NEW BRITAIN >> Bloomfield’s potent passing game proved too much for Ansonia to overcome in a clash between unbeaten teams to decide the Class S champion.
Powered by senior quarterback Rayshawn Phillips, who threw for four touchdowns, second-seeded Bloomfield knocked off No. 1 Ansonia 31-20 Saturday at Veterans Field.
It was the first state title since 2003 for the Warhawks (13-0), who won their eighth title. Bloomfield and the Chargers (12-1) were playing for a state title against each other for a record sixth time. The series in championship games is now tied at 3.
Phillips won his second straight title. He guided Capital Prep/Achievement First to the Class S-Small title last season before transferring to Bloomfield. Phillips completed 14 of 26 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns. He was intercepted once.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Phillips said, “just to keep history going on like that.”
Bloomfield lost its opener to Berlin but was then awarded a victory when Berlin was forced to forfeit all of its wins for using ineligible players. Phillips endured his own investigation by the CIAC for possible residency issues. The investigation, the CIAC has said, found no wrongdoing with Phillips’ transfer.
The first half was dominated by Bloomfield, which led 14-0 at halftime on two 27-yard touchdown passes from Phillips to Russell Thompson-Bishop.
“That was big, for us to get a lead against Ansonia,” Bloomfield coach Ty Outlaw said.
The first Bloomfield touchdown came after Christian Hall Gardner picked off Ansonia quarterback Bryson Cafaro. Ansonia also turned the ball over on downs at the Warhawks’ 18 in the first half.
“Too many mistakes, you can’t (do that) against that many athletes,” Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. “We went up and down the field for the most part. They made us work but they caught us from behind a few times. They have great speed, their speed was unbelievable. We were just always chasing. I think it was important for us today more than ever to get out front and we didn’t do that.”
Ansonia lost in the championship game for the second straight year. The Chargers, who were in search of their 20th title, were playing in their sixth straight final.
Ansonia received the kick to start the third quarter and drove 59 yards on 12 plays, capped by Tyler Bailey’s 7-yard touchdown run. The extra point was no good, and the Chargers trailed 14-6.
On the ensuing possession, Bloomfield went for it on a 4th-and-2 at their own 35, but Phillips was stuffed on a QB keeper and Ansonia took over on downs.
Bailey would score on a 3-yard run, and Tajik Bagley ran in the conversion to tie the game at 14 with 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
“I’m really confident in our kids,” Outlaw said on his decision to go for it on fourth down. “They could produce, they can get it done. They’ll tell me ‘coach, we can get it done’. I know they could do it, it’s just a matter of us executing.”
After the Ansonia touchdown, Raheme Dawkins kicked a 23-yard field goal to give the Warhawks the lead for good with 10:39 left in the game.
“I’ve been in this situation,” Phillips said. “I told them calm down and I got you. It is what it is.”
Bloomfield upped its lead to 24-14 on Phillips’ 12-yard touchdown pass to Jose Crespo.
“It feels amazing,” Crespo said.
Bailey scored on a 22-yard screen pass from Cafaro with 3:51 left. A run on the two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful and the Chargers trailed 24-20.
But Bloomfield recovered the onside kick attempt and later scored when Dexter Lawson caught a 1-yard touchdown from Phillips for Bloomfield’s final margin of victory.
Bagley finished with 167 yards on 39 carries. Bailey ran 14 times for 31 yards. He also caught five passes for 68 yards and one touchdown.
Dillon Harris made 10 tackles and Kahari Scarlett had 9.5 and two sacks in the win.
“We wanted to make a statement,” Scarlett said. “Throughout the whole year we were doubted, doubted, doubted. They gave our offense credit, saying we were fast, but our defense? I read on blogs where they said our defense lets up tons of points and we roll over. So in the playoffs, we needed to make a statement, and that’s what we did.”
Bloomfield 31, Ansonia 20
(at New Britain)
Bloomfield 7 7 0 17 — 31
Ansonia 0 0 14 6 — 20
B—Russell Thompson-Bishop 27 pass from Rayshawn Phillips (Raheme Dawkins kick)
B—Russell Thompson-Bishop 27 pass from Rayshawn Phillips (Dawkins kick)
A—Tyler Bailey 7 run (kick failed)
A—Tyler Bailey 3 run (Tajik Bagley run)
B—Raheme Dawkins 23 FG
B—Jose Crespo 12 pass from Rayshawn Phillips (Dawkins kick)
A—Tyler Bailey 22 pass from Bryson Cafaro (run failed)
B—Dexter Lawson 1 pass from Rayshawn Phillips (Dawkins kick)
Team records: Ansonia 12-1; Bloomfield 13-0