Oct 302014

nvl football blog logoThe NVL championship picture — and the postseason race — will take another step toward clarity tonight with a pair of games in the lower Valley.

At Jarvis Stadium, Wolcott (5-1) and Ansonia (6-1) will duke it out in a matchup of the last two teams with perfect league records. If Wolcott pulls the upset, it becomes the heavy favorite to win the league with its win over Naugy already under its belt. If Ansonia wins as expected, the Chargers’ last major obstacle will be their Thanksgiving game against Naugatuck.

Speaking of the Greyhounds (5-1), they’ll look to keep their momentum rolling against Crosby (3-3). Kyle’s WATR crew will have the call of that game on 1320 WATR at 5:50 p.m.

Other games tonight include Holy Cross (4-3) at Watertown (1-5), Oxford (0-6) at Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech (0-7), and Wilby (0-6) at Woodland (2-4). The lone Friday night game will be St. Paul (2-4) at Torrington (3-3) — that game will be on 89.9 WAPJ at 6:50 p.m. — and Kennedy (3-4) will play Hamden Hall on Saturday night in a non-CIAC game.

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Oct 292014
Ansonia wide receiver Witold Gul will be coming off an outstanding effort against Holy Cross. (Credit: GWImages)

Ansonia wide receiver Witold Gul will be coming off an outstanding effort against Holy Cross in which he caught a pair of touchdown passes. (Credit: GWImages)

Maybe this Game of the Week isn’t the popular pick — and it probably won’t be the closest game of the week — but these are the last two undefeated teams remaining in NVL play. Let’s see if Wolcott can finally get the Ansonia monkey off its back.

(By the way, this Game of the Week is presented by Blanchette Sporting Goods.)

Remmy’s Keys to the Game: When’s the last time Kyle or myself have picked Wolcott to beat Ansonia? I rememberOnly two of the Chargers’ seven opponents this season have scored more than eight points in a game (St. Paul and Newtown). Wolcott, on the other hand, has allowed an average of 36 points per game in its last three games (2-1). This game has bad news written all over it for the Eagles aside from the fact that Wolcott has never beaten Ansonia in football. In recent history, Ansonia’s running backs have thrived in games against Wolcott. The performance by the Chargers’ defense will ultimately decide what happens on Thursday night. I think they will bring more pressure than Naugatuck did in its loss at Wolcott and hit Vincent Gambino early and often. The only way Wolcott wins this game is if Gambino is delivering balls downfield while rolling out of the pocket. I can’t picture him dropping back and picking apart the Chargers’ secondary, so getting him out into space is the next best option. I’m not sure that will lead to any consistency on offense, though. Ansonia should be able to run the ball quite effectively. We saw Naugatuck do it to Wolcott. The difference this week is Ansonia will stick to this game plan and that’s how it will win this game.

Kyle’s Keys to the Game: Look, we had to pick this as the Game of the Week because it’s Week 8 and these are the last two teams undefeated in league play. If Ansonia wins, it will be in line to win the NVL championship with a win over Naugatuck on Thanksgiving. If Wolcott somehow pulls the upset, it basically just needs to beat Derby to clinch its first-ever NVL title. But that latter scenario seems ridiculous considering the Eagles have never beaten Ansonia and Wolcott’s defense has just given up too many points in its big games. Unless the Eagles’ defensive front plays way over its head — like it did against Naugatuck, to be honest — this game will be a no-contest. Wolcott had some pretty decent offensive success against Ansonia last year, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Eagles score a few times, but it will take some uncharacteristic Ansonia turnovers to make this a game.

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Oct 282014
Seymour QB Jaylen Kelley and Derby WR Ben Slowik will lead their teams into a game laced with playoff implications Thursday at DeFilippo Field. (Credit: GWImages)

Seymour QB Jaylen Kelley and Derby WR Ben Slowik will lead their teams into a game laced with playoff implications Thursday at DeFilippo Field. (Credit: GWImages)

We’re square into the time of the season when teams are getting into or falling out of position for the state playoffs. A few games this week will be crucial in that regard, including the Seymour-Derby and Wolcott-Ansonia clashes.

Check out our Week 8 picks, brought to you by DiGiorgi Roofing and Siding.

Thursday, Oct. 30
Seymour (4-2) at Derby (5-1), 6 p.m.:
 Both teams currently have outside shots at the Class S playoffs. The loser is all done.
Remmy’s Take: This should be a really close game. The Seymour run game will gets its yards against Derby. But I think Kreiger takes advantage of a weak Seymour secondary and ultimately wins the game for the Red Raiders.
Kyle’s Take: Seymour just has not shown the ability to be physical against the better teams on its schedule. Derby’s defense is playing pretty well right now. I think the Red Raiders are healthy and ready to explode on offense.
Picks: Remmy- Derby, 28-22. Kyle- Derby, 34-20.

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Oct 242014

nvl football blog logoThe NVL moves on after last week’s disaster with a set of six games this evening — three of which carry a good bit of importance.

Ansonia (5-1) will look to avoid a second straight loss at home against Holy Cross (4-2) in what could be a postseason elimination game for both teams — especially the Crusaders. Wolcott (4-1) can win the NVL Iron Division title with a victory this evening against Torrington (3-3). That game will be streamed live at 6:30 p.m. at this link. Finally, the second annual George Pinho Trophy game will be at Naugatuck as the Greyhounds (4-1) host Woodland (2-3). Kyle’s WATR crew will have the call of that game on 1320 WATR at 6:50 p.m.

Other games tonight include Derby (4-1) at Kennedy (3-3), Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech (0-6) at Seymour (3-2) and St. Paul (1-4) at Crosby (3-2). Wilby, Oxford and Watertown have bye weeks.

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Oct 222014
Woodland's Mike Kenney (9) and Coby Vaccarelli (25) try to make a tackle on Naugatuck's Jason Bradley (13) in last season's game in Beacon Falls. The George Pinho Trophy will be on the line for the second time in what has become arguably the league's best rivalry. (Credit: Elio Gugliotti)

Woodland’s Mike Kenney (9) and Coby Vaccarelli (25) try to make a tackle on Naugatuck’s Jason Bradley (13) in last season’s game in Beacon Falls. The George Pinho Trophy will be on the line for the second time in what has become arguably the league’s best rivalry. (Credit: Elio Gugliotti)

It’s time for the Naugatuck Valley League to move on with its football season. Once again, we’ll have no Game of the Week after the NVL-SWC Challenge debacle, so all six games that are on tap are included in this post. Oxford, Watertown and Wilby have bye weeks.

These Week 7 picks are presented by Blanchette Sporting Goods.

Friday, Oct. 24
Torrington (3-3) at Wolcott (4-1), 6:30 p.m.:
 Wolcott can clinch the NVL Iron Division championship with a victory at home. It would be the Eagles’ first division title since 2009.
Remmy’s Take: Both teams had embarrassing losses in crossover week. Wolcott wins because of the talent and coaching factors.
Kyle’s Take: Entering this year, Torrington appeared as though it was ready to turn the corner and become a challenger among the league’s upper echelons. That has not come to fruition on either side of the ball. Wolcott should be fine, although its defense needs to wake up if it plans on doing anything in the second half of the season that will prevent an upset of Naugatuck from being the peak of the season.
Picks: Remmy- Wolcott, 35-7. Kyle- Wolcott, 38-10.

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Oct 212014

nvl-swc fire
It was a very bad weekend for the Naugatuck Valley League. It’s probably not a stretch to say it was the worst weekend in the 83-year history of NVL football.

The South-West Conference obliterated the NVL in the Week 6 crossover schedule. Eleven matchups went to SWC teams; only Naugatuck’s destruction of Joel Barlow went into the Valley’s win column — one of many jokes swinging around in the social media sphere was that the NVL needed an SWC guy in Craig Bruno to gain that win. The two-year final score in the NVL-SWC Challenge was 19-7 in favor of the Fairfield County guys.

Several coaches felt embarrassment for the NVL in the immediate aftermath of the weekend’s chaos. It’s pretty easy to see why. The NVL did as much last weekend to further the Non-Violent League moniker than anytime pretty much ever. Four NVL teams with winning records — Holy Cross, Torrington, Crosby and Kennedy — lost to SWC teams with losing records. Woodland, a reigning state runner-up, only managed a touchdown at home against a Weston team that is among the lower half of the SWC. Seymour got shut out on its home field against a Bethel team that had recently posted a 42-0 loss.

And, of course, the Newtown ended The Streak.

We’re going to try a little bit to pick up the pieces. We like the coaches and players in the NVL, but we can’t shy away from what was just a horrible performance across the board. As one Twitter user said over the weekend, “You (guys) put in work for the blog. It is really the best in CT. But for god’s sake, these teams don’t show up for you.” So let’s face it — we’re almost as embarrassed as it seems the coaches were.

Remmy’s Reaction: I’m not sure I really have a reaction. It’s more of a shock to me that the NVL played so poorly against the SWC when I thought each NVL team would give its best shot (who knows? Maybe they did) when it finally had a shot to play out of conference. I can’t get over the fact that most teams got throttled.

Kyle’s Reaction: I’m glad some coaches texted me with the word “embarrassing” before I went ahead and put it out there myself, so clearly most folks are on the same page here. It’s just a shame. The NVL-SWC Challenge is a great thing. This year we got a few awesome games — Ansonia-Newtown and Holy Cross-Pomperaug top the list — and they were closer across the board than they were in 2013. But jeez, the physicality that marked pretty much every legitimate NVL team during the league’s glory days doesn’t seem to exist much except for a team or two. I’ve always put the NVL and SWC on equal planes, but for the time being, it’s pretty much impossible to do that. I don’t know what the problem is. There are depth issues all over the state, so that cannot be a legitimate argument. I’m sure kids are trying hard, and I know the coaches are well respected by their peers. But man, if this week didn’t cause for some self-examination, I don’t know what will.

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