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



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.



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

42 Responses

  1. GHS1973 says:

    Pretty good game to watch on TV, although it was never really in doubt, even after the first score by T-Birds..I give credit to North Branford for never giving up though, and if they had converted on their 4th downs in the red zone it would have been closer, but they would’ve still come up short IMO…Ansonia is just too good, loaded with outstanding players, many of whom are coming back next year…Hopefully they get bumped back up to M to meet bigger teams, but I really don’t think it matters…They’ll roll anyway…Especially with Newsome & McKnight back.. I really like McKnight, he throws a nice ball for a sophmore, and he’s fast too..Newsome is off the charts…

  2. another fan says:

    @GHS1973 Agreed ,I wish they could play in an even higher class, but I don’t think the CIAC will allow it anymore.

  3. Jesse says:

    Alot of young talent on the Chargers coming back next year. I too was impressed with McKnight, he could be special in years to come. Does anyone know if Matos is getting looks from any colleges?

  4. Garf says:

    Well, as for this year the two M finalists aren’t playing at the level that both Ansonia AND North Branford did in the S game. And it’s not even close from what I’m seeing thus far.

  5. RAY BROWN says:


  6. GHS1973 says:

    @Ray…Allright, humble as always…They are good…Congratulations..

  7. Nhbeast says:

    -Jesse – Yes on Matos. Iowa, Central Ct, BC, and a few others I forget right now. But yes, he is on several colleges radar.

  8. johnson says:

    @Ray,maybe your boys can play a top 10 team next year?Schedule was a joke…Want respect play the big boys.I thought there would be more posts here already at this time.I guess the diehards have not got out of Lemko or Norwoods yet.Congrats to the big bad SCC.Hand without any question #1.Remember Ansonia 0-2 lifetime when they move up class.

  9. Jesse says:

    Thanks Nhbeast.
    @johnson; Ansonia was Class M last year and won EASY, so moving up to L I think would be intruiging. They have the size, speed, and athletes to do it.

  10. "Hunt for Life" says:

    Funny about this move up. I played at Ansonia from 88-92. We played big schools. It made no difference. There have never been more than 140-150 boys in AHS. If there is a problem blame it like the BCS. You might need the old “and 1″ but no one wants Ansonia truly. They just say they do.

  11. Football Fan says:

    Prince Tech brings back alot next year,especially from the Heating and Air Conditioning Department.

  12. Chris says:

    #8 Johnson said “Remember Ansonia 0-2 lifetime when they move up class.”

    Incorrect, they are 1-2. Ansonia also elected to move up in 1979 and played Seymour in M (they had the RB Esson). From 1978-80, Ansonia elected to move up to the class that would provide them the best competition. In 79, the Ansonia staff, led by Coach Mac, believed this was an M team.

    Further, this moving up in class issue is nothing Ansonia can control. The CIAC does not allow Ansonia, or any other team, to do it.

    Here is a hypothetical for everyone, if the rule to pick your class was still in place, and a clearly dominant S school elected to stay in its class, would a LL or L team elect to seek the S school out? For instance, in 1997 would Cheshire (LL winner) or Hand (L winner) have asked to play Bloomfield (S)?

  13. James Hatte says:

    Is Newsome eligible next season? I have heard both yes and no.

  14. Kris1 says:

    Yes, Newsome is eligible to play next season.

  15. Shoreline football fan says:

    If ansonia wants respect they should really rally to join the SCC. Im sure that they would be welcomed with open arms. I believe they are a great football team but are always untested. If they play in the SCC they would probably make it out of every season with one or two losses.

  16. SJ Alum says:

    All three SCC Teams (Hand,Xavier,Hillhouse) gave up 0 points in the second half of play. Ansonia is a great team and congratulations, I would love to see them challenged, week in week out, playing with injuries and showing some depth. When your starters become spectators in the second or third quarter it’s time to re-evaluate your competition. Come on Ansonia show the state what your made of play some big dogs (and not in scrimmages) petition the SCC and gain the respect of the rest of the state.

  17. RAY BROWN says:


  18. SJ Alum says:

    @RAY, yeah OK? Don’t hold your breath waiting for programs like Hand, Staples, Xavier,and most other SCC Teams to be mentioned or compared to Ansonia. Not taking anything away from a great program and 18 Championships is very impressive, but let’s face it. To the Big Dog’s your a minor league team waiting to prove yourself at the next level. Until then, You’ll be the one comparing yourselves to these teams, not the other way around.

  19. jeb says:

    Ray…How can you compete with the XMEN when they get to choose who they want to play for them. If they need a QB they go out and get one . It’s perfectly legit but it does tilt the scales a little.

  20. johnson says:

    Jeb,in case you have not noticed Ansonia’s q.b and Newsome are Waterbury products.Just sayin…..

  21. PapaDags says:

    The only time Ansonia GETS to play the FCIAC or SCC teams is the preseason….and they whomp on them….yr in and yr out….Ansonia is GOVERNED by the joke called the CIAC and can’t pick what class they are in….That being said, it speaks VOLUMES on the fact they have such a small number of boys in the entire HS and yr in and yr out are dominating no matter WHO they play….Imagine if they had the enrollment of Xavier, and had MORE athletes to choose from….they would be a top 25 team in the country….That town breeds football, you must have heard that by now, when a kid is 4 he gets a football for christmas and is taken to HS games to instill the tradition,,call it a form of brainwashing if you like….but it is one filled with pride and honor….His daddy and granddaddy played and uncle joe too….The coaching staff is undeniably the BEST in the state hands down….HANDS DOWN !!!!! and it’s like when one retires, there’s one just as good in the wings same with the players,,,one after another after another…’s almost unfair to the rest of the state cause actually no’one else comes close …Not to be disrepectful to MANY other fine programs but ask any knowledgeable COACH in the state what program would they aspire to be like??????? HONESTLY…..

  22. SJ Alum says:

    PapaDags, Middletown press “NFA followed Xavier’s winning blueprint to Class LL Final”…Guess that answers that!

  23. Jack says:

    We (Ansonia) have the respect already; we have had it for decades. Too many waterboys, wannabees and gen y’s this blog. Actually, I received my football at birth, yup, father put in the crib. Had that ball until just a few years ago when it disintegrated from use. I would ask people to remember that respect for Ansonia football predates the start of CIAC championships in 1976, and the SCC for that matter. My grandfather was a team captain (27), as was my father (49), me (71), and my next younger brother (74).

    “It never rains at Nolan field”

    Go Lavender! Go Blue! Go Chargers! Congrats on the win!

  24. Ansonia says:

    Some of you act like LL and L always have the better teams and all the titles are weak. A history lessons needed. Some years moving up would of ment running away from the best game so take the 0-2 when moving up with a grain of salt. This Ansonia team is legit! They have the ability to play with and beat the best our state has to offer. The states consecutive win streak is in jeopardy.

  25. Football Fan says:

    Ansonia has had many good teams.A good number of them proved it on the field of play especially when the NVL had legitamite powehouses{IE 2006 Holy Cross} or CIAC Playoffs{New London Teams}.But honestly they have not played any teams that would be considered elite in a few years.

  26. Gerg F says:

    Ansonia had a great year. They have great players. But it is very hard to claim number 1 when the best team you have played all year is North Branford. I know that there is an open spot in the SCC (from when Derby left). All they need to do is apply get accepted and request to play in division one (like Hand does) and Bloggers will no longer have to make the case on the internet, it will have been won on the field.

  27. Rob says:

    As usual, this is the place to come for rational discussion. The debate over Ansonia is getting heated like always. Just wait until next year when it will only intensify.

    A few points:

    a. Many people like to note that Anonia has no wins over “elite” teams this year. The problem with this statement is the extremely narrow definition of “elite” that is used. From what I can tell, there are only 5 or 6 teams on this list in any given year. They would be the top 2 or 3 teams in the SCC, the top 1 or 2 teams in the FCIAC, and maybe in some years 1 or 2 wildcard teams. That is it. That’s the whole list. So if we set the list of elite teams as this group of teams, none of which reside in the NVL and none of which are in Class S this year, we have set up an argument that cannot be defeated.

    b. Using this same criteria, how many elite teams did Hillhouse beat this year? They seem to get a lot of credit for LOSING to elite teams, but did they beat any?

    c. If you come on here saying that either Hand or Xavier would destroy Ansonia in a game, then you either are wrting out of pure frustration and anger because of the argument or you really have no clue about football. If it’s the former, then that’s fine. I get mad at Ray Brown too. But if it the latter, and you really think that, then I have to question your knowledge of the game and your ability to process what you are seeing. The games would not be a blowout either way and would be hard fought between two proud programs.

  28. Rob says:

    Furthermore, Ansonia fans are being told to take our 18th title and our #2 or #3 ranking and be happy with it. And as an Ansonia fan, I can tell you that I am.

    Hand will be #1 and they are a great team who deserves to be #1. Their resume is more impressive than Ansonia’s resume and that is hard to argue. But does that mean every other team in the state besides Hand had a disappointing season?

    This blog is filled with all kinds of fans: Greeniwch, New Canaan, Masuk, Newtown, Brookfield, SCC, etc. Do you stop being a fan of your team because they didn’t finish #1? Or didn’t finish in the top 5 or top 10? You root for your team regardless, and if they are thought of as one of the top teams in the state at the end, then even better.

    Ansonia is not the #1 team in the state every year. They are not a top 5 team every year. This is not possible for any program to do. But I am proud that they are right up there this year, and most years for that matter. That is what being a good program is. People around the state who know football know that Ansonia is great. If great means the very best, or if great just means one of the best, I am fine with that either way. So yes, I will take my 18th title and my top 3 ranking and be very happy with it.

  29. jeb says:

    Well said ROB.

  30. Master Legend says:

    Ansonia opened up with Hillhouse during Dobbs’ senior year. Nobody gave them any credit for scheduling (and handily winning) that game because it was seen as a “down year” for the Acs. Ansonia is playing Masuk next year. Nobody will give them any credit when they win that game because people will say it’s a “down year” in Monroe. People criticize their schedule and say “go play some real opponents”, so they pick up Hillhouse and Masuk. Is it Ansonia’s fault that they don’t believe in “down years”??

  31. Kris1 says:

    First, SPB congrats on another great season. You’re one of the best and certainly one of the reasons the media coverage for HS football in this small state has gotten so big.

    Second, most of the posters on here aren’t old enough to know the history of Ansonia Football.

    Here’s some more food for though, on Ansonia Football, for you youngsters. Since the CIAC playoffs began in 1976, Ansonia has NEVER gone more then two (2) years without playing in a State Title game.

  32. MXR says:

    Rob, your posts 27 and 28 are well said. Same for Master Legend #30 and the most recent one by GO NOLES on another thread. No one can question the sustained excellence of the Ansonia program; there is no match for now, what, at least 35 years? And no one can rationally hold the opinion that the best (or second best) team in a given year cannot come out of Class S (or M). But without direct games, or even games with common opponents which are tricky to evaluate anyway, all you have is your own eye test. Having to rely on the eye test is the frustration, not RAY BROWN.

    For me, based on what I have seen myself, I don’t think the Ansonia team this year or last could realistically beat the L or LL champ either year. Could they play a close game? Sure, any given Friday or Saturday. But that is my own eye test. I have my own biases and, although I can’t eliminate them, I can try to take them into account. And even having expressed that opinion (which is all it is), I still think Ansonia is right there just below 1 and 2 these last two years.

    I wish my team had 35 years like Ansonia’s. It must be nice to get to have your team involved in this type of argument most years.

  33. Spreado says:

    Ansonia played Hillhouse Dobbs Jr year. Everyone always talks about play tougher teams, I don’t see those teams calling Ansonia. There’s always some issues with Ansonia. I know the hard work that these kids put in as a team and individually. Hand/ Xavier wouldn’t blow out the Chargers they’d be great games. I do get tired of the Ansonia fans that believe Ansonia will crush everyone because that’s not the case either. Believing they can play with anyone and crushing everyone are two different things. Ansonia fans on here we need to have class. We can be proud of our accomplishments without being annoying or coming off as arrogant.

  34. j says:

    X and Hand the past few seasons have been special, a level above their competition (including Ansonia). Their is no argument. Hand #1, Xavier #2. (Xavier may win in a rematch though). Congrats to all the State Champs!! A great season.

  35. Ansonia says:

    I’m not saying they’d crush Hand or X, but I believe they have the talent to beat either one. Hillhouse took X to the wire and West Haven did the same to Hand. I’m confident in my prediction that Ansonia wins handily if West Haven and Ansonia played a real game. So saying Hand and X are a level above just doesn’t cut it. You can say their schedule was a level above Ansonia’s, but not the team.

  36. j says:

    They may, but it’s unlikely. This X team 3 peated in LL and Hand L back to back. These two teams are at the top of the best ever in Ct. With toughest schedules. Its hard to play and beat top teams all year. Too many of Ansonia’s players go both ways. So the depth importance. X and Hand have the best coaching. X has biggest OL in state history probably, and Boyle one of the best ever in Ct and Berry (and Luster) are special. Ansonia is typically a running team, yes they have Matos, but their strength is the rush. And X and Hand have some of the most formidable Defenses in a long time. NB had success throwing the ball right? NFA looked alot like Ansonia. Hillhouse is as fast as Ansonia. It might be debatable that Berry had a better year than Newsome and in the best conference by far in the state…SCC. Who’s faster Berry or Newsome?

  37. Elgin21 says:

    Congratulations to all the champions. Hate to see this season come to a close. Great job Sean – as usual.

  38. Garf says:

    Lol, I sign off for the year because my hopes for a fun, knowledgeable, and respectful debate seem impossible – and then that very thing ensues. Great posts by both the Ansonia guys and non-Ansonia guys in this thread.

  39. Ansonia says:

    North Branford moved their best WR around and attacked #6 Finney. Ansonia never adjusted because they made the important stops. Now if they had any concern about a particular WR then Newsome plays matchup man and said WR becomes a non factor. If your telling me that Luster will light Newsome up then ????? All I’m going to say is it would be a very good match up. Hillhouse might be as fast, but there’s not another Newsome in the state right now. As good as he is at RB, he might be better at corner. Apples to apples, look what he did to Berlin last year in the semi finals.

  40. ftballfanatic says:

    @J- Newsome makes sharper cuts than Berry, but Berry might literally be the fastest person in the state (him and cooper)so in my opinion hes faster…another thing to consider is that newsome was injured for like 3 games so that might even out their seasons, with both going over 2,000 yards and 40+ TDS.

    @Ansonia- I think Ansonia would be competitive with either Xavier or Hand. They’re defense is much faster, but X’s players aren’t exactly slow and they would do a great job on ansonia’s offense. Matos, Newsome and Mcknight would make plays though…X’s offense playing the way it has been ? Ansonia couldn’t completely stop x’s offense, Boyle could still pick them apart…Hand’s defense is simply astounding, but their offense is just solid.

  41. Dr. Von Nostran says:

    People should acclimate themselves with the record book before throwing around the term “best ever”.
    I’m not an Ansonia fan, but after reading through you’ll have to admit they’ve done some amazing things for not just a small school, but a shool of any size.

    Xavier is halfway to Cheshire’s total:

    School Total Years
    Cheshire 6 1992-97
    St. Joseph-Trumbull 5 1980-84
    Bloomfield 5 1997-01
    Ansonia 4 1981-84
    New Canaan 4 2006-09
    Ansonia 3 1987-89
    St. Joseph-Trumbull 3 1988-90
    Hand 3 2003-05

  42. Football Fan says:

    Was there ever a question asked to Coach Brockett as to why Ansonia attempted and executed various 2 point conversions in the 4th quarter with Ansonia up by a large margin ?
    It reminds me of Woody Hayes going for 2 against Michigan up a large margin late in the game.A reporter asked him why they{Ohio State} went for 2,Woody’s reply was because we could not go for 3.