TORRINGTON >> After Torrington’s first 6-0 start since its 1948 undefeated season, Ansonia ended the Red Raiders’ dream of a repeat in the first quarter of a showdown of NVL undefeateds, then rode the wave to a 54-14 stomping.
“It’s a football game,” said Ansonia coach Tom Brockett. “We got turnovers early and just went from there.”
Torrington turnovers started immediately on a chilly night at the Robert H. Frost Sports Complex, but so did the show of speed and finesse by Charger running back Tajik Bagley.
Ansonia kicked off, then recovered a Torrington return fumble on the Torrington 39-yard line. Bagley jitterbugged 32 yards on the first Charger play from scrimmage, then ran seven more in two plays for the first touchdown with just 1:12 off the clock.
“It was a big game,” said the 5-10, 190-pound senior. “It all wouldn’t be possible without my line. When my team is clicking, we can beat anyone.”
Ansonia’s defensive size and quickness showed up in Torrington’s first real possession. Vaunted for its own size and offensive power, the Raiders started on their own eight and gave it up four plays later on a punt returned to Torrington’s 26-yard line.
The Chargers punched it back in on two carries by Bagley and one by Tyler Bailey.
“We kept gaining confidence,” said Bailey.
The Raiders inadvertently helped. Moving for their initial first down of the game, Torrington ran four plays, then Bailey made just the second interception of the year on a Connor Finn pass, setting the Chargers up on Torrington’s 39.
Taking to the air for the first of just two throws, Ansonia hit Bailey for 25 yards. Bagley ran in for his third touchdown with 4:38 still left in the first quarter.
If there was solace for the Raiders, it came from blocking a point-after and stopping two two-point conversions.
At 18-0, the game was still in reach.
The offense stalled again after five plays, but Torrington punter Stefan LaForge laid his kick on the Ansonia two-yard line.
If Torrington was to come back, it needed to start now.
Instead, Tajik Bagley went back to work, scrambling 39 yards on the second play from scrimmage.
With the help of a Torrington pass interference call, the Chargers looked in from the Raider 27. Bagley carried the final 16, 24-0 with a Bryson Cafaro kick.
With just six seconds left on the first-quarter clock, one more Torrington fumble put the game out of reach. Josh Parks picked it up at the Torrington 20, running it in. Bagley ran the two-point conversion.
The quarter ended 33-0, with four Bagley touchdowns and 142 of his 181 yards for the game.
“Any time you fall behind a team the caliber of Ansonia, it gets tough,” said Torrington coach Gaitan Rodriguez.
The game never got easier for the Raiders. Torrington got help early in the second quarter with a pass interference call. LaForge plowed in for six points. The run failed.
Then the miseries started again. Parks carried the kickoff back 80 yards, 39-6.
In the third quarter, Bailey took a punt back 90 yards, with a Cafaro kick, 46-6.
“Big plays are just practice,” said Bailey. “Coach Brockett tells blockers to make one block. I got one.”
Finn hooked up with Jordan Henneberry for an 11-yard score to start the final period, then passed to Cam Cerutto for the conversion.
The Chargers were good for one more score. Markell Dobbs ran 11 yards for the final touchdown, then ran it in for the conversion.
“We need to learn from our mistakes,” said Raider coach Rodriguez. “This is how you become men. We have three more football games left in the season.”
Ansonia 54, Torrington 14
Ansonia 33 6 7 8 – 54
Torrington 0 6 0 8 – 14
A – Tajik Bagley 4-yard run (kick blocked)
A – Bagley 16-yard run (pass failed)
A – Bagley 3-yard run (run failed)
A – Bagley 16-yard run (Bryson Cafaro kick)
A – Josh Parks 20-yard fumble recovery (Bagley run)
T – Stefan LaForge 2-yard run (run failed)
A – Parks 80-yard kickoff return (run failed)
A – Tyler Bailey 90-yard punt return (Cafaro kick)
T – Jordan Henneberry 11-yard pass from Connor Finn (Cam Cerutto pass from Finn)
A – Markell Dobbs 11-yard run (Dobbs run)
Rushing: A – Tajik Bagley 20 carries/181 yards; Tyler Bailey 7/27; Markell Dobbs 7/21. T – Newton Frias 12/24; Connor Finn 4/24; Domonick Phengkaen 4/16; Stefan LaForge 2/4.
Passing: A – Bryson Cafaro 2 completions/2 attempts/24 yards. T – Connor Finn 15/41/159.
Receiving: A – Tyler Bailey 2 receptions/24 yards. T – Newton Frias 5/45; Nate Bresson 4/43; Zak Mancini 2/10; Jordan Henneberry 3/66.
Records: Ansonia 6-0; Torrington 6-1.