We got it all last Friday night in Beacon Falls: A great game, a great atmosphere and a great story. And as Woodland’s Jack Pinho showed his father’s trophy to a packed home crowd, he and the Hawks also celebrated their climb to the top of the NVL Copper Division standings.
Most of us expected a Woodland-Naugatuck game into the 30s and 40s, but instead we got a competitive game in the 20s with defensive stops and huge plays on every series. In the end, the Hawks held on for a 25-22 win to stay unbeaten, assume control of the Copper and win their 10th game against Naugy in 11 all-time meetings.
We’ll get into all the details in just a moment, but you oughta check out Remmy’s terrific highlights of the game first. (We’ll show you SPB’s reel a little later.)
Naugatuck dug an early hole when it gambled and failed on a fake punt. Woodland wasn’t fooled and took over inside the red zone, where the Hawks soon scored when Tanner Kingsley took advantage of a blown coverage to find Mike Kenney for a touchdown. Woodland missed the first of three two-point conversions, which was a side story of the night.
Greyhounds coach Craig Bruno felt extra bold and tried another fake punt on the following series. This one worked, as Jason Bradley found Nate Franklin for a big gain. That fake later set up a 1-yard touchdown run at the beginning of the second quarter to give Naugy an 8-6 lead. Just before the half, Kingsley hooked up with Jack Pinho for an 11-yard score and a 12-8 halftime advantage. Here’s Kyle’s call of Pinho’s touchdown catch courtesy of WATR.
The teams exchanged scores immediately after halftime — a 44-yard touchdown pass from Bradley to Ryne Griesenauer and a 6-yard score from Kingsley to Taylor Tucciarone — and Woodland held an 18-16 lead into the fourth. Naugatuck managed to force two red zone turnovers but failed to take advantage of either. The final takeaway came on a fumble at the Naugy 14, but Woodland forced a three-and-out. Bradley attempted to punt, but a low snap forced him to scramble unsuccessfully, and Will Flormann took him down at the 7-yard line. Three plays later, Kingsley sneaked in from 3 yards out and Flormann tacked on the PAT to make it a 25-16 lead.
Naugy scored with less than 2 minutes to play on a 12-yard pass to Tom Douty after Woodland committed a pair of penalties and dropped an interception that all could have effectively ended the game. But the Hawks’ Chris McDonald recovered the onside kick and Woodland ran out the clock.
Neither team reached 400 yards of total offense (pretty surprising these days) and both squads made key stops. The Hawks, in particular, forced 23 incompletions, four punts and three turnovers on downs. Sophomore Sean McAllen was terrific on defense and also extended a few drives with three third-down receptions (including two gashing middle screens) the the Hawks’ front kept Bradley from scrambling and held him to -2 rushing yards. Coby Vaccarelli, Kenney and Tucciarone also played very well in the secondary and Levi Fancher wreaked havoc up front.
Naugy suffered from some drops but also risked the deep ball too often. Woodland’s defensive backs played physically and didn’t let the Greyhounds’ receivers break free often. Bradley overthrew a number of his receivers on those deep passes and only completed a couple of tries down field. Naugy came out in a modified wishbone for the first few series and ran the ball fairly well, but the Greyhounds soon abandoned that in favor of a constant downfield effort. On the defensive side, the ‘Hounds struggled to get position on Woodland’s receivers and couldn’t do much against the short passing attack.
After the game, Tony Pinho presented the first annual George Pinho Memorial Trophy to the Hawks and Jack Pinho. George was a Naugatuck native and Woodland coach who died suddenly in January, and future Woodland-Naugatuck games will be played with that award on the line. SPB’s video package of the game did a nice job focusing on that angle, and you can watch it below.
We would also be remiss to not mention the fantastic crowd that came out to Beacon Falls. Some folks thought expecting 2,500 or 3,000 fans was wishful thinking, but it turned out to be true. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen that sort of atmosphere for a game, and it made the night a lot more enjoyable. Woodland even had a student section for the first time ever. Hopefully that trend continues throughout the Valley this fall.
The Hawks (4-0, 2-0 Copper) now have firm control of the division with Naugatuck (3-1, 1-1) now essentially two games back. Woodland is far from being the division champion with St. Paul and Holy Cross left on the division slate, but the title is now definitely the Hawks’ to lose. They are also in the No. 2 spot in the Class S race (tied with Derby for the top spot, actually) and as everyone has noted, Woodland doesn’t exactly have a murderer’s row left on the schedule (no Ansonia or Wolcott, of course). The Hawks must like their position, but all is not lost for Naugatuck. While it will need help to rekindle its divisional hopes, the Greyhounds still have a fine chance to make the Class L postseason.
The Woodland-Naugatuck game was really the only game of note last week. There were no other surprises, save perhaps for Seymour’s 42-0 destruction of Watertown. We put the Wildcats on upset alert against the steadily improving Indians, but Seymour (2-2, 1-1 Brass) dominated Watertown (1-3, 1-1) from start to finish with Joey Salemme (240 rushing yards, three touchdowns) once again leading the way. That was a must-win game for the ‘Cats and they got it.
Ansonia (4-0, 1-0 Brass) got off to a little bit of a slow offensive start against Wilby (2-2, 0-2) but still cruised to a 47-14 win. Holy Cross (2-2, 1-0 Copper) got back to .500 with a 55-24 victory over Sacred Heart (0-4, 0-2), while Derby (4-0, 2-0 Brass) stayed undefeated with a 34-7 win over Crosby (0-4, 0-2). Wolcott (3-1, 1-0 Brass) finally played a non-dramatic game in a 44-7 victory over Torrington (0-4, 0-1 Copper), and St. Paul (3-1, 2-0 Copper) actually played defense in its 46-14 win over Kennedy (0-4, 0-2).
Who Did It
Top Passers: Tanner Kingsley (WRHS): 29-39, 294 yards, 3 TD, INT; Mike Marshall (CHS): 29-41, 292 yards, TD, INT; Vincent Gambino (WOL): 16-23, 290 yards, 3 TD, INT; Mike Kreiger (DHS): 267 yards, 3 TD; Jason Bradley (NHS): 16-39, 256 yards, 2 TD; Logan Marchi (SP): 18-20, 192 yards, 4 TD; Joe Kalosky (HC): 11-14, 189 yards, 3 TD
Top Rushers: Joey Salemme (SEY): 28 rush, 240 yards, 3 TD; Arkeel Newsome (AHS): 17 rush, 212 yards, 4 TD; Tyrae Small (DHS): 150 yards, 2 total TD; Parris Wolfe (SH): 11 rush, 136 yards, 2 TD; Jacob Thomas (WIL): 16 rush, 134 yards, 2 total TD; Drew Bialoglowy (HC): 12 rush, 129 yards, 2 TD; Mike Kreiger (DHS): 10 rush, 121 yards, TD; Tyler Marens (THS): 12 rush, 108 yards, TD; Eli Parks (SP): 10 rush, 60 yards, 2 TD; Joe Lynch (WOL): 10 rush, 45 yards, 3 total TD
Top Receivers: Jayson Matos (WOL): 5 rec, 145 yards, TD; Myles Goulbourne (CHS): 10 rec, 121 yards; Christian Thurmond (SEY): 2 rec, 112 yards, 2 TD; Mike Reyes (CHS): 7 rec, 99 yards, TD; Bryan Coney (NHS): 7 rec, 95 yards; Sean McAllen (WRHS): 4 rec, 91 yards; Sal Frosceno (DHS): 1 rec, 84 yards, TD; Jay Pelletier (WOL): 5 rec, 81 yards, TD; Dylan Abarzua (WRHS): 8 rec, 80 yards; Brandon Black (HC): 1 rec, 78 yards, TD; Reid Morin (SP): 5 rec, 46 yards, 2 TD
(Qualifications: 150 yards and/or 3 TD passing, 100 yards and/or 2 TD rushing, 75 yards and/or 2 TD receiving. Performances only include those posted to MaxPreps and/or reported to local media.)
How to See and Read It
Woodland-Naugatuck: Rep-Am (photos/video), GameTime CT (video), WFSB (video)
Wolcott-Torrington: GameTime CT, Rep-Am (photos)
Seymour-Watertown: GameTime CT, WFSB (video)
Holy Cross-Sacred Heart: Rep-Am (video)
Derby-Crosby: GameTime CT
Ansonia-Wilby: GameTIme CT (video), WFSB (video)
St. Paul-Kennedy: Bristol Press (video)
Where It Takes Us
Two games that will have an awful lot of say in the divisional races are coming at us this week. The Ansonia-Derby rivalry game is our headliner, as the unbeaten teams will meet Friday night at DeFilippo Field. On Saturday afternoon, Woodland makes the trip to Bristol to face St. Paul in a game between two of the state’s best quarterbacks (and a battle of the some of the most-ever passing yards in Connecticut high school football history).
Seymour and Sacred Heart will kick off Week 5 on Thursday night at Municipal Stadium (we will have that game on WATR). Other Friday night games include Naugatuck at Torrington, Crosby at Wolcott, Holy Cross at Kennedy and Wilby at Watertown. Those games should have pretty heavy favorites.
NVL Fantasy Football Update
Kyle evened up the season series with Remmy thanks to a 240.8-213.4 (estimated) win in Week 4. Remmy owns a slight edge in points at 790.8-773.4. We’ve now made a spreadsheet you can check out that lists all the performances each week, as well as the leaders. Click on the photo below if you want to see all the details.
Here are our active lineups entering Week 5:
Team Kyle: QB Logan Marchi (St. Paul), QB Tanner Kingsley (Woodland), RB Tyrae Small (Derby), RB Jacob Thomas (Wilby), RB Joey Salemme (Seymour), WR Jayson Matos (Wolcott), WR Mike Kenney (Woodland), WR Jay Pelletier (Wolcott), Naugatuck defense
Team Remmy: QB Jason Bradley (Naugatuck), QB Vincent Gambino (Wolcott), RB Arkeel Newsome (Ansonia), RB Joe Lynch (Wolcott), RB Tom Douty (Naugatuck), WR Reid Morin (St. Paul), WR Ryne Griesenauer (Naugatuck), WR Bryan Coney (Naugatuck), Ansonia defense
News and Notes
We promise that at some point this week, we will have the Predictions Tracker updated through the first four weeks of the season. (Kyle had two big projects over the last two weeks, so we will finally have some time to do it.) We will also post an update as to the progress of the three big record chasers — Arkeel Newsome, Logan Marchi and Tanner Kingsley — as they look to solidify NVL marks and pursue state records.
On Laxworm Radio’s weekly Sunday morning show, Ansonia coach Tom Brockett joined Mike, SPB and Kyle to chat about the Chargers and the season. The guys also talk about Ansonia’s spot atop the polls, the Woodland-Naugatuck game and the upcoming Ansonia-Derby contest. Click here to listen to the show replay.
The Ansonia-Derby game is up for the NBC Connecticut Game of the Week feature. (They don’t do as good a job as our friends at WFSB in the broad scope, but they do nice work on whichever game ends up as the one.) Click here to vote. You can also vote for Joey Salemme as the WFSB Friday Night Football Player of the Week. Click here to do that.
Per usual, we will have our Week 5 preview up Monday night and our Game of the Week preview on Wednesday afternoon.