One of those really good weeks
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One of those really good weeks
Reveling in rivalry: classic competition; chasing championships. All in all, it was a great week.
Every once in a while you get one of those weeks that sticks out more than most. That was last week for me. One part great game, one part good performances, one part champions crowned. A little bit of so much that makes the high school scene fun to be a part of.
It started off Tuesday night under the portable lights at Litchfield’s Plumb Hill Complex. Wamogo vs. Litchfield. It is one of the trio of great rivalries in the Berkshire League along with Northwestern-Gilbert and Thomaston-Terryville.
Geographically fueled (the two schools are close enough to call one another with a megaphone), there is a history here of full gyms and great games. The Blue and White vs. the Red and White.
This time around there was at least a little intriguing background. Some Wamogo students had ridden around the Litchfield campus dressed as aliens the before the first meeting forcing the cancellation of the game. Later a forfeit was changed to let’s reschedule it.
You’ve got to love a good rivalry. The neutral zone had been invaded where were Capt. Kirk and Spock?
On a midweek night in mid-October nothing had changed. The records didn’t matter. Wamogo came into the game with two wins while Litchfield was 4-4-1 and had been on the receiving end of an inglorious 9-0 thumping at the hands of Shepaug.
It didn’t matter, it was Litchfield vs. Wamogo. About 200 fans turned out on a crisp but not uncomfortable evening. Really all that was missing was the familiar face of former Wamogo A.D. Mary Stolle. Okay, I won’t get into that.
The game befitted the rivalry. Litchfield’s Nick Hula and Kyle Murphy were terrific with Murphy scoring the winning goal with just under 10 minutes left for a 3-2 Litchfield win. The Cowboys did it with normal midfielder Quinn McCarthy in the goal.
Wamogo walked off unbowed if disappointed. The Warriors had fought back from deficits twice. Sophomore Sam Jepson gave everyone a goal to remember with a left-footed bullet inside the right post from about 35 yards out as he was motoring down the left side of the field. Litchfield coach Rob Andrulis called it a “college goal.” Wamogo coach Mike Wilson said it was the “best goal he had seen in his seven years as a coach.”
It was great theatre in great atmosphere. Litchfield A.D. was tooling around in his high-powered golf cart. If you like a little feistiness, there was a trio of yellow cards. Legendary Waterbury athlete, Elmer Deschaine, all 72-years of him, was one of the officials. It was just all good stuff.
Thursday afternoon it was Nonnewaug and Lewis Mills in girls soccer action. Mills has 20 of 24 BL titles going back to the days when Hal Lindert was coaching and sitting on his water cooler. Now it is effervescent Dennis Fowler prowling the sidelines, urging on the troops.
When Lewis Mills doesn’t win the title like two years ago, seems like Nick Sheikh’s Chiefs are the reason why. This game was no different. Undefeated Nonnewaug against Mills with one loss. The one loss was to, you guessed it, Nonnewaug, 2-0.
The two teams are pretty much in their own league season after season. The two teams battle one another to a 0-0 tie after 90 minutes. The scoreboard said nobody won. Not true.
The big winner was the Chiefs who virtually clinched the BL title thanks to the deadlock. Mills would now need some major help to forge even a tie for the crown. The Chiefs have yet to give up a goal this season and despite some heavy pressure kept the shutout in tact with reserve goalie Sara Morson unable to play due to an FAA commitment.
Fowler’s team in its disappointment had much to cheer about. A better performance than the first time around. A solid effort with eight sophomores in the starting lineup. There was also a touch of satisfaction in putting a permanent dent in Nonnewaug’s bid for BL perfection.
Friday afternoon it was the BL cross-country championships as the Berkshire League descended on Black Rock State Park. You want excellence, start with Northwestern Regional’s Annmarie Tuxbury who after chasing Nonnewaug’s Jackie Nicholas for a couple of years, earned her BL championship spurs. You won’t find a classier person than Tuxbury or too many better runners.
Then there were the Thomaston girls, a BL winning machine. `The Pack Attack’ took five of the top 14 spots and seven of the top 25 in capturing its fifth straight BL crown. Sophomore Sabrina Olsen pushed Tuxbury to finish in second place while junior Cameron Chaplen was right behind in third place.
More excitement was provided by Nonnewaug who avenged its only loss to Lewis Mills and won the boys’ title by a riveting two-point margin. And Logan Reese of Shepaug broke Thomaston’s six-year run on the individual championship by breaking the tape first.
It was one of those weeks where I saw a little of this and a lot of that, champions crowned a rivalry in full revelry and two dominant programs look one another in the eye and refuse to back down.
It was one of those really good weeks.