WALLINGFORD — The next stop for the Ansonia Chargers football team led by Wallingford’s Tom Brockett is CCSU’s Arute Field for another Class S title game next Saturday.
UConn-bound running back Arkeel Newsome carried the load for the Chargers. The senior piled up 269 yards on 36 touches and reached the end zone five times in Saturday’s 49-27 Class S semifinal win over No. 3 Rocky Hill at Sheehan’s Riccitelli Field.
Newsome had scoring runs of 1, 64, 1, 46 and 32 to put the Chargers in the state final game for the 27th time with 18 championship banners on the wall.
“We made a lot of big plays on both sides of the ball,” Newsome said. “We have been working for this all year. I had a very good feeling about this team.”
The unbeaten Chargers (14-0) built a 34-7 advantage at the half with Newsome dominating to extend their winning streak to 42 in a row.
Rocky Hill (11-2) its their best run with two consecutive scores to start the second half. The Terriers took the first possession of the third quarter 54 yards on eight plays to close the gap to 34-14 on a 14-yard TD run by Chris Young.
The CCC squad then recovered an onside kick and three plays later was in the end zone again. This time it was through the air as QB Andrew Jenkelunas connected with his favorite target, Thomas Seaver, for a 33-yard score to give Rocky Hill some hope of a comeback down 34-21 early in the second half.
Newsome put an end to that by topping off a six-play drive by the Chargers with a 32-yard scamper that expanded the lead back to 42-21 after the running back also ran in the 2-point conversion. Both Jenkelunas and Ansonia signal caller Jaiquan McKnight added late TD passes to polish off the scoring.
The Chargers defense also stepped up by forcing three turnovers.
“Obviously, our strength is our running game, but I think our defense is underrated,” Brockett said. “They make some big plays for us all year and again (Saturday).
Rocky Hill coach Dave Coyne, who is retiring after this season, said that Newsome, the first rusher in Connecticut history to go over 10,000 career yards, was tough to stop.
“He is everything they say he is,” Coyne said. “He’s a very elusive, fast, tough kid. He’s a great football player. Our kids did what we could. We missed a couple of tackles I thought we should have had, but that’s a credit to him. He got out of it.”
Ansonia will take on NVL foe No. 4 Woodland Regional with a Class S championship on the line either Friday or Saturday. Woodland punched its ticket into the final with a 30-26 victory over No. 8 Bloomfield. The Chargers defeated the Hawks in the NVL championship game on Nov. 20, 48-7.
“Another championship would mean a lot,” Brockett said. “It’s so hard. You never know when you are going to get back. Last year we walked off Rentschler Field petrified not knowing if we were going to get back. To get another championship it’s going to take another great week of preparation and blocking out all of the distractions that go with it.”
Ansonia 49, Rocky Hill 27
At Riccitelli Field
Rocky Hill 07-00-14-06—27
A—Arkeel Newsome 1 run (Wiltold Gul kick) 9:30.
RH—Chris Young 29 run (Greg Marzilli kick) 6:00.
A—Newsome 64 run (Gul kick) 5:40.
A—Newsome 1 run (kick failed) 9:14.
A—Gul 71 pass from Jaiquan McKnight (run failed) 1:31.
A—Newsome 46 run (Newsome run) 0:00.
RH—Young 14 run (Marzilli kick) 9:00.
RH—Thomas Seaver 33 pass from Andrew Jenkelunas (Marzilli kick) 8:05.
A—Newsome 32 run (Newsome run) 6:05.
A—Thomas Majchrzak 10 pass from McKnight (Gul kick), 2:00.
RH—Seaver 18 pass from Jenkelunas (kick failed), 1:30.
RUSHING—Rocky Hill (35-187): Chris Young 19-128, Grant Nieves 10-33, Kenshaun Gamble 3-23, Andrew Jenkelunas 3-3; Ansonia (40-265): Arkeel Newsome 36-269, Jai’Quan McKnight 1-4, Tajik Bagley 1-1, Saiheed Sanders 1-4, Team 1 (-13).
PASSING—Rocky Hill/Andrew Jenkelunas 6-12, 115 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT; Ansonia: McKnight 3-6, 118 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT.
RECEIVING—Rocky Hill (6-115) Tommy Seaver 6-115; Ansonia (3-118) Thomas Majchrzak 1-15, Wiltold Gul 2-103.