The Lonesome Polecat (state variant): There's an 'a' in 'Ansonia' and 'annihilation,' North Haven and Xavier go mas loco, notables, etc.
One of the more memorable episodes of “The Twilight Zone” was "A Nice Place to Visit."
The story focuses on Rocky, a hoodlum who is shot to death during a robbery. He goes on to the afterlife and believes he's in heaven because he gets everything he desires.
Rocky soon becomes bored with his good fortune as there's no challenge to it. He tells Pip, who he believes is his guardian angel, that heaven is driving him nuts, and that wants to go to "the other place."
A horrified Rocky tries to escape his apartment and cannot open the door as Pip cackles fiendishly. End scene.
(To you younger mammals who aren’t familiar with the “The Twilight Zone”, LOOK IT UP. It’s better than any of those damn un-reality shows you’re watching.)
That episode isn't the perfect analogy for Ansonia this season. It has earned its wins with hard work, yet it’s been ridiculously easy for them.
The Chargers ran just 26 plays in the first half of last Thursday’s game against old friend Seymour. They gained 472 yards and scored eight times as they laid waste to another opponent, 61-6.
“I think complacency sets in,” Ansonia head coach Tom Brockett said. “Everyone thinks, ‘here we go, it’s going to be easy.”
Brockett used the first quarter as an example. The Chargers had just scored to go ahead 20-0 when Tamar Coverson-Epps returned the ensuing kickoff for a 70-yard touchdown.
“It’s 20-0, now it’s 20-6,” Brockett continued. “They tried an onside (kick). Fortunately we got the ball back at midfield, but all of the sudden, (if) you get a bad bounce there, now you’ve got a ballgame.”
Brockett groused that Ansonia looked lethargic as it swiftly moved downfield to go ahead 35-6 with two minutes, 35 seconds left in the first quarter. That would sound like crazy, paranoid coach speak to observers given the score. Or that the Chargers had taken that 35-6 lead on just 10 plays.
“Our body language early I didn’t think was great,” Brockett said. “We were playing, but we like to play with a little more energy than that. I thought they picked it up as (the game) went on.”
“I think we have to battle (complacency) a lot. … I think our kids have done a really good job blocking out anything outside those (locker room) walls.”
Ansonia senior Justin Lopez said, “You just play 110 percent every play. Well, we try to. We do the best we can, keeping up the intensity every game.”
The Chargers (7-0) are tied with Greenwich for second in The Day's Top 10 state coaches poll. It has consistently dominated the Naugatuck Valley League longer and more throughly than any team in any other league in the state.
The difference between Ansonia and the rest of the NVL has been chasm-wide this year. It scored nine times on 12 plays in the first half of a 62-6 rout of Torrington (Sept. 29). It ran 11 plays for 311 yards and five touchdowns in the first half of a 50-0 win over St. Paul on Oct. 20. And St. Paul was 5-0 at the time, too.
Ansonia has outscored opponents 379-30, and it's on a scoring pace that would rank with the best in state history. It’s 54.1 points per game would be seventh all-time, according to the Connecticut High School Football Record Book (New Britain averaged a state-record 60.3 points in 2002).
What could any opposing coach tell his team — and with a straight face — before playing the Chargers.
“Coming in, you obviously tell (your players), ‘why not us?’,” Seymour head coach Tom Lennon said. “Why not us tonight was we didn’t tackle very well.”
It could be easy, then, for the Chargers to get bored as they bat another overmatched opponent around like a cat does to a vole.
“It should never be tough,” Brockett said about staying motivated. “You get to play once a week 10 games a year (during the regular season). It’s not a lot. There’s never an excuse for energy not to be great.”
• • • •
You’ve likely heard all about Saturday’s mas loco game between North Haven and Xavier by now because only a football degenerate would be reading this here blog.
If you haven’t heard about the game, what’s wrong with you? Get your priorities straight.
North Haven had a 27-point lead in the third quarter, the Falcons went bonkers and scored 28 unanswered points in less than eight minutes to take the lead, and Mike Montano just cleared the end zone on a two-point conversion to end the game and give North Haven a 50-49 win.
It was St. Joseph vs. Ridgefield on a combination of espresso and Sudafed (and everyone at Polecat Worldwide HQ is inconsolable that we missed it).
(NOTE: you click HERE to watch the opus put together by Sean Patrick Star of the GameTimeCT/Hearst Inc. Empire. C’est magnifique).
Where to begin, where to begin?
The Indians led 27-0 with 5:36 left in the third quarter when Penn State-bound Will Levis threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Dan Taylor to finally get Xavier on the board.
Ryan Cartelli recovered a North Haven fumble on the latter’s next possession. The Falcons’ Kyle MacGillis caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Levis. North Haven 27-14, 4:38 remaining in the third.
Levis scored on a 7-yard run as Xavier shaved the Indians’ lead down to 27-20 with 1:33 still left in the third.
The Falcons forced another North Haven fumble late in the quarter with Michael Galatie recovering it for Xavier. The Falcons’ Tyrone Abrahams scored on a 3-yard run five seconds into the fourth quarter.
Xavier 28, North Haven 27. 11:55 left in regulation.
Yes, that would be four Xavier touchdowns in 5:41.
Both teams were just getting revved up:
• Mark Montano 4-yard TD run. Threw a two-point conversion to Steven Erbe. North Haven 35-28, 8:22 remaining.
• Alex Kulasenski 5-yard touchdown pass from Levis. 35-35. 6:31.
• Montano 15-yard touchdown run. North Haven 42-35, 3:15.
• Kulasenski 12-yard TD pass from Levis. Sam Norris’ extra point tied the game at 42. 1:55 left in regulation.
Levis completed 16 of 18 passes for 373 yards in the second half.
North Haven won the coin toss prior to OT and deferred to the Falcons. Abrahams scored on a 10-yard run and Norrisextra point gave Xavier a 49-42 lead.
Zach Orth scored on a 1-yard run for North Haven, and head coach Tony Sagnella had his team go for the two-point conversion.
The Indians, being fine disciples of GOD’S FATHER’S OFFENSE, opted to run for the conversion.
Montano was tackled at the goal line and stretched the ball over the plane with his right arm. Sean Patrick Star noted that Montano wouldn’t have scored had the ball been in his left hand.
North Haven 50, Xavier 49.
“I told the kids that if we won the toss we’d defer,” Sagnella told Gentleman Jim Bransfield of the Middletown Press/Hearst Empire. “I told them I didn’t care if they scored. If they did, so what?
“I went on to tell them we would score on our possession — I didn’t think they could stop us in four plays from the 10 — and we’d go for the two-point conversion, make it, and win the game.”
Montano was sublime for North Haven. He ran 25 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns, completed 4 of 7 passes for 94 yards, returned four kicks for 180 yards (including a 95-yard touchdown to open the second half), and had five tackles.
Orth added 22 carries for 98 yard with two touchdowns and had a team-high 10 tackles with a sack.
Levis finished 24 of 37 for 467 yards with four touchdowns and ran for 45 yards with a score. His passing yardage ties Southington’s Connor Butkiewicz for the 19th most passing yards in a game, according to the Connecticut High School Football Record Book
“I wasn’t going to get in a shootout with that kid,” Sagnella told Bransfield about Levis. “I didn’t think we could stop him. He’s tremendous.”
• • • •
A quick bit of minutia about North Haven vs. Xavier — the Falcons would’ve had the fourth largest comeback in state history had they won. Their program knows something about comebacks as it rallied from a 28-point, fourth-quarter deficit against Hillhouse and won, 50-49, on Oct. 26, 2012.
Xavier shares the record with St. Joseph (1974), Bacon Academy (2010) and Wolcott (2013).
• • • •
GAWK SLACK-JAWED at The Day's Top 10 state coaches' poll: 1. Darien (7-0, 13 first-place votes); T2. Ansonia and Greenwich (6-0); 4. St. Joseph (6-1); 5. Windsor (6-0); 6. Masuk (7-0); 7. Shelton (6-1); 8. Middletown (7-0); 9. West Haven (6-1); and, 10. Southington (6-1).
A voter in The Day's Top 10 state coaches’ poll wrote the following when submitting his ballot this week:
“This week was insane. I reshuffled this deck four or five times before I threw my hands up in the air.”
Second-ranked Southington, No. 3 West Haven and No. 12 South Windsor all lost last Friday during Week 8, throwing this week’s Top 10 into disarray.
The top 10 teams remained the same, however, albeit with a lot of movement.
Two-time defending CIAC Class LL champion Darien once again received all 13 first-place votes.
And then the fun began.
Ansonia and Greenwich moved into a second-place tie with 330 points each. Ansonia received six second-place votes, Greenwich four.
St. Joseph leapt three spots up to No. 4. It received two second-place votes.
No. 6 Masuk received the other second-place vote.
Shelton moved up three spots to No. 7 after beating West Haven, 38-28, its sixth win in a row. Shelton has played six teams with five-or-more wins and beaten five of them.
The Gaels gave up 225 yards of offense and 28 points to West Haven in the first half.
Shelton held the Blue Devils to 83 yards in the second half and forced three turnovers.
Jack Carr, who missed Shelton's previous three games to injuries, returned and ran 19 times for 120 yards, caught a 41-yard touchdown, and recovered a fumble at midfield that set up Roberts’ 3-yard touchdown run with 4:36 left in the game.
Kyle Godfrey ran 19 times for 200 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a 67-yard interception return for the Westies.
East Hartford scored twice in the game's final 2:16 to stun Southington, 27-20. It snapped the latter's 41-game regular season winning streak. The Blue Knights' last in-season loss was to Hall, 49-37, on Oct. 19, 2013
Raquan Tompkins threw a go-ahead 41-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Gardener with 56.4 second left for the Hornets (6-1). UConn-bound Kevon Jones had 182 yards of total offense, ran for two touchdowns, had 13 tackles and blocked an extra point for East Hartford and Tompkins added nine carries for 127 yards and a score.
East Hartford hadn't been receiving votes in the coaches' poll despite its record because it hadn't beaten any of the top teams in the Central Connecticut Conference's Division I. It was also ransacked by South Windsor on opening night, 41-14.
Will Barmore completed 20 of 32 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for Southington (6-1).
Finally, Jack Moore completed 21 of 25 passes for 310 yards with five touchdowns as Conard shocked previously unbeaten South Windsor, 33-28. Grant O'Connor had six receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns for Conard (4-3) and Matt Langevin added four catches for 35 yards and two scores.
• • • •
The GameTimeCT.com/New Haven Register/Hearst Inc. Top 10 media poll: 1. Darien (24 first-place votes); 2. Greenwich; 3. Ansonia; 4. Windsor; 5. St. Joseph; 6. Masuk; 7. Shelton; 8. Middletown; 9. West Haven, and, 10. Shelton.
• • • •
Ned Freeman’s cold, calculating computer rankings at CalPreps.com: 1. Darien; 2. West Haven; 3. St. Joseph; 4. Greenwich; 5. Shelton; 6. Masuk; 7. Ridgefield (5-2); 8. Windsor; 9. Hand (6-1); and, 10. Staples (5-2).
Middletown is 13th, Ansonia is No. 14 (it’s being dragged down by the NVL), and Southington is 17th.
Shocked the computer ranked West Haven second and ahead of St. Joseph and Shelton. The Westies have played a tough schedule, but the computer rated St. Joseph and Shelton as having a better SOS.
St. Joseph has beaten both Ridgefield and New Canaan, 38-35, and lost to Darien (42-10).
West Haven’s opponents are a combined 27-22. Shelton’s are 36-12 (the fact that its 6-1 is remarkable). CalPreps also rated its schedule the toughest in the state.
• • • •
Dig (or point and laugh at) the ballot Polecat HQ filed for the GameTimeCT/New Haven Register/Hearst Empire media poll:
3. St. Joseph.
4. Ansonia: It's as tough as ever to judge the Chargers because they're so, so far ahead of the rest of the NVL. We nonetheless ranked them this high after seeing them live, and because it returned the bulk of last year's CIAC Class S championship team.
5. Masuk: Another team with a MEH schedule (opponents are 20-29). The Panthers get the benefit of the doubt as they have so much back from their 2016 team, one of just three teams that gave eventual Class L champion New Canaan hell (the Rams won, 31-28, in the quarterfinals). Also seen them live and wow.
6. New Canaan (4-2): The four-time defending Class L champions lost to Greenwich (36-21) and St. Joseph (38-35). You can bet everyone in Class L hopes the Rams take another loss and fail to make states.
7. Ridgefield: Lost to Darien (38-12) and St. Joseph (38-35). You try to do better.
8. Shelton: It's opponents are 36-12, yet it's won its last six games. That shouldn't happen.
9. West Haven.
10. Windsor: We know it's good (it always is). We're hedging our bets a bit because its opponents are a combined 21-21, and the CCC Division II hasn't been as fierce as the FCIAC or SCC.
11. Middletown: Ditto, although it's opponents are 16-33.
12. East Hartford: We weren't voting for the Hornets prior to last weekend because it hadn't beaten any of the CCC heavyweights. They've since done that, so here they are.
14. North Haven (5-2): Beat Cheshire (17-14), which we considered voting in this spot (Cheshire opened the season with a 28-10 win over Shelton). Lost to West Haven (33-27) and Shelton (31-20). Also more impressed by North Haven than other teams we've seen with better records. Bonus points for GOD'S FATHER'S OFFENSE.
15. Killingly: Take a look at the Class M playoff rankings and come up with a logical reason why Killingly it can't win a state title. Bonus points for having 249 rushing attempts to just 29 pass attempts.
• • • •
Darien allowed just four first downs and 58 yards as it smothered Trumbull, 48-0. ... Gavin Muir completed 9 of 11 passes for 169 yards and four touchdowns for Greenwich. In the first quarter. And he got the rest of the game off in the Cardinals' 42-20 win over Fairfield Ludlowe. … Julian Jackson completed 16 of 25 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns as Windsor shutdown Wethersfield, 39-0. Jerry Woodard scored on catches of 58 and 87 yards and kicked three extra points for the Warriors.
Matt Hersch threw for 336 yards and five touchdowns as Masuk laid waste to Pomperaug, 54-6. ... Xzavier Reyes ran 24 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns as Middletown bounced Newington, 34-7. The Blue Dragons scored 27 in the second quarter.
HATS OFF to Canton for beating Nonnewaug on Saturday, 30-28, to snap a 27-game losing streak. Carter Gavin ran 13 times for 133 yards and a touchdown and ran for two two-point conversions for Canton (1-6). Also, Dugan Lloyd ran 10 times for 77 yards and two touchdowns and threw a 12-yard touchdown. The Warriors last win was over Granby, 42-13, on Nov. 25, 2014
Bristol Central’s Dathan Hickey had a heck of a week. He announced last Wednesday that he was going to Yale. Friday, he ran 20 times for 66 yards and three touchdowns and completed 4 of 10 passes for 62 yards in a 35-28 win over Capital Prep/Achievement First.
Woodstock Academy’s Kameron Janice ran 29 times for 529 yards and eight touchdowns in a 49-26 win over Quinebaug Valley. Janice’s rushing yardage and touchdowns rank third all-time, according to the Connecticut High School Football Record Book. He needed 15 more yards to best the single-game record set by Sheehan’s Zach Davis last season (543 — Davis also ran for 541 yards in another game last year).
Jacob Carlson ran 12 times for 150 yards and a touchdown and made five tackles as Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial gave Stafford/Somers/East Windsor its first loss, 24-7, in a game for Pequot League Uncas Division supremacy. Nick Pronovost also returned the opening kickoff for the second straight week (80 yards) and Nick Grimaldi added 13 tackles for the Patriots (7-0). Colton Engel ran 20 times for 148 yards and completed 12 of 17 passes for 80 yards with a touchdown and interception for the Bulldogs (6-1).
Hollis Scott ran for 130 yards and three touchdowns and caught a 3-yard touchdown as Fitch downed New London, 33-20, to remain unbeaten. ... Michael Cullina completed 10 of 18 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns with one pick as Valley Regional/Old Lyme downed previously unbeaten Cromwell/Portland, in overtime 34-28. Ernest Jean-Pierre added four catches for 143 yards and a score.
New Britain's Shawn Robinson scored on interception returns of 34 and 14 yards and ran 13 times for 109 yards and a score in a 39-29 win over Glastonbury. ... Aden Valentin ran 28 times for 214 yards and three touchdowns as Maloney beat Farmington, 40-28. Larue Graham completed 15 of 26 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns for Maloney (6-1). … Jordan Davis ran 33 times for 204 yards and a touchdown and added three catches for 29 yards and a score as Sheehan gave Plainfield its first loss of the season, 27-14.
Jared Hubler ran 27 times for 288 yards and three touchdowns and completed 16 of 23 passes for 191 yards with two touchdowns and an interception to lead Foran past Guilford, 37-12. ... Tom Abel had 17 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns and had two catches for 54 yards and a score as Derby beat Waterbury Career, 30-22.
Jake McAlinden ran 19 times for 158 yards and three touchdowns to help Cheshire edge Notre Dame of West Haven, 27-23. Kaileb Cadet rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns for ND. ... Devin Hill ran 20 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns and threw touchdown passes of 14 and 43 yards to lead SMSA/University/Classical to its 37-16 win over Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby.
Mike Polzella completed 13 of 21 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns, ran 22 times for 127 yards and three scores, and tossed a two-point conversion as Wolcott lit up Oxford, 58-34. Cayden Mitchell was 14 of 27 for 285 yards with three touchdowns and and an interception, and threw two two-point conversions, for Oxford.
Rafael Nieves ran 22 times for 168 yards and three touchdowns and Simsbury stoned Enfield's two-point conversion attempt with 3 seconds left to win, 36-35. … Alex Higgins scored on runs of 84, 72 and 17 yards to power Prince Tech past Cheney Tech, 48-8. Marcauie Roberts also scored on a 75-yard fumble recovery for the Falcons (6-0).
Sal Barnabei completed 15 of 19 passes for 267 yards and four touchdowns in the first half of Wilbur Cross' 51-0 squishing of East Haven. Kwane Taylor and Noah Washington both caught two touchdowns for the Governors (5-2) while Jasiah Barnes scored on a 48-yard run and Jaykeen Foreman recovered a blocked punt in the Yellowjackets’ end zone.
Kevin Dunn completed 17 of 22 passes for 190 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions and ran six times for 65 yards and scored as Berlin mashed Tolland, 41-10. ... Ricardo Montanez had two catches for 47 yards and a touchdown and three interceptions as Naugatuck overwhelmed Crosby, 61-14. Mike Plasky completed 9 of 19 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns for the Greyhounds (7-0) and Elijah Robinson had four catches for 130 yards and three scores.
Lavarey Banton ran 15 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns and added 12 tackles to help Hartford Public to its first win, 24-14 over Bristol Eastern. … Griswold’s Nate Yeaton blocked a 29-yard field goal with 1:09 remaining to cement the Wolverines’ 8-7 win over Bacon Academy. Griswold won despite being held to 111 yards offense. ... Grayson LaBerge threw touchdowns of 25, 20 and 70 yards as Lewis Mills thumped Morgan, 29-0.
Corey Fappiano threw touchdown passes of 32, 31, and 48 yards to DeAndre Wallace in Holy Cross’ 49-14 win over Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech. ... Westhill's AJ Laccona threw touchdown passes of 7, 5, and 78 yards as the Vikings topped Trinity Catholic, 30-17. ... On one hand, Wilton’s Harvey Alexander ran 12 times for just 49 yards. On the other hand, he ran for four touchdowns as Wilton downed Stamford, 45-14.
Drew Pyne completed 22 of 40 passes for 248 yards with three touchdowns as New Canaan was a rotten host on Saturday, clubbing Pascack Valley (N.J.), 33-14. Quintin O’Connell (nine catches, 152 yards) caught all Pyne's TDs. ... Tyrese Wright ran for 195 yards and four touchdowns as Bullard-Havens clawed O’Brien Tech, 36-12. ... James Goetz completed 10 of 18 passes for 225 yards with three touchdowns, ran 18 times for 90 yards, and had a pick as Weston took down Notre Dame of Fairfield, 35-19. Jason Baisley had five catches for 102 yards with three TDs and had two interceptions for the Trojans.
• • • •
Thanks for reading. More soon.
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