Check out the preview in today’s paper. I think you all know my opinion on this one, now it’s time to voice yours.
Archive for 2010
Everyone buy a paper — we’ve got previews of all the local Thanksgiving games in today’s News-Times.
What we’re missing, though, is gutsy predictions. That’s where I come in. Here’s what I’ve got for this year’s Thanksgiving Games. Let’s start with the big one:
Blue and Gold stadium is new and improved. Lets just hope, for their sake, that Newtown’s football team is, too.
Yes, Newtown is a good football team, but Masuk is great. The Panthers lost to the Nighthawks in this rivalry game last year (and were knocked out of states as a result), so don’t expect to see the JVs this time around.
Prediction: Masuk 45, Newtown 0
Bethel (6-3) at Brookfield (7-2), Thursday, 10 a.m.
With a victory here, Brookfield punches its ticket to the Class M playoffs.
Bethel, last year’s Class M runner-up, needs a win and then a few miracles to qualify.
The Wildcats will run the ball, but in the end, a faulty pass defense may prove to be the difference.
Prediction: Brookfield 37, Bethel 21
Oxford (5-4) at Pomperaug (7-2), Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Two teams headed in opposite directions. It’s a shame the points won’t work out for Pomperaug to qualify for Class LLs, because the Panthers have had a tremendous year. There’s no shame in an 8-2 season.
Prediction: Pomperaug 42, Oxford 14
Stratford (3-6) at Bunnell (6-3), Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Bunnell is clearly the more talented team in this battle of cross-town rivals. And, though the Bulldogs will miss the state playoffs, expect them to be right in the mix next season. QB Bryan Castelot(2,293 passing yards, 27 TD) and WR Jared Vasquez (507 yards, 6 TD) will be tuning up for the 2011 campaign in this one.
Prediction: Bunnell 54, Stratford 13
New Milford (1-8) at New Fairfield (3-6), Thursday, 10 a.m.
I know this is cheesy and cliche, but you really can throw the records aside when these two teams get together. NM-NF is the best rivalry (in all sports) that the Danbury-area has to offer. Though these Thanksgiving battles haven’t had any playoff implications, two of the last three have gone into overtime. I’ll say they make it three out of four.
Prediction: New Fairfield 33, New Milford 26 (OT)
Notre Dame-Fairfield (1-8) at Immaculate (0-9), Thursday, 10 a.m.
Ah, the Classic Catholic School Clash (I just made that up now, can you believe that?) Both teams are hurting for numbers and both teams have some talent at the skill positions. I’m calling a shootout — and the second straight ND victory.
Prediction: ND-FF 40, Immaculate 27
Weston (5-4) at Joel Barlow (2-7), Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Don’t look now, but Weston is 5-4 and, thanks largely in part to workhorse Eddie Hutchins (220 carries, 1042 yards, 14 TD, a team-high 14 receptions), the Trojans have a shot at their first winning record in a very, very long time.
Prediction: Weston 27, Joel Barlow 20
Hey, how’s one more for good measure? I know I’ve been all about the SWC, but we’ve got a nice FCIAC battle up here in the Danbury-area.
I’ve got Ridgefield over the Hatters, 41-19, in Tommy Jordan’s final high school game.
And while I’m in the mood for predictions, I’m predicting that I go 6-2 in my aformentioned Turkey Day predictions.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
One more week remains in the regular season. There are a few HUGE games on Thanksgiving. No time to waste — lets get to it. Here’s the Week 9 rundown:
SWC Championship Game: Masuk at Newtown, Wednesday, Nov. 24@ 7 p.m. Word is Blue and Gold Stadium will be ready to go for this one.
Newtown (8-1) survived an early scare from Stratford and, as we’ve anticipated for the last few weeks, staked its claim in this year’s SWC title tilt. The good news? It’s Newtown’s second appearance in three years. The bad news? Not much good will come from this one. Masuk (9-0) will not make this easy for the Nighthawks. The Panthers have allowed some points in recent weeks (28 to Oxford and 14 to Immaculate), but nearly all of those points were against Masuk’s second-string defense.
Don’t expect to see the JV’s in this one. My prediction: Masuk 45, Newtown 0.
Big surprise: Given their shortage on numbers and sheer inexperience, it seemed inevitable that Immaculate and Notre Dame-Fairfield would both enter their Thanksgiving rivalry winless.
Somehow, ND-FF — a team that could barely roll out a full varsity roster — put up 44 points on New Milford and came out with a 44-34 victory on Friday at New Milford High…..Bunnell looked like it posed the worst possible match-up for Brookfield on its first offensive possession when quarterback Bryan Castelot moved the ball at will (4-for-5, 43 yards capped off by a 12-yard TD strike to Josh Diaz) against a seemingly overwhelmed Bobcats secondary. A Brian Kelly pick-six changed everything, however, and the momentum swung in Brookfield’s favor and did not shift the rest of the way. The Bobcats, who get better every single week, played their most complete game of the season in the 40-12 win. After starting the season 2-2, Brookfield is now in position to secure a berth in the Class M playoffs if they take care of business against Bethel on Thanksgiving.
No surprise: Bethel, also in position to secure a Class M berth (with a Thanksgiving win and some help), rolled over Joel Barlow, 54-13, in a battle of triple-option offenses. The Wildcats are right in the mix with 15 other teams fighting for six spots in Class M…Masuk was up 48-0 on Immaculate at halftime and went on to win 54-14. The only surprise of the night: Immaculate tackle Justin Waltzer (a 6-foot-5, 290-pound Division I prospect) had a rushing touchdown.
SWC Player of the Week
Leaon Gordon, RB, Brookfield – Three consecutive weeks, three consecutive big Brookfield wins, three consecutive Bobcats as SWC Player of the Week. In the previous two, I selected defensive back/wide receiver Brian Kelly for his big-play ability on both sides of the ball. This time around, though, even Kelly knew a three-peat wasn’t in the cards.
“Yeah, I think Leaon deserves it,” Kelly admitted after the team’s win over Bunnell.
I had Gordon down for 248 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. The Brookfield coaching staff had him with 269 on 16 carries. I’ll take their word for it. Gordon also added a 4-yard touchdown catch in the win.
Other top individual performers
The Brookfield offensive line – Center Chris Keefe; Left Guard Matt Consalvo; Left Tackle Dion Koumoutseas; Right Guard Tyler Heckman; Right Tackle Joel Wamser; Center Joey Acquanita; Tight End David Depoi.
Yes, Gordon made some plays in the open field and quarterback Boeing Brown (4-for-5, 93 yards, 3 TD) made some great throws, but it all starts up front. The Bobcats offensive line has opened up huge holes for Gordon and given Brown time in the pocket all season. These guys don’t normally make it into the paper, but they deserve as much credit as Brookfield’s skill position players.
Billy Kimmel, WR/DB, New Fairfield — 12 catches, 136 yards, 3 TD; 3 tackles
Casey Cochran, QB, Masuk – 13-for-15, 269 yards, 5 TD
Kevin Maxen, RB/LB, Pomperaug — 11 carries, 48 yards, 2 TD; fumble recovery for 55 yards, TD
Brian Kelly, WR/DB, Brookfield – 2 INT returned for 59 yards (1 TD), 9 tackles; 1 reception, 45 yards, TD; 4 carries, 16 yards
Shea McGorty, DE, Brookfield — 12 tackles, 3 sacks
Brandon Schmidt, QB, Bethel — 4-for-6, 67 yards, TD; 14 rushes, 110 yards, 3 TD
Mike Jamieson, QB, New Fairfield — 26-for-37 passing, 301 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT’; 11 carries, 40 yards
Alec Belardinelli, DL, Bethel — 8 tackles, fumble recovery for TD
Eddie Hutchins, RB, Weston — 27 carries, 135 yards, 3 TD; 3 tackles
DUFFY’S TOP FIVE
1. Masuk (9-0)
2. Brookfield (7-2)
3. Pomperaug (7-2)
4. Newtown (8-1)
5. Bunnell (6-3)
Just missed: Bethel (6-3)
Games to watch next week: Masuk at Newtown, Thanksgiving Eve, 7 p.m.
Bethel at Brookfield, Thanksgiving Day, 10 a.m.
By now, you’ve probably read (and heard) plenty about Southington coach D.J. Hernandez.
The skinny: The former UConn quarterback/wide receiver, now in his first season as head football coach at Southington High School, “admitted to having possession of a card containing coded Manchester plays and attempted to use the card during Manchester’s first offensive drive of the third quarter,” according to a Southington High School press release.
Here’s where it gets interesting, though. One of Hernandez’s players found the wristband on the field. Hernandez never went out of his way to steal it. Truthfully, Manchester’s plays just fell into his lap.
Somehow, this became a national story. My guess is that, because it happened so close to the ESPN headquarters in Bristol (and that Bristol and Southington don’t particularly like eachother), ESPN pounced on it quickly. If this happened in Montana, I’m sure it wouldn’t have made ”Outside the Lines.”
To me, that shouldn’t matter. This should have never landed on ESPN because it really isn’t a big story. It did not merit a suspension by any means (Hernandez must sit out this week).
Honestly, put yourself in D.J.’s shoes. You stumble upon this wristband and you’re expected not to look at it, not to use it?
Anybody who says they’d throw it away — or give it back to Manchester — is lying to themselves. If you’re a competitor and you happen to find this competitive advantage, you’re going to use it. No questions asked.
Maybe D.J. could have been a little more discrete about it, but that’s another story.
I’m not saying I live by the old cliche “If you ain’t cheatin, you ain’t tryin” — personally, I think its a stupid saying. In this case, though, another saying applies.
“If you ain’t taking advantage of Manchester players carelessly leaving their plays out in the open for anyone to see, you ain’t tryin.”
I think we all can agree on that.
Join Sean Patrick Bowley and yours truly as we discuss the upcoming week in HS football.
The Green Wave lost one of its best players, New Milford high school lost one its most well-liked students and, most importantly, Joe lost a life that was filled with promise.
I had known Joe since first grade and, when his death graced the front pages of The News-Times during Nov. 2004, I didn’t think any words or quotes could truly capture his personality.
Six years later, I still believe that. Joe was a once-in-a-lifetime type of kid. In today’s News-Times, I tried my best to accurately describe Joe’s personality.
I admit that it doesn’t do Joe justice, but its my best shot. We all miss you, Joe.
The SWC playoff picture (and state playoff picture) really took shape after Week 8. Here’s the rundown:
Is it a surprise that Brookfield won? Not necessarily — I think we all had a feeling this one could go either way. But, at the same time, it was surprising to see Brookfield dominate the game the way it did. This one was really never in doubt.
Pomperaug fumbled the ball six times, lost three of those fumbles and coughed it up on a mind-boggling three consecutive plays in the first quarter. “People would say ‘It’s lucky they fumbled so much,’” said Brookfield coach Rich Angarano. “But there’s a reason they did. We were hitting them pretty hard in there.” Brookfield (6-2) now must win its last two games against Bunnell and Bethel to qualify for the Class M state playoffs. Pomperaug (6-2) is a longshot for the Class LL playoffs…Surprise score on Saturday night between Masuk and Oxford. No, the Wolverines didn’t pull the upset, but they did score 28 points (you read correct) against the state’s top-ranked defense. Masuk (8-0) enetered the game having yielded just 21 points all season. The Panthers’ offense certainly picked up the slack, though. They put up a season-high 69 points, the highest single-game point total by any team in Connecticut this year.
No surprise: Newtown kept on rolling. The Nighthawks defeated Joel Barlow 28-0 and moved one win closer to qualifying for the SWC Championship game vs. Masuk (which I guess is a good thing?). If Newtown beats Stratford next week, the SWC title game will be played on Thanksgiving Eve at Newtown High School — the scheduled regular-season meeting between the two teams. If Newtown loses, well…let’s cross that bridge when it happens.
Brian Kelly, everything, Brookfield – Getting used to this name by now? The reigning SWC Player of the Week somehow topped his performance from a week ago and delivered another all-around gem in the win over Pomperaug.
Kelly’s stat line: 2 catches, 86 yards, 2 TD; 4 rushes for 20 yards; 2 INT (run back for 76 total yards); 5 tackles, 1 sack; 3-for-4 PAT.
There were some other great individual performances — and I’m sure many of you will be calling for Masuk quarterback Casey Cochran or Bunnell quarterback Bryan Castelot to be the SWC Player of the Week — but consider this: Cochran and Castelot put up their numbers in routs of inferior opponents. Kelly stepped up and played his best game of the season in the biggest game of the season.
Top Individual Performers
Bryan Castelot, QB, Bunnell — 12-for-17 passing, 370 yards, 7 TD
Casey Cochran, QB, Masuk — 8-for-11 passing, 234 yards, 6 TD
Jawad Chisholm, WR, Bunnell — 5 receptions, 213 yards, 4 TD; 5 tackles, INT on defense
Max Nacewicz, RB/LB, Newtown — 14 carries, 153 yards, 3 TD; 8 tackles, fumble recovery, safety on defense
Markey Deruisseaux, QB, Stratford — 71 yards passing, 2 TD, 77 yards rushing, INT and three forced fumbles on defense
Brandon Schmidt, QB, Bethel — 3-for-7 passing, 54 yards, 2 TD; 8 rushes, 155 yards, 2 TD
Matt Tamburino, LB, Bethel — 2 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, TD, blocked punt
Brett Gaughan, WR, Pomperaug — 8 receptions, 142 yards
Kellen Croce, QB, Pomperaug — 16-for-38 passing, 287 yards, TD
Boeing Brown, QB, Brookfield — 9-for-14 passing, 196 yards, 2 TD
Greg Wax, QB, Immaculate — 2 rush TD, 1 passing TD
Duffy’s Top Five
1. Masuk (8-0)
2. Brookfield (6-2)
3. Pomperaug (6-2)
4. Newtown (7-1)
5. Bunnell (6-2)
Just missed: Bethel (5-3)
Game to watch next week: Bunnell at Brookfield, Friday, 7 p.m.
I recently got in touch with former New Fairfield distance runner John Raneri, who I selected as the Greater Danbury area’s top athlete in the Class of 2010. Raneri will be checking in periodically and telling us about his experience at the University of North Carolina. Here’s his first installment:
It’s been awhile since I’ve been back in the 203. But I see that all of you are keeping up the tradition of great achievements and sportsmanship. I’m impressed by the many accomplishments that were achieved thus far and am proud of you all. First off, I want to congratulate Danbury XC and New Milford XC for winning their conferences. Secondly, I want give a shout out to Coach Murphy and Warrington of New Fairfield and congratulate them on a successful season.
Things down in Chapel Hill are going really well. School, running, and life in general has never been better. I feel like I’m apart of a great community that gives much support to UNC athletics. The past three months have really been great. I’m finally getting used to the workload both in academics and athletics.
The team is doing very well as of now. We are ranked 25th in country and it seems like every workout we cross a new threshold of experience. The team dynamic is very strong as well. Everybody fits in their individual way. We all seem to get along as well; despite coming from completely different regions of the country. Our goal is simple: To the work hard and become the best.
*On a recent note, our team finished 3rd at ACC’s this weekend in Boston, beating several ranked teams along the way (Most importantly Duke #14 NCAA and UVA #17 NCAA).
As for now, I’m out. Keep it classy Greater Danbury Area!