Above: The Newtown football team celebrates after scoring first against Bethel in the first half of its 22-14 victory at Blue and Gold Stadium. Sept. 20, 2013. Photo by Arnold Gold/New Haven Register
New Fairfield didn’t just stun SWC favorite Oxford at home. How the Rebels did it might have been more impressive: They exploded for 26 point in the fourth quarter to turn a 25-20 Oxford lead after three quarters into a 46-25 New Fairfield victory.
Despite losing a cadre of stars — including back 2,000-yard rusher Joe Pacheco — to graduation, the Rebels do return quarterback Michael McCourt, whose 5-foot-8 stature belies his big-playmaking ability. The senior thew a 52-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Greg Radovic, ran for a touchdown and returned an interception 100 yards in the 26-point outburst.
McCourt is one of many starters (including the offensive line) returning this year. But because the Rebels got used to leaning on Pacheco, coach Anthony Fata said had to reinvent his team’s offensive philosophy. “We got a little spoiled,” Fata said.
When Pacheco was suspended on Thanksgiving morning, New Fairfield got a sneak preview of 2013 in last year’s win over New Milford.
“When you lose a special talent like Joey Pacheco, it motivates you as a coach,” Fata said. “Now we had to learn to be a balanced team.”
In addition to utility seniors Colin Cioffi and Joey Hicks, New Fairfield has discovered some talented sophomores in its midst, particularly Andrew D’Amico and James Lewis. The pair has helped the Rebels run for over 200 yards in its two victories. Fata also likes Radovic, a 6-foot receiver/linebacker.
“We have five sophomores starting and they look like juniors out there,” Fata said. “It’s like they’ve been doing this before. And that’s nice to see.”
McCourt, who’s became the team’s starting quarterback when Mike Jamieson was hurt midway through last year, has passed for over 350 yards and thrown six touchdown passes in 2013. He rarely plays defense anymore, Fata said, but proved handy in a pinch. Fata inserted him at defensive back late in the Oxford victory. The result was the 100-yard interception.
“He’s not a big kid, but what makes him special are his intangibles,” Fata said.
Though New Fairfield isn’t blessed with size, Fata said, he’s looking forward to tangling with Joe Piatnik and Bethel on the road Friday. Pegged as an SWC contender early, Bethel is 0-2 and starving for its first victory. “I know they’re 0-2, but they’re good. They’re a big team and like to hit,” Fata said. “We’re going to have to scratch and claw and hopefully we’ll can out on top.”
Characteristically, Barlow has passed just four times in two games and completed just one — for 9 yards vs. Bethel.
It’s rushed for 785 yards in two games thanks to four different guys going over 100 yards in the triple option: Senior Steve Miller (111) and juniors Harry Wilson (198), Bryan Gallaer (115) and quarterback Jack Shaban, who leads the way with 228 yards.
Barlow (2-0) beat Bethel 24-14 and shut out New Milford 44-0. It travels to Stratford Friday before returning home to face Newtown.
Brookfield’s Bobby Drysdale is the first of the Bobcats’ heralded sophomore class to make his presence felt at the varsity level.
The 6-foot-1 sophomore followed up a 138-yard performance vs. Bunnell with a 12-carry, 251-yard and 3 touchdown performance in a 34-21 victory over Pomperaug. Drysdale had just 59 yards at halftime, according to the NewsTimes of Danbury. The Bobcats (2-0) host Newtown (2-0) Friday night.
ODDS AND ENDS
With 55 points against Notre Dame-Fairfield, Masuk now leads the state in total points scored. It scored 71 vs. New Milford in Week 1. …Doug Cotto picked up his first victory as Bunnell coach with a 48-20 win over Immaculate. The Bulldogs travel to Masuk Friday night.
New Milford (0-2) at Pomperaug (0-2), 7 p.m.
Notre Dame-Ffld (0-2) at Oxford (1-1), 7 p.m.
Barlow (2-0) at Stratford (1-1), 7 p.m.
New.Fairfield (2-0) at Bethel (0-2), 7 p.m.
Bunnell (1-1) at Masuk (2-0), 7 p.m.
Newtown (2-0) at Brookfield (2-0), 7 p.m.
Weston (1-1) at Immaculate (0-2), 1 p.m
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