Playoff berth within Hawks’ reach
SEYMOUR — The Naugatuck football team’s first test of the season nearly turned into its first loss of the season.
Three clutch defensive plays by safety Zack Koslosky and a late touchdown pass from Jay Mezzo to Elijah Robinson lifted No. 8-ranked Naugatuck to a 28-26 comeback victory over Seymour Thursday night at DeBarber Field.
The Greyhounds (8-0) faced a 26-21 deficit in the fourth quarter of a back-and-forth game and had just fumbled away the ball to the Wildcats (6-2) with about 7 minutes to play. Moments later, Koslosky stripped Seymour quarterback Ian Sadick and Naugy’s Mike Amankwa recovered the fumble.
Naugy capitalized when Mezzo hit Robinson for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 6:16 remaining.
“Everyone played a great game defensively,” Koslosky told the Republican-American. “It just wasn’t me. This is a great confidence boost for all of us.”
The Greyhounds had to make a final stand in the closing minutes against Seymour backup quarterback Kevin Harmeling, who entered the game after Sadick left with an injury. Harmeling completed several passes to help the Wildcats reach Naugy’s 12-yard line with 35 seconds to play. His next three passes fell incomplete, including two that Koslosky swatted.
“This was the first time we were in this situation, and everyone came through on defense,” Naugy linebacker Mike Natkiel told the Rep-Am. “We played 48 minutes of football. We had to.”
Naugatuck faced three separate deficits in the game. Two of those were in the first half, but Mezzo’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Koslosky with 4 seconds remaining in the second quarter gave the Greyhounds a 21-20 lead at the break.
Earlier in the game, Nick Airall ran for a 22-yard touchdown and Robinson returned a kickoff 78 yards for a score — his fourth return touchdown of the season.
Seymour outgained Naugy, 332-152, but the Greyhounds managed to do just enough to win.
“Even though we were down, we weren’t nervous,” Mezzo told the Rep-Am. “We worked on this in practice. It’s just routine. We just did our job.”
Naugatuck will have a chance to clinch a Class L playoff berth with a win next Friday over Class S playoff contender Holy Cross, whom the Greyhounds will host at 7 p.m. Naugy will visit Ansonia on Thanksgiving at 10 a.m. in an attempt to beat the Chargers for the first time since 2010.
Woodland nears playoff berth: No matter the result of Friday’s game against Ansonia, the Woodland football team is closing in on a return to the Class S playoffs for the first time since 2013.
The Hawks entered November with a 7-0 record after a 40-0 pasting of Crosby on Oct. 26. Edit Krivca, Ben Brooks, Richie Weishner and Nick Rousseau all scored rushing touchdowns, while Tyler Bulinski hit Jason Hicks for a 35-yard score and Jason Palmieri added a 50-yard pick-six.
An upset of Ansonia will make next Friday’s game at Oxford an opportunity for Woodland to clinch a postseason berth. A loss to the Chargers will make the game against the Wolverines likely a must-win game entering the Thanksgiving eve contest against Seymour, which will kick off this year in Beacon Falls at 5:30 p.m.
The Republican-American contributed to this story.