NAUGATUCK — Win or lose, the football players who took part in the 2013 Thanksgiving Day game between Naugatuck and Ansonia will forever be remembered for playing in the highest scoring game in the 114-year history of this rivalry.
The Chargers remained undefeated and kept a 40-game win streak alive by pounding out a 66-28 win over the Greyhounds. The 94 combined points broke the previous scoring mark of 85 points, set in Ansonia’s 65-20 win in 1946.
Arkeel Newsome put on a now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t performance, rushing for 406 yards on 40 carries. He set a school record for points scored in a game with 46 on seven touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions. He broke a 76-year-old record held by Bubby Natowich, who scored 43 points on seven touchdowns and 451 yards in a 79-0 win over Naugatuck in 1936.
Newsome’s wild day helped keep Naugatuck (9-2) out of the Class L playoffs. The Greyhounds missed out when New London upset Norwich Free Academy.
“We had a good season at 9-2 and I’m so proud of what our kids were able to accomplish,” Naugatuck coach Craig Bruno said. “But we just didn’t have an answer for Arkeel Newsome. We did everything we could but we just couldn’t stop him.”
Naugatuck turned over the opening kickoff when Ansonia recovered a squib kick at the Greyhounds’ 40-yard line. That set the stage for Newsome as he carried the ball seven straight times and scored on a 5-yard run. Witold Gul booted the extra point for the Chargers 7-0 lead with 8:40 left in the first quarter.
Naugy junior quarterback Jason Bradley set up behind the line of seniors Mark Cavagnulo and Kevin Mariano, juniors David Kloc and Jack Reardon and sophomore Logan Bond and started a drive into Chargers territory. Bradley picked up first downs on scampers of 13 and 19 yards, but on third-and-12 from the Ansonia 38, Bradley dropped back and lofted a pass for an open Bryan Coney at the 14 only to have Ansonia’s Tajik Bagley make a one-handed interception to spoil the drive.
Newsome (128 first-quarter yards) soon shifted gears and broke away for a 53-yard gain. Quarterback Jai’Quan McKnight took it in from a yard out for a 13-0 Ansonia lead with 2:32 left in the opening quarter. Newsome later scored again on a 26-yard fourth-down run to open up a 19-0 advantage with 8:17 left in the first half.
“We certainly wanted to come out with a better start,” Bruno said. “We fumbled away the opening kickoff and then the unfortunate interception with Ansonia scoring on both of those miscues. It made it a tough day for us.”
The Naugatuck defense — led by juniors Aaron Yourison, PJ Murphy and Socrates Ilunga up front along with senior defensive backs Bryan Burke, Nate Franklin and Matt Burke and junior Maleek Brooks — began to hold, forcing the Chargers to punt on back-to-back possessions.
Bradley (9-of-30, 180 yards, four touchdowns) started out slow, missing on his first 10 attempts with several drops included. Faced with a fourth-and-20 and just 33 seconds left in the half, Bradley threw a 38-yard touchdown to Coney and Tom Douty barreled into the end zone on the two-point conversion to make it a manageable 19-8 game.
But Ansonia let a little more air out of the tire when Bagley picked up the ensuing squib kick at his 40 and returned it to the Naugatuck 26. With just 5 seconds left in the half, Newsome scored on a 14-yard scamper and the notion of a Hounds comeback slipped away with Ansonia out in front 27-8.
Bradley threw for three touchdowns in the second half, hitting Ryne Griesenauer on a spectacular 4-yard fingertip catch, another 18-yard score to Coney and an 8-yarder to senior Rick Plasky.
But there was just no stopping Newsome. Ansonia piled up five more touchdowns on just 13 plays with Newsome scoring three times in the third quarter. He scored his final touchdown of the day with 11:22 left in the game to open a 60-22 advantage and left with 9,681 career yards and 171 touchdowns for his career.