ANSONIA >> Needing 337 yards to reach 10,000 for his career, Ansonia senior running back Arkeel Newsome wasted no time in chipping away at the milestone on Tuesday, running for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in a 49-21 Class S quarterfinal win over seventh-seeded Coginchaug at Jarvis Stadium.
However, Newsome said he wasn’t thinking milestone.
“I was just thinking about this win,” the smiling senior said. “That’s all I was thinking of the whole time.”
Newsome would reach the 10,000-yard plateau on the final play from scrimmage in the first half and finished with 492 rushing yards and all seven Chargers touchdowns on 26 carries. Newsome now has 10,155 career rushing yards.
“It’s amazing,” Newsome said. “I never thought I’d be able to get that milestone, and now that I have it, it’s just crazy.”
Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said it couldn’t have happened to a better person.
“He’s a great kid,” Brockett said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
No. 2 seed Ansonia improves to 13-0 and advances to play No. 3 Rocky Hill (11-1) in the semifinals on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Sheehan High in Wallingford.
Brockett said the team will be ready, and the Chargers should have their quarterback back on the field, too. Starting QB Jai’Quan McKnight sustained an ankle injury in the Thanksgiving Day triumph over Naugatuck and sat out Tuesday’s game.
“He could’ve went tonight,” Brockett said. “But we thought we could keep him out against (Coginchaug), and fortunately we were able to do that.”
Ansonia got it done without its signal caller in impressive fashion.
Paul Makinano had a sack as the Chargers stopped the Blue Devils (9-3) on their first possession. Newsome followed that up with a 72-yard touchdown run on Ansonia’s first play from scrimmage. As they would do most of the day, the Chargers ran plays out of the wildcat in the absence of McKnight. Newsome said the wildcat allows him to see the entire field, but said the keys to success were the guys up front.
“They did a phenomenal job just blocking the whole way through,” Newsome said.
The offensive line kept opening holes and Newsome continued to dance and shift around would-be tacklers, running for a 15-yard touchdown on the Chargers’ next possession. The UConn-bound senior carried the ball on Ansonia’s first 13 plays. He had touchdown runs of 72, 15, 83 and 68 yards in the first half. In the second half, the senior scored from 64, 55, and 3 yards out.
Ansonia 48, Coginchaug 21
Coginchaug 7 0 0 14 0 — 21
Ansonia 14 13 8 13 0 — 48
A—Arkeel Newsome 72 run (Witold Gul kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 20 run (Gul kick)
C—Jake Ober 8 run (Jack Granger kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 83 run (Gul kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 68 run (kick fail)
A—Arkeel Newsome 64 run (Tajik Bagley run)
A—Arkeel Newsome 55 run (Tajik Bagley run)
A—Arkeel Newsome 3 run (kick fail)
C—Eric Solomon 7 run (run fail)
C—Devin Rodrigue 0 pass from Tyler Meeker (Granger run)
Team records: Ansonia 13-0; Coginchaug 9-3