Connecticut High School Football

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The case for Ansonia

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Like Jaiquan McKnight's jersey says, Ansonia is No. 1 (MIke Ross/For Hearst Newspapers)

Like Jaiquan McKnight’s jersey says, Ansonia is No. 1 (MIke Ross/For Hearst Newspapers)

BY GINO MORETTI

The Ansonia Chargers are the best football team on Connecticut.

While I can understand the argument for New Canaan being voted the top team, having beaten Class M St. Joseph twice and playing a tougher schedule, here’s my take on it and it’s pretty simple.

Arkeel Newsome has rushed 3,867 yards and scored 68 TDs this season, both state records.

Arkeel Newsome has rushed 3,867 yards and scored 68 TDs this season, both state records.

Look no further than the college football situation. Florida State is unbeaten and No. 1, while one-loss Auburn is No. 2. Florida State plays in a weaker (ACC) than Auburn (SEC), yet I don’t hear too much criticism of that. Maybe it’s because they will eventually decide things on the field.

But Ansonia is the first team to win 15 games in state history and they are a solid team at other positions other than just running back with Arkeel Newsome, who in my opinion would be the difference maker in a game against New Canaan.

Over the long haul, Ansonia would be hard-pressed to go undefeated in either the FCIAC or SCC, but in a one-game matchup, I would go with Ansonia and that’s why I’m voting them No. 1 over New Canaan.

Categories: Elite 8, FCIAC, NVL, State Polls
Chris McNamee

21 Responses

  1. knows fciac says:

    gino- the difference between the acc and the sec is not as great as the difference between the ansonia schedule and the nc schedule. not even close. not a valid comparison. also, is it fair for st. joe’s, a private school, playing against a publc school for the state title? they have the ability to get kids from all over. should be a separate playoff for private schools. only fair.

  2. anotherfan says:

    @#1…there is not that much difference between the NVL and the FCIAC, SPB has said that before.You have listened to a lot on these blogs this year about NVL plays no body,well I beleive these teams are not that far apart(over all)…I think a healthy Derby would beat Derien by 3 scores.NC is very good they have a very good QB and receivers but Arkeel would be the big diferance between NC and Ansonia.NC would score ,but Ansonia would use the clock better and win T.O.P. score every quarter and eat the clock while NC would be forced to throw and and Ansonia’s highly under rated secondary would pick off NC at least 2 or 3 times.

  3. JT says:

    “Florida State plays in a weaker (ACC) than Auburn (SEC), yet I don’t hear too much criticism of that” – you would be hearing a whole lot of criticism if Ohio State hadn’t choked in the Big 10 Championship. It would be nice to see Ansonia schedule a non-conference game against a formidable in-state team (e.g. from the FCIAC, SCC etc) as they have made their living the past few years running over relative nobodies. Their lone out-of-conference game this year was against Masuk of the SWC (which is decidedly the Conference USA of CT Football…if we’re still making league comparisons!). I don’t know who would win between NC and Ansonia but I highly doubt Ansonia has played a team nearly as big, strong and fast that also essentially plays two platoon football.

    @#2…What do you base the Derby-Darien assertion on? Derby was 5-6 this year, ranked #72 in the state, and most of their losses were blowouts. Obviously no common opponents, but Darien beat Hand, Hand beat Shelton, Shelton DESTROYED Derby. I know you did say a “healthy” Derby – but even at the start of the season (when I assume they were in better health) when they won their first 4 games, they played against mostly weak competition that finished the year with a combined record of 20-24 (Holy Cross, #51 in the state, had 8 of those 20 wins). Add in Derby’s win against Watertown and their wins on the season came against opponents with a combined record of 21-34. So what makes Derby so special?

  4. your crazy says:

    Derby does not beat Darien by 3 scores….You obviously don’t know football if you think that would happen. Darien does not lose to an NVL team, except Ansonia. So Derby would also beat Ridgefield, North Haven, Hand, and Middletown because those are the teams that Darien beat. Darien only losses were to state champions; SJ and NC. Ansonia won 15 games, beat a decent Naugatuck team and a good Woodland team, neither of which would beat Darien, Saint Joe’s, or New Canaan. The bottom line is NC earned #1. They avenged a loss to a Darien team that they lost to on Thanksgiving Day. Lets not forget that Ansonia almost lost to a mediocre Seymore team. That is not the same as NC losing to Darien. NC beats Ansonia because they would defend them. Ansonia would not defend NC. Sorry, but NC is the better team.

  5. alan says:

    I am partial to blue collar towns but maybe times have changed. it would have been inconcevable 30 years ago for a wealthy town to beat an Ansonia or West Haven as raw skill prevails. I worked in Wilton and all the kids were going to camps all summer all over the country. Offensive line camps, QB Camps as well as strength and conditioning camps. It costs thousands maybe ten thousand. Maybe that is the trend but looking at major college football and NFL it doesnt seem that money does you much good at the next level.

  6. PapaDags says:

    First of all,, Seymour was a LOT better than mediocore. Nearly beat Ansonia as stated, destroyed Derby, blew leads to Amity, Woodland, and Wolcott. Could have actually finished season 10-1 or 9-2 at the least. Only blow out was to Oxford who totally dominated that game. Seymour was way too one dimensional with the running game. Coaches offered NO element of surprise with the offense. The team deserved better. Too many 4th down attempts that better than 50% got turned over giving opposition decent field position.

  7. ValleyFalls1 says:

    Ansonia should be #1 this year. They were undefeated. When Seymour came after Ansonia, it was a tough hard fought game. Valley rivalary certainly added to the game. However, Ansonia met the challenge in the end and won the game. When Darien came after New Canaan, New Canaan did not rise up to the challenge and lost. I don’t care about schedule strength, at that moment in time they were number 1 and could not hold on to it. Yes they avenged their loss. So what. They lost in the first place. Ansonia did not have to avenge anything. The just rolled through every game through to the Championship game. No excuses no explainations.

  8. PeterK says:

    This isn’t even the right question. Ansonia is maybe about 7th or 8th best in Connecticut. The question should be: Is New Canaan better than the winner of the LL championship? Forget these silly polls. Go look at Maxpreps.com for more accurate power rankings. Ansonia should play somebody or just shut up. There are at least 5 times in the SCC alone that could beat Ansonia or give them a very close game. Xavier, Hand, Shelton, West Haven and Prep. Plus, New Canaan, St Joes, Darien and Southington are also better teams. If Ansonia wants respect, then they should move up into Class M like St Joes or maybe even Class L. Just play somebody.

  9. CTHSFBfan says:

    A game between these two top teams would certainly be one to see but since that’s never going to happen my opinion on who is the better of the two would go to New Canaan but not by much. Ansonia eats, sleeps, and breathes football. There is no possible way that New Canaan would play them and blow them out, I can’t imagine that with all the pride and talent Ansonia has. Ansonia would give them all that they absolutely have in them under the legs of Arkeel and the rest of the team but I think that they would come up short against a New Canaan team of just straight balanced, power and smart football. New Canaan has passed the tests of a handful of top football programs in the state and although they did lose to Darien (Who also has a hell of a football program and would easily destroy Derby on its best day {I really don’t know why someone would actually think Derby would stand a chance against Darien…Hilarious}) on thanksgiving, they avenged that loss on the biggest stage of them all…the state championship game. New Canaan has just too many weapons on offense and defense to be beat by Ansonia. If it wasn’t for a last second failed play on thanksgiving against Darien then we’d be talking about an undefeated NC team. I’d have NC winning the game against Ansonia 38-24. A top NVL team just doesn’t match-up with a top FCIAC team. Maybe a top NVL team and a top SWC team but no chance with the FCIAC. Congrats to both teams on winning the state championship in their respected classes.

  10. ValleyFalls1 says:

    Ansonia over New Canaan 35-31

  11. GHS Fan says:

    Ansonia might win if thye played New Canaan tomorrow I think Max Preps rankings can be +/- 10 spots at any given point in time.

    But I believe that if Ansonia had played New Canaan’s schedule, and THEN played New Canaan, New Canaan would blow them out. Ansonia would be injury-riddlled after playing the teams that New Canaan plays.

    A good team has depth. S schools simply do not have monsters waiting on the bench like the big schools do.

  12. LaTxGuy says:

    this is so funny listening to the blogs comparing NC with Ansonia. This is the biggest hoot to be told and the Ansonia folks know it as they will never play them; they win by not playing them or SCC teams. The arguing should be if Southington wins who is the righfull top team in the state and not Ansonia. OMG Connecticut!!! please get over the BS and ;learn football. Ansonia by a touchdown?? OMG! NC by 21 points is real and this is being kind. Seymour was what 7 -4 ?? almost beat Ansonia and to loss by one point is a serious on a given day argument. NC, Prep, StJ, Darien, Xavier, west Haven, Southington, Hand are better teams. Ridgefield,Shelton and North Haven would be serious arguments as well. OOPs, Staples and Greenwich. Ansonia is a lucky top ten contender. Ansonia will stay playing S and NLV district; it is a safe bet and they win.

  13. CT_YANKEE_in_NC says:

    One loses all credibility when they make the statement “there is not that much difference between the NVL and the FCIAC”.
    Top 2013 FCIAC teams:New Canaan, St. Joes, Darien, Staples, Trumbull, Ridgefield,McMahon, Greenwich
    Top 2013 NVL Teams:Ansonia, Woodland, Naugatuck, Holy Cross, Wolcott, Seymour, St. Paul, Derby

    Match them up in order (NC vs Ansonia, St. J vs. Woodland…etc) and, gun to your head, tell me which games the NVL wins?

  14. knows fciac says:

    the la-tex guy is right on although i don’t think the fciac was that strong this year. danbury and greenwich are usually better. i saw prep play as well as new canaan. nc would beat prep by 21. southington must be legit. ansonia has to schedule someone really good for credibility.

  15. john says:

    pretty weak argument for ansonia. all opinion and little fact except that they went 15-0 against the little sisters of the poor this year. and whoever said derby would beat darien by three scores is hilarius…..and I have no affiliation or interest w/ either FCIAC or NVL…..just looking at the facts….NC may not be ranked #1 but they are the best team in the state this year and ansonia maybe the fourth or fifth.

    I also recall that ansonia won something like 58 of 60 games in the late 70′s, and their two losses were to amity and newington in 78 & 80 in the class LL champoionship games. Being a player on the latter I can say that they were a great little school but not mathc for the big boys / powerhouse teams of the state. Think the same is true today. mY Opinion not fact.

  16. anotherfan says:

    @JT…You answered your question in your comment,I saw a lot of games this year or at least read about and “live blogged” , I was at the Ansonia vs Derby game and Derby gave Ansonia a run for their money ,I beleive that was the game Tyre (top running back besides maybe Salemn and Arkeel in the NVL)Small busted his shoulder, he was unstopable at times .Kreiger is an excellent quarterback as well, and as you said in your comment they(Derby ) was undefeated at that point I think 4-0, they fell apart after that as you also noted in your comment..

  17. anotherfan says:

    Also in responce to JT, I watched the Darien Game vs NC and I was amazed at how poorly Darien played,(the weather was on both sides of the field)I think Derby could/would beat Darien by 3 scores which could be any where between 6 and 24 points but this is only my humble opinion.Maybe I should have said “could” have instead of “would” have in my first blogg.

  18. FFLD-NH says:

    I wil make it simple for everybody. I am a collegiate coach that has lived in ct my entire life and started off coaching CTHSFB. I have evaluated many players in the state and watched every team that should be considered in the top 10. Ansonias accomplishments in the last 3 years have been one of the greatest this state has seen in any sport. They deserve to be considered in the top 5 for that alone.
    HOWEVER….the competition in the NVL rivals that of the SWC. It is an extremely weak league in terms talent size and speed. The competition week by week in fciac and Scc is hands down the hardest. NC despite its one loss is the best team player for player closely followed by SJ. The one thing that that sets these teams apart are their defenses. New Canaan’s defense with their personnel and scheme combined is without a doubt one of the best I have seen in quite some time. St. Joseph’s offense on the other hand might be one of the most talented Connecticut offense of teams I have ever seen. For a Connecticut team their size and speed was tremendous this year. However New Canaan’s defensive personnel and outstanding coaching lead them to be the better team over St. Joseph’s this year.
    Ansonia would not be able to match the size and talent of these two teams. Their outstanding coaching would keep them in the game but eventually the size and speed of these teams would wear on them.
    Ansonia deserves all the credit in the world for their hard work however if we are judging who is the best team talent wise in the state of Connecticut it is Irresponsible to pick Ansonia as number one and this is not a valid voting system.

  19. GHS Fan says:

    anotherfan – You were at the Darien-NC game and were amazed by how poorly Darien played? Frankly, you are exposing exactly how ignorant you are about football.
    NC scored on lightning strikes. They did not mount a sustained drive and ground and pound it on any of their scores. On th eother hand, I saw Darien go up the field twice 4 yards at a time. I also saw countless times where there was a lane you could drive a truck through, but the Darien runner was on ice skates. So, Darien won the line of scrimmage.
    The NC recievers were truly outstanding. Darien always had them in good coverage, and, despite rushed throws from the QB (MORE evidence that Darien played well – the NC QB was running for his life much of the game) caught EVERYTHING the QB sent them.
    Darien would mangle Ansonia. Take your opinions back to your little, mickey mouse league, and keep proclaiming yourself champion of… what? Sportswriter pity polls? You clearly know nothing about football. Frankly, I am glad you are such an ardent supporter of Ansonia. It makes the rest of us look smarter.

  20. RAY BROWN says:

    CONGRATS TO THE STATES BEST TEAM—THE ANSONIA CHARGERS—–GHS,MCGROIN AND ALL THE OTHER MERRIT PARKWAY PRETENDERS—–THE BEST PROGRAM IN STATE HAS PRODUCED AGAIN———THE CONQUEST CONTINUES

  21. knows fciac says:

    my last comment about ansonia- you cannot have them at 1 based on a weak schedule- that’s it fans. hand is early favorite next year based on returning kids. nc will be good again but not as good. will be interesting to see how the ansonia rb does at uconn. happy new year to those who have a clue and to those who don’t.

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