Ansonia tops Rocky Hill to reach Class S state final

WALLINGFORD >> Winning a 19th state championship — and its third straight — serves as plenty of motivation for the Ansonia football team.

But there were a few other sources of motivation this week that may have helped the second-seeded Chargers eliminate third-seeded Rocky Hill 49-27 Saturday in the Class S semifinals at Sheehan High’s Riccitelli Field.

First, after falling to Ansonia 49-21 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, Coginchaug coach John Bozzi told the Hartford Courant: “We lost to one guy. You take away Arkeel Newsome and this is a less-than-average football team. At this point right now, as they are, they wouldn’t be the best team in our division, let alone the state.”

Also, Newsome, who rushed for 492 yards and seven TDs against Coginchaug, lost out on the State Gatorade Player of the Year award to Middletown’s Dario Highsmith, despite being the state’s all-time leading rusher.

Newsome finished Saturday’s game with 269 yards and five touchdowns on 36 carries for the state’s lone undefeated and No. 1 team. The 14-0 Chargers will face No. 4 Woodland in the final on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at Central Connecticut State’s Arute Field. Ansonia beat Woodland 48-7 in the Naugatuck Valley League championship game on Nov. 20.

“We have worked for this. We definitely deserve it,” Newsome said.

Said Ansonia coach Tom Brockett: “None of that other stuff is even discussed. We are only worried about one thing: what we have to do.”

Rocky Hill (11-2) made it interesting with two quick touchdowns to start the third quarter to get the Terriers within 34-21, but Newsome was too much to overcome.

“I have a great bunch of kids. I love them. They did everything I asked them to do. They (Ansonia) are just a little bit too much for us,” said Rocky Hill coach Dave Coyne, who coached his final game for the Terriers Saturday. “These kids sent me out with a great season. I’d like to have played one more week, but that’s not to be.”

Newsome, who will play at UConn next season, rushed for four of his touchdowns in the first half. The second TD went for 64 yards while the fourth one on the final play of the first half went for 46 yards.
Newsome had 195 of his yards in the first half.

“Arkeel is a special player. I’ve said before that Arkeel has nothing left to prove,” Brockett said. “He is as consistent as you can be. He started for us as a freshman and since his sophomore year, he has been the best player in the state of Connecticut.”

Chris Young, who finished with a team-high 137 yards on 20 carries for the Terriers, scored his second touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. Then Rocky Hill recovered the onside kick.
Three plays later, quarterback Andrew Jenkelunas his tight end Thomas Seaver (6 catches, 119 yards, two TDs) for an 18-yard touchdown to pull Rocky Hill within 34-21.

But Newsome answered with his final touchdown, this time a 32-yard run, and that was it for Rocky Hill.
“He is patient. He waits and waits and he uses his blockers well. He has a great offensive line,” Coyne said about Newsome.

Quarterback Jai’Quan McKnight threw a pair of TD passes and Tyler O’Connell recovered a fumble and made an interception off a tipped pass for Ansonia.

This will be the fourth straight state championship game for Ansonia, which will also attempt to become the first program in Connecticut history to win 15 games in a season.

“We have had so many great players, there is great consistency on the coaching staff, the community really buys into it and the kids take great pride in playing for Ansonia,” Brockett said.

Ansonia 49, Rocky Hill 27
(at Wallingford)
Rocky Hill 7 0 14 6 0 — 27
Ansonia 14 20 8 7 0 — 49

First quarter
A—Arkeel Newsome 1 run (Witold Gul kick)
R—Chris Young 29 run (Greg Marzilli kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 64 run (Gul kick)
Second quarter
A—Arkeel Newsome 1 run (Gul kick)
A—Witold Gul 71 pass from Jaiquan McKnight (run failed)
A—Arkeel Newsome 46 run (Newsome run)
Third quarter
R—Chris Young 14 run (Marzilli kick)
R—Thomas Seaver 33 pass from Andrew Jenkelunas (Marzilli kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 32 run (Newsome run)
Fourth quarter
A—Tom Majchrzak 15 pass from Jaiquan McKnight (Gul kick)
R—Thomas Seaver 18 pass from Andrew Jenkelunas (Marzilli kick)
Team records: Ansonia 14-0; Rocky Hill 11-2


    • Ned Ryerson says

      Playing the weakest competition available. Their closest game was from a team that lost to Amity! Am I right or am I right or am I right?

      • dave says

        Your an uninformed and jealous fan from another division….Ansonia has been beating teams for thirty years from all divisions …………you need to really appreciate one of the best high school programs in high school history !!!

      • GB says

        Sour grapes- Ansonia is number 1 in the state, and they would score big against any team in the state. Whether they would stop some of the best teams from scoring is a legitimate question. The Seymour game was a fluke- but they still won. The first St. Joe’s/ New Canaan game was a little bit of a fluke too. St. Joe’s is a much better team than that. But St. Joe’s lost the game, Ansonia won their fluke game. Newsome is the best player in the state- hands down.

      • GB says

        Oh right, that must be a really awful Amity team that beat Seymour- they put up 500 yds. of offense on Fairfield Prep and over 600 yds. of offense on Shelton.

  1. The Truth Hurts says

    Playing in Wallingford is the closest Ansonia wants to be to the SCC.Very good S Team but a Paper Champion when it comes to top teams ine State.

  2. anotherfan says

    Stinger? wheeled off tied on a stretcher after getting wind knocked out of him? A Charger would have been in the next play!

    • GB says

      That’s a BS comment. I was at that game- he didn’t move his arms or legs from what I saw- and everyone around me didn’t see him move either. I’m just happy for the kid that he wasn’t hurt seriously. Don’t act like the kid isn’t a tough runner either- he is really tough. He’s the second best back I’ve seen behind Newsome this year.

  3. anotherfan says

    I am refering to the St. Joe’s game when Mustafa got hit and was sent to the hospital only to return to the sideline before the game was over dressed in street cloths.

  4. Thomas says

    I assume that’s reporting is correct.

    Assuming the reporting is correct, Ansonia isn’t very bright. Ansonia was motivated by a coach’s comment that without Arkeel Newsome they were a “less-than-average football team”? THAT motivated them? They certainly didn’t prove that they’re better than that by playing WITH him.

    And Ansonia was motivated by the coach’s comment that they weren’t the best team in the state? On Saturday, they showed, just as the coach said, that they weren’t the best team in the state. For Rocky Hill, Platt was a tougher opponent than Ansonia.

  5. ValleyFalls1 says

    I see we are still auditioning for “Idiocracy 2″ here. Congrats to Ansonia. Rocky Hill was a tough worthy opponent. Chris Young is a bull. There is a reason the Double Wing is talked of as God’s offense :). Good to see McKnight almost back to full speed. Gul has turned out to be quite the clutch receiver.

    Go Lavender, Go Blue, Go Chargers!

  6. jeb says

    The sad truth is this argument with Ansonia will go on every single year as it has since most of us have began blogging. I don’t see Ansonia losing in the next three years due to their schedule…and don’t even think of mentioning that they play Newtown next year. Remember Newtown was beaten by RIDGEFIELD. Sorry Newtown fans but Ridgefield is fair at best. I feel bad for the Ansonia players and coaches…their is nothing worse in sports than going into any game knowing in advance that you have very little chance of losing. We all love competition and the thrill of maybe losing is what we enjoy. The joy one gets from winning cannot compare to the agony one gets from losing.

    The coaching staff at Ansonia is first rate and many of their coaches were fantastic athletes. Spoonie is still a legend at NDWH. They want to play better teams but they are locked in with the NVL schedule. Waterbury has some of the best athletes in the state but when you spread them out in five different schools it’s hard to compete. Lets acknowledge all the good things Ansonia has done and move on…It’s up to the other NVL teams to catch up and make their league more competitive.

  7. ibleedblue says

    Listen folks, Ansonia has nothing to prove to anybody. It’s record speaks for itself. Most victories all-time in the history of Connecticut High School football, seventeen undefeated and untied seasons, eighty-four first team N.H. Register All-staters, thirty-two appearances in final N.H.Register Top Ten Poll, twenty-one appearances in N.H.Register Top Five Poll, four time State Champion in final N.H. Register Poll, 33 CIAC playoff appearances, twenty-seven CIAC title game appearances, eighteen CIAC class titles ——– all State Records. To quote Tom Taylor of Max Preps: ” Ansonia is the gold standard of High School football in Connecticut and everyone else is measured against that standard”. I’ve been watching Ansonia football for 60 years and it just keeps getting better. End of story…………………

  8. GO NOLES!! says

    You make some fair observations. But i wouldn’t feel bad for the Ansonia players and coaches. Like all good programs in the state, they prepare and practice hard, and deal with whoever the opponent is.
    Can demolishing opponent after opponent make a team complacent and sloppy? Of course, as Ansonia’s game with Seymour demonstrated.
    I agree that there are times when the prospect of a good opponent clearly motivates the Chargers,and they seem to play their best. So I am sure that the coaches and players would enjoy a tougher regular season and playoff division.
    But I don’t think they will be feeling “bad” walking off the field with another trophy Friday night.

    And for the record, I do not think Ansonia is the top team in the state this season. The offense is formidable and nearly unstoppable over 48 minutes, and Newsome is amazing. But their defense and special teams are not worthy of the #1 spot in the polls.JMHO.

  9. GO NOLES!! says

    I thought you had exhausted your supply of asinine posts in the thread discussing the lack of sportsmanship and stupid comments tio the press by Coginchaug coach John Bozzi. But I was wrong. You are determined to once again display your lack of football knowledge and perspective.

    Ansonia’s players and coaches could have cared less about Bozzi’s statements. They, and virtually every coach, player, fan, and reporter in the state, acknowledged that Bozzi was way out of line, and poorly represented himself and his program.

    Rocky Hill was a good team. Their kids played and clean, and their coaching staff was classy in defeat.

    Time to move on, Thomas! Bozzi’s 15 minutes of fame (or infamy!) are over. Go back to rooting for those Pequot powerhouses!

  10. Thomas says

    GO NOLES!! has a quarrel with, not with me.

    If Mr. Noles could read, he would have read that it was that reported in this article that the Coginchaug coach’s comments were “sources of motivation” for Ansonia against Rocky Hill.

    Does that make, as Mr. Noles likes to call things “asinine”?

    There is much praise for the accuracy of the Coginchaug coach’s comments.

    GO NOLES!! himself agreed with the coach’s comments when he wrote at 11:15 a.m.: “And for the record, I do not think Ansonia is the top team in the state this season.”

    Hmmm. Does that make GO NOLES!! “asinine”, too?

    • bgarf says

      Thomas, your posts and thought process are among the most bizarre I’ve seen on here. You say there has been much praise for the accuracy of that coach’s post-game comments? Besides the fact he publicly put down the Ansonia kids (other than Newsome) which is entirely inappropriate and irresponsible for someone in his position, the actual content of what he said had zero basis…without Newsome they’re a less-than-average team yet when Newsome was spelled by a sophomore, said sophomore had 90 yards on 4 carries, that alone refutes his entire premise, what don’t you understand about that?

  11. Joe says

    One of the comments above was very interesting I thought , they said Waterbury has good athletes in the city but are spread thin by so many schools. On the other hand when the best kids are leaving to go further their education-football careers at other schools in the lower valley it makes the overall strength of the league as a whole weaker. I read these posts once in a while and I really don’t understand the concept of not wanting to play with the kids you grew up with, when I played that was all that mattered, the loyalty to your town ,friends, family but I guess all that doesn’t count anymore just records , rings and stats. All about the stats always now but in five years nobody remembers anyways. good luck to both Woodland and Ansonia.

    • Gregg says

      The issue with the Waterbury schools isn’t so much that they’re spread out (they are), but a lot of the best athletes in that area concentrate on hoops by the time they get to high school, and many of them don’t play football because of that. Look at a school like Crosby – in hoops is excellent, In football? Not so much. A couple of those athletes coming out for football would help them immensely,.

  12. jeb says

    Joe says… nice post about kids going to other schools. I was fortunate to grow up in a small town. I had tremendous loyalty to its people and the high school. The thought of leaving Mt town and going to another high school would never enter my mind even if our sports team were poor which they weren’t. For the life of me I could never understand how someone would leave their friends and their hometown to attend another high school be it public or private.

  13. GO NOLES!! says

    They were motivation only in the sense that Bozzi stupidly declared that Ansonia was great only because of one player. Obviously, an inane comment, since the likes of Emmett Smith and Barry frieking Sanders still needed good O-lines in front of them.

    Bozzi also declared that Ansonia would be defaeted by the best teams in his Pequot Conference division. Morgan?? Valley Regional?? Uhhh, OK!

    “Much praise for the accuracy” his comments?? From who? You??
    Bozzi has been WIDELY criticized for his lack of class and sportsmanship by coaches, media and fans across the state. You are delusional if you think otherwise!

    Stating my opinion that Ansonia is not the top team in the state this season is in no way agreeing with Bozzi’s diatribe. Ansonia IS among the top five; I just don’t thimk they are the top dog this year.
    That does NOT mean that they would not pound the crap out of anyone and everyone in the Pequot!

    So Thomas, you are free to continue to display a fundamental lack of knowledge of high school football in this state (along with class and proper decorum by coaches). But I am not going to keep responding to ignorance.
    I am out of this thread.

    • Thomas says

      After first stating that the Coginchaug coach’s comments weren’t motivation for Ansonia against Rocky Hill, GO NOLES!! now says that Ansonia was SO motivated by the comment that without Arkeel Newsome they were a “less-than-average football team”, that they proved that they’re better than that by playing WITH him? And by being a less difficult opponent for Rocky Hill than Platt?

      Whether Mr. Noles knows it or not, by his continuing agreement with the coach’s assessment that Ansonia is not the best team in the state, he praises the coach’s assessment.

      Then Mr. Noles resorts to criticizing the coach for something he didn’t say. The coach never mentioned Morgan. A fair reading of his comment is that Valley Regional was a tougher opponent for his team than Ansonia, just as Platt was a tougher opponent for Rocky Hill than Ansonia. Heresy!

      And one more time, a critic of the coach’s comments shows that the coach holds Arkeel Newsome in higher esteem than the critics. Heresy!

      The more you look at the coach’s comments, the tamer they look, which is why so many praise his comments.

      Mr. Noles says he is “out of this thread”. But he will be checking. I guarantee it … just as much as Mr. Noles guaranteed that he agreed with the coach that Ansonia is not the best team in the state.

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