Raiders fall hard to Ansonia, 49-20 in season opener (9/16/2011). (As he commits to UConn, we look back at the first time we saw Arkeel Newsome.)
ANSONIA: A year ago at the start of their 2010 football season, the Torrington Raiders football team took a trip up to East Lyme in game one and came away with a 20-14 upset win over the Vikings.
East Lyme had made a nice run in the states and although they would fall a game short of the big prize, they were a quality opponent for a Raiders team that was looking to take that next step and did with the win.
It was also the first day we saw junior Brenden Lytton run, and run at will, en route to a school record total of more than 2200 yards rushing.
Flash forward to this fall (felt like we had at least two seasons in just one day today) when the Raiders found another big name to play in game one of the 2012 campaign.
This time it was the Ansonia Chargers, a team and town steeped in the tradition of winning football.
Just being in Ansonia makes you want to play football, it must be in the air.
Unfortunately for Torrington, their 2011 season opener featured a back that may just make Charger fans forget about names like Alex Thomas or Montrell Dobbs as they get to know sophomore (yes that’s just a tenth grader out there) Arkeel Newsome.
All Newsome did was rush for 324 yards while scoring six times in a 49-20 blowout win by the highly ranked Chargers in the season opener for both teams.
Newsome slashed, burned, spun and rinsed the Raiders with both breakaway speed and an elusiveness that defied his 5’7”, 173-pound person.
All pre-season, this had been a game both teams circled on their calendars and for good reason.
Both teams had special 2011 seasons and were looking to get off to a fast starts.
It didn’t really start that way for the Raiders though, as they gave the home team their first points when a snap on a punt went over Lytton’s head then rolled for a dangerously long time in the end zone before finally being pushed out by Torrington’s Demetrius Daily.
Coming in, Newsome and company knew they had to do one thing very well.
“We had to control Lytton,” Newsome said.
With a stiff 30-plus mile an hour wind in their face during the first quarter, the Raiders kept the ball on the ground with Lytton getting seven of the first eight touches.
Lytton broke free twice during Torrington’s second drive of the game that stalled at the Chargers 37. He carried four players on his back on a 16-yard run then swept out to a 23 yard gain two plays later.
Ansonia did not unleash Newsome until a late first quarter drive that saw him carry the ball seven times for 29 yards, including a four yard touchdown run that put Ansonia up 8-0.
After their drive stalled, Torrington and Lytton got some help from the wind to pin the home team back deep in their own territory.
Not to worry though, Newsome took off on the second play of the drive on a sweep left from the 20 and was finally caught from behind by Lytton after a 74-yard run down the sideline.
Two plays later, Newsome found pay dirt again for his second score and a 15-0 lead.
Down 15-0 an a little stunned, the Raiders went back he who has taken them to the dance since that East Lyme game and were rewarded when Lytton used extraordinary effort to bend in from 5-yards out for his team’s first points.
Not to be outdone in this game of terrific running back, Newsome needed just four runs, covering 50-yards, to answer the Torrington TD drive with a fast one of their own.
Newsome finish the first half with 199 yards and four scores, plus a conversion.
Looking to regroup at the half down, 29-6, the Raiders were once again stunned by Newsome on the second half’s first play when he broke free for a 66-yard scamper.
Torrington would score twice in the final quarter, once on a 38-yard pass from Jason Abbott to Phil Bresson and again when Lytton pushed in from three yards out.
Two terrific running backs were on display on Thursday night, one was good, the other spectacular.
Bad news for Naugatuck Valley League teams; Newsome is just a sophomore.