What a night. What a performance.
At times, Arkeel Newsome seemed simply unstoppable. He rushed for 396 yards and six touchdowns — all on just 26 carries — as No. 1 Ansonia steamrolled Masuk, 56-21 on Thursday at Nolan Field. And by the time the night was over, he had claimed ownership of the state’s all-time rushing record.
Newsome surpassed former Ansonia tailback Alex Thomas (2004-2007), who finished with 8,279 yards. Newsome’s already at 8,385, remarkably with five regular-season games to go. The UConn-bound senior has 1,580 yards and 26 total touchdowns on only 106 carries this season.
He set the record — to his own surprise — on the first play of the third quarter, a 57-yard touchdown run.
“I did not think that was the record touchdown,” he said, smiling.
The Panthers knew what they were up against and still, Newsome was just too much to handle.
“It’s not like you try to stop a kid like Arkeel. You try to contain him as best you can,” Masuk head coach Dave Brennan said. “Even that is a challenge in itself. We don’t like to have those kinds of things happen to us, but it’s certainly not something that we weren’t seeing on film.
“You can never duplicate that kind of speed and explosiveness (in practice). If you have that person on your scout team then great, we’ll take him on our No. 1.”
Ansonia, the state’s top-ranked team, is now 6-0 on the season. It wasn’t up against a vintage Masuk team — this one’s now 4-2 overall, losers of two straight — but the win still meant plenty to the Chargers. Non-conference, regular-season games against top programs haven’t come around often in recent years. And the Chargers sure made a statement on Thursday.
“(Masuk’s) a great program. I was just more worried about what we did,” Ansonia head coach Tom Brockett said. “I think we had to defend some of those past teams tonight. I think the kids felt that pressure.
“A lot of those critics are waiting, waiting.”