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A new field, Landon Donovan....Rick Wilson takes a `Closer Look'

POSTED October 12, 2014
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson


            As Derby football coach George French said, “The complex is beautiful.” Torrington played its first game on its new artificial turf field at the new Robert H. Frost Complex Saturday in a festive atmosphere.

 The home town faithful filled the expanded bleacher section, the dignitaries including Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Mayor Elinor C. Carbone were on hand as was the committee that pushed through the project despite some unexpected obstacles. State Rep. Michelle Cook, Turf committee co-chairman Ed Arum and Mario Longobucco occupied center stage and deservedly so. They were stalwarts throughout the process.

It was a proud day for Torrington and it should have. Nice job to all that contributed and let the work continue. Torrington did not win the football game, dropping a 37-7 to Derby but they won the day.

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My wife Caroline, son Jonathan and I were at Rentschler Field Friday night to see the USA national team take on Ecuador. If you haven’t been to an international game, treat yourself to one the next time there is a game in the area.

The atmosphere is electric with all sorts of attire and a constant hum in the crowd before and during the game. And the fans stay until the end (read – UConn football). Jonathan got into the USA Outlaws cheering section and had a blast.

It was also a fond farewell for legendary USA player Landon Donovan who got a bevy of cheers from the crowd. All in all folks, a worthwhile experience.

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            Undefeated Ansonia at undefeated Newtown Friday night with the consecutive record for wins in the state of Connecticut on the line. It doesn’t get any bigger than this folks. The Chargers, the state’s most successful program, bring a 48-game win streak into the contest, one short of the current mark of 49 set by Cheshire in the 1990s.

            Ansonia is probably the underdog here and there is a good chance; Newtown comes away with the higher score. But win or lose it won’t change the legacy for what former Hartford Courant sportswriter, Owen Canfield called, “the most famous little football town in New England.”

            It has never been just about a program in Ansonia, it is a story about a town. And it has been a brilliant one. This should be good stuff.

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            Great to see Dennis Fowler back coaching the Lewis Mills girls soccer team. He hasn’t missed a beat. Either have his Spartans who have dominated BL soccer since its inception.

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            I crossed paths every now and then (more then) throughout the years with Scott Gray although he probably wouldn’t know me from the doorman at the local theatre. It was a pleasure just to be in the same press box with him.

            Gray completed a 34-year career talking sports on WTIC recently. But he never just gave you the scores. Gray was a writer who gave you thoughtful commentary, something to chew on every morning. He became a welcome part of the morning, a conscience that got you going and thinking. His leaving becomes an unwelcome void in the A.M. Always a good listen, we wish him well.

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            Normally I would be shaking my head at basketball talk this this soon, but with the current state of UConn football and 7,226,321 pro and college football shows I am already footballed out to an extent. Brink on Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas. Bring on the roundball.

            Check that, just found out I won my wife’s pool at work. Go football.

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            Good to see CPTV’s Frankie Graziano, a Torrington High graduate, in the house Saturday and firing up the Torrington crowd at the Torrington-Derby game. Frankie does a terrific job for CPTV and has never forgotten his hometown roots.

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            Yale football is fun to watch. If only they could play defense. The Eli lost to Dartmouth Saturday, 38-31, again showing no evidence they can stop the other team. Still, they will win games with their offense.

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            Boy, Wolcott upset the NVL football apple cart Friday night didn’t it? Coach Jason Pace’s Eagles stunned powerful Naugatuck, a team that many say will rule the Valley this year when all is said and done, 45-38.

            Wolcott has some quality players including quarterback Vincent Gambino and running back Mike Audibert (22-144) but I’m not sure most saw this coming. Nice job to the Eagles.

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            The Berkshire League field hockey race has gone down to the wire in recent history. Not this season. Not unless Lewis Mills misses the bus to a game. Coach Maggie Tieman’s Spartans have taken care of business, knocking off Nonnewaug twice and Thomaston once while going undefeated and building up an almost insurmountable points lead. No drama to be found this  year.

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            My Orioles are there, not to be taken for a granted for a franchise that hasn’t been there too often. However, it looks like they aren’t going to be there too long. Better wear my Orioles tie Tuesday, it could be all over by then. Take you hat off to Kansas City, they make the plays and the bullpen has been better.

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            Congratulations to Watertown first-year football coach Luigi Velardi who posted his first win Friday night, 47-13, over Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech. Velardi got an ice bath but I’m sure it didn’t take away from the warm feeling.

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            Berkshire League Cross Country Championships this Friday at Black Rock State Park.  Both boys and girls races appear up for grabs.  It’s worth the two hours, give it a go.

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