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Transition year in Northwest Corner football

POSTED November 17, 2012
BY Patrick Tiscia
Twitter: @PatrickTiscia

As Arkeel Newsome was racing for four touchdowns Thursday in leading Ansonia to yet another Naugatuck Valley League championship and 24th straight win, you couldn't help but marvel at the consistency of the Chargers.

One star graduates, another comes in and they don't miss a beat. And so on and so on. It's been going on for multiple decades.

For teams with Northwest Corner ties, it's not as easy as Ansonia makes it look.

Last season was a year to remember locally. Running back Brenden Lytton rewrote the Torrington record book, made an appearance on SportsCenter and kept the Red Raiders within striking distance of a state tournament berth until the final couple weeks of the season.

Over at Gilbert, the co-op team with Northwestern followed up its 2010 state tournament season with a strong, 7-3 campaign, scoring over 35 points in five of its wins.

And even though Housatonic/Wamogo finished 4-6, the Mountaineers did have a four-game winning streak and was very competitive in three close losses.

The 2012 season, though, hasn't been as kind.

While G/N, 5-3 entering today's game against Stafford and led by Tony Ortiz's eight touchdowns, has kept up its momentum from the prior two seasons, the other local teams have struggled to stay afloat.

Torrington, standing at 5-4, has demolished the lower ranks of the NVL, notching four 50-plus point efforts, including back-to-back 60-point performances in the last two weeks over Kennedy and Sacred Heart.

The Red Raiders also have a strong win over Holy Cross.

However, Ansonia, Wolcott, Naugatuck and Woodland gave Torrington a dose of its own medicine, netting 66, 39, 54 and 68 points respectively in victories over the Red Raiders. If there's been one certainty for the Red Raiders, it's to expect many points will be scored in their games. We just don't know by who.

Devone Thomas has had a strong year for Torrington, rushing for 11 touchdowns.

Housatonic/Wamogo was slammed by graduation and for a program that has never thrived when it comes to roster numbers, the record shows. Deron Bayer's Mountaineers are 0-8 entering play today against Ellington and with G/N on the slate for Thanksgiving, it will be tough to record a win in this rebuilding year.

Wolcott Tech is 2-7 and on the surface, it doesn't look good. But in reality, the Wildcats have taken a step up for a program that for a long time held only one career win, and it came by forfeit no less.

On Monday, the Wildcats prevailed in a thrilling, 45-42 road triumph over Wilcox Tech. Last month, they pounded Whitney Tech, 49-6, in Torrington. In past years, Wolcott Tech barely compiled that many points over the course of a season.

Other teams with local connections, Nonnewaug (1-7) and Lewis Mills (0-8), have each struggled this season, which is not a surprise as both programs continue to adjust to playing on the varsity level.

Hopefully, one year from now, this local season will be looked at as a learning experience and not the norm. A repeat of 2011 would be a welcomed sight.

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