Connecticut High School Football

High School Football news, analysis, commentary and features from the reporters of the Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

Top performances: State playoff edition

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BULLDOZERS

Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia RB: Career-best 492 yards — surpassing 10,000 — and 7 TDs on 26 carries in 49-21 Class S quarterfinal victory over Coginchaug. Followed with 265 yards and 5 TDs on 36 carries in 49-27 semifinal victory over Rocky Hill.

Mufasha Abdul Basir, St. Joseph RB: 323 yards and 5 TDs on 23 carries in 84-49 beating of Ledyard in Class M first round. Gained 47 yards on 3 carries in 62-34 semifinal defeat of Barlow before taking a blow to the helmet and being carried off the field.

Colton Smith, Fairfield Prep QB: 265 yards and 4 TDs on 22 carries in 33-23 victory over Glastonbury in Class LL quarterfinal. Followed with 101 yards and 2 TDs on 20 carries in 29-28 edging of West Haven in the semifinals.

Will Bonaparte, Ridgefield RB: 226 yards and 3 TDs on 36 carries as the Tigers held on to end Newtown’s perfect season 35-33 in the Class LL quarterfinals.

Jack Shaban, Barlow QB: In the Falcons’ first-ever state playoff game ran for 216 yards and 4 TDs on 19 carries in 54-27 victory over Gilbert/Northwest Regional in Class M quarterfinal. Teammate Bryan Gallaer contributed 130 yards and a TD on 12 carries. Shaban finished his career with 153 yards on 26 carries in 62-34 loss to St. Joe’s in the semifinals. He returned a kickoff 75 yards for a TD.

Nicholas Crowle, Fairfield Prep FB: 192 combined yards and 1 TD on 37 carries in Jesuits’ 2 victories.

GUNSLINGERS

Nick Cascione, New Canaan QB: Threw for 326 yards and 2 TDs and ran for a 3rd in 46-0 rout of Farmington in Class L quarterfinal.

Brad Westmark, Brookfield QB: Directed a 77-yard game-winning drive in 22-21 victory over Bethel in Class M quarterfinal. The drive included 2 4th-down conversions and 33-yard pass to Dan Jackson that preceded Bobby

Drysdale’s 4-yard TD run with 38 seconds left. The Bobcats needed a last-ditch rally to beat Valley Regional/Old Lyme 20-13 in the semis, as Drysdale ran 6 yards for a TD with 1:08 left and ran for the 2-point conversion. Westmark sealed the victory with an interception on the ensuing drive.

Jai’quan McKnight, Ansonia QB: Junior returned from a Thanksgiving ankle injury to complete 3 big passes against Rocky Hill in the semifinals. One was a 32-yard strike to Witold Gul, setting up Newsome’s 3rd TD. The other 2 were TD passes, 71 yards to Gul and 15 to Thomas Majchrzak.

GAMEBREAKERS

Shane Miller, St. Joseph WR: 4 TDs in each of the Cadets’ 2 playoff victories. 201 yards and 2 TDs on 5 carries against Ledyard, plus 2 TD receptions from QB Jordan Vazzano. 190 yards and 3 TDs against Barlow and a 28-yard TD catch from Vazzano.

John DelliSanti, Fairfield Prep: Returned punt 65 yards for go-ahead score against West Eaven. Caught 6 passes for 56 yards.

Daly Hebert, Darien K: Booted 3 field goals, including the 18-yard game-winner as time expired, in 31-29 victory over Hand in the Class L quarterfinals.

BRICK WALLS

Brendan Beiser, Fairfield Prep CB: Clinging to a 3-point lead with under 2 minutes to go in Class LL semifinal against West Haven, sophomore intercepted pass at the Jesuits’ 8-yard line to preserve the victory. An intentional safety by Prep accounted for the 29-28 final.

Michael Root, New Canaan: Set the tone with an interception on Farmington’s third play of the game in the Class L quarterfinals. The Rams held Farmington to 115 yards of total offense, forced 3 turnovers and allowed just 7 first downs the entire game.

Darien defense: Trailing 7-0 against Middletown in the Class L semifinal, the Blue Wave forced a turnover on downs inside their territory to snuff out a promising drive. Darien’s ensuing possession ended with punter Daly Hebert pinning Middletown at its own 10. The Blue Wave D forced a 3-and-out, giving its offense the ball at the opponent 29. From there, Darien scored the tying TD. Another forced 3-and-out preceded the Blue Wave’s go-ahead TD in a 13-7 victory.

Mike DiCosmo, New Canaan DB: Capped a strong Ram effort with a 4th-quarter interception — his 6th of the season — to preserve a shutout of North Haven, 17-0 in the Class L semifinal.

5 Responses

  1. Bill Walsh says:

    PLEASE……Move the Darien-New Canaan state championship to Boyle Stadium in Stamford.

    Do it for the fans!!!

  2. GHS Fan says:

    AGREE WITH BILL WALSH!!!!!

    All the Nancys in the press who dislike FCIAC teams are going to give the game scant coverage. Let the FCIAC fans go to a local game to watch the REAL #1 and #2 fight it out.

    We can read the glowing, over the top review of the Ansonia pillow-fight in this blog.

  3. fciacfan says:

    My 2 cents –

    No way is the CIAC moving the game from CCSU. They probably already have a financial commitment with Central, and they are not about to lose any $$$.

    I also think the games are scheduled in a way to entice people to stay for the NC/Darien and Southington/Prep doubleheader. Based on their earlier contest this season, the Friday night game between Ansonia and Woodland might be a blowout, as might the 10:00 game…St. Joes is on fire offensively. But, get to the 2:00 game, and it should be packed….followed by the last game, which should draw well as well. No reason other than convenience the NC and Darien crowds should not make the trek to New Britain for this one.

  4. knows fciac says:

    the nc-dar game has to be moved to a local spot. will easily get a thousand more people. kind of absurd to hold game upstate. a real hassle for fans of both schools. nc-3, o/u 46

  5. Jojo says:

    GHS you need to come back to earth. I have seen many high school games in CT and in NJ, NY, MA, FL, etc. I have been judging talent and recommending players to many ACC schools. NC is an exceptional team but could not really put away a very game North Haven who held them to 4 possessions in the second half. Darien needs to step and win this game to even be considered for the Top ten. Ansonia has stand out players and their Achilles heel could be overall defense but still they can’t be left out of the equation for #1. There is a built prejudice in southern Fairfield that the kids are bigger and better and more prepared. It’s just not true. What is true is that Ansonia works harder with less bodies. Talent levels are all the same. Having more kids leads to better equipped replacements something that is a daydream in the NVL.

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