From the outset, it appeared if every notion about Ansonia-Holy Cross II would come to fruition.
Holy Cross punt. Arkeel Newsome. One carry. One touchdown.
By the time the Holy Cross coaching staff had finished screamed “C’mon! That was too easy!” at their players, Newsome added another touchdown on the Chargers’ second possession.
The rout was on.
Or was it?
To their credit, the Crusaders didn’t throw up their hands. They didn’t lie down. They played with passion and pride befitting a team that’s already on its way to the state playoffs.
Though Ansonia never scored again in the first half, though Holy Cross buckled down, though people like me (48-7) started to squirm a bit for being so rash, the scoreboard was what everyone expected: Ansonia 33, Holy Cross 0.
Ok, so yeah it was in a way.
You could argue this was a much closer game than Week 4. Newsome busted loose for only one of his patented long touchdowns (as opposed to four the first time). The Cross defense never allowed another one. It was only a 14-0 game at halftime thanks to a goal line fumble by Newsome.
Then again, as Ansonia’s players have been quick to remind every one all season, it takes 11 guys to make a football team.
So, while Newsome only wowed the crowd on one long run, the rest of the Chargers made sure he didn’t need to go nuts. They kept Cross’ dangerous skill players out of the end zone while Newsome simply churned his way to a somewhat deceptive 286-yard, 5 TD, MVP performance.
“We were never concerned,” standout linebacker Tyler Wood said. “We knew the defense would pick it up and the offense would do their part. The defense was pretty good tonight. We played hard. We had fun.”
Jh’mel Trammell was a brick wall. Jake LaRovera had a sack. Newsome intercepted a pass. Wood topped it off with fumble recovery and a sack. All and all, a good day on the football field.
“We just talked about staying patient,” Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. “We were in control. You can’t blow everybody out early. Holy Cross is a tough team and is very capable of winning Class S.”
They are. But so is Ansonia in Class M. Perhaps more so. They’ll tune up for the playoffs against Naugatuck on Thanksgiving Day (a game that Brockett said Naugy has an edge, at least because it had the week off) and then they’ll go to work in capturing its first state title since Alex Thomas roamed the end zone.
(Incidentally, Thomas is about to play his last game at Yale this week in ‘The Game’. Where does the time go?)
Elsewhere on this light but busy Week 10…
The state playoffs added two more participants. Ledyard rallied to beat Branford 28-21 to punch its ticket in Class M. Northwest Catholic dominated Bristol Eastern to claim a spot in Class S.
In Class LL, Glastonbury won and Norwich Free Academy won to add their names to an already crowded list of contenders (alongside the likes of Ridgefield, Shelton, Greenwich, Norwalk and Pomperaug).
That all but eliminates the Bulldogs from playoff contention and makes it even more imperative for teams like Notre Dame-WH, North Haven, New Canaan, Darien and Masuk to win on Thanksgiving Day.
North Haven and Notre Dame might even have to turn an ear to Plainville on Thanksgiving Day. A Farmington win will edge it ever so closer to a playoff berth and — in the event Masuk and New London win — will have ND and North Haven praying for enough bonus points.
It’s going to be thisclose between Farmington and Notre Dame-WH if all holds to form. Both teams would love an NFA win over New London to help matters.
It also assures the loser of New Canaan-Darien a ticket home for the holidays. New Canaan will clinch with a win, but Darien (like ND and North Haven) needs to win and hope enough bonus games come through.
Still another slate of games today and tomorrow with playoff implications. Including Hall vs. Conard in the Class LL race. A Hall victory gets it in. A loss will drop it into the already crowded Class LL mix.
We’ll continue to break it all down for you as we go along.