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Covering High School Sports in America

Tag: Ridgefield High School

  • 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:

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    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.

  • 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