Hooker scored three goals in a win over Bethel last week and (though this didn’t count for this award) two more against Newtown on Monday. Through five games, she’s tallied 11 scores.
Pomperaug's Matt Paola
Paola (62 votes) was selected as the SWC Football Player of the Week. In a 45-7 win over Bethel Friday, he (don’t holdyour breath), carried five times for 56 yards and a touchdown, caught three passes for 50 yards, kicked a 44-yard field goal, booted 6 touchbacks, went 6-for-6 on PATs and recorded two tackles.
He’s certainly a versatile weapon for Pomp, which is 2-0 as it prepares for winless Immaculate.
For what its worth: I’m sure you’re all dying to find out how I voted in both these polls. Well, for football, I went with Masuk receiver Thomas Milone.
The kid had 215 receiving yards and FIVE touchdowns — three through the air, two on the ground — in a 64-14 romp of New Fairfield.
And I had to go Milone for SWC Athlete of the Week, too. To me, he turned in the most impressive performance of the week. But, then again, my vote doesn’t count any more than yours.
Check back Sunday night for the nominees from this week.
By now, you’ve probably already read about Saturday’s classic between Weston and Brookfield. If not, here you go.
I couldn’t squeeze everything into that article (or inject my opinion), but that’s why we have The Duffle Bag.
Weston's Danny Rogers
Basically, this was the most bizarre game — of any sport — that I’ve covered in my 23 months at The News-Times. Brookfield coughed up seven fumbles. Weston recovered six of them. The Bobcats were in danger of going down 18-8 (or 19-8 on a two-point conversion) when Weston tailback Danny Rogers plunged into the endzone on a 4th and goal from the 1-yard-line. Somehow, Brookfield poked the ball out before Rogers crossed the plane, recovered at the 1 and kept itself in the game.
Brookfield tailback Leaon Gordon was nothing short of sensational. He made up for two fumbles by ripping through the Weston defense for a 58-yard touchdown run on the second play of the fourth quarter and following that up with a 64-yard score on his very next carry. He gave Brookfield every chance to win the game, but six fumbles proved to be one too many.
Weston was opportunistic, creative and unpredictable in its offensive playcalling. Brookfield, the victim of seven turnovers and so many penalties, seemed to be in shock after the loss. No one was talking on the Bobcats sidelines; some players were teary-eyed.
Weston coach Joe Lato was balling his eyes out. Seriously, he was so choked up that he struggled to get through the post-game interview. That’s how huge a win this was. It wasn’t too long ago that the Trojans, enduring a miserable 22-game losing streak that spanned three separate seasons, were the laughingstock of the SWC. They’re now 2-0 for the second straight year.
Brookfield is 0-2 and facing a major uphill climb. A berth in the SWC championship game is probably out of the question now. But I still maintain that the Bobcats are a talented team capable of stringing together eight wins to finish the season. They obviously have some kinks to work out, though.
Quarterback Eric Beatty completed 10 passes for a whopping 236 yards and four touchdowns, proving that Pomp, a 45-7 winner, won’t be one-dimensional. They play physical D, they can run it in the hammer and now, we know they can throw downfield.
So, will they challenge Masuk?
That remains to be seen (until Nov. 4). Pomp could be undefeated heading into that matchup, and Masuk — barring an upset 100X greater than Weston/Brookfield — will have a perfect record.
One other thing we learned from Pomp/Bethel: The Wildcats really need to shore up their pass defense. After giving up 400 passing yards to New Milford in Week One, Beatty averaged 23.6 yards for completion on Friday.
And now for Weekly Honor Roll…(aka Masuk’s roster)
Thomas Milone, WR, Masuk — 6 receptions, 215 yards, 3 TD; 2 rushing TD
Casey Cochran, QB, Masuk — 325 passing yards, 5 TD
Shawn Flynn, DB, Masuk — 8 tackles, INT, fumble recovery
Colin Markus, RB, Masuk — 6 rushes, 134 yards; 55-yard TD run
Both teams head into Friday’s matchup with 1-0 records and very realistic state playoff aspirations. So, who’s gonna get the ‘W’?
I won’t wimp out like last week. I’ll actually make a prediction this time: Pomperaug 30, Bethel 22.
I think Bethel makes a few big plays, but the Panthers control the tempo — and time of possession — from the beginning.
What do you think?
And one more poll for good measure: the anti-Bethel vs. Pomp game. New Milford’s Connor Shanahan threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns in his first career start and Bunnell’s Bryan Castelot, well, we all know he slings it around quite a bit. These two teams square off Friday at 7 p.m. down in Stratford.
Serencsics received 210 votes, beating out teammate Brandon Schmidt, who had 177 votes. Third place went to Pomperaug tailback Andrew Reel, my personal choice for the award. Reel totaled 143 yards for scrimmage, had two touchdowns on shovel passes and even threw a touchdown in a 26-6 win over Brookfield.
Thanks for voting, everyone. Be sure to check back Sunday for next week’s recap and a vote on SWC Athlete of the Week, which will encompass all sports (not just football).
With the new fall season, it’s time for a new feature here on The Duffle Bag. In addition to voting for the SWC Football Player of the Week, I’ll be conducting a weekly poll for the “SWC Athlete of the Week.”
The award will encompass all sports, not just football. I’ll post the nominees every Sunday. Voting will be open until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night and the winner will be announced each Wednesday morning (or afternoon).
Check back Sunday Sept. 25 for the first batch of nominees.
In the meantime, I’d love for some input on a few things:
1. How’s this for a logo? News-Times sports editor Rich Gregory is merely a placeholder. The weekly winner will have his/her photo inserted where you see Gregory (color scheme may also vary).
2. Feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any suggestions for SWC Athlete of the Week. Right now, the only concrete nominee for this week is Colin Burke of Brookfield, who scored five goals in a 6-0 win over Kolbe Cathedral on Monday.
I don’t want to call it a “shocker” or even a “big surprise” (that’s how I started the Around the SWC posts last year). After all, this is Pomperaug football, the most consistent SWC program this side of Masuk.
But even so, this was a surprise. Had I made a pick for this game, I would have gone Brookfield by two touchdowns.
Not the first time I’ve been wrong. Definitely won’t be the last either.
Pomperaug was more efficient, more disciplined and, quite simply, more dominant at the line of scrimmage. Brookfield didn’t yield many big plays, but it struggled to get the Pomp offense off the field. And when the Bobcats got down, they went to the air, which essentially took running backs Leaon Gordon and Tyler Puglisi out of the game. Gordon couldn’t find much room (his only big rushing play was a 33-yard sprint up the right sidelines on a fake punt) and Puglisi carried just three times.
The line of scrimmage is the foundation for success at any level of football. If the Panthers continue to dominate on both sides, there’s no reason they can’t be unbeaten when they face Masuk on Nov. 4.
No surprise: Masuk. Thomas Milone returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and the Panthers were all over Oxford, 42-7, by halftime. New wide receiver Jason Piontkowski, a transfer from New London, had seven receptions for 113 yards and a TD in the 49-14 win….Newtown and Bunnell took care of business with blowout wins over Joel Barlow and Immaculate, respectively…New Fairfield also looked strong as it scored 40 points in the first half and rolled over Notre Dame, 47-6. The Rebels travel to Masuk next Friday. Weston turned some heads with a 36-0 romp over Stratford. Sophomore tailback Danny Rogers tallied four touchdowns on just nine carries.
Game of the week: New Milford led Bethel 25-7 at halftime, but ran out of gas after the break. Brian Birdsell’s 50-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter gave Bethel a thrilling 28-25 victory. Wildcats QB Brandon Schmidt carried 32 times for 164 yards, scored two touchdowns on the ground, threw for 63 yards, kicked two extra points and added a two-point conversion.
Last year, I picked the SWC Player of the Week by myself. Collectively, you all know much more than I do, so we’ll vote to decide POTW this year. Here are your choices for Week 1. Voting closes Tuesday night.
WEEKLY HONOR ROLL
Connor Shanahan, QB, New Milford — 17-for-28, 399 yards, 4 TD in first career varsity start
Casey Cochran, QB, Masuk — 15-for-18, 385 yards, 3 TD