Newsome, Ansonia too much for Torrington
TORRINGTON – Torrington head coach Dan Dunaj had a simple, yet very accurate description of what it’s like to play against Ansonia megastar Arkeel Newsome.
“The back of his jersey is all you see. He’s a special player and if you give him credit card size space, he will find it,” offered Dunaj, whose team tried, but had no answer for Newsome in the season-opener Friday night.
The junior had only nine carries, but maximized them for 197 yards and five touchdowns in just one half of work as the Chargers crushed Torrington, 66-26, before a rowdy bunch of 1,000-plus at the Robert H. Frost Sports Complex.
Ansonia led by an obscene 60-12 margin only 18 seconds into the third quarter as Newsome set the table with a first quarter stat line most players dream about compiling for a full game: 150 yards and touchdown runs of 1, 64 and 59 yards.
He scored in three different manners – from the goal line, on a sweep down the sideline and a bust right through the middle. For good measure, Newsome added scoring runs of 36 and 4 yards in the second quarter.
Last season, he rushed for 332 yards and six touchdowns against Torrington and would have blown those numbers away Friday if given the opportunity to play in the second half.
The scary thing is that Friday marked only Day 1 of the second half of his high school career.
“Arkeel has what 99.9 percent of the world doesn’t – the ability to cut on a dime, great vision, strength and speed,” Ansonia head coach Tom Brockett said.
In carrying the Chargers to a 14-0 record and a Class M championship last year, Newsome ran for 3,763 yards. If he continues that pace for the next two seasons, he would break the National rushing record set in Texas back in the 1950s.
Watching Friday’s contest, the record will be his barring injury or circumstance. If Ansonia pummels opponents regularly like it did to Torrington Friday, the opportunities might not be there. The infamous 50-point rule was in play Friday as Ansonia led by 48 at one point in the fourth and took a knee instead of kicking the extra point or going for two. (For those that don’t know, the head coach is suspended for the next week’s game if his team wins by 50 or more.)
As hard as it may be to put a season for the ages in the rear view mirror, Newsome maintains that last year is a distant memory.
“I just try to stay humble and remember that last year is over and this is a new year,” Newsome said. “Tonight we played well, but we can still get better.”
And like great players, Newsome finds motivation in different ways. One way heading into this season was some comments he and his teammates read on the Internet.
“We read that we weren’t going to be as good and there seemed to be a whole lot of doubters,” Newsome said. “We started with a chip on our shoulders and it pushed us to play better tonight.”
JaiQuan McKnight also had a strong game for the Chargers, throwing two touchdown passes (25 and 57 yards) to Andrew Matos and also rushing for a 53-yard score.
Desmond Langs had two interceptions for the Red Raiders, returning the first for a 22-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Edgar Gonzalez livened up the crowd with an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second.
But the night, as it has many times since September of 2011, belonged to Newsome. It may have been a predictable show, but it was sure impressive.
And there's many more to come.