Well, those games sucked.
Week 1 in the Naugatuck Valley League was as big a snoozer as any set of games in recent memory. About half the league’s teams played some really good offense while most of the other squads were pretty much awful.
Six of the seven NVL winners scored at least 43 points and they all could have had a few more scores had their humility (and the 50-point rule) not come into play. Every game was determined by at least 20 points, and most had gaps of more than 30 points.
So what can we even take out of a week in which so many God-awful games were played?
For starters, Ansonia is still nasty. For those of you trying to say the Chargers weren’t going to run through teams again (for whatever reason, probably having to do with creating your own bulletin-board material), you were wrong. By all accounts, Ansonia looked as good as ever in a 66-26 blowout of Torrington. Arkeel Newsome needed a whole nine rushes to do his damage. The defense was fine. Yawn.
It’s tough to make something out of Torrington, but it looks like its defense will be bad again. That ship needs to be righted next week before it sinks.
Woodland’s spread was spectacular in its re-debut as Tanner Kingsley led the Hawks to a 46-0 pasting of Sacred Heart. Woodland’s defense was surprisingly excellent, too, with some great pressure up front. But Rahmi Rountree was ejected from the game for fighting and will miss the Ansonia game, which is a huge blow to the Hawks’ hopes of keeping it close.
The Hearts may struggle to win as long as David Coggins and Javon Martin are out. Their eligibility will be determined Thursday.
Naugatuck may have been the biggest surprise of the week. Many of us either picked against the Greyhounds or figured their opener against Wilby would be close. Mick Pernell, Jason Bradley and the Naugatuck defensive line proved otherwise. Pernell scored four times, Bradley was superb in his first start under center and the Greyhounds’ linemen were relentless in a 48-20 win. It looks like Naugy will be right in the middle of the Copper Division hunt.
Speaking of surprises, how about Derby? We figured Dillon McMahon would be good, but maybe not quite as excellent as he was in the Red Raiders’ 55-26 win over St. Paul on Saturday. He scored Derby’s first four touchdowns on a pair of runs and a pair of long returns, helping the Raiders to a 34-0 halftime lead they didn’t relinquish. So much for thinking the Falcons’ offense could help them make some noise.
Holy Cross picked up right where it left off with a 55-6 win over Crosby. It looks like new quarterback Kristian Harmeling is just fine, as are the other playmakers. The defense made three interceptions. Life is good for the Crusaders.
Seymour and Wolcott both took care of business in easy wins over Whitney Tech and Kennedy, respectively. Mike Nicol accounted for all five of Wolcott’s touchdowns, including three with his legs. To his credit, he looked like he made an effort to sit and throw more rather than taking off on passing plays. That improvement could be big for the Eagles.
Finally, Watertown had a bit of a disappointing loss to Montville in the marquee nonconference matchup of the week. The Indians really struggled to get anything going on offense and couldn’t take advantage of several takeaways.
Who Did It
Top Passers: Logan Marchi (SP): 23-53, 338 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT; Tanner Kingsley (WRHS) 16-18, 166 yds, 5 TD, INT; Mike Nicol (WOL): 10-16, 152 yds, 2 TD; Jai’Quan McKnight (AHS): 4-8, 143 yds, 2 TD, INT; Kristian Harmeling (HC): 7-9, 105 yds, 2 TD; Jason Bradley (NHS): 8-12, 98 yds, 2 TD
Top Rushers: Arkeel Newsome (AHS): 9 rush, 197 yds, 5 TD; Mick Pernell (NHS): 16 rush, 187 yds, 4 TD; Joe Fancher (WRHS): 15 rush, 117 yds, TD; Adrian Brown (HC): 9 rush, 111 yds, 2 total TD; Adam Santopietro (WOL): 6 rush, 84 yds, rec TD; Tyrae Small (DHS): 11 rush, 71 yds, TD; Isaiah Wright (HC): 5 rush, 61 yds, 2 TD; Mike Nicol (WOL): 9 rush, 57 yds, 3 TD; Jim Vartelas (SEY): 2 rush, 41 yds, 2 TD; Dillon McMahon (DHS): 2 rush, 32 yds, 4 total TD
Top Receivers: Andrew Matos (AHS): 4 rec, 148 yds, 2 TD; Reid Morin (SP): 7 rec, 140 yds, TD; Daija Fitzpatrick (SP): 8 rec, 123 yds, 2 TD; Desmond Langs (THS) 5 rec, 80 yds, 2 total TD; Anthony Scirpo (WRHS): 5 rec, 65 yds, 3 total TD; Chris Herrera (CHS): 3 rec, 51 yds, TD; Rahmi Rountree (WRHS): 2 rec, 37 yds, 2 TD
Woodland visits Ansonia on Friday night in the game I’ll be broadcasting on WATR. With the league’s best (probably) passing offense facing the league’s best (definitely) rushing offense, the potential exists for plenty of points. Both defenses will get their first big tests but we have no reason to expect an outcome any different than what we all expect.
Naugatuck’s and Derby’s solid opening-week performances have set the stage for a pretty intriguing Week 2 game at DeFilippo Field. The Red Raiders’ defense is probably the more questionable of the two but that doesn’t mean we won’t see a shootout here, too. A win by Derby gives it much-needed momentum into its rivalry game against Ansonia.
Torrington’s season may be on the line in Week 2 at Wolcott. The Red Raiders didn’t have the offensive production we thought they may have been able to put together against Ansonia and will desperately need better against Wolcott, which must have last year’s beatdown on its minds. The Eagles had only a couple quality wins last year and this would be a good first step.
Holy Cross visits Watertown and Seymour hosts Sacred Heart in the only two other relevant matchups of the week. Saturday’s games pit Wilby against Kennedy and Crosby against St. Paul. Those games are dripping with excitement (maybe they’ll be close, at least?!).
Below are video highlights from Ansonia’s win over Torrington on Friday.