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Gridders Keep Rolling, Pound Weston To Stay Unbeaten

As has been the case in most tilts this fall, Newtown High School’s football team piled on the points to build a big first-half lead before coasting to victory in its week seven game. The Nighthawks scored all of their points in the first two quarters and cruised to a 47-13 win over visiting Weston, under the lights at Blue & Gold Stadium on October 25. Newtown improved to 7-0 and the Trojans fell to 3-4.

Julian Dunn had a trio of touchdown receptions and also ran for a score, Troy Frangione had a pair of TDs on diving plays, and quarterback Drew Tarantino threw for five scores to lead the offense.

Tarantino had 18- and 34-yard touchdown passes to Dunn, and a 34-yarder to Frangione — who caught a short pass, bolted down the right sideline, and dove to the pylon for the score — in the first quarter. Newtown led 20-0 heading into the second.

Cooper Gold, who repeatedly set up his teammates with chain-moving carries, had a 19-yard run to set up a three-yard Dunn TD scamper on a trick play to start the second-quarter scoring. Dunn lined up to kick a field goal, took a direct snap, faked a pass, then ran it across the goal line for 27-0 Newtown cushion.

The defense got into the act with a touchdown when defensive back Jack Lago scooped up a fumble and returned the ball 30 yards to paydirt for a 34-0 lead. On the next play from scrimmage, Newtown’s defense created another turnover as Jared Pearson pounced on a fumble at the Weston 25. That set up an 18-yard Troy Frangione diving TD catch over the middle to make it 40-0. Tarantino took advantage of some strong line blocking and used his pocket presence and poise to escape a would-be tackle before completing the TD pass.

After the Trojans got on the scoreboard late in the second, Newtown’s Otto Kerler had a nice catch and run for a gain of 31 yards, a play in which he made a cutback move to gain some extra yards, setting up Dunn’s five-yard TD catch as first-half time expired.

Newtown received the ball to begin the second half and, with the help of a too many men on the field penalty against Weston on fourth down, managed to hold the ball for the entire third quarter. The Hawks, in fact, chewed another two minutes off the clock to begin the fourth before turning the ball over on downs at the Weston four yard line. The Nighthawks used 20 plays to move 62 yards in a mind-boggling 14 minutes to begin the second half.

“It was an old school Ken Roberts drive,” said Newtown Coach Steve George, alluding to the play calling of the former Newtown head coach, who hired George as an assistant.

Newtown has racked up at least 35 points in each of the last five games and played kill the clock with a ground and pound second-half effort in four of those clashes.

“It’s obviously really fun with the great line we have, and Drew, and Cooper,” Dunn said of Newtown’s offense. “We have so many weapons.”

Lago noted that the Hawks are taking it one game at a time, but recognizes the potential is there for a fourth consecutive trip to the South-West Conference championship game and a second straight title.

“It can be a special year — we can go all the way,” Lago said. “It starts with the line and it builds out.”

Aside from the 49-36 wild win over Joel Barlow of Redding, Newtown has held every opponent to a touchdown or two — mostly second-half mop-up scoring. Lago believes this was his team’s best defensive effort of the campaign.

“Defensively, we did well in the first half,” said Newtown Coach Steve George, whose backup players once again gained valuable varsity experience in a rout.

“It’s a tough offense to stop,” George said of the Trojans. “The kids played hard today.”

Newtown visits New Fairfield on November 1, and will host Stratford on November 8 — both 7 pm kickoffs.

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