Top performances: State playoff edition


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.


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.


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.


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.