‘Tis the season for parent-teacher conferences at our local high schools. Since both of us are technically qualified to be (substitute) teachers with our bachelor’s degrees, we figured we would issue our own report cards for each of the league’s teams at the midway point. Then, like any good teacher, we have a few extras at the bottom.
Ansonia Chargers: Everything’s been just fine for Ansonia. Arkeel Newsome doesn’t have the numbers everyone thought he would have at this point, but the Chargers haven’t needed him. Their defense looks as good as it did last year and they’ve added a passing game. They’ll be favored until someone beats them, which may not happen in 2012.
Grades: Kyle- A. Remmy- A.
Crosby Bulldogs: There’s no doubt that there are athletes on the field for Crosby but its defense has been far too poor and its offense has turned over the ball way too much to be in any sort of contention. Roshawn Gainey has played well at running back but he’s been the only one putting up solid stats. As usual, the countdown to the hardwood has already begun.
Grades: Kyle- D. Remmy- C-.
Derby Red Raiders: A list of the NVL’s pleasant surprises has to include Derby, who is 4-1 with its only loss coming to Ansonia. The Raiders also beat Naugatuck, who is one of the league’s hottest teams. Michael Kreiger has been fairly mistake-free, Dillon McMahon has made big plays and everyone else is scrapping together a good year so far.
Grades: Kyle- A-. Remmy- B+.
Holy Cross Crusaders: It’s been a disappointing five weeks for the Crusaders. They have lots of work to do after their struggling offense dug a hole. But there are signs of improvement, particularly when Isaiah Wright and Adrian Brown are on the field together. Plus, Cross’ defense is pretty good and played Ansonia as well as we’ve seen in years.
Grades: Kyle- B-. Remmy- B-.
Kennedy Eagles: The Eagles have one of the youngest teams in the league and it has shown so far. With about a half-dozen sophomores starting on each side of the ball, Kennedy has struggled against some of the league’s better teams (Wolcott, Woodland, Holy Cross). Davon Humbles has definitely been a bright spot for the Eagles.
Grades: Kyle- D. Remmy- D.
Naugatuck Greyhounds: For a team that many thought would struggle to hit the .500 mark with everything that happened in the preseason, Naugy has been fantastic. It was about a play away from being 5-0 right now, and has an explosive offense and a strong front seven. Mick Pernell has been the most prolific player in the NVL through five weeks.
Grades: Kyle- A. Remmy- B.
Sacred Heart Hearts: The Hearts are 2-3 through the first five games, and all three losses came without the services of David Coggins, Javon Martin and Xavier Woods. Now that they’re back, Sacred Heart has a good shot to finish .500 or better. Those guys make as big a difference on defense as they do on offense and are looking to prove themselves again.
Grades: Kyle- C. Remmy- C.
Seymour Wildcats: A soft-as-can-be first three weeks helped the Wildcats to a 3-0 start. They got a taste of two of the league’s best teams over the past two weeks and crashed back to earth. Mike Conlan and Jim Vartelas are good players but Seymour’s defense has not been able to stand up to the better offenses they’ve faced.
Grades: Kyle- C+. Remmy- C.
St. Paul Falcons: The Falcons’ offensive numbers look pretty but they’ve yet to record the only statistic that matters. There’s no doubt that Logan Marchi is one of the best quarterbacks in the league but there’s also no doubt that St. Paul’s defense is one of the worst in the state. The Falcons allow 58.8 points per game with a season-low of 54.
Grades: Kyle- D-. Remmy- D-.
Torrington Red Raiders: The most enigmatic NVL team over the last few years has upheld its reputation this season. The Raiders lost a 20-point lead at Wolcott and followed it up with an upset win over Holy Cross. Then, with their Copper Division destiny in their hands, they laid an egg against Naugy. They need some rhythm on both sides.
Grades: Kyle- C+. Remmy- C.
Watertown Indians: It’s tough to find a more disappointing NVL team than Watertown. We thought with the speed the Indians had on offense they would at least be a competitive team. That hasn’t been the case. The lack of consistent quarterback play has really hurt although the running game has been OK. Maybe they’ll have another second-half run.
Grades: Kyle- D. Remmy- D.
Wilby Wildcats: The Wildcats looked like they were trending upwards after an early-season, two-game winning streak. But their defense has been lit up by a pair of good offenses in Derby and Wolcott and Wilby has sunk back to 2-3. Still, Gino Capuano has done a nice job in his first year on short notice. They have a shot at .500.
Grades: Kyle- C-. Remmy- C-.
Wolcott Eagles: A 5-0 record speaks for itself. Mike Nicol has been as good as anyone in the league and his most recent performance–a 245-yard, five-touchdown rushing effort with a passing score to boot–is good proof. He’s shown plenty of passing ability, too, and the game plans have been sound. But Wolcott’s toughest games are yet to come.
Grades: Kyle- A. Remmy- A.
Woodland Hawks: The Hawks have beaten up on three bad teams (to the tune of 147-28) but looked bad against Ansonia (although they were shorthanded). Nobody is crowning Woodland yet because the beef of its schedule starts this week and lasts the rest of the season. But the Hawks have an underrated running game and a great quarterback.
Grades: Kyle- B+. Remmy- B+.
The only way to appeal these grades is to do better in the second half of the season. We’re tough teachers.
Quickly, here’s a few quick hits and how we think the second half will play out:
Remmy: Ansonia has been a surprise the way it has been able to pummel its opponents. Wolcott looks like the second-best team in the league based on its first-half performance. Still many games to be played so we can’t rule out contenders like Woodland, Naugatuck and Holy Cross. Derby may make the playoffs this year. How cool would that be? What a job thus far by all three staffs atop the Brass Division.
Kyle: Both Naugatuck and Derby have exceeded my expectations for their entire seasons within the first five games. I picked them both to be 3-7 because I didn’t think their many young guys would be as productive as they have been. A pair of sophomore quarterbacks have been great leaders so far and they both have underrated defenses. Playoffs runs are definitely in play.
Remmy: Watertown and Torrington are my biggest disappointments. Torrington had a big win over Holy Cross. But between injuries and suspensions, it doesn’t look like this team will get back on track. Watertown’s season is practically over with its four losses. I was expecting a lot more from both squads in the first half. There is still time for Torrington to turn it around, though.
Kyle: It’s pretty hard to separate St. Paul and Watertown in my disappointment category. The Falcons have a good offense but, my goodness, that defense is awful. If it was at least serviceable they might be able to win a few games. The Indians’ offense, on the other hand, is almost as bad as St. Paul’s defense. They just can’t move the ball with any consistency despite their speed. Holy Cross also gets a shout-out here. 3-2 is not where a team with the talent of the Crusaders should be off a state championship year.
Remmy: Mike Nicol, Wolcott. Simply put, Wolcott would be 0-5 without No. 11. This kid is Mr. Everything. The Eagles would not be having such a great year without Nicol at the helm. Nicol has accounted for 23 total touchdowns, has thrown for close to 700 yards and has rushed for close to 600. And he hits hard on defense.
Kyle: Mick Pernell, Naugatuck. I figured Pernell would be a solid running back for the Greyhounds but I didn’t think he could be a four-touchdowns-a-night player. I was wrong. He has been the most explosive player in the league and is the driving force behind Naugy’s explosive offense. He’s excellent on defense and special teams, too.
Re-Adjusted NVL Championship Matchup
Remmy: Ansonia def. Naugatuck. See you at Jarvis Stadium!
Kyle: Ansonia def. Naugatuck. Naugy’s defense has an edge over Woodland’s right now.
Remmy: Class LL- Naugatuck. Class M- Wolcott. Class S- Ansonia, Derby.
Kyle: Class M- Wolcott. Class S- Ansonia.
Based on how the playoff classes are shaking out right now, here’s what record Kyle thinks each team needs to make their fields:
- Ansonia: 9-1 (8-2 probably would be enough, too, but risky)
- Derby: 9-1 (8-2 possibly, but would need to beat Shelton for points)
- Naugatuck: 9-1 (8-2 probably not enough in a stacked Class LL)
- Wolcott: 8-2 (7-3 also possible with the big lead it currently has)
- Woodland: 8-1 (nine-game schedule puts the Hawks behind the 8-ball)
Okey dokey. Hit us with your grades!