SEYMOUR >> A winning streak that has covered nearly three seasons came very close to ending in stunning fashion.
Seymour, a considerable underdog to visiting Ansonia, was in position to kick the potential game-winning field goal with less than two minutes remaining.
A hush fell over DeBarber Field and both sides held their collective breaths as the ball was snapped. The kick from 28-yards had the distance but sailed right.
The Chargers, ranked second in the Register Top 10 Poll, survived, winning this NVL Brass Division contest 21-20 Thursday.
“If you’re a competitor, your heart’s in your throat whether you’re on the field or there (in the stands),” Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said about the field goal attempt.
The win extended Ansonia’s winning streak to 37 games, a school record. Cheshire won a state-best 49 in a row from 1992-1996. The Chargers also clinched the division title and will play an opponent to be determined for the NVL championship.
Ansonia took the lead for good on Arkeel Newsome’s 19-yard touchdown run with less than seven minutes remaining.
But the Wildcats responded. Joey Salemme scampered for a 48-yard gain, which brought the ball into the red zone. Four plays later, Salemme scored on an 11-yard run to cut the Ansonia lead to 21-20. Seymour decided to attempt a two-point conversion, but a running play was stuffed.
“We thought we had them we’re we wanted them (on the two-point conversion attempt),” Seymour coach Tom Lennon said. “We wanted to try to end it there. We thought we had a (good) play called, we thought we could get the two, but they had the right defensive call. We gambled and lost.”
The Wildcats, though, recovered the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff and drove from midfield to the Ansonia 11 before the missed field goal.
Seymour led 14-7 and by a point (14-13) after three quarters. Despite a heroic effort by the Wildcats, Seymour fell just short of pulling off what would’ve been one of the biggest upsets in state history.
“That’s the best effort (against Ansonia) in my five years,” Lennon said. “I can’t be more proud of them and the way they played tonight. We went in with a game plan and we just executed it to perfection, both offensively and defensively. I think we made great strides this season.
“We talked all week about believing that we can do it. Most teams, including our’s some years, are beat as soon as they get off the bus and they see that Charger on the helmet. We believed that we can win and we never gave up.”
Newsome scored three times but was held to 112 yards on 26 carries. He scored on an 11-yard run to put his team up 7-0 in the second quarter.
Seymour, though, scored the next two touchdowns. Salemme tossed a 42-yard scoring strike to Christian Thurmond and then Salemme added a 44-yard run to put the Wildcats up 14-13 at the intermission. Salemme finished with 244 yards on 38 carries.
In the third quarter, Newsome scored on an 8-yard run but the Chargers missed the extra point and trailed 14-13. That’s the way it stood until the wild fourth quarter.
It was an atypical performance by Ansonia, which fumbled three times and overcame three recovered onside kicks by Seymour.
“It was uncanny,” Brockett said. “You don’t win football games (with six turnovers). You’re not supposed to win this game.”
ANSONIA 0 7 6 8 — 21
SEYMOUR 0 14 0 6 — 20
- A–Arkeel Newsome 11 run (Witold Gul kick)
- S–Christian Thurmond 42 pass Joe Salemme (Frank Marcucio kick)
- S–Salemme 44 run (Marcucio kick)
- A–Newsome 8 run (kick failed)
- A–Newsome 19 run (Tajik Bagley pass Jai’Quan McKnight)
- S–Salemme 11 run (run failed)
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- Prep football: Hopkins hopes to finish on positive note vs. Hamden Hall
- Ansonia’s Brockett talks Chargers on national football show
- New Canaan’s Marinelli talks No. 1 Rams and an open division on WFSB
- Sean Patrick Bowley’s Audibles: Statewide guide to Week 9
- Pooch’s Picks: Predictions for Week 9
- No. 2 Ansonia survives Seymour’s upset bid
- GameTimeCT / Register Top 10 Poll: We have a new No. 1
- Regional football notebook: Guilford has sights on first division title
- Tuesday Morning Quarterback: Top Players, teams of Week 8; Look ahead to Week 9
- State Football beat: The Week 9 FCIAC, SWC, NVL championship scenarios
- The Day of New London previews, to broadcast New London-Middletown
- GameTimeCT Week 8 Plays of the Week
- Ray Curren’s Inside the SCC: The Week 8 running diary