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Torrington Red Raiders battled both NVL title hopefulls during regular season. A look back.

POSTED December 07, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney


TORRINGTON: When the 2011 Torrington Red Raiders football team was forced to find an opening day opponent after an out of league one backed out, little did they know they would face off against one of two Naugatuck Valley League teams who will be playing for State titles this weekend.

The Raiders also would have been hard pressed to think another team they matched up against two weeks later would also be in action with the ultimate prize, a State Championship, on the line.
Here's a look back at both games.
Week One: Ansonia 49, Torrington 20. In 2010, the Raiders traveled to East Lyme to face a Vikings team that had made it to the Class M semi-finals the year before. It was to be the first of a home-and-home series with East Lyme coming to Torrington in 2011.
That Friday night, Brenden Lytton made his debut after an injury to starting running back Zach Schebell made him the starter in the backfield instead of as a receiver.
Lytton started a remarkable journey that saw him break every known offensive record in school history with a two touchdown, 230-yard effort that stunned the host team enough that they backed out of the 2011 contest, leaving the Raiders in need of an opponent.
Head coach Dan Dunaj scrambled to find another game and found out the Chargers were available.
After beginning the 2010 season against a high caliber opponent, the Raiders looked forward to the challenge a perennial powerhouse like Ansonia would bring.
History though, did not repeat itself as it was another running back, Arkeel Newsome, who made the headlines and turned heads in this one with a six touchdown, 350 plus yard performance that was all Ansonia all the time.
Not much has changed for the Chargers (12-0, # 1 in Class M) as they take to Rentschler Field on Saturday to take on Ledyard (#3, 11-1) in the early game (10:30 a.m.)
Newsome has run and run and run all year and needs less than 100 yards to set the single season rushing record in Connecticut history.
Who can stop the Chargers?
The Colonels held their semi-finals opponent, Wolcott, to just 67 net yards of offense in a 35-0 win.
Running back Alex Manwaring led the way for Ledyard with 189 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the semi's.
Still, it will be hard to slow down a Chargers team that has been firing on every cylinder available.
Week Three: Holy Cross 19, Torrington 12. On a night most remembered by most as one of the loudest, longest and wettest evening of torrential rain, thunder and lightning that held up the start of the game almost two and a half hours, the Raiders considered this one that got away.
Up 12-0 at the half behind the strong running of Lytton at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury, the Raiders lost their momentum in the second half while the Crusaders roared back with 19 unanswered points to pull out the win.
This loss, more than any, was one that haunted Torrington the remainder of the season.
In Class L, two losses was not going to cut it when it came to making the post-season.
The Crusaders (#2, 11-1) face off against a powerful football program in Cromwell (# 8, 10-2) in the Class S finals which will be held on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Rent.
Cromwell finished second in the Pequot Sassacus division, behind North Branford and Valley Regional/Old Lyme. Holy Cross won the Copper division title but lost the NVL Championship game to Ansonia by a 33-0 score.
The Crusaders beat Valley Regional/Old Lyme by a 23-14 score on a 22-yard field goal by Kyle Broderick with just :22 seconds left to play.
Valley beat Cromwell by a 24-21 score in week eight.
Looks like an even match-up for all the marbles on Friday night at the home of the Huskies.

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