Both division championships are now settled.
Ansonia pulled away from a pesky Wolcott squad to win the Brass Division title Friday night with a 41-12 victory while Woodland dominated Holy Cross and surprised nearly everyone with a 28-0 shutout to clinch the Copper Division championship Saturday night.
That means we’ll see Ansonia-Woodland Part II in about a week and a half for the NVL championship. But there are more pressing matters to take care of before then, especially for Woodland and Wolcott, who will meet in a game full of playoff implications in Week 9.
Ansonia finally put away Wolcott in the third quarter after the Eagles stuck around for plenty of the game. The halftime score was only 20-6 and could have been closer if not for several Wolcott turnovers. Arkeel Newsome had his best game of the season, rushing for 254 yards on 34 attempts and scoring three times (it felt like fewer yards because he didn’t break any of his usual long runs). Andrew Matos also scored two touchdowns on passes from Jai’Quan McKnight and ran for another.
Wolcott had about as much success as any team moving the ball against Ansonia although there wasn’t a ton of it. When the Eagles went with their heavy package (three fullbacks and a Mike Nicol run behind them) they were successful, as well as the short and quick passing game (especially in the first half). It wasn’t overwhelming success but it was enough to where some team can probably build upon it. Ansonia’s defense is still awfully good, though.
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Ansonia’s win helped it become one of the first three teams in the state (and the first in Class S) to clinch a playoff berth (doing so with its win and losses by Stonington and Holy Cross). A home quarterfinal is not yet assured but might as well be.
Wolcott, on the other hand, dropped from its top spot in Class M but is still in decent position. Winning one of their last two games (Woodland and Holy Cross) should get the Eagles into the playoffs while losing out would make it pretty unlikely. We’ll have more on this later in the week.
In the Copper Division title game, Woodland dominated Holy Cross from start to finish. Some of the Hawks’ stats were quite impressive: 19-6 in first downs, 343-132 in yardage and 28:40-19:20 in time of possession. But the most impressive stat was probably the zero on the Crusaders’ side of the scoreboard.
Woodland stifled Holy Cross’ running game, holding Adrian Brown to just 22 yards and the team to 73. The Hawks racked up five sacks, too, and seemed boosted by the return of linebacker Levi Fancher, who led the team with nine tackles. On offense, Woodland’s spread passing game turned into a running game through the air as Tanner Kingsley kept the clock and chains moving with short completions. Anthony Scirpo and Brian Reis each caught two athletic touchdown passes.
The Hawks’ Copper title is their first since 2007, when of course they lost to Ansonia 41-0 in the NVL title game. Woodland also lost to the Chargers 47-16 earlier this year but the Hawks have slightly different looks on both sides of the ball now. We’ll talk about that game as it gets closer, but Woodland has to focus on Wolcott this week. A win by the Hawks would all but assure them a playoff spot.
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The Crusaders are probably out of Class S playoff contention but are not officially eliminated. Winning their last two games could make it close. But the Holy Cross offense looked lost in Beacon Falls and its defense struggled in covering the underneath passing game.
In other action, Jason Abbott led Torrington to a 67-36 win over Kennedy with three rushing touchdowns. Wilby scored the last 46 points of its game against Crosby to come away with a 46-14 victory. St. Paul outlasted Sacred Heart 48-36 thanks to Logan Marchi’s best game of the season, in which he threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more. Naugatuck also cruised past Watertown 52-14 as Mick Pernell scored three times to set the Greyhounds’ single-season record with 25.
Derby and Seymour will finish out the week Monday night at DeBarber Field.
Who Did It
Top Passers: Tanner Kingsley (WRHS): 33-42, 273 yds, 4 TD, 2 INT; Logan Marchi (SP): 20-27, 261 yds, 3 TD, 3 rush TD; Jason Bradley (NHS): 8-11, 181 yds, 4 TD; Mike Nicol (WOL): 10-23, 142 yds, TD, 2 INT; Jai’Quan McKnight (AHS): 4-6, 90 yds, 2 TD
Top Rushers: Arkeel Newsome (AHS): 32 rush, 254 yds, 3 TD; Nate Andrews (KHS): 5 rush, 196 yds, 3 TD; Eli Parks (SP): 20 rush, 151 yds, TD; Jason Abbott (THS): 18 rush, 148 yds, 3 TD; Jacob Thomas (WIL): 10 rush, 129 yds, 2 TD; Joe Masulli (WRHS): 21 rush, 88 yds; Nick Lorenzo (THS): 8 rush, 84 yds, TD; Mick Pernell (NHS): 14 rush, 76 yds, 3 rec, 75 yds, 3 total TD; Jerome Love (NHS): 6 rush, 66 yds, 3 total TD; David Hills (WIL): 7 rush, 57 yds, 2 TD; Jaquan Overbey (SH): 7 rush, 40 yds, 3 total TD
Top Receivers: Anthony Scirpo (WRHS): 12 rec, 125 yds, 2 TD; Jason Pelletier (WOL): 6 rec, 109 yds, TD; Brendan Carroll (SP): 6 rec, 89 yds, 2 TD; Andrew Matos (AHS): 3 rec, 85 yds, 3 total TD; Daija Fitzpatrick (SP): 7 rec, 81 yds, TD; Brian Reis (WRHS): 9 rec, 60 yds, 2 TD
Remember, Derby and Seymour wrap up Week 8 with their matchup Monday night at 6 p.m. at DeBarber Field.
The big Week 9 matchup is the one in Wolcott between the Eagles and Woodland. The Hawks have struggled against Wolcott over the last few years as the Eagles have won the last four meetings and Woodland hasn’t beaten Wolcott since 2006. Both teams will all but assure themselves playoff berths with a win (and could clinch, with a little help) so there will be a ton on the line. The loser will put its postseason future in serious jeopardy.
If Seymour manages to upset Derby, the Wildcats will try to keep their Class S playoff hopes alive in Watertown. The Indians pulled an upset in that game a season ago.
Ansonia gets a final tune-up before the NVL title game when it faces Wilby on Friday night, while the Saturday slate includes St. Paul-Holy Cross, Naugatuck-Kennedy and Crosby-Derby. Torrington-Sacred Heart is currently scheduled for Thursday night, so they’ll both have short weeks after playing Saturday.
The WFSB Friday Night Football crew did a great job of covering NVL football in Week 8, showing multiple games on each night. They’ve posted their highlights of Ansonia-Wolcott and Wilby-Crosby, so check them out. … More photos and videos, where available, can be accessed by clicking the links in this post. … Remmy will have his highlights from Woodland-Holy Cross shortly. … CPTV Sports will air an encore presentation of Ansonia-Wolcott throughout the week, including Monday at 7 p.m., Tuesday at 9 p.m. and Wednesday at 11:30 p.m. … We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to post this week’s predictions thread, updated Predictions Tracker and fantasy scoreboard. We’ll also have a new page going up soon. … Thanks again to everyone who came out to our tailgate last Friday night. It was a lot of fun to see many of you and hopefully we’ll see some of you again in a few weeks for the NVL title game. … In the Rep-Am Red Zone, see how differently Ansonia and Woodland treated their divisional titles and if a team needs to play perfectly against the Chargers.