Threepeat in Class LL: Xavier grounds NFA into chuck


DeAngelo Berry (right) staves off Airec Ricks as he runs for yardage in the second half of Xavier's 48-14 Class LL championship victory at Rentschler Field. Berry ran for 260 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries.

They did it again, again.

Aside from a few tense moments late in the first half, Xavier dominated Norwich Free Academy 48-14 to win its third straight Class LL championship in front of 4,576 Friday night at Rentschler Field.

DeAngelo Berry ran for 260 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns as Xavier blew the lid open on a close, 20-14 game at halftime. Despite having a Division-I quarterback in their midst, Xavier never threw the ball in the second half.

“Tonight wasn’t my night, it was DeAngelo’s night,” said Boyle, who finished 2-of-5 for 109 yards and a touchdown. “It was DeAngelo’s night and the offensive line’s night.

The Falcons (12-1) just lined up and beat upstart NFA up at the line of scrimmage, amassing 517 yards of total offense, 408 on the ground.

Xavier’s defense, led by Chidi Broderick, Max Schumann, Braxton Obi Etuka and Will Garrity, created havoc as well with nine tackles for a loss, four pass breakups recovered a fumble and had two interceptions. It held NFA to a grand total of 169 yards.

Long before the final horn sounded, the Xavier players raised three fingers to the sky. Threepeat!

Xavier is the first Class LL team to win three straight.

“I can’t describe the feeling,” said coach Sean Marinan, who won his fourth title at the school. “Maybe later it’ll hit me. I’m just so proud of our kids.”

Xavier dominated early. Quarterback Tim Boyle ran for a 4-yard touchdown and later threw a 94-yard touchdown pass to James Sullivan. Berry added a 3-yard run. Its hard-hitting defense, meanwhile, knocked NFA back Marcus Outlow and Chris Johnson out of the game.

Despite turning the ball over twice, Xavier had a 20-0 late in the second quarter.

NFA back Marcus Outlow shows his frustration after injuring his left leg just a few plays into the game. He missed a majority of the first half before returning. But he was ineffective.

It looked as if the rout was on with 3:19 remaining in the first half when Berry scored on a 3-yard run.

But that’s when the madness began. NFA recovered the ensuing onside kick and. Ryer Caruso caught a 49-yard touchdown pass.

Moments later, Airec Ricks recovered a fumbled kickoff by Berry and Caruso caught a 6-yard touchdown pass in double coverage to put the Wildcats in great shape at 20-14 at halftime.

Xavier didn’t blink.

“We all refocused,” Berry said. “We knew we gave those points away, they didn’t earn them. We knew we were going to go out there and make a stop and then we were going to go down and score.”

Xavier’s defense held NFA to negative-1 yard of offense in the third quarter and had a pair of interceptions.

Berry, meanwhile, ran for 151 yards and two touchdown in the second half. Kris Luster’s interception at the end of the third quarter set up his 22-yard run. Andrew Meoli added 19-yard run to complete the threepeat.

Outlow, the heralded NFA tailback, injured his lower left leg on just his second carry of the game and was helped to the locker room. Though Outlow returned late in the first half, NFA coach Jemal Davis said his star back “just wasn’t 100 percent” after his injury. Outlow only carried four more times the rest of the game.

“I’m not going to make excuses for the outstanding performance that Xavier had,” Davis said. “It was unfortunate that we had two guys go down early, two guys who were a big part of our game plan. But they (Xavier) played an excellent game. That’s what the story should be. It should be the way they ran the football on us.”

Xavier has now won 38 of 39 games, including three state championships, dating back to 2010. For the seniors on this team, especially Boyle, this one tastes just a bit sweeter.

“The last two years I split time, those championships still felt great but being the full-time starting quarterback, and leading your team to a championship it’s more fulfilling and a way,” Boyle said. “This was more of a personal championship for me and the seniors and I’m so proud of our guys.”

Xavier's DeAngelo Berry poses with former Xavier tailback and Detroit Lion Amarie Spivey in the final moments of Xavier's 48-14 victory over NFA.


Elisa Formiglio became the first female in Connecticut state championship history to play in a title game. She was 2-for-2 on extra points. …Joey Paparelli was 7-of-19 passing for 86 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was picked off once. Caruso caught all seven of his passes. …NFA’s only other pass was thrown by Caruso. It resulted in an interception. …Khaleed Exum-Strong ran for 90 yards. …Xavier only punted twice, but it turned the ball over three times — all on fumbles. It also gave the ball up on downs. …Berry finished with 288 all-purpose yards. …NFA led Xavier in time of possession 25:23-22:37. …Xavier became the highest-scoring team in SCC history. …Detroit Lions back and Xavier alum Amarie Spivey, who led the school to its first state title in 2005, was on the sideline to cheer on his school. He and Berry posed for pictures (at right).


Xavier quarterback Tim Boyle and his senior teammates mug with the Class LL championship trophy following their 48-14 victory over NFA Friday Night.Xavier quarterback Tim Boyle and his senior teammates mug with the Class LL championship trophy following their 48-14 victory over NFA Friday Night.

    Sean Patrick Bowley

    55 Responses

    1. Weasel says:

      Congrats to Xavier for a fine season and a super 3 year run.

    2. SJ Alum says:

      SCC powerhouse and Dynasty…Xavier makes history as the first LL school to Threepeat! Congrats X-Men enjoy your glory, well deserved!

    3. MXR says:

      A great job by X tonight — another in a month of statement wins. Great game plan. Brilliant job by Berry and the Defense. Yes, a coverage breakdown and a couple of ball handling problems. But a dominating performance made them irrelevant.

      Congrats to NFA on a great season. It’s too bad we didn’t get to see more of Outlow — not sure what the point was of putting him back out when he could hardly walk. For NFA, #’s 11 and 90 played very well and are great CTHSFB players.

    4. NFA Historian says:

      A very impressive Xavier team tonight especially the strength of the line and the ability of Berry to get outside, and use cuts and strength to elude tacklers. I think that losing Outlow hurt NFA’s ability to put together any kind of coordinated offense. Without him to take 20 or 25 carries and to serve as a decoy or blocker ( good effort to help after the injury but no strength in his legs), Xavier totally boxed up Papperelli from breaking out and seemed unwilling to send Strum up the middle. That basically left NFA with no running game and no offense other than throwing it up in the air to Caruso which Xavier caught onto after the first two scores with good coverage thereafter.All that being said, even if Outlow had not been injured and NFA could have successfully implemented its game plan, Xavier was a 2 or 3 touchdown better team and simply too strong for the NFA defense. Probably 42 to 21 or 42 to 28 at best if the injury had not occurred. So the bottom line was this year coupled with the semifinal appearance in 2010 show that NFA is moving up the ranks but still has a way to go. As noted in prior blogs, the football excitement being created out here will help build this program so if not in 2013 NFA will be back at the Rent again. Eight towns use NFA as their sole designated high school and several other towns allow their students to pick between going to NFA or several other area high schools. More Kids with arhletic ability are going to pick NFA now or go out for football once they arrive.. On to basketball now because unless the Giants can pull a turnaround like last year, I won’t be following football much longer.

    5. hillhouse dad says:

      after watching nfa crumble under the pressure of the x it makes me very proud of the house. because they had x by the throat but the 4th quarter was too much.what i saw from nfa last night i know the house would have given them a tough game.

    6. mr fciac says:

      The entire team from Xavier has offers from Ala, Ark, Penn St, Ohio St,
      Fla, Fla St NFA none. No more talk from NFA thank you

    7. Don DeMarco says:

      Would love to see how X would fare against Don Bosco or Bergen Catholic.

    8. Dylan says:

      Hats off to NFA. Great fans, solid program and one of the best players in the state returnin next year.

      I am so proud and happy for this Xavier team. Congratulations guys on a very good season!

    9. Honus says:

      It’s interesting to note how many of the Xavier seniors were first year starters, owing of course to the incredibly strong group of seniors last year. Obviously it’s not just talent that makes X strong, but their depth. While an NFA (or a Staples or most schools for that matter) can watch their game plan go down the tubes with one key injury, X seems to have an entire sideline full of talent as evidenced even when Berry was out last game. If you are going to beat X, you need to do it early in the season before the new crop of kids gel as a unit, which is what we saw as their season progressed. Let’s see how Hand looks today, but hard to imagine any team in the state playing better this time of year than X.

    10. Xhs says:

      X would loose to those teams this year. Could have played with them last year. For those who really follow the loss of the 4 line backers for hand/hillhouse really hurt this team!for the #1 ranking which needs to go to hand with a victory today. Cooper shredded us and fillipone dunked and dunked short passes all day. A sign of a great coach doing his scouting. Like I said in another post the best team (not the #1 deserving rank team) played last night

    11. just a fan says:

      Agree with DeMarco. Think it is clear that X is one of the top 2 teams in the state. Would love to see how they would do against some real quality competition. Would be a real good measuring stick.

    12. Observer says:

      I have a pass for all 4 games. I attended last night and plan to catch second half of Hillhouse and the Hand ball game. Congrats to Xavier.great game plan and execution. No need to pass when you can wear them down running. totally out coached NFA. Norwich was not prepared offensively and did not take advantage of the one Xavier weakness, their secondary. They were not going to run on X even with the Outlow healthy. Hillhouse should win by a few TD’s and I think Hand dominates, which will make them # 1 in the state undisputedly. Great job all year here SPB

    13. Ctfan says:

      I said this week that I thought this game would be decided in the trenches and it certainly was. I always hear about how big teams are and then when they actually step on the field with Xavier they get completely man handled. NFA is simply too small/weak on the offensive and defensive lines in comparison to Xavier’s. Every year it’s the same story.

    14. KPS says:

      You’re just going to keep spewing that 4 out of 5 linebacker non-sense til you get someone to buy it aren’t you.
      You don’t mention that there offense was shut down in the second half.
      Hand wins today their the best team in the state and number one.

    15. ciacfollower says:

      @Xhs – your post “the best team (not the #1 deserving rank team) played last night”, makes NO sense…As of now, and after they win tonight, Hand is the #1 ranked AND best team in the state.
      Hand w/zero losses &
      X with 1 loss to Hand, makes Madison #1

    16. RAY BROWN says:


    17. GHS1973 says:

      Ray…Stop smoking that […], man…X would beat you…I watched every game…North Branford exposed you in certain sets…X is much bigger on the O-line & D-line, and you can’t blow coverages against Boyle…BTW, I’d love to see that game…

    18. Garf says:

      GHS, you do know that speed has a way of neutralizing size…I respect X but that mediocre-looking Hillouse team I just watched struggle with Berlin went toe-toe with them.

    19. GHS1973 says:

      Speed?…Heck…I’m talking good reefer…LOL

    20. Jesse says:

      Would love to see Ansonia play Xavier!
      Ansonia won M last year and S this year both easily done.
      Move them to L and see what happens.
      They have the talent to compete week in and out with the best of them!

    21. Observer says:

      @ All Ansonia Fans. Let me first say that I have a lot of respect for Ansonia. There is nothing not to respect. They are tough, well coached, and disciplined. They also have one of the winningest programs in state history. This being said, I still believe that X and Hand would “hand” it to them (pun very much intended). Although Ansonia competes at a high level year in an year out (and they do so in a very dominant fashion), they do so versus small schools with very little pedigree. Hand, Xavier, and Hillhouse all face playoff caliber teams all season long and still win. This year Hand, Xavier, and Hillhouse all faced one another during the regular season (along with a number of other highly competitive programs, i.e. West Haven and North Haven). Considering the fact that all three went on to win state titles, I think there should be little argument that the SCC litmus test is the truest gauge of program strength. Obviously Ansonia has no control of their scheduling. This being said, it does not negate the fact that their exposure to true competition is limited. Given the results of this weekend, it is my humble opinion that X, Hand, and Hillhouse are the top programs in the state. After all, their failures and successes resided in the most heavily contested conference that Connecticut has to offer. This is just my two cents. I must end with my personal final rankings. 1) Hand 2) Xavier 3) Hillhouse 4) Ansonia 5) Windsor 6) North Branford 7) Berlin 8) NFA 9) Staples 10) Glastonbury.

    22. Garf says:

      @21 it’s going to be a lot tougher to convince people of this now that more games are being televised…we know Hillhouse played Hand tough and was up 49-28 on X. Now you find me any guy who knows football who watched Hillhouse play Berlin right after watching the S game that didn’t SEE the difference in level of play. It wasn’t even close. Cooper and Anderson are great but that House D would be destroyed by Ansonia.

    23. Paul says:

      @Jesse and Ray….Forget Xavier…The State should put together a L-LL All Star team to play Ansonia.Give it a break guy’s be happy with another small title and number 3 state ranking…Your schedule was the softest in school history….No teams ranked in the top 10 and Woodland and Wolcott as the #2 and#3 teams in your league.What a joke.Congrats on #18 but history has proven that Ansonia is 0-2 when moving up to L-LL…Be very careful what you ask for.Take a look at Hands/Xavier/House resume this year and match that up with yours.Great year SPB signing off till next year.

    24. Football Fan says:

      1) Hand 2) Xavier 3)Ansonia 4)Hillhouse 5) Windsor 6) NFA 7) Staples 8)Glastonbury 9)Southington 10) Berlin

    25. SCC fan says:

      @21, I must agree with your post and final rankings. Until Ansonia plays some top teams during the season and/or the playoffs, they will never get the respect of the other teams like X, Hand and Staples. I will see this about Ansonia, they may play in a cupcake league, but they do get it done unlike the SWC teams.

    26. GO NOLES!! says:

      Fair points. There is no doubt that the SCC is the strongest conference in the state. And it can be argued that playing a number of tough, competitive games in the regular season can wear a team down, especialy a team with less size or depth.

      But no matter who they played during the regular season, teams are what they are entering the playoffs. It is then time to look at the individual teams, no the conferneces they came out of!

      It’s why a team like NFA, from an overall weaker league like the ECC, beat the supposedly greatest Staples team of all time. And why they would have likely have battled Xavier to the buzzer if their best player doesn’t get injured.

      Ansonia could easily go head-to-head with any of the teams you cite. The Chargers had more overall speed and weapons then any team I saw. Would they win? Who know? Maybe Xavier’s size would wear down their young and undersized line this season. Maybe Fillipone (who heads one of the best staffs in the state) would scheme well to stop the Chargers offense. Would be fun to watch, wouldn’t it?

      Just don’t assume that not playing the same level of competition in the regular season makes a team any less formidable.

      And by the way, you lose some credibility with me when you rank Windsor #5 (while big and talented, easily the worst coached and undisciplined team to ever take the field at the Rent),and Berlin at #7 (a team that was curb stomped in the playoffs by Ansonia a year ago, and plays a weak schedule, something you place so much importance on).

    27. GO NOLES!! says:

      And FWIW:
      My Top Ten
      7)North Branford

    28. Xhs says:

      Xavier’s JV scores in Ansonia Defense. Come on its an easy 30 pt win against Ansonia. Give me a break watching that S game (though a lot of offense) was not good. Ansonia would lose to Staples and Greenwich in the FIAC, All three SCC teams (and maybe North Haven) and probably Windsor. I’ve watched football for many years and all those teams above score over 40 on that defense. And to say NFA would have been in the game with their best player is like saying if it wasn’t raining and we didn’t have 4 fumbles and had the JVs in the whole 4th qtr was the only reason we didn’t hang 70 on them. It’s called class not slamming late TDs against a beaten North Branford team. It’s getting old the insults from teams down state when they really are not that good and I’ve seen you play more then once.

    29. MXR says:

      It does grow tiresome. Take either Madison or Xavier team of the past two years and play them against either Ansonia team 10 times, and you are looking at 9 SCC team wins by 3-5 TDs. In the case of 2011 Xavier, the Cochran Rule would be in play in at least 8 of the games. Enough.

    30. Garf says:

      The contrast between post 26 and 28 says it all…sorry Xhs, those ego-driven statements mean nothing now that everyone got to see the top teams in action. Seeing Hillhouse play right after Ansonia spoke volumes and the same Hillhouse team lost to your varsity team 50-49, you are truly one of the most biased and least knowledgable posters in this blog. While GO NOLES is one of the least biased and most knowledgeable.

    31. Reggie Palmer says:

      @ ALL CAPS RAY
      Opening day this in Sept RAY

      LOL – stick to the Class S lightweights. I tip my hat to the winningest program taking its 18th crown.

      Wake me up when you play a top 10 team.

    32. Reggie Palmer says:

      North Haven should be ranked in the top 10!

    33. Xhs says:

      Of course you going to win 18 titles when you are in the playoffs every year. There conference has teams with 22 players. They run the table and if they win 3 playoff games (some against prep schools) and hues what, another title. Give me a break.

    34. Garf says:

      @29 Insightful

    35. MXR says:

      Garf — I like the sarcasm, LOL. We can debate all you want about which team has the advantage in size, speed, numbers, scheme, etc., whatever you want, which we obviously have very different opinons about. Why don’t we try it this way. Are there six Ansonia players who would start for Xavier? I will spot you Newsome, although Berry would get pelenty of time on this super team. Where do we go from there? Maybe a receiver and a DB?

    36. FtballFanatic says:

      @Garf- Maybe his posts are ego driven, but Hillhouse would easily compete with ansonia…Cooper and Anderson would run wild on their team…you ansonia supporters take foregranted the fact that you play NO ONE and the Hillhouse only against 2 champions speaks even more Volumes. In fact north haven only lost to 3 champions, and honestly could’ve beaten windsor, middletown and possibly Masuk, and they’re not even in the playoffs lol. The Xavier defense would shut down the ansonia offense after a while because their best offensive players play both ways and the line would wear them out, and you would have to pick between X’s run game, or the passing game. You guys are silly

    37. another fan says:

      Congrats to Ansonia!!You have to be crazy,a hater, jealous or just plain stupid if you don’t believe Ansonia should be # 1 starting next years poles.Sorry Cards,I truely am. Nice halftime interview Sean.I totally agree with you picking Ansonia #1 if Hand got beat yesterday.

    38. Garf says:

      Alright guys, time for me to sign out. I’ll leave you Walking Dead fans with this… I was walking through the woods with Ray Brown minding my own business when he inexplicably started singing loudly, of course attracting droves of the mindless zombies. I do my best to fight em off – even getting some help from the cute black chick with the sword (named GO NOLES) but the droolers just keep coming. So I finally come to my senses and decide to get the hell out, leaving them to feast on Ray.

      Congrats to all the 2012 playoff teams…it was a fun season for your fans!

    39. RAY BROWN says:


    40. SJ Alum says:

      THAT’s right XHS, Ansonia would blow out Xavier by two TD’s at least…Look at the powerhouse dynasty’s they rocked this year, Woodland,Seymour,Watertown,Wilby,Crosby…and don’t forget Ansonia is always compared to Hand, Xavier, Staples usually in the same breath during conversations. LOL just stop Ray Brown, we get it!

    41. jeb says:

      If some of you think that Hillhouse would have beaten Ansonia this year or any other year for that matter you are mistaken. Hand deserves #1 but Ansonia is number two. Next year in the first poll of the season Hand will be ranked #1 because thats how the States sportswriters always do it. They reward the previous years winner. But by years end Ansonia will be the best team in the state…no questons asked. Next years Ansonia team could be the best team that Ansonia has ever produced…they will be that good.

      Very disappointed how Staaples ended their year..they were a much better team than NFA but made too many mistakes when the game was on the line. They will be very good again next year. Look for St. Joes to win the FCIAC with New CAnaan and Staples in contention.

      SPB….Thank you for another great job on your part for keeping all of us fans involved throughout the year. You make H.S. football so enjoyable …keep up the great work.

    42. ciacfollower says:

      Jeb, not til Hand loses, will they be bumped from #1….Tho Ansonia will likely be undefeated too by years season’s end (& blowing their pathetic competion out by zillions of points)

    43. Observer says:

      Some food for thought. Xavier played 8 playoff caliber teams (5 during regular season) during their journey to a 3rd LL title.

      1. Daniel Hand
      2. Hillhouse
      3. West Haven
      4. North Haven–(included because their only losses came to state championship programs)
      5. Middletown
      6. Glastonbury
      7. Greenwich
      8. NFA

    44. SJ Alum says:

      @ Observer, #1 Hand, #2 Xavier (Lost to Hand) #3 Hillhouse (Lost to Hand & Xavier) #4 North Haven (Lost to Hand, Xavier, Hillhouse)…no one can dispute that competition.

    45. Football Fan says:

      @ Jeb PLEASE stop drinking the Ansonia Kool Aid.Do you realiize how many times next Years Ansonia’s team is the team of thier team of the Decade….answer probably 7-10

    46. GO NOLES!! says:

      Once again, too many posters come on this blog with a bias that a smaller division school cannot compete with a larger division opponent because….well…they’re “smaller”, I guess. Or the bias that if a team comes out of a weaker top-to-bottom conference, no matter how dominant the team is within that conference, they cannot compete with schools from better conferences.

      And I will continue to recommend that if they are true football fans, and actually watch and understand the game, look at each individual team. I don’t care if their road to the playoffs was tougher or easier. What kind of team is taking the field in the playoffs or at the Rent? What kind of spped and size do they possess? How many weapons and how many ways to come at you? How disciplined are they? How well coached? How well do they tackle? Look at a TEAM and not their conference.

      There were all knds of questions about NFA because they dominated in a weak ECC. How does Staples feel about NFA’s conference schedule now? Did it matter?

      A while back, Bloomfield fielded arguably the greatest team in the history of Connecticut high school football, with several Division 1 athletes on both sides of the ball. And they were?? Oh yeah, Class S.

      It’s a blog; it exists to express opinions….and biases too, I suppose. But try to keep it informed.

      And many thanks to SPB, who has made his newpaper’s website, and his blog a daily must-read. Merry Christmas everybody!

    47. jeb says:

      Nobody had better football teams than those Bloomfield teams. Not Cheshire, Not Ansonia, Not Trumbull, Not New Britain, Not Hand, Not New Canaan, Not Hand. Player for Player, speed against speed, offensive and defensive superiority. I saw Bloomfield in back to back games beat Ansonia 56-0..Ansonia won the NVL and New Canaan 56-6 ….New Canaan won the FCIAC. Simply awesome and this was not Bloomfields best team.

    48. ciacfollower says:

      Jeb – true , but thats ancient history. Bloomfield failed to continue the tradition like Ansonia & Hand has for many years including this current(past) season.

    49. MXR says:

      Can a Class S team be the best or second best team in the State in a given year? Of course. Has it happened? Yes. The real question is, did it happen this year? Those on here have expressed their opinions, and the voters will soon enough. They are all opinions. Thanks to SPB for giving us a place to express them and hear those of others.

    50. Reggie Palmer says:

      Bottom line regarding Ansonia’s ranking, the polls get it just about right:

      Ansonia has won 18 state titles, and (without looking it up) was named #1 in the poll 4 times. So evidence suggests that one in four or five Ansonia teams are truly the best in the state.

      If you think that is too much or not enough, you are probably a zealot with an agenda lol, but the arguing certainly gives fuel to the blog fire.

    51. It’s amazing to me how many of you guys post under multiple names. That’s this space’s secret: just two people are arguing under pseudonyms.

    52. j says:

      Congrats to the SCC! Unbelievable achievement 3 out of 4 State Champs! Not surprising. X and Hand have had some special teams the past few years. They both would beat Ansonia this year and last. Too much depth, quality team players with skill, best OL/DL’s, great coaching, etc. Defense too strong. Many reasons…And it does matter if you’re playing in the best conference playing top teams week in and week out in the SCC. Just like in the SEC, when you play against the best competition it helps in the big games. Can an underdog win one here and there, yes. But, X and Hand have overwhelmed and taken the will out of their opponents. Rankings #1 Hand #2 Xavier etc…

    53. SJ Alum says:

      Hey, I’m one of the two! can I be selected to the All-Conference Posting Team Sean?

    54. That’s not a bad idea…