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Ansonia rips Naugatuck behind McKnight, Newsome

Updated 11:11 pm, Thursday, November 22, 2012
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ANSONIA -- In a game that seemed closer than the final score shows, Naugatuck tested Ansonia in their Thanksgiving showdown at Jarvis Field, the 113th such meeting.

Big plays by star running back Arkeel Newsome and game MVP Jai'Quan McKnight were the difference in a 48-27 Ansonia win.

The win clinches the top seed in the Class S playoffs for the Chargers (11-0), who will play at home Tuesday night at 6:30 against No. 8 Prince Tech.

Just before kickoff, the news came that former Chargers coach Jack Hunt had passed away after a battle with cancer. Hunt, a former Ansonia standout, coached the team to seven state titles and a 193-26 career record during his 19-year tenure from 1987-2005.

"Great man, obviously been a great leader in the community," said Ansonia coach Tom Brockett, who took over for Hunt in 2006. "He's meant so much to so many people."

As for the game itself, two big runs by McKnight sparked the Chargers offense early. The sophomore quarterback had touchdown runs of 65 and 59 yards. Brockett utilized designed runs for the quarterback early and often, adding one more threat to an already potent offense.

"Playing quarterback is my position," McKnight said, "but I love running the ball."

Naugatuck's offense proved good enough to keep the game close early. Time and time again, quarterback Jason Bradley was able to find go-to receiver Charleston Pernell. The game had three lead changes in the first half in what was likely the most competitive game Ansonia played all season.

"You can't take any team lightly," McKnight said.

Ansonia pulled away just before halftime, turning a five-point lead into a 19-point lead with two drives capped by Newsome scores. The junior's stamp was all over this game. He ran for four touchdowns, one of which went for 54 yards, and also caught a McKnight pass for a score.

Bradley did not return for the second half due to an injury, and was replaced by several quarterbacks, who tried to run the wildcat offense. Pernell, Jerome Love and Nate Franklin all took turns at quarterback in what was at times a very successful attack.

"Those athletes they put in the wildcat, it was almost like pick your poison because it was tough no matter what they did," Brockett said.

NAUGATUCK....................................9 6 0 12--27

ANSONIA.......................................20 14 7 7--48

A--Jai'Quan McKnight 65 run (Arthur Kwaskiewicz kick)

N--Charleston Pernell 61 pass from Jason Bradley (Pernell kick blocked)

N--Pernell 24 field goal

A--McKnight 59 run (Pass failed)

A--Arkeel Newsome 2 run (Kwaskiewicz kick)

N--Bradley 2 run (Pass failed)

A--Newsome 7 run (Kwaskiewicz kick)

A--Newsome 9 pass from McKnight (Kwaskiewicz kick)

A--Newsome 54 run (Kwaskiewicz kick)

N--Pernell 30 pass from Nate Franklin (Pass failed)

A--Newsome 3 run (Kwaskiewicz kick)

N--Franklin 5 run (Run failed)

Records: Naugatuck 6-4, Ansonia 11-0