ANSONIA AGAIN: Chargers win record 18th, back-to-back state championships

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ANSONIA 59, NORTH BRANFORD 26

Players lift up Ansonia coach Thomas Brockett as they celebrate their 59 to 26 win over North Branford High School during the Class S state football championship game Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post

North Branford struck first. Ansonia struck harder and more often.

Titletown added a record 18th trophy to its already jam-packed display case Saturday, using a dazzling display of offense and defense to topple unbeaten North Branford 59-26 in the Class S championship game at Rentschler Field.

Arkeel Newsome ran for 234 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns as the Chargers turned a relatively close 28-14 game after three quarters into an fireworks display.

Though the two teams combined for 1,049 yards of offense, it was defense that was key to complete Ansonia’s second consecutive 14-0 championship season.

North Branford had the ball inside Ansonia’s 25-yard line three times but couldn’t score.

Outside the 25? North Branford did just fine. Quarterback Brandan Basil hit Joe DeLucia with a 74-yard touchdown pass just 1:02 into the game. It was just the second time all season Ansonia trailed. It was the deepest deficit of the year.

Ansonia marched back and scored on Newsome’s 3-yard run. Not long afterward, Jaiquan McKnight (3-of-8 for 181 yards) hit Raeshaun Finney’s for a 75-yard touchdown and Andrew Matos for a 74-yard score. Matos added a 9-yard run to make it 28-6 at halftime.

North Branford didn’t slink into the Rentschler Field mist. The T-Birds defense held Ansonia scoreless in the third quarter while Basil, DeLucia and Gary Falanga went to work. DeLucia’s 63-yard touchdown catch pulled North Branford within 28-14 and, after another defensive stop, the T-Birds marched inside the Ansonia 10.

But for the third time, North Branford (12-1) couldn’t convert. McKnight’s scrambling 22-yard run gave the Chargers excellent field position and Newsome’s 1-yard run just as the fourth quarter began gave Ansonia a 20-point cushion.

Newsome tacked on a 64-yard touchdown run not 2 minutes later and the game devolved into a meaningless shootout that culminated into another Ansonia championship celebration.

PHOTO GALLERY

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December 8, at Rentschler Field, East Hartford 1 2 3 4 Total
(3) North Branford (12-1) 6 0 8 12 26
(1) Ansonia (14-0) 14 14 0 31 59

First Quarter
10:58 NBRN Joe DeLucia 74 yd pass from Brandan Basil (Joe DeLucia kick blockd)
05:09 ANSO Arkeel Newsome 3 yd run (Arthur Kwaskiewicz kick failed)
01:20 ANSO Raeshaun Finney 75 yd pass from Jaiquan McKnight (Arkeel Newsome rush)
Second Quarter
08:21 ANSO Andrew Matos 74 yd pass from Jaiquan McKnight (Jaiquan McKnight rush)
00:45 ANSO Andrew Matos 9 yd run (Jaiquan McKnight rush failed)
Third Quarter
09:21 NBRN Joe DeLucia 63 yd pass from Brandan Basil (Gary Falanga pass from BASIL)
Fourth Quarter
11:49 ANSO Arkeel Newsome 1 yd run (Arkeel Newsome rush)
10:25 ANSO Arkeel Newsome 64 yd run (Raeshaun Finney pass from MCKNIGHT)
09:49 NBRN Alex McGuigan 10 yd pass from Brandan Basil (Brandan Basil pass failed)
09:34 ANSO Jaiquan McKnight 56 yd run (Andrew Matos rush)
06:53 NBRN Joe DeLucia 12 yd pass from Brandan Basil (Brandan Basil pass failed)
02:01 ANSO Andrew Matos 5 yd run (Arthur Kwaskiewicz kick)

Sean Patrick Bowley