Tag Archives: Nick Rubino

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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Undefeated Newtown ends Ansonia’s streak 14-8 in Connecticut showdown

Jared Pearson finds a huge hole in the Ansonia defense for an easy touchdown.

Jared Pearson finds a huge hole in the Ansonia defense for an easy touchdown.

Tim Krapf tries to wrap up Tyler Bailey

Tim Krapf tries to wrap up Tyler Bailey

(Newtown CT) No doubt Ansonia’s 48-game win streak was a motivator as Newtown prepped for the game.

That “motivation” ended after the Nighthawks dropped the Chargers, 14-8, on a mild Friday night before a cast of thousands (three at least).

Asked about the significance of the victory afterwards, NHS coach Steve George dropped, “We won,” and, “We’re 6-0,” on the gathered media.

The week of media attention repeated the size of Ansonia’s streak and how one more win would enable the Chargers to tie Cheshire for the state record.  Lost in that concentration was the fact that Newtown (6-0) had won 27 of their last 29 games including 26 straight regular season games.

The point?  These were TWO good teams both used to winning whether a streak was involved or not.

Julian Dunn (15) signals the end as the clock winds down

Julian Dunn (15) signals the end as the clock winds down

When the game ended Newtown celebrated as if they had won something more than a regular season game while Ansonia fans/players wept in disappointment.

Newtown moved to a 14-0 lead late in the third quarter and you wondered if they might double that score in the final frame against the tiring Chargers.

But Ansonia (5-1) quarterback Jai’Quan McKnight tossed a terrific TD spot-pass to Tyler Bailey with ten minutes left.  When Jai’Quan squirmed in for two extra points the Chargers were in position to make things interesting the rest of the way.

But the Newtown defense, despite (“way too many mistakes/penalties” – Coach George) prevailed in Ansonia’s final two possessions to get the win.

JaiQuan McKnight

JaiQuan McKnight

For certain, the Nighthawks defense kept the visitors from running organized offense most of the evening.  Ansonia QB Jai’Quan McKnight, however, seemed at times to be more comfortable improvising than running set offense.

Jai’Quan paid a heavy price several times dropping back to pass getting nailed by Ben Mason and Nick Samuelson on separate occasions.  Nick’s hit ended the first half.

Two keys to the Newtown win: (1) depth, and (2) team speed.  Most of the Chargers played both ways including all their playmakers.  There was no rest for them.  The media during the week attempted to describe the matchup as Newtown’s size versus Ansonia’s speed.  Chargers coach Tom Brockett wasn’t buying it, “I thought coming in that man-for-man they might be faster than us.  They never let us break anything big.”

To back up Coach Brockett’s point, I had several pictures of Chargers breaking down sidelines with no Newtown defenders in front of them.  Each time Newtown players closed fast from the middle to angle the Ansonia players out-of-bounds before there was a breakaway.

No question Ansonia missed having Arkeel Newsome in their backfield.  Arkeel ended his Chargers career with the Connecticut state record in rushing yards.  He is now at UConn.

Nick Samuelson ends the first half with a hard hit on JaiQuan McKnight

Nick Samuelson ends the first half with a hard hit on JaiQuan McKnight

Those planning to attend this game were warned to get there early and many bought into it.  I was there an hour early and ended up parking behind the high school.  Leaving afterwards?  I was on the field afterward recording interviews for at least a half hour.  When I returned to my car none of the cars around me had yet moved.

The Chargers didn’t arrive until 35 minutes before game time………at least I thought it was all of them.  I was talking to an Ansonia fan and he asked me where the rest of the team was.  The second bus didn’t arrive until about 20 minutes before game time.  The “arrive early” word didn’t reach Ansonia?

The Nighthawks scored in the first quarter.  Jared Pearson caught a pass to get Newtown to the Ansonia 20.  Several plays later Jared took a direct snap and, instead of following the flow to the right, shot straight up the middle.  The Ansonia defense bit for the flow and Jared ran nearly unnoticed into the end zone at 1:13.  Bryce Mather’s kick was good.

Nick Rubino put together two straight solid runs deep in Ansonia territory in the third quarter to notch Newtown’s second score.  Nick, who was in the game in place of starter Jaret DeVellis, carried a defender into the end zone.  Bryce Mather had his second PAT.

Nick Rubino scores in the third quarter for Newtown

Nick Rubino scores in the third quarter for Newtown

The Chargers cut into the 14-point deficit early in the final quarter.  In pregame I watched quarterback Jai’Quan McKnight throw pass after pass to a spot near the corner of the goal-line.  No question in my mind that he had the arm and accuracy.  The trouble during the game was lack of time to even look to throw most of the time.  Somehow, early in the 4th quarter Jai’Quan found the time and sure enough passed to the spot near the goal line.  Teammate Tyler Bailey ran under the ball closely defended by Joe Santella.  The ball arrived as Tyler and Joe collided.  Down went Joe as Tyler caught the ball and finished the yard or so into the end zone.anne A8 QB JaiQuan pass on the wayanne A10 ball about to be caughtanne A11 Joe Santella bounces offanne A12 Tyler Bailey heads to end zone

Jai’Quan improvised his way into the end zone over the right side to get Ansonia within six points with plenty of time (ten minutes) remaining.  But on this day the Newtown defense took charge the rest of the way and ran their regular season streak to 27.

Newtown nearly scored a razzle-dazzle TD in the second quarter.  QB Jacob Burden rolled left and handed off to Jared Pearson running to the right.  Jacob kept on running around the left end while Jared suddenly stopped and tossed a pass in Jacob’s direction.  Jacob was as wide open as you’ll ever get in a football game but Jared’s throw was high.

anne A18 flags flyWhat a show at halftime!  It was twenty minutes of wonderfully choreographed and executed performance that you should have to pay extra for……..it’s that well done.

I can make changes in this blog so if I have been inaccurate please let me know and I’ll do the necessary editing.

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

JaiQuan McKnight converts 2-point conversion

JaiQuan McKnight converts 2-point conversion

Ben Mason wrapped up by Larry Cafaro

Ben Mason wrapped up by Larry Cafaro

Jaret DeVillis

Jaret DeVellis

battle in the trenches

battle in the trenches

JaiQuan McKnight down the sidelines

JaiQuan McKnight down the sidelines

Joe Santella

Joe Santella

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Filed under Ansonia, Newtown