In what’s becoming an annual stop for me, I hit the annual “scrimmage” between Shelton and Ansonia tonight and while things have changed for the two-time defending state champion Ansonia Chargers, the more they’re going to stay the same.
Yes the Chargers lost all those seniors and the all-time leading rusher in Connecticut history. But Tristan Roberts is back. It looks like he and his linemen are going to be writing their own history this year.
I don’t have the final stats, because this technically was a scrimmage, but Roberts must have had close to 200 yards rushing tonight. He scored four touchdowns. Ansonia looked great on both sides of the ball.
Shelton took the opening kickoff and made Ansonia look silly as it marched right down the field and scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass from junior QB Mike Brighindi to Matt Stevko . Shelton’s big defensive front was putting the breaks on Ansonia’s revamped offensive line. It was 7-0 after the first quarter.
From there, it was all Ansonia. Ron Bilodeau tied the score with 6:30 to go in the first half on a 5-yard run. Tristan Roberts scored on a 5-yard run with 2:19 left and, after getting a stop with under a minute left, Ansonia got the ball back and quickly moved into field goal range. Travis Torello, who looks nothing like a kicker, drilled a 39-yarder.
Then Thoma — er, Roberts (sorry, habit) went absolutely nuts. He scored on a 10-yard run, took a pass from Bilodeau 60 yards for another score and then finished the night with a 79-yard run. After completing the 60-yarder, Roberts sauntered out for the kickoff. “Tris, you tired?” asked an assistant. “Naw, man,” Roberts said incredulously, and quickly got into formation.
It was 31-7 before Shelton scored closed to within 10 a nifty halfback option from Joel Yoad to Nick Georgalas late in the third quarter and a 27-yard run by Paul Piccirillo in the fourth quarter. Shelton looked great on its first drive, but struggled to move the ball consistently after that, shuffling between Brighindi and tall sophomore Ray Pendagast.
As you’ll see in Saturday’s edition of the Elite 8, I think Shelton is going to be the team to beat in the SCC Division I West ahead of Prep.
If that’s the case, how good is Ansonia going to be? They lost 19 starters and didn’t miss a beat.