Football Team Grinds Out 10-6 Win Over Rebels
It was not pretty — penalties and touchdowns negated by more penalties — but Newtown High School’s football team got the job done. The Nighthawks held off the visiting New Fairfield Rebels 10-6 in the fog at Blue & Gold Stadium on November 12.
Newtown did a little of everything, using solid defense and special teams, along with just enough offense to pull out the victory.
Late in the first quarter, Andrew Swierbut recovered the ball at the New Fairfield five yard line following Cam Ward’s blocked punt. That set up quarterback Dylan Magazu’s five-yard run into the end zone for Newtown’s lone touchdown.
Newtown carried a 7-0 lead into the half. Tyler Griffin added a 26-yard field goal late in the third quarter; the field goal was set up by long runs from Caleb Smith. NHS had a first and goal opportunity at the six but went backwards on a penalty. It was 10-0 Nighthawks through three quarters of play.
The Nighthawk defense held the Rebels scoreless until just 6:50 remained in the game. The Rebels got back into it on broken play — a seven-yard run by Vincent Sarro after Sarro scooped up a fumble off an errant snap on third and goal to go at the one yard line.
For a moment it looked as if the Nighthawks caught a break as the ball bounced away from the end zone but Sarro made things interesting for the rest of the night. Another miscue on a snap wiped out a potential point after and left the Rebels in need of a touchdown.
A pair of 15-yard New Fairfield penalties on the same play — one for targeting (an illegal hit) and another for unsportsmanlike conduct — gave Newtown a first down at the Rebels’ 26 with 6:18 to go. Magazu’s apparent TD run from ten yards out was called back on a penalty. That was Newtown’s second score negated by a flag on the night. Newtown ended up turning the ball over on downs.
“We had two called back and we survived it,” Newtown Coach Bobby Pattison said.
The Rebels had one last chance, taking over at their own 33 with 3:06 remaining. They marched to the Nighthawk 25 with under a minute to play. A holding penalty pushed the Rebels back to the NHS 43 and J.J. Haddick sealed the win with an interception near midfield with 34 seconds left.
Bryan Reyes had an interception and some key pass breakups, including one in the end zone to deny a potential TD, and Chris Stowell also had an INT for the Hawks. Jack Chappa and Noah Clark had quarterback sacks.
The Hawks held the Rebels (7-2) to a season low point total.
“New Fairfield is a very physical team,” said Pattison, adding that the Rebels have a good rushing game. “I thought, for the most part, we were able to slow them down.”
NHS improved to 6-3 and are contending for a top eight spot and Class LL state playoff berth. The CIAC rankings following November 12 action had Newtown in ninth. Newtown will host 7-2 Masuk of Monroe on Wednesday, November 24, at 6 pm.
Newtown’s coach remains hopeful that his team can get into the playoffs. It’s all contingent on not just wins and losses but power points earned by teams based on strength of schedule.
“We have to win against Masuk, which is a good football team, and the rest will sort itself out,” Pattison said.
Read more about the win over the Rebels in the November 19 print edition of The Bee.
Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at email@example.com.