NEW BRITAIN — Ansonia senior running back Arkeel Newsome rushed for 259 yards, scored four touchdowns and threw for another in Friday night’s 51-12 CIAC Class S championship game victory over Woodland Regional at Central Connecticut State University, delivering head coach Tom Brockett of Wallingford his fifth state title in eight years.
The conquest also secured the 36-year-old Brockett’s 100th victory against just seven career losses and kept the Chargers winning streak going at 43 games, six shy of Cheshire’s state record of 49.
“It’s special because you aren’t going to see many coaches reach 200 wins. I probably won’t be one of them, so I might as well enjoy it,” Brockett said. “But this is all about the kids and winning this game. It’s a tough job. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s just a lot of fun.”
It was the Ansonia defense that helped the Chargers jump out to 14-0 lead early into the contest in front of a hardy 1,400 at a frozen Arute Field.
The Chargers (15-0) defense picked off Woodland QB Tanner Kingsley on his first pass from scrimmage. Sophomore defensive back Tyler Bailey (six tackles) intercepted the lefty quarterback deep down the right sideline. It would be his first of two picks in the game.
The Chargers and their potent ground game marched right down the field, going 60 yards on seven plays with Newsome finishing the first drive of the game with a 6-yard TD run.
On their second play from scrimmage, Woodland (12-3) turned the ball over again. Kingsley connected with Jack Pinho on a short pass, but he was stripped by Witold Gul (7 tackles), who scooped and scored from 27 yards for another Ansonia TD and a 14-0 edge withe 8:50 left in the first quarter.
Kingsley’s couldn’t muster much through the air, but his legs were a weapon. The senior ripped off runs of 18, 19 and 14 yard. The last resulted in a Hawks’ TD with 10:26 left in the first half to cut the Chargers lead to 14-6.
But Newsome, the state’s all-time leading rusher, added TD runs of 2 and 8 yards to give the Chargers a 28-6 halftime lead.
Newsome started out the second half with a 42-yard scamper down the right sideline. His sophomore understudy, Tajik Bagley, polished off the drive with a 4-yard TD run with 9:22 left in the third quarter.
Kingsley answered with his second TD of the game from five yards out with 4:18 left in the third.
Newsome tossed a jump pass for a touchdown on a fourth down early in the fourth quarter and later rushed for his fourth TD of the game on a 3-yard plunge with 6:49 left to account the final points, 51-12.
“He went out with a bang, the way he came in,” Brockett said of his UConn-bound back. “He’s had an unbelievable career. The greatest career in high school football.”
Newsome has shattered rushing records and is the all-time state leader in rushing yards and total touchdowns.
“It’s a great feeling winning a state championship with my senior class,” Newsome said. “It’s amazing. We are the first Ansonia team to finished three years undefeated in a row. It’s just a great feeling.”
The state title is a record 19th for Ansonia. It’s the 10th 3-peat in state history and the third by the Chargers.
Friday was the second time the Chargers defeated Woodland this season. Ansonia won 48-7 in the Naugatuck Valley League title game on Nov. 20.
“This is very special. I get emotional if I think about it too much,” Brockett said. “To go undefeated three years in a row, that’s a long time a long time. It’s a marathon and lot of ups and downs and, fortunately for us, it’s a lot more ups. That’s a great group of kids that we are going to say goodbye to that added a great legacy to high school football. I don’t know if you are going to see anyone do the 15-0 again. I don’t know if you are going to see a class go three undefeated years again. It’s hard in high school football.”
Ansonia 52, Woodland 12
At Arute Field-CCSU
A—Arkeel Newsome 6 run (Witold Gul kick) 9:12.
A—Gul 27 fumble return (Gul kick) 8:55.
W—Tanner Kingsley 14 run (kick failed) 10:26.
A—Newsome 2 run (kick failed) 7:37.
A—Newsome 8 run (Newsome run) 3:02.
A—Tajik Bagley 4 run (Thomas Majchrzak pass from Jaiquan McKnight) 9:22.
W—Kingsley 5 run (pass failed) 5:04.
A—Majchrzak 11 pass from Newsome (Bagley run) 11:56.
A—Newsome 3 run (Gul kick) 6:49.
RUSHING—Woodland (30-116): Sean McAllen 17-66, Tanner Kingsley 9-50, Joe Poeta 2-1, Taylor Tucciarone 2 (-1); Ansonia (51-367): Arkeel Newsome 34-259, Tajik Bagley 5-48, Jaiquan McKnight 7-54, Saiheed Sanders 2-0, Hugh Jackson 2-5, Jack Williams 1 (-2).
PASSING—Woodland/Tanner Kingsley (11-21, 140, 0 TD, 2 INT); Ansonia (2-3, 40, 1 TD, 1 INT): Jaiquan McKnight 1-1, 29, Arkeel Newsome 1-2, 1 TD, 1 INT.
RECEIVING—Woodland (11-140) Joe Poeta 3-75, Jack Pinho 3-37, Mike Kenney 2-19, Taylor Tucciarone 2-4, Sean McAllen 1-5; Ansonia (2-40) Thomas Majchrzak 1-11, Tajik Bagley 1-29.