MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America

Category: Connecticut Football

  • File photo by Jim Stout

    The coaches of the Kennedy football program sprang into action when they saw a player being harmed.

    Two Connecticut high school football coaches are being called heroes today, after a selfless act to defend one of their players.

    According to WSFB in Hartford, Kennedy coaches Gilberto Velasquez and Roy Thompson sprung into action on Friday afternoon when the duo witnessed a Kennedy (Waterbury) freshman football player being robbed and physically harmed by a pair of men before football practice.

    Velasquez and Thompson rushed to the player's aid and freed him from harm's way. However, the attackers then turned their aggression toward the two coaches.

    "My well-being and safety is second to my players," Velasquez told WSFB.

    Velasquez reportedly suffered a fractured eye socket, contusions to the chest, cracked ribs and a cracked sinus cavity.

    Somehow, he and Thompson were able to subdue the attackers until police arrived.

    "At Kennedy, we teach that we're family, and family sticks together, no matter what," Velasquez said.

  • A gallant comeback fell just short for a high school football team that the entire country was rooting for Tuesday night in Newtown, Conn.

    Down 35-13 in the third quarter, Newtown (Conn.) fought all the way back but a 2-point conversion pass was knocked away with 16 seconds left, securing a 35-33 Class LL quarterfinal win for Ridgefield over the top-seeded and previously unbeaten Nighthawks (12-1).

    See more photos from the game below. See complete photo gallery here:

    See MaxPreps interactive football brackets for all 50 states.

    According to the Connecticut Post, Newtown's Cooper Gold scored on a 6-yard run with 16 seconds left, but quarterback Andrew Tarantino was pressured heavily by Patrick Weston on the 2-point try and his pass fell incomplete in the end zone.

    Ridgefield (10-2), the eighth seed, recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock ending a remarkable and emotional season for Newtown, located just a few miles from where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that claimed 26 lives took place on Dec. 14, 2012.

    The players dedicated their season to the victims of the massacre by wearing a green and white (Sandy Hook's colors) logo on their helmets with No. 26. In its season opener — a 26-7 win over Pomperaug — the team wore special green and white jerseys with the inscriptions "Sandy Hook" on the front and "Stay Strong" above the numbers on the back.

    Before Tuesday's game, the Nighthawks had outscored opponents 439-138. Tarantino, the state's ninth-leading passer, had thrown for 2,414 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Gold had rushed for 1,564 yards and 17 more scores. The defense had allowed 14 points in its previous four games combined.

    "It's a very tough loss," Newtown coach Steve George told the Post after the game. "This loss hurts a lot. I feel bad for our seniors, who are a great group of players."

    Gold, the state's 14th-best rusher, told last week: "We like to think we put a smile on someone's face every time we get a win."

    Or a gallant defeat.
    Photo by Matt Dewkett

    Newtown enters the stadium led by Cooper Gold and Jack Lugo.

    Photo by Matt Dewkett

    With temperatures dipping into the 20s, both lines battled head-to-head, helmet-to-helmet.

    Photo by Matt Dewkett

    The Newtown cheering section while chanting "I believe that we will win."

    Photo by Matt Dewkett

    Ridgeview's Will Bonaparte stiff arms Nick Samuelson.

    Photo by Matt Dewkett

    Ridgeview's Will Bonaparte gets crunched by Julian Dunn.

    Photo by Matt Dewkett

    Newtown quarterback Andrew Tarantino hands the ball to Cooper Gold.

    Photo by Matt Dewkett

    This ball up for grabs was intercepted by Ridgefield's James Hesemeyer.

    Photo by Matt Dewkett

    Newtown's Cooper Gold was held in check until the second half.

    Photo by Matt Dewkett

    Newtown's Austin Babyak sticks Erik Weber.

    Photo by Matt Dewkett

    Newtown meets one last time in the end zone following the game.

  • Photo by Kevin Pataky

    Arkeel Newsome is the Connecticut rushing king.

    Arkeel Newsome is already a big name on the national scene - and now he's the biggest name in the Connecticut high school career rushing yards scene.

    According to GameTimeCT, Newsome ran for a 57-yard touchdown on his first carry of the second half Thursday and that broke the career rushing yards record. He finished the game with 8,385 career rushing yards after compiling 396 on 26 carries Thursday in a 56-21 triumph over Masuk.

    Former Ansonia played Alex Thomas held the record with 8,279 set from 2004-07.

    MaxPreps featured Newsome in the Beyond the X Series in August, 2012 - a time when he had an outside shot at the all-time national rushing record.

    The UConn commit has averaged 11.71 yards per carry in his career, according to the story.

    “It’s a great feeling,” Newsome was quoted as saying in the story. “Coming into this game we definitely had the mindset that we can dominate this team. They’re a good team. It was a good win.”

    The game was stopped to recognize the achievement, and Newsome raised the ball in the air while the crowd cheered, the story said.

  • File photo by Kevin Pataky

    Arkeel Newsome continues to thrill in Connecticut, as he set a state record for career points.

    The Arkeel Newsome legend continues to grow.

    The Ansonia (Conn.) senior running back, who was once featured in the Beyond the X series as a contender for the all-time national rushing record, added another amazing accomplishment to his resume Friday when he scored his 758th career point, according to

    The UConn commit's third touchdown in the opening quarter of a season-opening blowout against Torrington broke the state record for most points scored in a career. He surpassed former Ansonia player Alex Thomas in that department. He scored from 1 yard out and then from 24 to officially break the record, then tacked on another 25-yard score to complete his scoring for the day in a 52-7 rout.

    Thomas' 747 points through 2007 are now second place, but Newsome's still chasing Thomas for the state record for career yards. Newsome has 6,985 compared with 8,279 for Thomas, according to the Arkeel Newsome record watch.

  • Photo by Jim Stout

    Ansonia running back Arkeel Newsome announced his commitment to UConn.

    Standout Ansonia (Conn.) running back Arkeel Newsome has committed to play football at UConn, according to the New Haven Register.

    "They (UConn) have always been my No. 1 choice," Newsome told the Register. "I was basically just testing the waters with recruiting. It feels great. I don’t have to worry about the recruiting process anymore."

    See the MaxPreps Beyond the X feature on Newsome's pursuit of the national rushing record

    The 5-8, 180-pound Newsome rushed for 2,245 yards and 38 touchdowns last season as a junior, and broke the Connecticut record for career touchdowns (currently at 118) with his entire senior season left to add to the total.

    He is also closing in on the state record for rushing yards, needing just under 1,500 yards this season to break the record of 8,279 set by former Ansonia star Alex Thomas.

    UMass, Iowa, Rutgers and Syracuse were also recruiting Newsome.

  • File photo by Matt Dewkett

    Elisa Formiglio, Norwich Free Academy

    Elisa Formiglio became the first girl in Connecticut history to play in a state championship football game on Friday night, although her Norwich Free Academy (Norwich, Conn.) team lost to Xavier (Middletown, Conn.) 48-14 for the Class LL title.

    Formiglio, a senior in her first year of football, also became the first girl to score in a state-title game by kicking two extra points. She finished the year by making 61 of 71 extra-point kicks and a 24-yard field goal in three attempts. She was the team's No. 3 scorer entering the final game.

    The former volleyball player and aspiring nurse who was recruited from gym class told the Hartford Courant, "Girls don't get a lot of opportunities to play football. I'm really hoping other girls, or other people in general will just try something new. I didn't know what was going to happen. I was trying something new. I feel that's important - to have the courage to try something new."

    Xavier (12-1) was able to hand Norwich Free Academy its first loss and earn its third consecutive state title behind the efforts of DeAngelo Berry, who rushed for 260 yards and three touchdowns.

  • File photo by Kevin Pataky

    Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia

    Three Connecticut records were set on Sunday during the state football playoffs.

    Though he's only a junior, Arkeel Newsome now holds the state career record for rushing touchdowns (116) after running 15 times for 207 yards and four touchdowns as Ansonia (Conn.) defeated Hyde Leadership (Hamden), 41-13, during the Class S state semifinals. The previous record of 114 touchdowns was held by another Ansonia star, Alex Thomas.

    Newsome was pleased to keep the prestigious record in the Ansonia family.

    He told the New Haven Register, "It means a lot. He was a good back. For me to break that, I think it's awesome and a great accomplishment."

    Now 13-0 and winner of its last 27 games, Ansonia will play another unbeaten team, North Branford, this coming weekend for the state title. North Branford took advantage of five fumbles to rout Woodland Regional (Beacon Falls) 62-27 in Sunday's other state semifinal.

    Despite the loss, Woodland's outstanding quarterback and receiver each set a single-season state record. Tanner Kingsley threw four touchdown passes to raise the state record he set earlier in the week to 51. The previous record was 43.

    Anthony Scirpo caught two of the scoring strikes for a state-record 25 this year. The previous record was 24.
  • Photo by Tom Lemming

    Arkeel Newsome

    Junior running back Arkeel Newsome carried just nine times in the first half, but he scored five touchdowns while leading Ansonia (Conn.) to a season-opening 66-26 victory over Torrington (Conn.).

    The 5-foot-8, 180-pound speedster, who scored a state-record 62 touchdowns as a sophomore, scored on runs of 1, 4, 38, 60 and 75 yards while gaining 197 yards - all in the first half - as the Chargers mounted a 53-12 halftime lead. That was comfortable enough to rest their star for the entire second half.

    Newsome, who will be chasing the national career rushing record for the next two years, told the Connecticut Post, "I think things went pretty good today, but there's always something that we need to improve to get better at."

    Newsome was the subject of the Beyond the X feature we did last month and his chase for the career record.

    Watch more videos of Ansonia football
  • Graham Stewart of Xavier (Middletown, Conn.), an inside linebacker and one of the top defensive football players in the state, verbally committed to Boston College months ago. But that's why they call it a verbal commitment.

    Nothing was signed.
    Photo by Kevin Pataky

    Graham Stewart of Xavier

    News started leaking out of Florida, first in The Orlando Sentinel late last week, that Stewart had instead decided to take a scholarship offer from Florida. And that's where Stewart is headed along with offensive lineman Thomas Jordan of Ridgefield, who verbally committed to Florida earlier in the season.

    Stewart told The Sentinel "just the overall energy of the place and of course it being Florida, it just seemed to be the best place for me to be to become a better student and a better athlete."

    Other college recruits around the state included quarterback Sean Goldrich of Notre Dame (West Haven), who threw for 1,727 yards and 18 touchdowns, to New Hampshire, offensive lineman Conor Hanratty, of New Canaan and son of Notre Dame quarterback legend Terry, to Notre Dame, and wide receiver Nainy Bah of Morgan (Clinton) to Temple, now coached by former Cheshire High coach and Florida assistant Steve Adazio.
    Photo by Matthew Jacques

    Berlin's Matt Delorenzo

    The University of Connecticut landed two in-state recruits in Berlin running back Max Delorenzo, Glastonbury quarterback Sean McQuillan, who spent a year prepping at Avon Old Farms and is recruited as a tight end.

    Central Connecticut State signed wide receiver Shawn Robinson of Trinity Catholic (Stamford) and Notre Dame (Fairfield) defensive lineman Kevin Harrigan. Yale has three in-state recruits in defensive linemen Patrick Murray and Chris Coyne of Staples (Westport), who verbally committed before the season, and St. Joseph running back L.J. Hunt.

    Quarterback Brett Biestek of Sheehan (Wallingford) and wide receiver Jordan Chapman of Southington will attend Fordham. Princeton landed quarterback Seth Devalve of Manchester, Jonathan Esposito, the career rushing leader at Conard (West Hartford), and offensive tackle Ryan Peloquin of St. Paul (Bristol).

    Ansonia star running back Montrell Dobbs (3,345 yards rushing, 40 touchdowns) will attend prep school Milford Academy (New Berlin, N.Y.).

    Paul Rosano, the former assistant sport editor of The Hartford Courant and sports editor of The New Haven Register, covers Connecticut for He may be reached at