Ansonia wins NVL title, now shifts focus back to the regular season
WATERBURY – Ansonia won the Naugatuck Valley League championship game Wednesday night, cruising over Woodland, 48-7, at Municipal Stadium.
No surprise there.
Arkeel Newsome rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns and added a receiving touchdown in receiving MVP honors.
No surprise there, either.
Now, let’s get to the big question: Should the NVL continue to host this game?
This question has multiple layers to it.
First, there’s the oddity of the game’s timing. Because of the state playoffs being held the Tuesday or Wednesday after Thanksgiving, the only time to hold this game is now, before the regular season is even over.
Understandably, no team, especially Ansonia and Naugatuck, will ever allow the traditional Thanksgiving games to be pushed up a week.
Then there is the issue of player safety. The odds of at least one of this game’s participants making the state playoffs are very good, meaning they could play a potential of three games in 12 days. In no way is such a string of games good for any player’s health.
Thankfully, no player suffered a major injury in Wednesday’s game, although Woodland captain Jack Pinho was sent to the hospital to receive stitches on a hand laceration.
And, finally, there is the money issue. Approximately 500 fans were on hand for this game, paying $5 a pop. Frankly, it’s an easy way for the league to make some much-needed money. Other than a potential game between unbeaten boys basketball teams, no team-sport event can bring in such a quick buck.
It’s unfortunate, but green paper, on every level, is a major determining factor.
Both coaches did not speak glowingly of this game, and one would have to think if this event is one the league may want to revisit.
“If anyone is saying they’re not concerned, (they’re lying),” Ansonia head coach Tom Brockett said. “Coaches worry about the players on both sides. It’s a big game, though. It brings in people and it’s something the fans and media like to see.”
Woodland head coach Tim Shea tried to look at the positives of it.
“Anytime you have a chance to play for a championship, you’re going to give your best effort,” Shea said. “A lot of teams would have loved to have the opportunity we just did. I’m not crazy about it, but once you take the field, you give it your best shot.”
The Hawks had little shot in this contest as Ansonia jumped out to a 28-0 advantage, led by Newsome, of course, and Tyler Bailey, who caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from JaiQuan McKnight.
Sean McAllen scored Woodland’s only touchdown on a four-yard run.
“I’m glad to get this done with so we can start watching film on (Naugatuck, the Chargers’ Thanksgiving opponent),” said Brockett, whose team has won the last three NVL titles. "It's going to be fun."
Now back to your regularly scheduled season.