We caught some flak last year for pumping up the Ansonia-Torrington Week 1 game as one of the premier matchups in the state, then having the actual game be a dud (in fairness, all of Ansonia’s games last season were duds). So we decided there was no need to make more out of this game than we are, which is our first Game of the Week and is presented by DF Builders.
Remmy’s Keys to the Game: It’s safe to say Arkeel Newsome will get his touches. What’s not guaranteed is that Torrington will have the army on defense to be able to stop Newsome from running wild. Playing from behind is something Ansonia has not experienced since last season (when Holy Cross scored the first touchdown at Jarvis Stadium). Torrington will get a bit of an edge if it can score first in this game. It will take the pressure off of everyone on the Torrington side and will put some pressure on the Chargers. Ansonia has been hampered by injuries and with a new offensive line, it will be interesting to see how those new guys respond to being down by a score. Newsome is an outstanding running back, but even he cannot run around an 11-man defense without key blocks. I expect Torrington to blitz early and often until Ansonia realizes it can take some chances downfield by utilizing its speed at tight end (Raeshaun Finney) and wide receiver (Andrew Matos).
Kyle’s Keys to the Game: The most interesting facets of this year’s Ansonia-Torrington game have nothing to do with Newsome, because we all know he’s going to get his. I’m looking at what Torrington does with its skill players and what the Chargers do on the offensive line and defense. The Red Raiders actually probably have the advantage in the offensive line in this game with several returning linemen, including Brad Brown and Zach McNutt, while Ansonia’s linemen are all new and banged up. Torrington will have to do a great job up front to give Joan Toribio some room on the ground and allow the Raiders to sustain some drives. I don’t think the Chargers will get the ridiculous pressure into the backfield they got last season so Phil Bresson might have a shot to air it out every once in a while. I think overall this season Torrington will throw more than it has in recent years but testing the talented secondary in this game will be difficult. The Red Raiders can’t turn over the ball (and have to try to rip a few fumbles away from Newsome) and an interception is obviously a huge game-changer. Long drives for Torrington will allow its defense to rest and really give everything they have against Newsome. If the Raiders’ defense finds itself on the field too much, Newsome will see a lot of the end zone.
Remmy’s Players to Watch: No one will be surprised if Arkeel Newsome has a big game. I’m going to go with a couple of other PTPers, though. Keep an eye out for Ansonia quarterback Jai’Quan McKnight and his target at tight end, Raeshaun Finney. Ansonia has the ability to catch Torrington off-guard with a fake dive/power and having McKnight pop a few over the middle to Finney for big-time gains. On the Torrington side, quarterback Phil Bresson and wide receiver Desmond Langs are due for big-time performances. Running back Joan Toribio will get his fair share of yardage. But I expect Ansonia to contain him for the most part. This means Bresson will be forced to throw the rock to Langs. The Torrington offensive line should be able to give Bresson adequate time in the pocket for him to be able to deliver strikes to his wide receiver corps.
Kyle’s Players to Watch: I think an interesting matchup in this game will be how well the Torrington offensive line handles the Ansonia linebackers. We know how much the Chargers like to send a little pressure from that level and there’s no reason for us to think they’ll do otherwise. Ansonia still has strong players there, including Ryan O’Connor, Hezekiah Duncan, and Ephram Collins, and I think they’ll be huge in either stopping or allowing the Torrington running game to have success. Brad Brown and Zach McNutt will need to have great games and win way more battles than they lose. I don’t buy into anyone other than Newsome having a large role in the offense for Ansonia, so the Ansonia offensive line will really get to show its worth. Jh’mel Trammell is the only player on the line with any sort of considerable experience (and it comes on the other side) but we know how the Chargers turn over linemen. I’m also interested to see how well some of Torrington’s defenders play, if they’re healthy. Dan Schebell has a chance to be a really solid linebacker if his body allows him. If he can get a little pressure into the Ansonia backfield, it could jar Newsome a little and allow someone else to make a play.
We have to figure all the questions asked about Ansonia throughout the offseason have only served to motivate those guys a little. While not everyone knows all the names on the team right now, that doesn’t mean the new linemen and defenders aren’t Ansonia-good. The Chargers’ defense probably won’t be as stifling as it was throughout last season so Torrington will have a shot to stay in the game if it doesn’t waste any possessions. But Newsome is still coming out of Ansonia’s backfield and it’s tough to see the Raiders’ defense stopping him enough to win.
Picks: Remmy- Ansonia, 35-26. Kyle- Ansonia, 51-20.
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