Ansonia >> Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia’s electric senior running back, has already rewritten the Connecticut high school record book several times.
But Newsome stamped his name on top of one of the most coveted records Thursday when he became the state’s all-time leading rusher.
On the first play of the third quarter, Newsome zigzagged his way to a 57-yard touchdown, allowing him to break the record previously held by former Chargers standout Alex Thomas.
Newsome finished with 26 carries for 396 yards and six touchdowns as Ansonia, the No. 1 team in the Register Top 10 Poll, cruised to a 56-21 non-league victory over Masuk as part of the SWC-NVL Challenge. The Chargers, who have won back-to-back state titles, have now won 34 consecutive games.
Newsome needed 291 yards to surpass Thomas, who finished his career with 8,279 yards from 2004-2007. Newsome now has career totals of 716 carries for 8,385 yards (11.71 yards per carry). Newsome added to the state records he already owns for career touchdowns (145) and points (900). Newsome has season totals of 106 carries for 1,580 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Despite his pursuit of history, Newsome, who has committed to play at UConn, was more concerned with emerging with the victory.
“It’s a great feeling,” Newsome said. “Coming into this game we definitely had the mindset that we can dominate this team. They’re a good team. It was a good win.”
Newsome gained 251 yards in the first half, putting him just 40 yards shy of the record. Newsome, though, was unaware of his stats at halftime.
“I was just going to run hard regardless,” Newsome said.
The game was stopped after Newsome’s record breaking run to acknowledge the accomplishment. The humble Newsome raised a football in the air to a loud ovation.
“I never did anything like that before,” Newsome said. “It’s a really good feeling, everybody cheering.”
Touchdown runs of 28 and 18 yards by Newsome, and a 52-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jai’Quan McKnight to sophomore Tajik Bagley, gave Ansonia (6-0) a 20-0 lead after one quarter.
“We said we had to come out with great intensity, full-speed every play, and I think the offensive line did a great job doing that today,” McKnight said.
Masuk senior Malik Cummings threw to touchdown passes to Trevor Kollman in the second quarter as Masuk crept to within 28-14. Newsome, though, who scored on a 46-yard run earlier in that quarter, added an 11-yard touchdown run to put Ansonia up 34-14 at the intermission.
Newsome scored on a 66-yard run in the third quarter, and Tyler Bailey scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth for the Chargers.
Newsome, combined with Ansonia’s quick start, was too much for the Panthers to overcome.
“Against Ansonia High School you have to be perfect, or as close to perfect as possible,” Masuk coach Dave Brennan said. “You can’t make mistakes, you can’t drop balls, you can’t allow long drives, you can’t miss tackles, although that young man (Newsome) is a very fantastic runner. Hats off to him, he did a great job.”
Ansonia coach Tom Brockett was pleased with his team’s performance against a Class L power like Masuk, which has advanced to the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons.
“When you’re Ansonia, you’re under fire,” Brockett said. “We hear it all the time, that we’ll get wore out playing against a two-platoon, Class L (school). I think we don’t feel like we have anything to prove to anybody, but the critics are waiting. We know they’re waiting and I thought our kids came out tonight and did a great job of representing Ansonia football. I was real proud of the effort.”
Ansonia 56, Masuk 21
Masuk 0 14 0 7 — 21
Ansonia 20 14 15 7 — 56
A—Arkeel Newsome 28 run (Witold Gul kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 18 run (Gul kick)
A—Tajik Bagley 52 pass from Jaiquan McKnight (kick blocked)
M—Trevor Kollman 81 pass from Malik Cummings (Chris Rubis kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 46 run (Newsome run)
M—Trevor Kollman 34 pass from Malik Cummings (Rubis kick)
A—Arkeel Newsome 11 run (kick failed)Third quarter
A—Arkeel Newsome 57 run (Newsome run)
A—Arkeel Newsome 66 run (Witold Gul kick)
A—Tyler Bailey 1 run (Witold Gul kick)
M—Michael Dellapiano 18 run (Rubis kick)
Team records: Ansonia 6-0; Masuk 4-2