Newtown’s fourth grade football team defeated Shelton 13-7 to claim the Colonial League Orange Bowl championship this past week. The Nighthawks defeated New Milford 27-7 in playoff action the week before, to earn a berth in the title game. Playoff highlights are as follows:
Nighthawks 27, New Milford 7: The much-improved Saints of New Milford played good fundamental football, brought a workman’s attitude to the game, and launched a long, slow march down the field eating up much of the first quarter. The Newtown bend-but-don’t-break defense, led by Walker Previdi, Connor Ivey, Ava Foss, Miles Capener, and Jake Bulkley, stopped the drive short of a New Milford score, however. The Nighthawks took over on downs and Michael Ihlefeld sprung a 25-yard run to the New Milford 14 yard line on a QB keeper. Running back Matt Jacobs took the ball in for a touchdown and QB James Iaropoli ran in the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
Not giving up, New Milford responded on a long play, running more than 50 yards for a touchdown and punching in the extra point to tie the game 7-7 as the first half expired.
Newtown got the ball to start the third quarter and went to work. QB Iaropoli hit WR Eric Gray on a 40 yard pass play. RB Rich Guman then ran for 10 yards and RB Andrew Jacobs scored on an explosive 20 yard run. An Iaropoli keeper for the extra point made it 14-7.
The Saints got the ball back and began to drive but a fumble recovered by linebacker Bulkley gave the ball back to the Nighthawks. Newtown’s possession was short-lived when a fumbled handoff was recovered by New Milford. The Saints began to drive again, but Newtown’s Anthony D’Amico recovered a Saints’ fumble inside the 10 yard line. The Nighthawks capitalized on the situation when Iaropoli took it into the end zone for a TD and FB Bulkley ran in the extra point to make the score 21-7.
Newtown continued its dominant play when later in the fourth quarter. D’Amico ran for 38 yards into the end zone. New Milford regained possession but fumbled and Newtown’s Miles Capener recovered the loose ball.
Newtown 13, Shelton 7: In the Orange Bowl championship game, The Newtown Nighthawks faced the Vikings of Shelton. Looking to avenge their regular season loss to the Nighthawks, the Vikings took the opening kickoff and methodically drove 70 yards behind their running attack, all the way to the Newtown one yard line. But the Newtown defense would not yield, stopping Shelton on fourth down and goal. Connor Ivey, Walker Previdi, and Miles Capener were standouts on the defensive stop.
The Newtown offense took over, but failed to gain a first down and punted. Shelton took over with excellent field position. The Newtown defense once again came up big and stopped Shelton inside the five yard line. Ava Foss, Rich Guman, and Julian Crone made key tackles.
Inspired by their defense, the Nighthawk offense came alive and struck on a big play as speedy RB Andrew Jacobs ran a well-executed sweep 95 yards for the game’s first score. QB James Iaropoli ran in the extra point and Newtown led 7-0.
The game went back and forth with both defenses coming up with fumble recoveries and standing firm until midway through the fourth quarter when the Vikings scored and punched in the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
On their next possession, the Hawks coughed up the ball, but when Shelton took possession Newtown’s Jake Bulkley stripped the Shelton RB of the ball and recovered the fumble. This ignited the Nighthawk offense and, on the next series, Iaropoli found Eric Gray on a 10-yard pass and he raced 40 yards for a TD. The extra point attempt failed but Newtown led 13-7.
Newtown’s defense remained tough for the remainder of the game and the Nighthawks celebrated a well-deserved championship victory.