Aug 082013
Arkeel Newsome (left), Anthony Scirpo (center) and Tanner Kingsley (right) all set state records in 2012 and are featured prominently in the new NVL record book. Credits: GWImages/sscreativedesign

Arkeel Newsome (left), Anthony Scirpo (center) and Tanner Kingsley (right) all set state records in 2012 and are featured prominently in the new NVL record book, which is now available on our blog. Credits: GWImages/sscreativedesign

Has it seemed a little quiet around here for the beginning of August? It’s true, we haven’t had anything to even hint at a season preview yet (don’t worry, it’s coming). But we haven’t just been lounging around in the sand while the days pass by — at least I haven’t (I guess I can’t speak for Remmy). I’ve been tying together one of the most comprehensive and badly needed projects I’ve ever done around these parts.

Allow me to introduce you to the brand-new Naugatuck Valley League history and records portion of our website.

Hang on one moment before you start getting click-happy (if you’re like I was during many parts of this project, you’ll get immersed pretty easily) so I can provide a brief overview of the who, what, when, why and how.

I came up with the idea for an NVL record book during last season when offensive numbers routinely approached state record leaderboards. Thanks in large part to the great former New Haven Register sportswriter Bob Barton’s state record book series (credit to Gerry deSimas Jr., and numerous others involved in its production, too; I consulted each of the editions, which are available from 2004), I was able to lay a pretty decent foundation by picking out performances by players, coaches and teams from the NVL’s 14 schools.

That didn’t go the whole way, though. Plenty of feats, both new and old, weren’t included in the state record book for whatever reason (much of it falls on former coaches’ shoulders) so I had to try my best to fill in the gaps. Though some teams (Ansonia, Seymour and Woodland, in particular) made tracking their recent records much easier by entering stats since 2004 on their MaxPreps pages, many teams only partially fill out their stats or don’t do it at all. That’s when poring through the web archives of the Waterbury Republican-American came in handy. For several schools, including Sacred Heart, Torrington, Naugatuck and Holy Cross, I found box scores from important games as far back as 2006 to help round out stats.

naugy 1922 champ column

How’s this? A 1922 column written by the staff of the Waterbury Republican, and reprinted in the Bridgeport Telegram, arguing for Naugatuck as the state champion.

As these projects usually make me do, I found myself getting so involved in digging into archives that I expanded my scope from its original aim of single-game, single-season and career records and made it a whole lot bigger (and better, if I dare say so). Not only did I start digging into databases from the CIAC, CHSCA and New Haven Football Foundation, but I started to unearth old newspapers. I took my research back more than a century, using a lot of my web tools to read newspapers from the turn of the 20th century in the Hartford CourantBridgeport TelegramMeriden Morning RecordNaugatuck Daily News and Waterbury Republican-American. What resulted were a few more records, a comprehensive league timeline, a much better championship rundown and plenty more. Here’s a list of the eight pages I’ve produced so far (it will hopefully grow in the future, because this is an ever-evolving project):

Not everything in these records is complete. There are a few championships missing, some games from Thanksgiving rivalries absent and only a couple of entries under a few record categories. If, as you’re browsing, you think you have some information that we can use to make these records more accurate, send us a message and we’ll get to work.

You may see some records marked by asterisks. There’s no need for alarm; they’re just to denote records that were achieved all or partly while teams were not part of the NVL (for everyone, prior to 1931; for Derby and St. Paul, prior to 2009; for Seymour, prior to 1994; for Ansonia, from 1967-75; for Naugatuck, from 1960-66). Any feats that are also state records are marked by pound signs.

You’re going to learn some stuff you didn’t know, especially in the timeline — I sure as heck did — and hopefully you all enjoy it as much as I did putting it all together. (Big plus: As a few of our rising seniors gun for records this fall, now we’ll know exactly where they stand.)

Oh, by the way: One of the truly great parts of this project was stumbling upon items in newspaper archives for which I otherwise never would have even thought to search. Our longtime blog readers (and commenters) should enjoy this gem pulled from a 1971 issue of the Naugatuck Daily News. I present to you the 1971 All-NVL team and photo, which includes the man we believe to be the polarizing Wags.

It's tough to make out much in a microfilm-scanned photo, but the man we believe to be Wags is rocking the Ansonia No. 86, second from the left in the front row.

It’s tough to make out much in a microfilm-scanned photo, but the man we believe to be Wags is rocking the Ansonia No. 86, second from the left in the front row.

We’ll let you hop to it in just a moment — feel free to click through the links in this post or use the drop-down menu in the navigation bar at the top of this page. But here’s one more set of quick updates on current events before we start getting into season previews, which will last the rest of this month and into September:

  • We know (think?) St. Paul’s offense is going to be the real deal this fall, and the Falcons are off to a good start with their recent performance at the Under Armour Northeast 7-on-7 competitions. St. Paul won the South Regional on July 21, apparently becoming the first Connecticut team to do so, and eventually finished as the tournament’s runner-up. When you check out the new NVL records, you’ll see that Logan Marchi is already very close to holding all the major passing marks. Barring something crazy — or another insane year by Tanner Kingsley — he’ll have them by the time he heads to Storrs.
  • The Ansonia Gridiron Club is seeking advertisers for its program booklet, which will be sold at all home games this season. Check out this post for more information.
  • We are actively seeking new sponsors and advertisers for another year of operation here on the NVL Football Blog. If you and/or your business might be interested in coming on board, send us a message and we’ll be happy to share some information to get the ball rolling.
  • For the schools that did not conduct spring football practice (Crosby, Derby, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, Seymour, Torrington and Watertown), conditioning begins Aug. 14 and contact practices begin Aug. 20. For the schools that used spring football (Ansonia, Kennedy, Naugatuck, St. Paul, Wilby, Wolcott and Woodland), those respective dates are Aug. 19 and Aug. 24.
  • We’ll be updating all the schedule links and areas of the blog very soon. We’ll also be posting scrimmage schedules for all teams who have made them available. The first scrimmages are a little more than two weeks away.
Naugatuck's turf looks like it will be ready to go by its scheduled opener Sept. 20. With two-toned turf and painted graphics in both end zones, it looks like the best artificial surface in the league. Credit: Mike D'Agnone/@MikeDAgnone

Naugatuck’s turf looks like it will be ready to go by its scheduled opener Sept. 20. With two-toned turf and painted graphics in both end zones, it looks like the best artificial surface in the league. Credit: Mike D’Agnone/@MikeDAgnone

  32 Responses to “Introducing the NVL Football Record Book”

  1. johnnyribbs

    Really well done Kyle. A few suggested future enhancements….

    Would be cool to be able to query previous game results. Make the teams selectable and have it spit out the type of information you have for the Thanksgiving games for any regular season match up. (select Watertown, select Wilby and compare the history for example)

    Would also be a nice feature to have some stats on how the NVL fares v. other leagues in out of conference and play off play. Heck you could even throw a bone to the Ansonia guys and log scrimmage results. I suspect the gate receipts for these crossover games (the more attractive ones at least) will lead to more cross league challenges…would be cool to be able to keep track. Give the boys some ammo to take over to SPB’s blog and battle the fairweather SWC guys.

    Really well done. Almost makes me proud to have a team in the Non Violent league.

    • Thanks a lot, JR.

      The previous game results is the next big area I want to tackle. I’m hoping to be able to get my hands on them (I think the NVL Statman Steve Gesseck has many, so hopefully he can chip in) and add that to what we have.

      I definitely want to make everything more interactive in the future, with sortable tables and some other stuff. But the most important part right off the bat was to just get everything up and running (and to get folks to contribute what they have, because everything I found by piecemeal certainly isn’t the end-all).

  2. I’ve already made some additions to a few records, based on information some of our readers sent in earlier today. Please feel free to continue sharing any records you may know — as I’ve said, this really is an evolving project that will only get better with help from people who have things to contribute.

  3. Now this is truly a super thread. Among the best, if not the best ever, on the NVL Blog. Hats off to you Kyle.

  4. Kyle this is terrific. Keep up the good work. Thanks

  5. This is a thread to spend time with. Hope you leave it available for a long time.

    I know he wasn’t an NVL guy, but those of us who may have been connected to the football lore of Ansonia, Derby, Seymour, Naugatuck and even the old Leavenworh teams may remember all-time Shelton great Don Margiano, an All State back in 1950 when he led his team to an undefeated (9-0) season. Marge died last week at 80 years old. That’s the year (1950) that the state championship selection committee missed the state champ selection by the distance from Stamford to Shelton. That’s the year Danbury wouldn’t play Shelton and Danbury finished 3rd with a 7-0-2 record. Even Bridgeport Central, with a 5-1-2 record, finished 4th ahead of Shelton. Small (Class B) schools never caught an even break in those days.

    • Mr. Margiano was a super nice guy. I remember him as one of my teachers at the high school. I never heard a bad word about him. He will be remembered as being a gentleman. RIP

  6. perspective

    Nice work Kyle, by the way have switched your allegiance to Naugy from Woodland, you seem to be a hot on the Hound’s trail since Big Bruno took the helm. Also, to second JTS’ post regarding people bashing Ansonia’s legitimacy as the best team coming in this year on SPB’s blog- these biased big league fans, whether they be FCIAC or SCC are either ignorant or don’t know football, I don’t support Ansonia but to delegitimize their ability this year and in year’s past based on the league they play in or the size of the school is not relevant- the Chargers are loaded in 2014 #1 Hand’s down- pun intended

    • My only allegiance is to doing good work. :)

      I think Naugatuck has an awful lot of potential with Bruno as coach. They have an awful lot of athletes on that team, and if there’s any coach in the state who knows how to use athletes on offense it’s him. There will be a lot of points and not much defense in the Copper Division this season.

      I’ll probably be voting Ansonia No. 1 in the preseason poll. I’ll have to take a better look at everything soon, but I can’t see any way around it at this point.

      • I think Hand of Madison deserves some respect. If I had a vote, it would be Hand followed by Ansonia – then the rest. I don’t understand all of this BS about Ansonia not being able to play with the big schools. It’s ridiculous. Yes, the NVL is a weak league. In no way does that mean Ansonia can’t beat an L/LL school. It simply means Ansonia doesn’t face the level of competition seen in the FCIAC and SCC.

        I think the state would be surprised if Ansonia were to lose a game this season with what it has returning. I think Ansonia is at least 3 TDs better than the best team in the NVL, maybe 4. Hovan is back. And so is the rest of the line (minus Trammell). And with McKnight and Newsome in the backfield, this team will be silly good. Expect another repeat in Class S.

        How on God’s green earth do we get Ansonia and Hand to play each other this season. We ask the same question every year. What a disaster as a HS football fan.

        I’d hope the rest of the teams in the NVL get better. That, at least, would hold me over until Ansonia schedules a match-up with an FCIAC or SCC powerhouse.

      • I think AHS would pummel any team in the FCIAC. They do not play a physical brand of football and would not handle Ansonias physicality. Hand is IMO the best football/education program in the state. AHS would compete and perhaps beat them. It would be the ultimate measuring stick of how good the coaching staffs are. Both schools have great talent and great coaching staffs. No other towns have as much pride in their programs as Madison and Ansonia. Despite the haters on other blogs, AHS is a top 5 team in the state year in and year out and will likely go unbeaten again this year and approach Cheshires 49 game win record.

  7. perspective

    By the way I heard Croce was possibly returning as OC at Pomperaug- can anyone confirm or deny said rumor? As much as I cannot stand his act he can coach and Pompy could use his presence big time

  8. For those that really follow High School Sports Nationally.Is there a State other than Connecticut that would vote a team #1 that does not compete in a strong league or is not challenged most times in the Post season by a legit top 5 team.Can we name a few top dogs Ansonia has defeated in the last 10 or so years? One that comes to mind was in the NVL Title game vs Holy Cross @ Wolcott 5-7 years ago.

    • Seymour in 2007 also comes to mind.

      It’s a fair point, but teams have to play who they play. Listen to coaches from those “top dogs” of the past few years and they’ll tell you Ansonia has been as good as any of them.

  9. @ Kyle
    I agree 100% with your follow up post.There have been some “Top Dogs” Ansonia has rolled the past few years but they have been few and far between.Potential to beat the best absolutely[ in some years] but SOME other teams actually defeat the States best{IE} Hand 2012/Xavier 2011 on the field of play in regular and Playoffs..A strong NVL showing in the post season or a strong showing from Masuk could aide Ansonia’s case as the States best.Again what State do we know of that votes a smaller school as it’s States best ?

    • Like I said, it’s certainly a fair point. I don’t know how other states do their voting, but I’ve never thought considering a small school not as good just because it’s smaller is prudent.

      Don’t count on the NVL in the postseason this year (aside from Ansonia), and it’s tough to know what to expect from Masuk.

  10. Hey high school fan voting for state champion is mythical and done by vote. A lot of other states play down and the winner is on the field. This state is a blip on the radar map of high school football. I would love for there to be a play off to see who wins on the field. It ain’t happening.

  11. Do you think the Open Division will ever come to fruition ?
    Not positive but I think many States have different division Playoff based on Enrollment but the higher Enrollment Schools are ranked higher in the Polls.I am not positive of this and will like to hear any Information on this.

    • I don’t know for sure, but I doubt any other state has an open division such as the one that may or may not be on the table. It seems as though it’s mostly based on enrollment in other states, although there may be some way to petition up in division.

      I sure hope the open division does come into being, but it needs to be well thought out. I think the only way it happens is if the coaches/ADs of some of the schools that routine win/compete for class titles (Ansonia, Hand, Xavier, etc.) realize that they’ll probably be sacrificing the quantity of state titles they’re used to in exchange for quality. I’m not sure everyone is on board with that style.

  12. down thru the years,since 1970 actually,ive seen a lot of programs challenge ansonias britain,bloomfield,trumbull,new london,bunnell greenwich ,cheshire and whoever else.those teams had two or three year runs then dissappeared.ansonia still is a state power year in and out.thats the difference.hand is pretty much the same.xavier is 5 or 6 years removed from being a poor program.its been 40 years, ansd every year you hear the same crap.but you cant erase results.i see the chargers winning big again this year,but i predict a stiff challenge on turkey day.its ashame the open division wasnt implemented 20 years would have settled a lot of arguments.

  13. by the way—-good job on records—-hard work involved

  14. I think an open division could happen but I think some communities would prefer to win a title consistently rather than win one occasionally. Also I think football in Ct. should start play earlier like New Jersey or N.Y. so to allow more time for state playoffs.

  15. Every year the discussion about a elite football division is discussed by the C.I.A.C. football committee. I know that there are some members of the committee that favor the idea. One of the stumbling blocks is that the board of governers, the people the ultimately make the decision must be sold on the idea. They look at football just one of the two dozen or more sports they govern. It appears to me that they have a one size must fit all approach. In other words if they creat an elite division in football must they do the same for the other sports.

    Starting the football season earlier would have little effect on the playoff. The difficulty in expanding the playoff system is the traditional T-Day games and the weather.

    Central Connecticut was chosen two hold the championships this year for several reasons:
    1. Cost of renting the facility.
    2. Seating for spectators.
    – It can handle about 7,000 with seating on both sides (last year the largest crowd was about 6,500.
    3. They stadium people will remove snow up to a certain amount. At Rentchler field we dodged a bullet with the weather the past couple years.
    4. There is a all weather field just outside the stadium that can be used to warm up prior the the start of games.
    5. More central location.

    I believe that Newsome made a great choice in Uconn.

    • Great stuff and insight on all points, Cliff. Thanks.

      I think I said when the move was made to CCSU that I was in favor of the change, and I still am. While the opportunity to play in the big stadium at UConn was neat, I think it ended up being too big for the event.

      A can of worms would certainly be opened if football moved to an elite postseason division. I know the rumblings of some would like basketball go to back to Division I/II/III action across the board, which I suppose is similar to a degree. Hockey still does it. It’s certainly worth the discussion.

  16. Sorry about my spelling and type-o’s

  17. high school fan—–i dont know if this legitimizes your point,but back in the thomas era,hand got beat up by new london, a “s” school, then got crushed by ansonia in title game.just sayin.i think there was a year when nvl finished 1-2 in state. ahs-holy cross

    • Saw Ansonia today (helmets only). Athletes everywhere.

    • @ Wags

      I am not positive but I believe Ansonia defeated New London {Jordan Reed’s Jr Year}the prior year to the New London regular season win{Jordan Reed’s Sr Year }vs Hand.I totally agree on that years Final Poll 1] Ansonia 2] Holy Cross.Both teams very impressive in Title Games.

  18. Naugy practicing at local field in town, Bradley looking as good as ever, going to have a monster year while leading this team to hopefully a Thanksgiving day NVL championship game like 2010. Mixing in receivers throughout practice feeling out the best fits, transfer running back Hopkins and middle backer is a big boy yet very athletic for his size, could be key for this team after the Sistrunk transfer to Bridgeport. This town is genuinely rejuvenated football wise with the new hire and decision to bring in Bruno. There’s excitement and high expectations for this revamped program. Also lets hope Pereira can bring some much needed defense to the hounds, been awful past few years with tackling and game plans.