The last time Woodland played for a state football championship, the Hawks were underdogs. But they still were Great Danes in 2005. They might be more like Chihuahuas in 2013.
Woodland will face Ansonia, the state’s No. 1-ranked team, for the Class S state championship Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at Central Connecticut State University’s Arute Field in New Britain. The game will be broadcast live on CPTV Sports.
The Chargers, seeded second in the division, have won 42 games in a row — the second longest streak in state history. They have blown through their two playoff games against Coginchaug and Rocky Hill by 20-plus points each, and only one of those 42 games has been decided by fewer than 21 points. Ansonia has beaten Woodland handily four times during that stretch.
Just three weeks ago, the Chargers laid a 48-7 pounding on the Hawks for the Naugatuck Valley League championship. Ansonia held Woodland quarterback Tanner Kingsley to 76 yards passing — the second lowest output of his record-setting career — and picked off three passes. Chargers running back Arkeel Newsome scored five touchdowns and accounted for more than 250 total yards.
The Hawks will have to figure out a way to tackle Newsome, who in his five career games against Woodland has averaged 212 total yards and scored 17 touchdowns. He has run for 3,608 yards this year and will likely eclipse his single-season state record of 3,763 yards. He’s already broken his single-season state mark with 64 total touchdowns and he holds almost every state record there is.
Kingsley isn’t too shabby in the record department, either. His four touchdown passes in Woodland’s 30-26 semifinal win against Bloomfield gave him 113 for his career, which set a new state benchmark.
He has 3,473 passing yards (third most in a single season) and 45 touchdowns (second most to his 51 last year) this year, but the cast around him for this state championship is depleted.
Starting running back Sean McAllen, who has more than 2,000 total yards this year, sat out the semifinal due to a concussion. His status was still uncertain as of Wednesday. His backup, Coby Vaccarelli, suffered a knee injury in the semifinal and appeared unlikely to return for the final. Wide receiver Jack Pinho has missed the second halves of two games over the last month with injuries, and every player is feeling the effects of having won three games in nine days.