WATERBURY >> Senior Arkeel Newsome had a hand in five touchdowns, but Ansonia was also able to showcase some of its promising young talent during the Naugatuck Valley League championship game Wednesday.
Sophomore Tajik Bagley scored on a 62-yard touchdown run, made an interception and recovered a fumble, and fellow sophomore Tyler Bailey caught a touchdown pass, to help lead the Chargers to a 48-7 rout of the Hawks at Municipal Stadium.
“I thought Tajik Bagley stepped up for us,” Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. “He gave us a little burst at different times. A number of different guys made plays tonight.
“It’s good when you see the sophomores, Bagley and Bailey, both make big plays. Those are huge plays in a game. I thought we did a pretty good job of spreading it around.”
Said Newsome: “It says a lot (the balance). We all play together as a team. We play hard; we’re just a big family. I love to see that (teammates get involved).”
Ansonia (11-0), ranked second in the Register Top 10 Poll, defeated Woodland for the NVL title for the second straight season. The Chargers, who have won 39 games in a row, won in the league championship game for the third straight year and for the 11th time overall.
“Yes, definitely (it’s meaningful),” Newsome said about winning the league title. “This is our (third in a row) so we definitely felt like we had to get this. This was big.”
While Bagley and Bailey are the future, Newsome is very much the present. Newsome rushed 22 times for 222 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from junior Jai’Quan McKnight and was named the game’s most valuable player.
Woodland (9-2) went 3-and-out on the game’s opening drive and never seemed to get into a rhythm offensively. The Hawks turned the ball over four times.
“We preached about trying to play flawless football, obviously tonight, as you saw, we didn’t,” Woodland coach Tim Shea said. “We never really got anything going on offense. We can’t keep giving them the ball without having something to show for ourselves. I think our defense played pretty well at times, I know the scoreboard doesn’t show it.”
After Woodland punted on its first drive, Ansonia took over at the Hawks’ 41 and six plays later Newsome scored on a 24-yard run. Newsome had a 28-yard scoring run later in the first quarter to put the Chargers up 14-0. Bagley’s touchdown jaunt put Ansonia up 21-0 at the intermission.
McKnight connected with Bailey on a 37-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the second half to extend the Chargers’ lead to 28-0.
Newsome added two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter and caught the touchdown pass from McKnight in the fourth.
Bagley finished with 99 yards on eight carries.
“It (the Ansonia offense) is very balanced,” Bagley said. “Arkeel does what he needs to do and we just help him, and when we do what we need to do, he helps us.”
Sean McAllen scored on a 14-yard run in the third quarter for Woodland. Hawks quarterback Tanner Kingsley completed 10 of 27 passes for just 76 yards and was intercepted three times.
McKnight and Witold Gul had interceptions for Ansonia, while Ryan Hovan recorded a sack.
“I thought defensively, we have to eliminate the penalties,obviously. But minus those, I thought we played real good defense,” Brockett said.
Ansonia 48, Woodland 7
Woodland 0 0 7 0 — 7
Ansonia 14 7 20 7 — 48
A—Arkeel Newsome 24 run (Witold Gul kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 28 run (Gul kick)
A—Tajik Bagley 62 run (Gul kick)
A—Tyler Bailey 37 pass from Jaiquan McKnight (Gul kick)
W—Sean McAllen 14 run (Will Flormann kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 6 run (kick blocked)
A—Arkeel Newsome 67 run (Gul kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 29 pass from Jaiquan McKnight (Gul kick)
Team records: Ansonia 11-0; Woodland 9-2