Class S: Newsome hopes to cap stellar career with Ansonia’s third-straight title

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SOUTHINGTON >> Arkeel Newsome will put on an Ansonia jersey for the final time tonight. It will mark the end of arguably the most illustrious high school football career this state has ever seen.

Newsome enters the Class S state championship game against rival Woodland with career totals of 10,413 rushing yards, 183 touchdowns and 1,136 points, all state records. Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m. at Central Connecticut State’s Arute Field.

[CLASS S PREVIEW CAPSULE: Ansonia vs. Woodland]

“It’s been remarkable,” Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. “I think you can always argue and talk about teams and players, and different times and different eras, but I think what he’s done, statistically, you can’t argue. It’s the greatest career in the history of Connecticut high school football. And the way he’s handled himself, he’s been so humble and hard-working; he’s just gone about his business every single week. When you coach a kid like that, and the success he’s had, I don’t think I could be more proud of him and the effort he has put in. He’s worked very hard for everything he’s gotten, and he deserves it.”

The end of the Newsome era will occur sometime after 9 tonight. Preparing for the Hawks, who Ansonia defeated 48-7 for the Naugatuck Valley League championship on Nov. 20, has left little time for Newsome to reflect on past accomplishments.

“Not yet,” said Newsome when asked if he’s thought about his final game. “I’ll probably be thinking about it before the game. It came fast.”

Arkeel Newsome closes out perhaps the finest career in Connecticut history when he and the Chargers take on Woodland in the Class S title game. (Mara Lavitt — New Haven Register)

Arkeel Newsome closes out perhaps the finest career in Connecticut history when he and the Chargers take on Woodland in the Class S title game. (Mara Lavitt — New Haven Register)

There’s more pressing issues on Newsome’s mind, like leading the Chargers to a third straight state title. Ansonia (14-0), ranked No. 1 in the Register Top 10 Poll, will also bid to become the first team in state history to win 15 games in a season. The Chargers, who have won 42 straight, own 18 titles in 26 championship game appearances, both state records, since the implementation of a playoff system in 1976.

“To end with three state titles, it would mean a lot,” Newsome said. “That’s what we’re definitely going for, me and the whole senior class. That’s what we’re hoping for.”

While Newsome’s last game is certainly noteworthy, there’s other interesting subplots to this contest. For the fourth time, Ansonia will play a fellow Valley school for a state championship. The Chargers defeated Derby for the Class S title in 1976 and 1982 and Seymour for the Class M crown in 1979.

“I think anytime you get involved with Valley football, it’s fun,” Brockett said, “and now we’re doing it for a state championship. We’re looking forward to it. The Valley games are always great.”

Woodland, located in Beacon Falls, became a varsity program in 2002, a year after the school opened. The Hawks (12-2) are making their third trip to a state final after winning back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005.

“Obviously it hasn’t been a rivalry like Derby and Seymour based on the short existence of the school,” Brockett said. “But they’ve been a great program with a great tradition. Their body of work speaks for itself.”

Despite its rather brief history, Woodland is similar to other Valley programs in both style and approach to the game. The Hawks, a hard-working, blue-collar team, are certainly proud of their roots.

“Everywhere you go, when people say, ‘You’re from there?’ you tend to stand a little taller and say, ‘Yeah, I’m from there,’” Woodland coach Tim Shea said. “I’m sure the Ansonia guys say the same thing. It’s a Valley game, it just happens to be played at Central this year. We’re very familiar with each other, and it’s something we’re looking forward to.”

Woodland's prolific quarterback Tanner Kingsley and the Hawks hope to spring the upset against Valley rival Ansonia. Photo Mara Lavitt

Woodland’s prolific quarterback Tanner Kingsley and the Hawks hope to spring the upset against Valley rival Ansonia. Photo Mara Lavitt

The championship game also holds special meaning for Woodland for another reason. Quarterback Tanner Kingsley hopes to win a state title with the Hawks just like his older brothers, Cody and Shane. Both of Kingsley’s brothers are now Woodland assistants. Growing up, the Kingsleys played youth football in Seymour, and Tanner had aspirations that he could duplicate the success his brothers achieved at Woodland.

“When the school opened up, we knew we would be going to Woodland,” Tanner said, “and we knew we would have to start our own legacy for Valley football, and they did that for us.

“Growing up my whole life, this was my dream, to play in a game like this. And Friday night we have to make it happen.”

Comments

  1. Walter says

    I have to say this kid is nothing short of incredible. I live in West Hartford. I made sure I brought my young sons to several Ansonia games so they could say one day they witnessed Arkeel’s greatness. 183 tds is outrageous. As a UConn fan I cannot wait to see what Casey and Arkeel can accomplish together. Lastly, I really admire Ansonia the team. They work hard and play the game the way it is meant to be played no bs. I see far too much jealousy generated toward this program which is completely unwarranted. People should celebrate the accomplishments of this team and not be so critical of High School athletes. Good Luck Chargers although you do not really need it.

    • JB says

      Congratulations, Arkeel, on an outstanding career. We all give a fair amount of stupid stuff to Ansonia, but it is all b-s when it comes to you. Finish strong and God’s speed at UConn.

  2. ibleedblue says

    Tonight’s game marks the end of the most brilliant career for a running back in the history of the State of Connecticut. I’ve had the pleasure of announcing Ansonia’s home football games for many years and have seen an abundance of great players come out of the program. Never, one like Arkeel Newsome. He’s everything you would want in a young man. Respectable, humble, coachable, a credit to his family, his teammates, his coaches, his school and the City of Ansonia. His records may never be broken, at least in my lifetime. I truly thank him for the honor of announcing his name numerous times after scoring a touchdown, and for the pure joy of watching him play. I too wish him God speed and good luck as he advances to the next stage of his life. Go Chargers!!!!!

  3. GO NOLES!! says

    In my 55 years (ouch!), I have watched a lot of high school,football in this state and observed the talents of some great running backs.
    But I have never seen the likes of Arkeel Newsome. I can honestly state that every time I have watched him play, he has done something I have never seen before, and will probably never see again.
    Best wishes to him in the final game of his high school career.

  4. anotherfan says

    These are the comments I want to read ,thanks guys and thank you Ansonia players and coaches for a great season and it is not over yet but win or lose tonight I will always be a die-hard fan.Go Blue!

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