Ansonia and Woodland are being forced to play an NVL title game Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at Municipal Stadium. That means we’re forced to preview it. We’ll keep it brief. (P.S. There’s real news about Oxford potentially coming to the NVL at the bottom of this post.)
Remmy’s Keys to the Game: Woodland better find a way to stop Ansonia’s rushing attack or it is going to be an even longer night this week for the Hawks at the Stadium than it was last week up in Wolcott. Woodland relies on passing the ball more than it does running it. That’s bad news for most NVL teams but not Ansonia. The difference this week is that Ansonia has the athletes to match up with the Hawks’ skill kids and I don’t think Woodland can rely on its run game to beat Ansonia. This game could get ugly, quick, especially if the Hawks can’t gain yardage on the ground and run some clock. Relying too heavily on your passing game and going three-and-out several times isn’t the recipe for beating Ansonia. Ansonia will capitalize when it possesses the ball. I look for Ansonia to do what it’s been doing all season and that is running the ball down your throat and popping a pass every now again for big yardage. The Hawks play with as much emotion as anyone in the NVL but I don’t know if that will help them this week.
Kyle’s Keys to the Game: Based on all the evidence we’ve seen (from Ansonia, from Woodland last week at Wolcott and from these two teams’ Week 2 meeting) this game will be over by halftime. This game should not be played. None of the coaches in the NVL want this game. Neither of us want this game. The only guys who want this game are the athletic directors. Hopefully they make the smart decision in the offseason and revert to the old method of only playing this game when absolutely necessary. Ansonia’s defense is just too good for Woodland’s offense, especially after seeing how the Hawks forced things last week and committed turnovers because of it. Maybe Woodland can scheme up a little something to keep things close for a while, but talent wins out after long enough. The Hawks’ secondary is not consistent enough to stop Jai’Quan McKnight and Andrew Matos, and once that passing game gets going Arkeel Newsome will have some fun.
Remmy’s Players to Watch: Woodland’s star this year has been quarterback Tanner Kingsley. Kingsley is coming off of a rough week in Wolcott where he threw for only 165 yards and tossed three picks. Last time Kingsley faced Ansonia, he threw for 97 yards and zero touchdowns–his lowest totals in any game this season. Woodland can’t win if Kingsley doesn’t have a big game. Ansonia’s MVP has been wide receiver Andrew Matos. The senior has been outstanding this season, hauling in 26 passes for 632 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s also done damage on the ground (23 rush, 256 yards, six TD). His performances this season have overshadowed those of running back Arkeel Newsome, who will be just one of the many weapons Woodland will try to contain. Other players to watch are Woodland running back Joe Masulli, who will need to get going on the ground in order to give Woodland a chance and Ansonia defensive lineman Jh’mel Trammel, who has been a one-man wrecking crew this season on the defensive side of the ball.
Kyle’s Players to Watch: Woodland’s Anthony Scirpo and Rahmi Rountree will probably get the responsibilities of double-teaming Matos, which is pretty much a necessity for defending the Chargers’ offense as far as I’ve seen. If Brian Reis covers Ryan O’Connor on the other side, that leaves eight guys to defend the run. Woodland can send all the pressure it wants but if the Hawks tackle the way they did in Wolcott it won’t mean a thing. Levi Fancher has to play his best game of the season at linebacker, as does the entire defensive front with guys like Eric Collodel. The way that Mike Nicol torched Woodland in several different ways last week in Wolcott leads me to believe Jai’Quan McKnight is going to have a big game.
So let’s get this straight: Ansonia won the first meeting of the regular season. That wasn’t good enough for the league’s athletic directors to decide the Chargers should be league champs, so we play an NVL title game between the first- and third-best teams in the league. In addition, if the Hawks somehow win this game they become league champions even though both teams will have beaten each other once. Man, this is dumb.
Picks: Remmy- Ansonia, 49-14. Kyle- Ansonia, 48-13.
Extra Points: The NVL championship game is the WATR Game of the Week and Kyle, Steve Gesseck and Bob Sagendorf will have the call on WATR 1320 AM and watr.com starting at 6:20 p.m. … Check out Kyle’s Rep-Am Red Zone blog, where he asks if Wolcott can win the Class M state title and shares this week’s power rankings. … Our pal Ned Griffen watched Wolcott’s dominant win over Woodland last weekend and shares his thoughts here. … The latest state polls are out and Ansonia stays put at No. 2 in The Day Coaches Poll and No. 3 in the New Haven Register Media Poll. Wolcott is also inside the top 20. … Derby’s Tyrae Small is up for the WFSB Friday Night Football Player of the Week. Click here to vote.
Postseason Update: Ansonia has already clinched a home quarterfinal in Class S and Wolcott has locked up a bid in Class M. The Eagles can earn their first-ever home quarterfinal with a win over Holy Cross on Thanksgiving. Woodland, Derby and Holy Cross are all still alive in Class S (the Hawks have the best shot but Derby is in good position to capitalize upon any upsets). Check out all Kyle’s scenarios for all four classes, with extra emphasis on the local squads, in the Rep-Am Red Zone.
Oxford to NVL?: Paul Singley of the Oxford Patch reported last night that the Oxford Board of Education voted to apply for acceptance to the NVL. The move would give the NVL 15 teams without any additional moves and would probably necessitate three five-team divisions if the league cannot find another member (or doesn’t want to kick out St. Paul). Oxford currently competes in the South-West Conference and has not officially applied for acceptance. The Wolverines also compete in some sports the NVL doesn’t sponsor, including boys volleyball and wrestling, so we’ll see how that’s managed. Also, this likely throws quite a wrench into the NVL-SWC Challenge scheduled for next season. There’s lots to be decided, but everyone so far seems to think this is a good move.
Week 9 Odds and Ends: Since Week 9’s schedule didn’t end until Tuesday night, we decided against a whole wrap of a thread. But we still do have a few things to take care of from the week that was (Predictions Tracker will be updated soon). Aside from the margin of Wolcott’s win over Woodland, the major surprise of the week came as Watertown upset Seymour 30-7 on Tuesday. Other winners included Ansonia over Wilby, Naugatuck over Kennedy (congrats to Mick Pernell for setting Naugy’s single-season scoring record), Derby over Crosby (similar congrats to George French and the Red Raiders for clinching their first winning season since 1996), Torrington over Sacred Heart and Holy Cross over St. Paul.
Week 9 Fantasy Football- Kyle def. Remmy, 148-94
- Team Kyle (4-5): QB Mike Nicol 53, RB Arkeel Newsome 26, RB Mick Pernell 43, WR Anthony Scirpo 18, WR Rahmi Rountree 3, TE Levi Fancher 0, Ansonia defense 5
- Team Remmy (5-4): QB Tanner Kingsley 7, RB Tyrae Small 51, RB Jaquan Overbey 0, WR Andrew Matos 17, WR Dillon McMahon 10, TE Brandon Kuczenski 9, Holy Cross defense 0
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