Sons Of Naugy, numerology, Top 10s, embedded ear candy, and 1,430 other words


The Naugatuck High School football team gathered in a circle after Wednesday's game against Wilby of Waterbury and, as tradition dictates after a win, sang the school's fight song.

"Greyhounds, Greyhounds, rah-rah-rah.

"Nau-gy High"

"Greyhounds, Greyhounds, rah-rah-rah.

"Our faith will never die.

"When the sons of Naugy break through the line

"This is the song we hail

"Greyhounds, Greyhounds, rah-rah-rah.

"We won't fail."

Naugatuck is determined not to fail after the program was rocked by the suspension and later resignation of 11-year head coach Rob Plasky. Plasky had broken CIAC rules when he and Frank Johnson Jr., co-founder and acting director of the Naugatuck High School Football Alumni Association, gave a $1,000 check to Meme Martin.

Martin is the mother of Javon Martin and the legal guardian of David Coggins, one of the state's top recruits who has given Boston College a verbal commitment. Coggins and Martin had played at Sacred Heart of Waterbury, but wanted to transfer to Naugatuck. The Martins owed Sacred Heart tuition, so the school withheld their transcripts, preventing them from transferring. Meme Martin had told the Waterbury Republican American that the family couldn't pay the tuition.

Coggins and Javon Martin have returned to Sacred Heart.

Plasky's resignation happened the first week of workouts.

"It was a little rough at first," Greyhound senior co-captain Mick Pernell said. "Everyone loves Plasky still. We're not mad at him for what happened. He thought he was doing the right thing. I still respect him. I still like him.

"I was shocked. I really was. I thought (Coggins and Martin) were coming and that everything was going good. I was surprised it happened. I was a little angry at first, but it is what it is. You still have to play."

Assistant Shawn Kuczenski was named interim coach. He had the most seniority with the program, having joined the coaching staff when Plasky, his friend, became head coach in 2001.

"It's been crazy," Kuczenski said. "There are days when I'm just really quiet and laid back, and days where I'm really fired up and try to not bring it to the kids because I don't want the kids to see me when I'm in my bad mood because of everything that's gone on."

"I just wanted to keep it positive with the kids, because the kids always knew that Coach Plasky was the hot head and the one to get them fired up. The kids would always come to me and be like, 'I don't know why coach is getting on me.' And I'd be like, 'Relax. He's trying to coach you up.' This year, it's basically the same way. There are days I'll be the bad cop, days where I'm the good cop. It's pretty good, and it's a pretty good group of kids."

When word got out that Coggins and Martin were transferring to Naugatuck, the thought was that the team would be a Naugatuck Valley League contender. Without that duo, opinions had changed.

"We used it as motivation," Pernell said. "Everyone was saying that since we're not getting Davey and Javon that we're not going to be good this year.

"Right when we found out about (Plasky's resignation), we had a little (team) get together and talked about it, talked about the season. Everyone got a lot closer."

The Greyhounds couldn't have asked for a better way to start their regular season as they blitzed Wilby, 48-20, in a game that wasn't even that close. Pernell ran 16 times for 187 yards and five touchdowns, and sophomore Jason Bradley threw two touchdowns in his first start.

"They just wanted to come out and make a statement," Kuczenski said. "A lot of people have been saying that we're going to be down this year. They wanted to send a message to everybody."

Naugatuck could be fined up to $10,000 for the indiscretion. That, along with Coggins and Martin's eligibility, is on the agenda for Thursday's CIAC Board Of Control meeting. Coggins and Martin didn't play in last Thursday's game against Woodland.

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The esteemed Bob Barton, editor of the Connecticut High School Football Record Book, passed along the list of state records that were either set or tied last season. Not surprisingly, Ansonia's Arkeel Newsome was involved with most of them.

Records set:

Most yards rushing, season — 3,763, by Newsome (old record 3,596, by Alex Thomas, Ansonia, 2007).

Highest average gain per rush, season — 13.7 by Harold Cooper, Hillhouse of New Haven (old record 10.6, by Alex Thomas, Ansonia, 2007).

Most touchdowns by rushing, season — 59, by Newsome (old record 47, by Alex Thomas, Ansonia, 2007).

Most passes completed, season — 257, by Matthew Milano, New Canaan (old record 236 by Eian Bain, Stafford, 2003).

Most passes completed, career — 635, by Casey Cochran, New London-Masuk, 2008-11 (old record 477 by Joe DellaVecchia, St. Joseph, 2007-10).

Most yards by passing, season — 3,688, by Anthony Morales, Cromwell (old record 3,558, by Matt Kelleher, Southington, 2005).

Most yards by passing, career — 10,767, by Cochran, New London-Masuk, 2008-11 (old record 7,710, by Joe Della Vecchia, St. Joseph, 2007-10).

Most touchdown passes, season — 43, by Anthony Morales, Cromwell (old record 42, by Matthew Milano, New Canaan, 2010).

Most touchdown passes, career — 112 by Cochran, New London-Masuk, 2008-11 (old record 85 by Joe Della Vecchia, St. Joseph, 2007-10).

Highest average punting distance, season: (minimum 25 punts) — 48.0, by Ardian Sahinovic, New Fairfield (old record 47.5, by Jason Mawicke, Staples, 2010).

Most points scored, season — 388, by Newsome, Ansonia (old record 294, by Tim Washington, Bristol Central, 2000).

Most touchdowns scored, season — 62, by Newsome, Ansonia (old record 47, by Alex Thomas, Ansonia, 2007).

Most points for which responsible, all methods (rushing, passing, receiving, kicking), season — 394, by Newsome (old record 350, by Tim Washington, Bristol Central, 2000).

Records tied:

Most consecutive 300-yard games — Three, by Brenden Lytton, Torrington, and Newsome, Ansonia (twice), (original record set by Montrell Dobbs, Ansonia, 2010).

Most passes completed, game — 38 by Matthew Milano, New Canaan, vs. Hand, Dec. 10 (original record 38, by Jake White, Foran, vs. North Haven, Nov. 2, 2007).

■ ■ ■ ■

Monday marked the debut of The Day's Top 10 state coaches poll. Xavier of Middletown begins the year ranked No. 1, which its been ever since the first Top 10 of 2010.The coaches poll leans more towards Class LL and L schools: 1. Xavier (12 first-place votes); 2. Ansonia (1); 3. Hand-Madison; 4. Staples-Westport; 5. Windsor; 6. West Haven; 7. Greenwich; 8. New Canaan; 9. Masuk-Monroe; and, 10. Glastonbury.

The New Haven Register media poll favors Class M programs (Hillhouse of New Haven, Ledyard and Berlin) in the latter half of its Top 10: 1. Xavier (22); 2. Staples (2); 3. Hand (1); 4. Ansonia; 5. Windsor; 6. Greenwich; 7. Hillhouse-New Haven; 8. New Canaan; 9. Ledyard and, 10. Berlin.

Ned Freeman's cold, calculated computer ratings. Note that it'll take the formula a few weeks to develop a better understanding of the state scene: 1. Ansonia; 2. Xavier; 3. Staples; 4. Hand; 5. Masuk; 6. West Haven; 7. Greenwich; 8. Ledyard; 9. Windsor; and, 10. New London.

The computer's Top 10 features eight teams in The Day's coaches' poll, and seven in the Register's media poll. Freaky, ain't it?

Freeman's computer also rated New Canaan 13th, Hillhouse 17th, Glastonbury 24th, and Berlin 35th.

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There were very few surprises during Week 1 as the chalk prevailed in most games.

One notable exception was Manchester's 34-21 win over Hall of West Hartford. Hall was a Class L quarterfinalist last season and has a veteran offensive and defensive line. Elijah Udoh ran 15 times for 179 yards and three touchdowns for the winners while Roy Richards added 181 yards rushing.

The weekend's other stunner was Branford's 31-13 win beating of Trumbull. Branford is a Division II team in the Southern Connecticut Conference, whereas the Eagles are generally one of the top teams in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Alex Borkowski ran 24 times for 160 yards and two touchdowns for the Hornets while Justin Blood had 16 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

■ ■ ■ ■

The 2013 season will feature an 11-game schedule, and some conferences are working on interleague matchups.

First and foremost is an Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference vs. Southern Connecticut Conference series, as ably reported by Sean Patrick Bowley from Hearst, Inc. He also reported on a partnership between the Naugatuck Valley League vs. South-West Conference.

Vaya con dios.

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