Things just got awfully interesting in the NVL, didn’t they?
No, no, Ansonia is still by leaps and bounds the best team in the league. But just as we were on the verge of seeing the Chargers square off with who we thought would be their most formidable competition, Torrington decided to upset Holy Cross and created quite a situation in the Copper Division.
Both the Crusaders and the Red Raiders were without several starters due to a combination of injuries (Holy Cross) and suspensions (Torrington). Torrington hopped out to a 14-0 lead before Holy Cross knotted it on a pair of runs by Isaiah Wright. Joan Toribio put the Raiders back ahead with his second touchdown run but Adrian Brown tied it once more early in the fourth on a touchdown run. Without Toribio for much of the second half and without quarterback Phil Bresson for the entire game, Torrington couldn’t do anything on offense in the second half before its final drive, which spanned 87 yards and ended on a short field goal by PJ Kilmartin with five seconds left for a 24-21 win.
The upset induces a ton of head-scratching. Besides the opening-week victory over Crosby, Holy Cross’ offense has not been impressive at all. I had multiple people who were at the game tell me that Wright’s attitude has been very negative during games and is contributing to some of the sluggishness shown by the Crusaders. The injuries, especially in the middle of that defense, clearly inhibited Cross a bit but Torrington’s success on the last drive is definitely quizzical after having no success at all in the second half before then.
Meanwhile, Torrington prevented itself from being written off with this huge victory. Toribio has been excellent in his last two games following a tough first one against Ansonia, but he’ll have to heal quickly because Torrington won’t be able to score much without him. We’ll see what becomes of the suspended players (a comment on the Register Citizen’s story says it was hazing-related) but the young guys on the team but have gained some confidence from being out there for the win. The Raiders have gone from a loss away from virtual elimination to right back in the thick of things.
The only other eye-catching result of the week was Wilby’s 22-7 upset over Watertown. The Wildcats have been very good over their last two games on both sides of the ball, and Jacob Thomas is really hitting his stride. On the other hand, the Indians may be the disappointment of the early season. Their offense has been terrible so far and they still have their toughest games ahead of them.
Ansonia rolled again with a 48-6 win over Derby, even though Arkeel Newsome played about a quarter and sat out the rest with an ankle injury. Newsome has only carried 31 times in three games, but that’s all he’s been needed. Andrew Matos scored three more touchdowns, Jai’Quan McKnight accounted for three and the Chargers’ varsity defense still has yet to allow a touchdown.
Seymour and Wolcott both cruised to 3-0 records with easy wins over Kennedy and Crosby, respectively. Wildcats quarterback Mike Conlan and Eagles slinger Mike Nicol have both been solid in their dual-threat roles so far. They’ll meet next week in an important battle of undefeated squads.
Naugatuck’s offense rebounded in a big way with a 70-33 win over St. Paul in a game the Greyhounds led 63-14 at the half. Jason Bradley was 8-9 for 234 yards and five touchdowns, and Mick Pernell had more than 250 total yards with four touchdowns. Mike D’Agnone also scored two receiving touchdowns and two pick-sixes. That should give the ‘Hounds a good bit of momentum heading into their tougher Copper Division games.
Finally, Sacred Heart earned its first win with a 50-30 win over Whitney Tech. Congratulations to Cortez Johnson on his first career victory.
Who Did It
Top Passers: Logan Marchi (SP): 17-35, 325 yds, 5 TD, 2 INT; Jason Bradley (NHS): 8-9, 234 yds, 5 TD; Mike Conlan (SEY): 8-9, 195 yds, 3 TD, rush TD; Jai’Quan McKnight (AHS): 5-6, 136 yds, 2 TD, rush TD
Top Rushers: Jaquan Overbey (SH): 13 rush, 209 yds, 3 TD; Jacob Thomas (WIL): 20 rush, 207 yds, 2 TD; Davon Humbles (KHS): 28 rush, 164 yds, 2 TD; Joe Lynch (WOL): 17 rush, 141 yds, TD; Joan Toribio (THS): 26 rush, 129 yds, 2 TD; Adrian Brown (HC): 17 rush, 128 yds, TD; Mick Pernell (NHS): 17 rush, 119 yds, 2 TD; Andrew Matos (AHS): 7 rush, 105 yds, 2 TD, rec TD; Tyrae Small (DHS): 4 rush, 102 yds, TD; Roshawn Gainey (CHS): 9 rush, 96 yds, 2 TD; Isaiah Wright (HC): 7 rush, 59 yds, 2 TD; Mike Nicol (WOL): 9 rush, 21 yds, 3 TD, 2 pass TD
Top Receivers: Reid Morin (SP): 5 rec, 164 yds, 3 TD; Mick Pernell (NHS): 4 rec, 142 yds, 2 TD; Jack Briggs (SEY): 2 rec, 88 yds, TD; Raeshaun Finney (AHS): 3 rec, 86 yds, TD; Daija Fitzpatrick (SP): 6 rec, 80 yds, 2 TD; Mike D’Agnone (NHS): 2 rec, 36 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT-return TD
Week 3’s Blanchette Sporting Goods Player of the Week is Naugatuck senior wide receiver/defensive back Mike D’Agnone. D’Agnone had two interception-return touchdowns; his 37-yarder gave Naugy its second touchdown in a 14-second span, and his 47-yarder gave the ‘Hounds their second touchdown in a different 16-second span. D’Agnone also caught two touchdown passes at the end of the first half, including a 30-yarder on the last play of the half.
The Holy Cross-Ansonia matchup Friday night has clearly lost much of its luster after the Crusaders lost to Torrington. We have no reason to expect the Chargers to be any less dominant than they’ve been so far, but the game will go on and WATR will have the call.
A potentially more important game will happen Friday at DeBarber Field when the undefeated Wildcats host unbeaten Wolcott. The three opponents Seymour has beaten have a combined one victory, so this will be the Wildcats’ first chance to make a real impression. Wolcott, meanwhile, is the top team in the Class M rankings and needs a win to stay up there.
We’ll also see the Awkward Bowl on Thursday at Municipal Stadium when Naugatuck faces Sacred Heart. That game shouldn’t be much of a game but with the three almost-Greyhounds-but-instead-got-suspended Hearts on the sideline, it could be quite a sight. That game will also be aired on WATR.
Another interesting game in the Brass Division will include Wilby and Derby. Both teams are 2-1 overall and have different degrees of momentum entering the contest. The loser will likely be headed toward the bottom half of the division to join both Watertown and Crosby, who currently occupy the basement and will square off Friday.
Woodland faces Kennedy on Friday night while Torrington visits St. Paul on Saturday as both teams look to stay perfect in the Copper Division.
We’re working on the Predictions Tracker as you read this. It will be finished by the end of tonight. All the photos and videos that go with this week’s games are in the game articles linked to above.