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Football season finally gives way to winter

POSTED December 19, 2013
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

In his last game at the high school level, Ansonia mega-star Arkeel Newsome helped lead his team to a 51-12 win over Woodland in the Class S State Championship game played at CCSU. Newsome ran for 259 yards and four touchdowns and threw for a TD as well. Four tremendous years running up and down the Valley.

Finally getting a little cooperation from Mother Nature, the Connecticut High School football season will come to an end tonight when Southington and Fairfield Prep battle for the Class LL title at West Haven High.

It has been a long, strange trip (delay) for both the Knights and Jesuits as a mix of snow, ice, questionable planning and scheduling have combined to push the game back nearly a week.

Things happens and I'm not going to get too hung up about the delay or the weather the Class M and L games were played in last Saturday. If anything there needs to be better contingency planning and if the games all need to be played on the same day and or night then so be it. Having the championship games at one site is a great idea and helps put the spotlight on high school football in the state but this season it wasn't meant to be.

All eight semifinals were played at the same time on a Saturday and the same should have been done with the finals. It may have lowered overall attendance, maybe not. But the CIAC knew the storm was coming, knew it was going to be a lousy weekend and just didn't make the right call.

Championship Chargers

Moving on we can't talk about the 2013 football season without a word about Ansonia and it's march to another Class S title after a 15-0 season. No team had ever posted a 15-0 record in state history and it's fitting that the Chargers were the first to do it.

Coach Tom Brockett runs a great program, all Ansonia does is win and he and his players have always been a pleasure to deal with. Arkeel Newsome is a once in a generation talent who finished his career with over 10,000 yards rushing and more than 180 touchdowns, insane numbers, yet he's one of the more humble and grounded stars you'll talk to on the high school scene.

Newsome is done, a senior who appears to be headed to UConn to help the Huskies turn things around, but don't start feeling too bad for Brockett and the Chargers because as history shows, they will find a way to get things done.

Tonght's game will mark the end of the 38th state football championships and Ansonia just made its 27th appearance while capturing its 19th state title. The Chargers have won three straight crowns and since 2002 they are 7-2 in state title games. 

Newsome or no, you can't help but feel that Ansonia will be knocking on the door this time next season looking for title No. 20.

If it's good for hoops and soccer.....

Then it has to be good for football, right? I'm talking about the practice of moving teams up in class size based partly if not mostly on past tournament success.

It seemed like the powers that be and others (media, coaches, fans) couldn't wait to move the Capital Prep girls basketball team out of Class S despite the fact that it has won exactly one state title in its history. The Immaculate, Northwest Catholic and St. Joseph girls soccer teams were shuttled to the L and LL ranks from Class S and M based on previous success but this still hasn't happened in football.

Why not?

In 2011 Ansonia blasted Ledyard 38-0 for the Class M football title and was promptly moved DOWN to Class S due to fluctuation in enrollment. It's not Ansonia's fault and I know the Chargers would line up in any Class they were told to, but this doesn't make any sense.

Look at the Class M football bracket this season, better known as the St. Joseph invitational. The Cadets romped their way to a title, being pushed only slightly by Joel Barlow in the semis, while scoring 200 points in three playoff games. How a private school from the FCIAC can ever be placed in a Class lower than L makes absolutely no sense.

I'm not one to push for an Open Division like some in the media have been, but let's use a little common sense when seeding one of the states bigger and more popular state tournaments.

If it's good for soccer....

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