Underdog an unfamiliar role for Masuk

Senior quarterback Malik Cummings, right, leads Masuk (4-1) into Thursday's tilt at No. 1 Ansonia (5-0). (Photo by Christian Abraham)

Senior quarterback Malik Cummings, right, leads Masuk (4-1) into Thursday’s tilt at No. 1 Ansonia (5-0). (Photo by Christian Abraham)

For years, Masuk lived life as the favorite, the team that nobody wanted to play. Stars like quarterback Casey Cochran and wide reciever Thomas Milone left opposing defensive coordinators with plenty of headaches and few answers.

Now, the Panthers are 4-1 — coming off a 35-32 loss to Pomperaug — and are unranked in the state poll. They’ve been good, but far from dominant. And on Thursday, they’ll be living life from the other side.

Next up: unbeaten and top-ranked Ansonia, at Nolan Field.

“Our kids are in the situation where they’ve never been considered an underdog,” Masuk head coach Dave Brennan said. “I told the kids this is the first time that they might be in that situation.”

A lot has changed over the years at Masuk. Cochran and Milone have been replaced by Malik Cummings and PJ Kokkoros. Head coach John Murphy — now at New Milford — gave way to Brennan over the offseason. But the Panthers, who won six South-West Conference titles and three state championships in Murphy’s 15 years at the school, still garner plenty of respect from opponents.

“I still think they are (a top 10 team),” Ansonia head coach Tom Brockett said. “I don’t think last week is reflective of what type of football team they are. … They’re one of the top programs of the last 15 years. I don’t think this team is any drop in talent level.”

The Panthers have put up big numbers on offense thus far, averaging 46 points a game. Cummings, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior, has thrown for 701 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s also rushed for 380 yards. Kokkoros has racked up 1,030 all-purpose yards and eight total scores.

“We have a team that’s going to be very, very competitive,” Brennan said.

Ansonia can make the same claim about itself. A two-time defending state champion, the Chargers (5-0) have arguably the best player around in senior tailback Arkeel Newsome. The UConn commit has rushed for 1,184 yards with 20 total touchdowns this year.

“They do a lot of things fundamentally sound,” Brennan said. “You have to be prepared for them on multiple fronts. They can stretch the field both vertically and horizontally.”

17 Responses

  1. RAY BROWN says:

    the best rb in state running behind best oline in state—-masuk never seen skilled players at6 this level——-speed kills—-masuk rules

  2. Raider says:

    You mean Masuk drools. Again, played a team with talent and got blasted.

  3. R-MAC says:

    Ansonia is the #1 team in state ! Newsome is the best running back in the state ! The offensive line for the Chargers has always been a big one, but this years line is Monsterous ! Masuk was being pushed around like plowed snow in a blizzard last night. Super Storm Newsome ! R-MAC Fantastic Four #1 Ansonia #2 New Canaan #3 Xavier #4 Staples.

  4. GHS Fan says:

    Let’s take a look at Ansonia’s killer schedule. Playing some mighty tough teams out there:
    Ct state ranks provided by MaxPreps
    Torrington 121
    Sacred Heart 143
    Holy Cross 67
    Wilby 68
    Derby 40
    Masuk 47
    Woolcott 50
    Watertown 133
    Seymor 70
    Crosby 142
    Naaugatuck 36

    And these guys brag about being undefeated????

    Let’s look at New Canaan schedule and opponeent ranking by comparison:

    Hand 14
    Bassick 107
    Greenwcih 26
    Warde 80
    Danbury 81
    St. joseph 2
    Wilton 34
    Trinity 1238
    Darien 12

    What is particularly annoying about all the “experts” weighing in is that when NC plays St. Joseph’s, one team will lose, and Ansonia, a team that plays an entire season without having faced ANYONE in the top 35 teams in
    Connecticut will be ranked ahead of the loser.

    What a joke!

  5. Weasel says:

    GHS is right. Ansonia plays nobody. Masuk ’10 spanks this year’s Ansonia 6 ways to Sunday w/Flynn, Testani, et.al. Xavier and Hand ’11-’12 would beat ’em too.

  6. Mooncake says:

    Hey GHS, you forgot staples. NC plays them in Westport next Friday.

  7. fan07 says:

    trumbull was great fri night

  8. RAY BROWN says:

    ghs——great greenwich team would lose by 40 to ansonia—-greenwich gives up 50 points a game lol—–thats embarrasing

  9. RAY BROWN says:

    weasel—–ansonia 05-06 team with alex thomas beats all those teams—–easily—masuk rules

  10. knows fciac says:

    bassick is actually rated ahead of someone? staples has had some great teams. if nc throws well against dtaples they’re putting up at least 42. is the cochran era over already?? hope not as i was looking forward to see what was going to happen.he needed charlie bentley.

  11. fan07 says:

    play xavier there best team in state 3 peat and trumbull played great fri night

  12. CT FOOTBALL says:

    FYI: New Canaan’s first team (O or D) has not played in a second half yet.(Just saying) for what it’s worth

  13. Raider says:

    What does Masuk rule…the Pop Warner league?

  14. GHS Fan says:

    RAY BROWN – Perhaps someday Ansonia will man up and play some good teams prior to state playoffs, and we will know if Ansonia is any good.
    As it stands now, Ansonia’s entire schedule is a pre-season scrimmage against the JV for most of the other teams in the state. That is, your schedule is so incredibly weak leading up to the playoffs that year after year Ansonia arrives to play without so much as as a bruise.
    Great teams win regular season games against other great teams.
    I do not even have to bother to look at prior year’s history to see that Ansonia plays a powder puff schedule. It is painfully obvious to everyone except northern Connecticut sportswriters and you what is going on here. You, the connecticut sportswriters, and connecticut football is a laughingstock because of it.
    Please keep commenting with your bizarre observations. They give me quite a laugh.

  15. RAY BROWN says:


  16. anotherfan says:

    GHS fan… $20 says you can’t prove a team will want Ansonia on thier reg season schedule…Get used to Ansonia and the high rankings every year …stop beating yourself up…

  17. knows fciac says:

    you have to give ansonia a little break. it’s not their fault the competition is weak. there are really weak teams all over. not a strong year for hs football in the state. girls are more into fall sports than guys. you go girl!!! i think it’s great.