The first memory of the Ansonia-Derby rivalry for Derby coach George French was in 1990, when the Red Raiders emerged with a 19-15 victory at home.
Derby went on to capture the Class S state championship that year, finishing at 11-0. The Red Raiders were also named the state’s No. 1 team in the Register Top 10 Poll.
“We pulled that one out that day,” French remembers. “I remember being at the game with an enormous crowd. It was an awesome experience.”
That marked the last time Derby started a season at 4-0.
Until this year.
The Red Raiders (4-0) host Ansonia (4-0) Friday at 7 p.m. in arguably the most anticipated contest between the long-time rivals in quite some time.
“I feel like Ansonia-Derby is always going to be a big rivalry,” Derby senior Jordan LaRue said.
Since 1990, the Red Raiders have defeated the Chargers just twice (1996, 2001).
French, who graduated from Derby in 1999, had the good fortune to be a member of that 1996 team that won 13-7 in overtime.
“I got to play in one really good one,” French said. “We came back and beat Ansonia in a Kansas City tiebreaker.”
The two did not play from 2004-2008, but the rivalry was renewed when Derby joined Ansonia in the NVL in 2009. The Chargers won that year 44-14.
In 2010, Ansonia rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to win 33-32. Running back Montrell Dobbs scored on short run and then scored the go-ahead two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter in that contest.
The Chargers have won six straight in the series, including the last two by an average of nearly 40 points. French hopes Friday’s game is reminiscent of the 2010 contest.
“Right now, our rivalry isn’t much of a rivalry,” French said. “It’s been really lop-sided. Ansonia has won, I believe, the last six meetings and there’s a gap in between, so it makes it seem like it’s been forever (since Derby has won). Us posting a win over Ansonia will really rekindle something. I think it would really rekindle it and bring it into a new direction.”
The series, which dates back to 1902, has had some memorable games:
1959: Derby broke an eight-game Ansonia winning streak in the series with a 14-12 victory. The Red Raiders then went on to win 13 of the next 16 games against the Chargers.
1961: A 6-6 tie. Ansonia was ranked No. 1 in the Register Poll at the time.
1963: Derby recovered a fumble at the Ansonia 6-yard line and scored on a touchdown pass from Tony Passander to Rich Rossetti for a 6-0 victory. Derby did not make a first down in the game.
1976: In the first Class S state championship game, Howard Tinney’s touchdown lifted Ansonia to a 6-0 victory. Ansonia defeated Derby 22-20 during the regular season.
- With two minutes left, and clinging to that 6-0 lead, Ansonia was faced with a 4th-and-short on their own 25. Ansonia QB Sandy Osiecki converted on the quarterback sneak and the Chargers were able to run the clock out and win the title.
- The Ansonia faithful still call Chargers’ coach Bill McAllister’s decision to go for it “Fourth and Nuts”.
1982: Ansonia defeated Derby 14-0 to win the Class S championship. Ansonia won 21-0 during the regular season that year.
1984: Both teams entered unbeaten. Ansonia crushed Derby 35-0.
1985: Derby snapped an 11-game Ansonia winning streak in the series with a 7-6 win.
1988: Steve Bozzotto’s field goal gave Derby a 10-8 victory.
Since, Ansonia’s owned the rivalry, winning 16 of the last 19 games.
ANSONIA VS. DERBY
LAST 10 MEETINGS
- 1998 — Ansonia 17, Derby 7
- 1999 — Ansonia 49, Derby 12
- 2000 —Ansonia 13, Derby 0
- 2001 —Derby 14, Ansonia 12
- 2002 —Ansonia 34, Derby 7
- 2003 —Ansonia 48, Derby 0
- 2009 —Ansonia 44, Derby/O’Brien Tech 14
- 2010—Ansonia 33, Derby/O’Brien Tech 32
- 2011—Ansonia 55, Derby 19
- 2012 — Ansonia 48, Derby 6
Ansonia leads series 54—28—8
Note: Teams did not play from 2004-2008
What is your favorite Ansonia-Derby moment? Let us know with a comment below.