BROOKFIELD >> When you think of Newtown’s third-ranked football team, offense is typically the first thing that comes to mind, what with multi-year stars like quarterback Drew Tarantino, receiver Julian Dunn and back Cooper Gold on the roster.
But perhaps its time to start learning a few more Newtown player names, those of the defensive variety.
Jaret DeVellis, Ryan Shaw, Ben Mason, Harry Duffy, Josh Krapf… Learn them and get used to them.
They’re going to be around for awhile.
Defense won the night and the SWC championship for Thursday night with a swarming and smothering effort in the Nighthawks’ 28-7 victory over Brookfield.
The Hawks’ big D, comprised mostly of underclassmen around seniors Dom Scarangella and Tim Krapf, forced two turnovers, sacked Brookfield quarterback Brad Westmark six times, and came up with a handful of fourth-down stops to keep the SWC trophy in Newtown.
“We had a two weeks to prepare for this team and we knew what they were going to run, thank God for the coaches for that,” said DeVellis, a fiery, 5-foot-6 junior linebacker who was a constant thorn with four sacks. “They really prepared us well.
“We came out a little sluggish in the first quarter, but we fixed that up a little bit. And at halftime the coaches challenged us to do better and we showed up. So that was good.”
Of course, offense played a big role too. Tarantino and Dunn hooked up for a pair of first-half touchdowns to put Newtown ahead 14-7 at halftime. Then Gold put the game away with two short touchdown runs. He ran for 165 yards on 27 carries and was named the game’s MVP for the second consecutive year.
“Two years in a row and they’re a really good team,” Gold said. “They gave us a lot of trouble at the beginning. They have a lot of really good players, man. …But I think we stepped up. I think our defense played really well. Our underclassmen picked up the slack we had in the beginning and it’s just a blessing.”
“I’m at a loss for words right now. It’s unreal, man.”
Newtown scored on its first possession, a fourth-down pass Dunn took 26 yards for a touchdown. But Brookfield, picking up where it left off in last week’s win over Barlow, responded quickly. Gabe Pompette took the ensuing kickoff all the way down to the Newtown 15. Austin Reich made it 7-7 on a 1-yard run.
Brookfield continued to move the ball well throughout the first half. But every time Newtown came up with a clutch stop.
The tone of the game changed when Devellis sacked Westmark twice to end a Brook drive at the Newtown 21. Then it turned when Tarantino converted a third-and-14 pass to Jared Pearson along the left sideline.
A few plays later Tarantino found Dunn again for the go-ahead score.
That’s when the defense kicked in again. Nick Lotrecchiano picked off Westmark to thwart another Brookfield drive and preserve the 14-7 halftime lead.
“Let’s face it, they’re a good football team,” said Brookfield coach Rich Angarano, whose team had already clinched a spot in the Class M playoffs and plays Bethel to determine their seeding on Thanksgiving. “We’re a good football team too. But you’ve got to score when you’re down deep. You can’t, not score when you’re in the red zone and you’re in a playoff game.”
In the second half, Newtown’s defense consistently stomped on what few hopes Brookfield had left.
Devellis blew up a trick play. Tim Krapf batted down a fourth-down pass. Mason, a 6-1, 200-pound freshman, snuffed out a fourth-down run at the Newtown 8. Duffy forced a fumble, which was recovered by Shaw late in the game to set up Gold’s final score of the evening.
Scarangella and junior Josh Krapf also had sacks in the first half.
“Part of it is my first-year defensive coordinator Bob Pattison, he spends tireless amounts of time going through film and practices schedules and working with these kids to put them in the best position,” George said. “This isn’t the easiest offense to stop, it’s like the three little nutshells and you can’t find the ball. But our kids were prepared and the result was just seven points scored.”
This is Newtown’s fourth SWC title overall. But there’s plenty of season left. The Hawks will face Masuk on Thanksgiving to determine their seeding in the Class LL playoffs.
“It’s great for our community it’s great for us in Newtown and it’s great for our kids who put so much time in to prepare for this,” George said. “Now it’s no more weeks off. Our backs are against the wall the rest of the season.”SWC Championship at Brookfield
BROOKFIELD 7 0 0 0 — 7
NEWTOWN 7 7 7 7 — 28
- N– Julian Dunn 26 pass from Drew Tarantino (Otto Kerler kick)
- B– Austin Reich 1 run (Dane Borges kick)
- N–Dunn 20 pass from Tarantino (Kerler kick)
- N–Cooper Gold 1 run (Kerler kick)
- N–Cooper Gold 5 run (Kerler kick)
Team records: Brookfield 9-2, Newtown 11-0