Falcons bring title home

The Polish Falcons from Naugatuck Nest No. 65 (in no order) John Lounsbury, Bruce Kirk, Lucas Hehl, Steve Russell, Dave Howell, Brian Howard, Francis Gagnon, Dennis Cottrell, Mike Schmitt and Al Terry won their third billiards state championship in seven years.  -KEN MORSE

The Polish Falcons from Naugatuck Nest No. 65 (in no order) John Lounsbury, Bruce Kirk, Lucas Hehl, Steve Russell, Dave Howell, Brian Howard, Francis Gagnon, Dennis Cottrell, Mike Schmitt and Al Terry won their third billiards state championship in seven years. -KEN MORSE

NAUGATUCK — For the third time in seven years, the Polish Falcons rule the roost when it comes to pool.

Naugatuck Nest No. 65 has garnered the billiards state championship edging out Middletown by a slim 7-5 margin.

The Falcons needed a late rally by team captain Brian Howard in the last singles match over Nest No. 519 of Middletown to earn the state title.

“We play six singles and six doubles matches and it came down to the last singles match,” Howard said. “If Middletown won that match it would have come down to a tiebreaker match. It was pretty exciting. The guys were all hooting and hollering until the shot went off and then it’s like golf with total silence.”

The Naugatuck Nest dominated the league this past season going 7-3, which was good enough for first place and home table advantage in the playoffs.

Howard teamed up with team veterans ‘Frenchie’ Francis Gagnon, Al Terry and Dave Howell along with stable shooters Lucas Hehl, Bruce Kirk, Dennis Cotrell and ‘Smitty’ Michael Schmitt with John Lounsbury and Steve Russell rounding out the pool champions lineup.

The Falcons gained the edge in the title match when Cotrell knocked in the eight-ball on his break to win his match, Howard explained.

“That really set the tone and got all the guys fired up,” Howard said.

Then it was Howards turn.

“It’s a little nerve-racking,” Howard admitted. “When you are up all eyes are on you, and you have to do all you can do to concentrate on the shot. When it goes in all the guys go nuts because you win as a team and lose as a team.”

The Polish Falcons added state championships to the club’s trophy case in 2008 and 2011. So, to bring the trophy back home was certainly a well -derserved accomplishment for Nest No. 65 this season.

“The camaraderie among the guys is like a family,” club President George Carlson said. “These guys are like brothers, and they all love to play pool and the results speaks for itself. They are all pretty good at what they do.”

The Polish Falcons, located on School Street in Naugatuck, has been a community giving organization for over a century in the borough. The organization is celebrating it’s 108th anniversary this year.

Nest 65 supports Union City Little League, YMCA Little Pal basketball, the Naugatuck Ecumenical Food Bank, St. Vincent’s DePaul Mission and Naugatuck Grad Night along with a host of other local organizations.

The Polish Falcons organization is a community-based supportive club that has chapters throughout Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania and stretches as far as the Midwest.

“We have about 40 or 50 active members and you couldn’t ask for a better group of guys,” Carlson said. “They all take care of each other and they are there for each other along with any organization in town that we can support. We are one of the best supporters in town that no one has ever heard of.”    

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