BY KEN MORSE
The Naugatuck-Ansonia football rivalry began in 1900 when the Chargers came away with a 5-0 win.
Here’s a look at the more-than-century long competition:
The Chargers hold a 73-37-10 edge in the series and are 30-3 over the last 33 years in the rivalry.
For various reasons, no game was played in 1911, 1915, 1918 and 1924.
Since the NVL began rewarding championships in football in 1951, Naugatuck and Ansonia have met 16 times for the league title with the Chargers holding a slim 9-7 edge.
Ansonia entered the Thanksgiving game undefeated 36 times while the Greyhounds have been unbeaten 10 times.
Both teams have been undefeated going into Turkey Day five times, most recently in 2017 and 2018.
Ansonia, ranked second in Class S, comes in this year at 9-0, having won 104 straight NVL games/ The Chargers’ last loss was on Thanksgiving Day 2010 when the Greyhounds won the NVL title, 38-20.
Naugy is ranked third in Class L and comes in with an 8-1 record.
First things first
Right after Chris Anderson was named the new head football coach for Naugatuck, he began assembling the coaching staff with familiar faces.
Former Woodland head coach Chris Moffo is the defensive coordinator and head line coach.
Mark Swanson, a former Naugatuck offensive line and linebacker coach, is now the assistant offensive and defensive line coach.
Scott Lynch, a former Woodland assistant, is the defensive line coach and the scout team coordinator.
Cody Kingsley, the former Woodland quarterback, is the special teams coordinator, running back coach and secondary defensive coach.
Ryan Griesenauer, a former Greyhound and SCSU tight end, is the linebacker and wide receiver coach.
Matt Burke, a former 2013 Greyhound, is the head freshman coach.
Anthony Tata, a former Crosby High and Cheshire Academy standout who played for the University of New Haven when Anderson was an assistant on the Chargers staff, is the assistant freshman coach and helps with the varsity line.
“I wanted to hire guys that had experience and that were great teachers,” said Anderson, who started the Woodland football program in 2001 and led the Hawks to state championships in 2004 and 2005. “These guys have incredible energy. We would never be where we are without these assistant coaches. They are fantastic.”
Winning the battle in the trenches begins up front with the offense and defensive lines controlling the lines of scrimmage.
Junior left tackle/defensive tackle Justin Ramos, senior left guard/nose guard Mike Rusin, junior guard/defensive end Jacob Sanchez, junior right tackle/defensive tackle Carmine Navarra, junior center Kani Burrell and junior tackle Jacob Scianna have been moving the mountains before them to keep the chains moving on offense, and stopping opponents in their tracks on defense.
Ground and pound
The Greyhounds have churned up 2,027 yards of real estate, scoring 307 points, which is second in the NVL.
Naugatuck has been piling up first downs and controlling not only the line of scrimmage, but possession on the time clock, as well.
Sophomore Jett Hall has run for 521 yards (eight touchdowns), junior Michael Deitelbaum has barreled ahead for 478 yards (nine touchdowns) and junior Cayden Martin has bulled his way for 415 yards (seven touchdowns).
Senior quarterback Jibree Bartelle has passed for just over 300 yards and six touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Aiden Robertson has 250 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Senior tight end Kyle Johnson has scored three touchdowns.
Sophomore kicker Dominic DeSousa has been automatic, hitting on 35 of 37 extra-point attempts. He is 2 for 2 on field goals.
“The thing about our offense is all three of our running backs have a different style that keeps us unpredictable,” said Anderson. “And the play of our line allows them to be successful. Our quarterback Jibree can throw and has five touchdown passes to keep the opponents from focusing on any one area.
“Kyle Johnson deserves a lot of credit. He has done an incredible job blocking from his tight end position. DeSousa has been so valuable adding point through our kicking game.”
Not only is the Greyhounds’ defense opportunistic with blocked punts, two safety, six interceptions (2 TDs), 6 fumble recoveries (3 TDs), it can stop teams in their tracks, as well.
Deitelbaum leads the team with 51 tackles and two interceptions, and Johnson has 42 tackles and five sacks. Sanchez also has five sacks. Allowing 99 points, the Greyhounds are the second best in the NVL on defense.
The Chargers are on their home turf at Jarvis Stadium with the best defense in the NVL with 63 points allowed. They will have a lot of emotions coming into this game with the Nov. 18 passing of Bob Barth, the voice (public address announcer) of Ansonia football for over 25 years.
This year’s Ansonia team may not be as super charged as teams in the past, but make no mistake, the Chargers know how to win football games for head coach Tom Brockett, scoring 258 points.
On the line of scrimmage are senior left tackle Thomas Nolasco, senior left guard Carlos Pinto, senior center Louis Gripper, senior right guard Eddie Lawlor, junior right tackle Alex Romanowski and tight ends senior Damon Wooten and sophomore Preston Dziubina.
In the pocket are junior quarterback Chris Kaminski, senior tailback Darell McKnight and junior fullback David Cassetti.
BY KEN MORSE