During the preseason, Coach Bill Flood already had his sights on the April 30 visit to Heritage Village Country Club and a clash with South-West Conference rival Pomperaug of Southbury. As that date fast approaches, both Flood’s Newtown High School boys’ golf team (6-0 heading into Thursday’s meet with Notre Dame-Fairfield) and defending regular season conference champion Pomperaug (2-0 in the early going) continue to look like the best teams in the conference, Flood said. The coach is more and more excited about the standoff, and he’s hopeful the weather is cooperative for this match. Pomperaug has been hit hard by rainouts early this spring, hence having only two matches under its belt.
This regular season champion could, effectively, be decided in the first month of the season.
“My belief is the whole season’s going to ride on the April 30 match,” said Flood, adding that he expects both teams to otherwise breeze through the competition this spring.
“Obviously you can always stub your foot,” Flood said of the importance of not looking past any opponent.
Newtown, after its sixth win, still had two matches to play before the highly anticipated match with the Panthers. But Flood has plenty of reason for optimism.
“This is the strongest team I’ve ever coached,” he said. “I’ve never had it this good.”
In an April 21 win over Stratford at Rock Ride Country Club, Newtown shot a 141 to Stratford’s 193. Newtown’s average score of its top four golfers was just one over at the par 35 course, something the team hasn’t done in at least 15 years, Flood said. Brian LeBlanc and Colin Patrick each shot a 35, Vivek Tedla had a 36, Graham Hubbert had a 35, and Josh Houle shot a 38 in the win.
Until that strong showing, the Nighthawks have not hit to their capability, Flood said. He expects the NHS golfers to get better and better as the season unfolds. They’ve got the benefit of teeing off at Rock Ridge in nine of 15 regular season matches this year.
“Home is a huge advantage,” Flood said.
In an April 17 win on the road against Bunnell of Stratford, Newtown had a 170 to Bunnell’s 203. LeBlanc shot a 40, Patrick had a 45, Houle shot a 44, Tedla shot a 45, and Hubbert had a 41.
In April 22 home meet with Immaculate of Danbury, Newtown shot a 148 to defeat Immaculate (204). Newtown’s top scorers were Leblanc with a 34, Houle (37), Patrick (38), and Tedla (39).
The Nighthawks welcome a likely tough test and down to the wire finish for a change. Pomperaug, after being the best in the conference in the regular campaign last spring, was taken down by Weston in the SWC championship. The Panthers, however, went on to capture a state title and remain a team to beat.
For now, Flood considers the Panthers the best in the conference, and he’s looking for his golfers to change his mind.
“Right now, I think we’re the second best team in the conference. We’ve got to beat the champions first,” he said.
Win or lose, this match stands to be a good one — and a close one. That’s something Flood is looking forward to given his team has won handily in every match thus far.
“It’s going to be fun to watch,” the coach said. “It’s going to be a test for my guys.
“We can take ’em. It’s been a while,” said Flood, adding that the team hasn’t beaten the Panthers in at least five years. “This is our best shot to beat Pomperaug.”
The rival teams are slated to square off again the next day in the Woodland Invitational, an approximate 20–25 team gathering at Oxford Greens. Flood expects his squad and Pomperaug’s to be the favorites in that event.