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Eighth Grade Gridders Blank Glastonbury, Advance To Championship



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On November 14, the eighth grade Newtown Nighthawks punched their ticket to the Shoreline Youth Football Conference championship game with a convincing 19-0 semifinal-round win over long-time nemesis Glastonbury, which had won five of the previous six matchups against Newtown dating back to third grade, including a 33-0 trouncing of a banged-up Newtown squad just four weeks ago.

Newtown’s defense set the tone early in the first quarter when linebackers Marcus Gerace and Luke Stewart combined with cornerback Travis Rekos on a key tackle to force a turnover on downs in Glastonbury territory. Cole Stockwell capitalized on the momentum by rumbling 25 yards for a touchdown to put the Hawks on the scoreboard halfway through the first quarter. Quarterback Gerace connected with Stockwell on a quick slant to add the extra point. A defensive battle ensued for the remainder of the half, highlighted by a clutch interception made by cornerback CJ Manfredonia to end a threatening Glastonbury drive with 45 seconds remaining in the half.

Back on defense to begin the second half, Stewart kept the momentum going in the Nighthawk’s favor on the opening series by forcing a fumble which was recovered by Emmet Regan. Later in the third quarter, Newtown’s offense got back on track as Stockwell gashed the Glastonbury defense for a 60-yard run down to the ten yard line. Gerace then connected with Aidan Walker on an out route down to the half yard line as time expired in the third quarter and Stockwell followed with a TD plunge on the opening play of the final period.

Regan capped off a tremendous defensive team effort by picking off a trick play double pass thrown by Glastonbury’s wide receiver midway through the final quarter. Newtown responded on offense with a diligent time-consuming drive, capped off by a 25-yard TD strike from Gerace to Stockwell on a fourth down to seal the victory with two minutes remaining.

Gerace, Ryan Hislop, Grady Marks, Nick Pavia, Stewart, and Stockwell were all credited with multiple tackles. On the offensive side, Marks and Regan handled the bulk of the receiving duties, reeling in receptions from Gerace who was often throwing on the run. Regan also contributed with several long punts that set up Glastonbury with poor field position.

Newtown will travel to Cheshire High School on Sunday, November 21, for the neutral site championship game against the Wallingford Vikings and their vaunted running back, at 3 pm, in the final youth football game for these Nighthawks.

Cole Stockwell, front, and Marcus Gerace lead the way for Nick Pavia to run the ball for the Nighthawks in their league semifinal win over Glastonbury. —Jennifer Foss photos
Emmet Regan carries the ball as Mack Foss looks on.
Marcus Gerace throws a pass, as Lucian Place, left, and Luke Stewart block.
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