Hawks etch their names in the record books

Woodland quarterback Tanner Kingsley finished the season with 3,227 passing yards and 51 touchdowns with a 70 percent completion rate. His completions (246), yards, and touchdowns are all Naugatuck Valley League records. His touchdowns on the season are the most in state history. –RA ARCHIVE

BEACON FALLS — Tanner Kingsley and Anthony Scirpo will be etched atop the Connecticut high school football record book for the foreseeable future.

The junior quarterback and senior wide receiver both set state records and have their names plastered all over the Connecticut, Naugatuck Valley League, and Woodland record books after a fantastic season in the Hawks’ return to the spread offense.

Woodland coach Tim Shea said the team didn’t really think about the numbers until after the Hawks’ season-ending loss to North Branford in the Class S semifinals. When he finally saw the stats in perspective, he was astounded.

“We weren’t thinking about (records) during games,” Shea said. “But I finally had a chance to sit down and look at what they accomplished. Seventy percent completions on 350 attempts and 51 touchdowns (Kingsley’s stats) are pretty impressive at any level. And think that in Week 1, 2, 4 and 5 he didn’t play full games. Anthony broke a record by somebody who’s getting paid to play now on Sunday (Aaron Hernandez).”

Kingsley finished with 3,227 passing yards and 51 touchdowns with 70 percent completions. His completions (246), yards and touchdowns are all new NVL records while his touchdowns are by far most in state history, his completions are second-most and his yards are sixth-most in history.

Woodland offensive coordinator Tim Phipps said he knew Kingsley had the potential to be the area’s top quarterback.

“At a summer camp, I told Tanner that the best thing he could do for himself was think he wanted to be the best quarterback in the league and the best technical quarterback he could be,” Phipps said. “He did that. That whole entire attitude, top to bottom, was there.”

Kingsley also set several single-game records. Twice this season he passed for more than 500 yards: His 502 yards and eight touchdowns against Naugatuck set then-NVL records, but he broke his own yardage mark on Thanksgiving eve with 615 yards and eight more scores against Seymour.

He also set a league mark with 33 completions against Holy Cross.

Woodland receiver Anthony Scirpo (8) now holds the state record for touchdown catches in a season with 25, surpassing the record of 24 held by former Bristol Central star Aaron Hernandez. –FILE PHOTO

Scirpo broke the state record for touchdown catches in a season with 25, his two scores against North Branford put him past Hernandez’s previous mark of 24.

Scirpo shattered the school record with 1,219 receiving yards, 30 total touchdowns and 214 points. His point total is eighth-most in league history, his yardage is seventh-most and his receptions (78) are third-most.

“Tanner had the time to get the ball to great wide receivers,” Phipps said. “We certainly gave up in size with some of our receivers but they had such big heart out there. They wanted it every single play. I was fortunate to be involved with that.”

Phipps pointed to the play of an offensive line that returned only one starter as a big reason for the records. Max McSperrin, Jake Laliberte, Jeremy Clark, Eric Collodel, and Kevin Brennan were excellent all season.

“Those guys were fantastic,” Phipps said. “Jeremy Clark at center knew the offense cold. Max McSperrin and Kevin Brennan on the outside were great tackles. Everything that Kevin put up with was so important. It doesn’t show up in stats. Those guys took so much pride in their jobs. I can’t tell you how proud I am of that group.”

Despite falling short in the state semifinals, Shea thinks the record-breakers and the rest of the senior class reset the bar for future teams.

“We can sit back and think about what we accomplished now that we don’t have to worry about who we’re playing next,” Shea said. “I’m very happy for what the seniors accomplished. They got us back to the level where hopefully we can stay there.”