner

(Newtown CT) Losing the first one is always tough.

Two Friday nights in a row highly regarded, undefeated teams have squared off against Newtown at Blue and Gold Stadium.  Both teams (Ansonia and Brookfield) left the stadium unhappy and no longer undefeated.

On this night it was Brookfield’s turn.  The Bobcats (6-1) certainly made things interesting but fell short, 21-14, to the undefeated (7-0) Newtown Nighthawks on a cool Friday night.

With numerous reasons to be happy afterwards including; control of the South-West Conference, winning 28th straight regular season game, and winning 29 of last 31 games, NHS coach Steve George was under-happy afterwards.  Why?  In the closing minute, with Newtown in possession and Brookfield out of timeouts, a skirmish broke out after a play in front of the Newtown bench.  According to reporters closer to the action, Newtown’s Jared Pearson was ejected and there was some pushing and shoving between the teams.

(Just before the controversial roughing the passer call late in the game.

(Just before the controversial roughing the passer call late in the game.

“What happened at the end was not characteristic of my team,” said Coach George.  “I’m a little upset with them now.”

Meanwhile back at the game I was intending to describe!  Newtown scored three straight touchdowns after Brookfield converted a fumble into an early score. Newtown had what I thought was a commanding 21-7 halftime lead.  Brookfield, however, had the only score in the second half (8:56 of the 4th quarter) but never had a real threat for more, thereafter.

Both teams benefited from opponent miscues in getting their first TDs.  Ethan Carpenter tried to return a punt in heavy Brookfield traffic and ended up fumbling.  Matt Biondi recovered for the Bobcats.

Bobby Drysdale (9) gets into the Newtown secondary

Bobby Drysdale (9) gets into the Newtown secondary

Later, Bobby Drysdale (118 yards/1 TD) reached the Newtown end zone from five yards out for his 13th touchdown of the season at 8:14 of the first quarter.

Consecutive turnovers led to the first Newtown score.  First Hafeez Yussuf intercepted a Jacob Burden pass intended for Julian Dunn at the Brookfield 16.  Bobby Drysdale, however, fumbled the ball back to Newtown (Ryan Shaw) on the next play setting the Hawks up in terrific field position.

Less than a minute later (5:02) Nick Rubino rolled left untouched for a 4-yard TD.  Bryce Mather added the kick to tie the score.

Jaret DeVillis scores

Jaret DeVellis scores

Early in the second quarter (11:14) Jaret DeVellis (7th TD) finished a long Newtown drive bouncing off Austin Reich to score from 3 yards out.  The kick gave Newtown a 14-7 advantage.

Because Newtown was content to run the ball, and did often, fake handoffs gave QB Jacob Burden plenty of time to throw.  Ethan Carpenter and Julian Dunn were spread wide to either side most of the game.  Julian (6’3″) was being covered one-on-one by Hafeez Yussuf (5’9″).

Early in the game Julian’s passing route was straight down the right sideline.  On Newtown’s 3rd TD drive, Julian ran an up-and-in and was wide open for a long gain.  Later in the same drive, Julian had the time to add an “out” to the pattern and ended up alone in the right side of the end zone from 17 yards out at 5:27 of the second quarter.  The completion to Julian was Jacob Burden’s 10th touchdown pass in 2014. The kick put Newtown further in front, 21-7.

Johnny Roscigno finds the end zone

Johnny Roscigno finds the end zone

Punting dominated the early going in the second half.  I thought at the time that Newtown had the horses to get a few more scores and also could keep the visitors off the board the rest of the way.

The Brookfield defense, however, surprised me.  It gave up yards and first downs but came up big when they needed to.  Certainly Newtown penalties helped put the Nighthawks in bad field position in the second half.

One Newtown penalty (Jake Lambert – roughing the passer), was key in Brookfield’s fourth quarter TD drive.  A heavy dose of Bobby Drysdale moved Brookfield to the Newtown 15.  From there, QB Johnny Roscigno faked a handoff to Bobby going right and instead rolled left.  There was a still a Hawks defender in the left side of the secondary but Johnny faked outside and then cut inside for a free lane to the end zone at 8:56 of the final quarter.

The Bobcats would get the ball back but there wasn’t time to grind with Bobby Drysdale and there also wasn’t enough time for QB Johnny Roscigno to find receivers.

BHS coach Rich Angarano questions the roughing the kicker call

BHS coach Rich Angarano questions the roughing the kicker call

The Bobcats burned timeouts late and would have gotten the ball back one last time with a minute left but Andrew Collins collided with punter Julian Dunn.  The penalty gave the ball back to Newtown for the rest of the game.

Brookfield has now lost five straight times to Newtown.  The talk afterwards by BHS coach Rich Angarano to his team was that, “We can play with this team,” and “We could face them again in the SWC championship game.”

Newtown defeated the Bobcats, 28-7, in last year’s title game.  Julian Dunn caught two TDs in that one while Bobby Drysdale was limited to 43 yards.

Brookfield had only allowed 53 points in their first six games.

Bobby Drysdale (1 TD - 118 yards)

Bobby Drysdale (1 TD – 118 yards)

Bobby Drysdale (6’1″ – 200) is obviously the key to any team’s defensive schemes versus Brookfield.  He had 27 touchdowns in 2013 and rushed for 2,096 yards.  Gang tackling Bobby is essential as he added extra yards several times when in the grasp of one tackler.  Bobby’s presence also set up the second Brookfield TD because the Newtown defense followed him and gave QB Johnny Roscigno plenty of room the other way.

I’ve seen Newtown twice now and can see why it is so hard to prepare for their offense.  They are very content to take what a defense allows.  NHS coach Steve George said afterwards that the play calling (many runs) may have looked conservative but, “It was just too tempting to run the ball.”

Ethan Carpenter was the blocker near punter Julian Dunn.  His block on Andrew Collins may have had something to do with Andrew’s running into the kicker.  Julian did a pretty good job of selling the hit.

Excellent Homecoming crowd as well as the usual spectacular halftime show.

(I can edit this blog so if there is an error please let me know so that I can correct it.)

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

Julian Dunn makes a reception

Julian Dunn makes a reception

Peter Manesis

Peter Manesis

pumpkin wager

pumpkin wager

Jaret DeVillas (1 TD - 21 carries - 109 yards)

Jaret DeVellis (1 TD – 21 carries – 109 yards)

 

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Wilton rallies to defeat University 69-64 to win Hoops for Heroes Tournament

Wilton team poses after winning Hoops for Heroes Tournament

Wilton team poses after winning Hoops for Heroes Tournament

Micheal Gilliam (31 points) shoots from the corner

Micheal Gilliam (31 points) shoots from the corner

(Newtown CT)  Wilton finished strong to defeat University, 69-64, and take the Hoops for Heroes Tournament on Monday night at Newtown High School.

The Warriors (3-1) trailed by as many as thirteen points (in the first half) but finally caught the Hawks early in the final quarter.

Layups by Eric Houska (20 points) and Matt Shifrin (23 points) plus a converted rebound from Peter Ciaccio (11 points/10 rebounds) gave Wilton a five-point lead (58-53) with five minutes left.

The Warriors notched eleven free throws the rest of the way, including five straight at the end, to hold off University in the closing minutes.

The Hawks (3-1) from Hartford dominated the early going using four Wilton turnovers to run off to an 11-3 margin in the first three minutes.

Senior Micheal Gilliam (31 points) had an enormous first half getting eighteen points from both long range and on breaks.

University led, 36-28, at the half.

Jaqhawn Walters blocks the shot of Eric Houska

Jaqhawn Walters blocks the shot of Eric Houska

The Hawks were still comfortable (42-32) 1 1/2 minutes into the third quarter.  However, the rest of the way the Warriors were fifteen points better than the Hawks.

Wilton did it from long range (three 3’s) as well as from in close.  They took the ball at the foul-plagued Hawks and made free throws in crunch time.

University (15-8 last year) cooled off considerably, although Micheal Gilliam made several 3’s in the final minutes to keep the Hawks within one possession a number of times.  But Wilton made their free throws and held on for the win.

Wilton (16-9 last year) was able to hang around in the first half thanks to five three’s.

Matt Shifrin and Eric Houska made the All-Tourney team for Wilton.  Micheal Gilliam was honored for University.

Matt Shifrin (23 points) lines up a free throw in the last minute

Matt Shifrin (23 points) lines up a free throw in the last minute

University’s Jaqhawn Walters had a double/double (15 points/14 rebounds) in the Hawks, 63-50, win over Kolbe Cathedral in the opening round.

Junior Will Hardie had eleven points for University against Wilton.

My stats for Micheal Gilliam, Will Hardie, Eric Houska, and Matt Shifrin disagree with the University scorebook but I’ll take my chances on mine being right.

Wilton box

University box

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

Keshaun Patterson fires from straight away

Keshaun Patterson fires from straight away

loose ball

loose ball

Lucas Savoie (10) gets fouled by Jaqhawn Walters

Lucas Savoie (10) gets fouled by Jaqhawn Walters

Eric Houska (20 points) looks for an opening

Eric Houska (20 points) looks for an opening

Micheal Gilliam (31 points)

Micheal Gilliam (31 points)

Matt Shifrin (13) and Scott Shouvlin (14) chase Will Hardie (2)

Matt Shifrin (13) and Scott Shouvlin (14) chase Will Hardie (2)

Brandon Hurst surrounded by a trio of Warriors

Brandon Hurst surrounded by a trio of Warriors

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Newtown Overcomes Fast Pomperaug Start 62-47 in Boys Basketball

Mike Daubert heads for the basket after a steal.

Kyle Wilcox – 23 points including 18 in the second half

(Southbury) Pomperaug (0-2) came out red hot but flamed out after a quarter and visiting Newtown (2-1) was able to catch up and pull away in the second half for a 62-47 win on Thursday night at Pomperaug.

The Panthers connected on four long ones in the first four minutes to bolt ahead 15-5.  They still had that 10-point spread at period’s end (22-12).

Newtown cut into that lead in the second quarter as Reid Schmidt sparked a 7-point run but Pomperaug still led, 27-23, at the half.

The Night Hawk defense seemed to get tighter as the game wore on and the Panthers made just one trey in the second half.  Carl Gatzendorfer had that one in the first minute to keep the Panthers on top, 30-25.

The rest of the way it was all Newtown.  The Panthers made few shots and the Hawks ran with every rebound getting a bunch of layups.

The numbers back up the second half domination.  Newtown outscored Pomperaug, 37-17, over the last fifteen minutes of the game.

Leading the Newtown surge was Kyle Wilcox.  Limited to five points in the first half, he erupted for eighteen in the second half.  He had a three in there but most of the points were in transition.

It was a Connor Quinn baseline drive that gave Newtown the lead for good, 32-31, with 4:45 left in the third and the Hawks never looked back from there.

Nathan Rubenstein (13 points)

Nathan Rubenstein (13 points) paced Pomperaug hitting three 3’s in the first half.

Jake Ball picked up a technical foul just before halftime.

Mike Foley went down hard defending a drive.

Why was Connor Quinn taking the ball to the basket very late in the game with a ten-point lead?  A hard foul would have made perfect sense.

Another game for me with no program.  Maybe everyone in these parts knows each other??

Newtown box score

Pomperaug box score

(The pictures enlarge to normal size if you click on them.)

Jake Ball swarmed by Carl Gatzendorfer (15) and Lucien Fortier

Mike Foley (22) shoots over Mike Davis (20)

Sam Rubenstein (10 points)

Mike Foley (22) drives

Connor Quinn (3) fouled by Nathan Rubenstein (34)

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Newtown Wins 4th Straight Easily Defeating Weston 68-45 in Girls Basketball

Riley Wurtz (1) on fast break with Jess Lynch (10) just about to get a pass for a layup.

Cassie Ekstrom (5) puts some defense on Morgan Moubayed.

(Newtown) Undefeated Newtown (4-0) overwhelmed winless Weston (0-3), 68-45, in nonleague girls action at Newtown High School on Tuesday night.

The twenty-three point margin doesn’t begin to tell the story of how one-sided this game was.  No sign of the Hawk starters after the third quarter – they were ahead, 59-27.

From the start you could see that the Newtown full-court pressure was going to be trouble for the visitors.  That pressure seems to work best in the half-court and every turnover (25+?) became a fast break in the other direction.

Riley Wurtz (7 points) shot poorly but more than made up for it with steals and assists.

Jess Lynch (17 points) was on the breakaway end after many of the Lady Trojan giveaways.

Riley Wurtz (7 points) on clean break away.

Another successful Hawk maneuver was an instant answer to every Weston basket.  Newtown had several long-pass layups after baskets.

Newtown jumped out to a quick, 7-0, start with a Bridget Power three at the end of it.  Weston responded with three baskets led by Ellie Martin and the score was, 11-6, with three minutes left in the first period.

The next fifteen minutes of playing time, stretching through four minutes of the third quarter were all Newtown.  They outscored the visitors, 42-10!  Jess Lynch had fifteen points during the big run.

Weston had just three bench players and early on it was clear that keeping up with the non-stop Hawks was going to wear down the Lady Trojans.  Fortunately, NHS coach Jeremy O’Connell used reserves early and often and they weren’t quite as adept at creating the turnovers and getting breakaways.

Ellie Martin (left) and Sam Stemlie (11) chase loose ball

With the NHS starters on the bench, Ellie Martin (23 points) had a nice final quarter getting Weston’s last eleven points.

First look at Newtown’s basketball setup.  Terrific lighting.

I was on hand for the Newtown/Masuk football game.  Less said about that, I suppose, the better.

Cheerleaders were impressive.  They were so good that I didn’t worry about them falling.

This was Newtown’s home opener.  No programs???

If you click on the pictures they enlarge to normal size. 

Bridget Power (23) Riley Wurtz (1) Morgan Moubayed (2)

Jess Lynch (10) shoots over Anna Mahoney (50)

Maddy Good (14) ties up Anna Mahoney

good times on the NHS bench

Newtown box score

 

Weston box score

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Masuk Captures SouthWest Conference Football Title With 46-7 Win Over Newtown

Newtown pregame banner signifies the stakes versus Masuk on Thanksgiving Eve

Shawn Flynn (10) raises the championship trophy.

(Newtown) Masuk 46 – Newtown 7

You expected otherwise?

A couple of previous scores was all it took to make this first-time viewer suspect accurately how this one would go.  First: last year’s score between these two – Masuk 42 Newtown 0.  Second: This season Newtown lost to Pomperaug (16-7) while Masuk romped, 49-3, against the same opponent.  Other considerations were Masuk’s 55 points per game average (tops in Connecticut) and a twenty-two game winning streak for the Panthers.

As it turned out, the only real surprise was the weather.  The forecast of rain was faulty, which turned out to be a blessing, because the game was switched from Masuk to Newtown’s wonderful turf field.

Masuk (10-0) with the win on Thanksgiving Eve captures the SouthWest Conference crown.  It also qualifies for the Division L playoffs starting next Tuesday.

Newtown (8-2) had qualified for the Division LL playoffs even before the Masuk loss.  They won’t be facing schools the size of Masuk in the postseason.

The Newtown defense shut out Masuk for a quarter which was a season first for the Panthers.

Masuk Quarterback Casey Cochran (12) had excellent protection.

I thought that the Panthers believed that their passing attack, led by all-everything quarterback Casey Cochran, would work.  Not on this day.  The Hawks rushed few but flooded the secondary with defenders.  Completions were few for Casey and his team ended up punting four times in the early going.

The rest of the game the Panthers began to rush more and Thomas Milone (2 touchdowns) and game MVP Colin Markus (2 touchdowns) ran wild.

Thomas was the carrier on counters.  On one his first score, the faking of QB Cochran was so good that Thomas went into the end zone practically unnoticed by the Newtown defense.

Colin Markus (32) with last Newtown defender Dan Hebert.

Colin was a Hawk problem from everywhere, as he frequently broke the line of scrimmage and got into the Newtown secondary.  There were way too many instances of him being tackled by safeties.  He also set up the Panther TD just before the half, taking a short pass from Casey Cochran and turning it into a 71-yard gain.

The key play of this game could well have been the Newtown turnover (pick-six) in the second quarter.  Down, 6-0, QB Andrew Tarantino tried a middle screen.  As my picture shows, Panther defender Pat Tripodi had a great look at it.  He intercepted the underthrown pass and was immediately off to the end zone 43 yards away.

Newtown’s shining moment was first possession in the second half. Trailing, 19-0, they put a 16-play, 79-yard drive together to close to 19-7.  Dan Hebert, set up in Wildcat formation, found Julian Dunn wide open in the middle for the score.

The momentum quickly shifted back to Masuk.  They reached pay dirt 1 ½ minutes later and never looked back.

Nate Coleman (11) heads for a “pick six” as Brian Monaco (95) blocks.

Late in the game, Panther defender Nate Coleman had a “pick-six” racing 65 yards.  He got a good block from Brian Monaco to send him on his way.

Masuk’s last score came with seven minutes to go.  The only “worry” thereafter was the 50-point rule (Cochran Rule).  Surely Jack Cochran (Casey’s father) was in the house.

Jack Cochran won eight titles coaching in Connecticut.  He picked up some heavy slack along the way, especially in 2005, when his team won four games by more than fifty points including a 90-0 score over Griswold.  Hence the rule.

Casey Cochran committed to UConn in August after being courted by a number of prominent schools including Boston College.  Casey’s plan is to graduate from Masuk in December and start at UConn in January.

Casey Cochran

Casey was Connecticut’s Gatorade Player of the Year last year and should get that award again after this season.  He holds the Connecticut career records in passing yards, completions, and touchdown passes.

Casey played for his father as a freshman at New London.  When his father was fired, they moved to Monroe where Casey has played, and set records, for the past three seasons.

Masuk is ranked second in Division L behind undefeated Hand of Madison.

Newtown’s Lou Fenaroli set a school record 1,598 rushing yards.  He led the SWC in rushing.

Another key to the Masuk win was the way they contained the Hawk running game.  Lou Fenaroli was only able to get 59 yards in 19 carries.  Denied the balance of a strong running game, the Hawks were forced to pass to get anywhere.  The chant from the Panther side of, “You’re no Casey,” directed Newtown QB Andrew Tarantino, was accurate.

Newtown’s turf field was terrific.  The stadium was packed on a very brisk evening.  The lighting on the field was about as good as it gets.

(I take ownership for any “fumbles” in this blog entry.)  Pictures will enlarge if you click on them.

Andrew Tarantino (4)

Masuk coach John Murphy

Colin Markus

Thomas Milone

Lou Fenaroli (44) follows blocker Dan Hebert (7)

Pat Tripodi (30) with second quarter “pick six.”

Thomas Milone (22) with blocker Eric Tucker (66)

Masuk defenders break up pass.

Julian Dunn (15) scores the Newtown touchdown

Thomas Milone (22) falls into the end zone on Andrew Cebry (14) as Nick Plescia (58) watches.

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