Sep 302014
With Ansonia's Jai'Quan McKnight and Tajik Bagley battling injuries, the offensive load could fall in part to the Chargers' Armanni Rivera (3) and Tyler Bailey (5). Meanwhile, Seymour star Joey Salemme is healthy and ready to go. (Credits: GWImages)

With Ansonia’s Jai’Quan McKnight and Tajik Bagley battling injuries, the offensive load could fall in part to the Chargers’ Armanni Rivera (3) and Tyler Bailey (5). Meanwhile, Seymour star Joey Salemme is healthy and ready to go as the Wildcats try to break the streak. (Credits: GWImages)

Could this finally be the end?

Thursday night at Jarvis Stadium in Ansonia, the Chargers will put their 46-game winning streak on the line against Seymour. The Wildcats almost pulled a monumental upset last year against Ansonia but a pair of missed field goals by Frank Marcucio ended their hopes. But these guys are probably better than last year’s bunch, and the Chargers aren’t the same team — even without their nagging injuries.

So, is this the perfect storm? Can Seymour beat Ansonia for the first time since 2004? Here are the guys’ thoughts on the big ballgame. (By the way, this Game of the Week is presented by Blanchette Sporting Goods.)

Remmy’s Keys to the Game: This could quite possibly be the best game in the NVL thus far. What we’re hearing is Ansonia QB Jai’Quan McKnight will play while RB Tajik Bagley’s now looks like he will play after getting reps in practice today. If for some reason Bagley doesn’t play, that means Tyler Bailey will be seeing action at RB and it also means Ansonia doesn’t have a gamebreaker split out wide. This allows the Wildcats to focus on what Ansonia is doing with its run game because the real threats will not sit at the WR position. I think Bagley is a huge loss for Ansonia. Seymour has a solid defensive front, so this matchup will be key. Everyone knows about what Seymour almost pulled off last season by forcing many turnovers. However, I don’t think last year’s game will have any impact on this year’s game. The weather and field conditions should be good, so they shouldn’t play a big factor this week. Assuming everyone on both teams is healthy, I think Seymour will need to force at least two turnovers and capitalize off of them to beat the Chargers. But with Bagley out, Seymour’s got a shot. Again, Seymour’s defensive front will have to play a great game and confuse an Ansonia offensive line that has not had much time playing together. With a more experienced Seymour line, as opposed to Ansonia’s, I think the ‘Cats have a slight chance in pulling the upset.

Kyle’s Keys to the Game: I’ll chat with Ansonia coach Tom Brockett on Wednesday to get an update on the Chargers’ injuries — or at least as much of one as he’ll let on — but my gut feeling is that Jai’Quan McKnight will pretty much play as normal while Tajik Bagley will either be limited or have to sit out. While Ansonia is certainly better with Bagley on the field, I don’t think his loss is irreplaceable or impossible to overcome. Tyler Bailey is a capable runner and similar to Bagley. Let’s not forget: Bagley isn’t Arkeel Newsome. Bagley isn’t as tough to bring down and he doesn’t have the blistering speed, so Bailey and Armanni Rivera can team up to replace him. Of course, McKnight will be called upon to increase his role. That does leave open the possibility for turnovers, especially if he airs it out. I’ve never been overly impressed with his deep ball — it’s usually been the result of a one-on-one matchup exploited from the running game and has a little more than a 50-50 chance of completion on a jump ball — and I expect that Joey Salemme will be the main matchup guy in Seymour’s secondary. So while Ansonia’s offense might be in a bit of a flux state, Seymour’s offense is a pretty known quantity. Salemme will be the guy, with perhaps a few screens thrown in here and there. Ansonia won’t let him go for 200 yards, but I don’t think Seymour will give up end-to-end scores on the other side. I see a whole lot of defense in this game for a change. Which defensive front can confuse the other’s offensive line? That could be the biggest key of the whole game because athlete for athlete, these teams are very similarly matched up. Also, look out for special teams. Onside kicks killed Ansonia in this game last year. I wouldn’t be shocked to see one go the other way.

Continue reading »

Sep 302014
Kennedy coach Chris Sarlo has his Eagles off to a school-record 3-0 start, but that's in serious jeopardy this week at Naugatuck. (Credit: Kyle Brennan)

Kennedy coach Chris Sarlo has his Eagles off to a school-record 3-0 start, but that’s in serious jeopardy this week at Naugatuck. (Credit: Kyle Brennan)

Yes, we know all everybody wants to talk about is Seymour-Ansonia. We’re almost there. But we’ve gotta tackle the rest of the Week 4 action before we get there (which will be in just a little bit). Derby’s on a much-needed bye.

Check out our Week 4 picks, brought to you by DiGiorgi Roofing and Siding.

Thursday, Oct. 2
Kennedy (3-0) at Naugatuck (2-0), 6 p.m.:
 Put this Week 4 battle of unbeatens in the Never Thought I’d See This category.
Remmy’s Take: Kennedy’s got to be feeling good about itself at 3-0. The Eagles have been running the ball at will. Enter the Greyhounds, who have been one of the hottest teams in the state thus far led by one of the best quarterbacks in the state. Naugy rolls.
Kyle’s Take: The Eagles have been a nice story so far, but their three victories are over teams that had a combined zero wins in September. The honeymoon is over as Kennedy’s schedule starts to pick up. (Side note: Silly Remmy for picking Naugy to score an odd number of points.)
Picks: Remmy- Naugatuck, 49-0. Kyle- Naugatuck, 50-6.

Continue reading »

Sep 262014

week 3 scoreboard
Week 3 is here at last. We’re excited.

Our headline game is tonight’s monumental game at Veterans Field between Naugatuck (1-0) and Holy Cross (2-0). Kyle’s WATR crew will have the call of that game and will start their broadcast on 1320 WATR at 6:50 p.m. The game will also be live on CPTV Sports. Kyle has his full previews of the game at the Rep-Am and the Red Zone blog.

Other games include Ansonia at Wilby, Wolcott at Woodland, Crosby at Derby, Kennedy at Watertown, Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech at St. Paul and Torrington at Oxford. By the way, the Rep-Am is reporting that Wilby coach Gino Capuano has been suspended for two games due to a locker-room incident. We’ll post more info when it’s available.

Continue reading »

Sep 242014
Jason Bradley, arguably the NVL's best quarterback, and Naugatuck will host Joe Kalosky and Holy Cross in a huge NVL matchup Friday night. (Credits: Elio Gugliotti; GWImages)

Jason Bradley, arguably the NVL’s best quarterback, and Naugatuck will host Joe Kalosky and Holy Cross in a huge NVL matchup Friday night. (Credits: Elio Gugliotti; GWImages)

There are only a few mega-showdowns on this year’s NVL football schedule. We’re about to dive into the first one.

This Friday at 7 p.m., the unbeaten Holy Cross Crusaders will visit Veterans Field to take on the unbeaten Naugatuck Greyhounds. For an early-season matchup, there’s a whole lot on the line — especially because of the new/old NVL championship format where this game will be crucial in deciding the eventual league champion. So let’s get into it, shall we? (By the way, this Game of the Week is presented by DiGiorgi Roofing and Siding.)

Remmy’s Keys to the Game: If Naugatuck has one weakness, it’s on the offensive and defensive lines. We know the ‘Hounds love running an up-tempo offense but this may work against them with a good, tough defensive team like Holy Cross. If the Greyhounds’ linemen wear themselves out early, I expect Jason Bradley to be forced out of the pocket for much of the evening, which could lead to some throws resulting in turnovers.  Holy Cross’ defense is pretty good and I don’t expect that ‘D’ to have many breakdowns in coverage. Therefore, Naugy’s line will have to protect Bradley and allow him to go through his progressions and deliver a good ball. If this happens, Cross could be in for a long, long game. Holy Cross needs to establish a run game and wear down the Naugatuck defense. This will also chew up some clock and keep Bradley and company on the sidelines. If the Crusaders’ offense cannot manage to stay on the field for the majority of the game and win the time-of-possession battle, it could get ugly as Naugatuck can score in a hurry.

Kyle’s Keys to the Game: Both of these teams are pretty well rested — Naugy had a bye and Cross’ starters played very little against Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech — so we’re going to see some quality football. I can probably boil down this ballgame into two matchups around the field. One is definitely Holy Cross’ defensive front against Naugatuck’s offensive line. The Crusaders have a lot of talent on its defensive line and linebackers, including LB Mike Gugliotti and DEs Gerron Pendarvis and Phil Serva, and their performance against Naugy’s front will be a crucial part of the game. In Week 1, a pretty big Torrington front wasn’t able to get any pressure at all on Jason Bradley — or contain him — and he had an absolute field day. If Holy Cross can’t get pressure and contain him on the edges when things break down, there’s no way the Crusaders can win. By the same token, Naugy’s offensive line needs to do its part to combat the blitzes it’s sure to see and have the fuel in the tank to play 48 minutes. The other matchup I’m looking forward to is the Naugatuck defense against Holy Cross’ running game. The Crusaders won’t be one-dimensional on offense with a ton of weapons all over the place, but their running game will still have to lay the foundation. The Greyhounds gave up some yardage on the ground against Torrington, so they’ll have to be able to get off the field by stopping the run and making Joe Kalosky throw it often.

Continue reading »

Sep 232014
Woodland, led by running back Sean McAllen, and Derby, led by quarterback Mike Kreiger, could be in must-win situations coming off Week 2 losses. (Credits: GWImages)

Woodland, led by running back Sean McAllen, and Derby, led by quarterback Mike Kreiger, could be in must-win situations coming off Week 2 losses. (Credits: GWImages)

We’ve got a great Week 3 on tap in the NVL, and that includes more than our huge Game of the Week between Holy Cross and Naugatuck (a preview of which will be coming up shortly).

There should be some really good games across the board, including Wolcott at Woodland and Crosby at Derby. Seymour has a bye ahead of its Week 4 showdown against Ansonia. Check out our Week 3 picks, brought to you by Blanchette Sporting Goods.

Friday, Sept. 26
Ansonia at Wilby, 3:30 p.m.:
We’ll go out on a limb and say Tajik Bagley won’t play in this game.
Remmy’s Take: Ansonia has dominated its opponents in its first two weeks of action. Jai’Quan McKnight has been unstoppable at quarterback and Wilby will not have an answer for the Chargers’ onslaught. The Wildcats lay in wait for Week 4 …
Kyle’s Take: The good thing about this game is that it’ll be over in time for some fans to head down to Naugatuck afterwards.
Picks: Remmy- Ansonia, 48-0. Kyle- Ansonia, 41-0.

Continue reading »

Sep 182014

week 2 scoreboard 14
Welcome to Week 2. Now we start getting into the good stuff.

Our headline game is Friday’s rivalry clash between Derby and Ansonia at Jarvis Stadium, but the week kicks off today at 4 p.m. when Woodland hosts Torrington. Kyle’s WATR crew will have the Holy Cross vs. Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech game Friday night, and the guys will start their broadcast of that ballgame on 1320 WATR at 6:50 p.m.

Other games include Crosby at Wilby, Watertown at Wolcott, St. Paul at Seymour and Kennedy at Oxford. Naugatuck has a bye.

Before we get to some outbound links, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of former Ansonia athletic director and longtime Valley coach Tony Piccolo. Word spread across Twitter and our own comment section on Wednesday the news of Piccolo’s death. He had just retired as Ansonia’s AD at the end of last school year. In our interactions with Tony, he was as friendly and helpful as they come. We send our condolences and best wishes to Tony’s family and the many friends he made around the Valley for decades and decades. We’ll post more information about arrangements when they’re made available.

Continue reading »