When: Friday, 7:05 p.m.
Records: Ansonia 14-0, Woodland 12-2.
Players to watch: Woodland: Tanner Kingsley, Sr., QB; Levi Fancher, Sr., TE/LB; Jack Pinho, Sr., WR/DB; Ansonia: Arkeel Newsome, Sr., RB/DB; Matt Simon, Sr., OL/DL; Ryan Hovan, Sr., OL/DL.
Championship game appearances: Woodland: 3 (2-0, last title in 2005); Ansonia: 27 (18-8, won title in 2012).
You should know: These two Valley rivals meet for the second time this season. Ansonia defeated the Hawks 48-7 in the NVL championship game on Nov. 20.
Ansonia will attempt to capture its third straight state title and second in a row in this class (the Chargers won Class M in 2011). In addition, Ansonia will seek to become the first team in state history to win 15 games in a season. The Chargers, who enter has the No. 1 team in the Register Poll, have won 42 straight games since losing to St. Joseph in the Class S championship in 2010.
This marks the final game for Newsome, the state’s all-time leading rusher (shown at right breaking the record vs. Masuk). This season Newsome has rushed 299 times for 3,608 yards and 64 touchdowns. Newsome has career totals of 909 carries for 10,413 yards, 183 touchdowns and 1,136 points.
Newsome had the good fortunae this season of running behind perhaps the state’s best offensive line led by Simon and Hovan.
But Ansonia has other weapons besides Newsome. They include senior fullback Saiheed Sanders, junior quarterback Jai’Quan McKnight, junior receiver Witold Gul and sophomores Tajik Bagley and Tyler Bailey.
Woodland is playing in a state championship game for the first since 2005.
The Hawks have been balanced offensively this season, although recent injuries to running backs Sean McAllen and Colby Vaccarelli may limit what Woodland can do on the ground in this game. McAllen sat out Woodland’s semifinal victory over Bloomfield with a concussion, while Vaccarelli suffered a knee injury in that contest. McAllen will likely play here, while Vaccarelli probably won’t. Senior Taylor Tucciarone will likely fill the void in the backfield. Tucciarone rushed 16 times for 87 yards against Bloomfield.
Kingsley is one of the state’s most prolific passes. He threw for 258 yards and four touchdowns in the semifinals. This season Kinglsey (shown at right completing the winning TD pass to Mike Kenney on 4th and 25 vs. Derby) has completed 236 of 377 passes for 3,473 yards and 45 touchdowns. Kingsley holds the state record for career touchdowns with 113. Kingsley has weapons in Pinho (33 catches, 338 yards, six touchdowns), junior Mike Kenney (55-995-15) and Tucciarone (51-763-14).
Fancher leads the Woodland defense with 127 tackles and 10.5 sacks.
Pooch’s Pick: Ansonia
SPB’s Pick: Ansonia 58-20
CPTV Sports’ Class S preview playlist
WE MEET AGAIN…
Ansonia defeated Woodland in the 2013 Class S championship. Here’s a look at how the Chargers’ 48-7 victory happened: