Log In

Reset Password

Freshman Football Team Had Strong Campaign



Text Size

It was a solid fall for the Newtown High School freshman football team, which posted an 8-2 record including big wins over Daniel Hand of Madison, Ansonia, and Masuk of Monroe. The Nighthawk players have a lot to look forward to as their high school careers unfold.

This year’s team was led by captains Marcus Gerace, Aidan Molina, Cole Stockwell, and Grady Marks. The coaching duties were handled by Head Coach Joe Gantert and Offensive Coordinator Lou Santoli with help from assistants Derek Ivey and Trevi Alickolli.

The Nighthawks kicked off their season with weight room training and conditioning in June, which lasted throughout the summer. This gave the team the chance to experience high school football and begin to get them ready for the new level of play.

Newtown’s freshmen opened their playing season by showing great effort against three of the top programs in the state. They made their debut against Greenwich, losing 21-13 with both touchdowns scored through the air from Gerace to Marks. The Hawks dropped another tough one, 28-20 to Darien, with three touchdowns on the ground from Stockwell. Emmet Regan had an interception. Both games went down to the wire and although they ended in losses, the team continued to improve. The Hawks won their next game, defeating Daniel Hand 26-6 with two TDs from Stockwell and a touchdown apiece from Nick Pavia and Regan. This win over a very successful football program was the turning point in the season.

The Hawks rolled through their next five weeks with wins over Pomperaug of Southbury, New Milford, Woodland, Joel Barlow of Redding, and Stratford. They dominated in all phases of the game and outscored opponents by a whopping margin of 215-6. During that stretch, Newtown’s offense was led by quarterback Gerace along with running back Stockwell who had four multiple touchdown games including four TDs against Woodland.

Newtown had a number of players get into the end zone during this five-game period, including Pavia, Regan, Marks, Luke Stewart, Travis Rekos, Tanner Smith, and Cameron Longhi. Lucian Place took care of the kicking responsibilities all season, consistently making extra points. None of this would have been possible without outstanding efforts from the offensive line. These players included Aidan Molina, Ryan Hislop, Michael Johnson, Mack Foss, Jack Dunford, and L.J. Ruggiero.

Newtown’s defense was dominating in these games. The defensive efforts were led by a solid linebacking core including Stewart, Aiden Stinson, Kieran Garrity, Stockwell, and Sam Ruiz. The defensive line also made significant contributions by stopping the run and putting pressure on the quarterback. These players included Derek Schnee, Molina, Pavia, Michael Johnson, Dunford, Place, and Conor Jopp. The secondary was responsible for multiple turnovers as well. Corners Rekos (two forced fumbles) and C.J. Manfredonia (two interceptions) led the secondary with starting safeties Regan and Aidan Walker contributing in every game. Tyler Rosvally and Phillip Justich also played well throughout the year.

The final two games of the year proved to be more challenging but the Hawks were up to the task. The Ansonia Chargers freshman team came to Newtown and got in the end zone three times on a long run and two trick plays. Newtown countered those scores with five touchdowns of its own on the way to a 35-20 victory. Regan led the Newtown attack with three touchdowns. Pavia and Stewart added one each and Hawks went into their final game with a 7-2 record.

Newtown faced undefeated rival Masuk in their final game of the season. Masuk came into the game averaging over 40 points per game and had yet to be challenged throughout the year. Newtown got out to a big lead with touchdowns from Stockwell, Pavia, and Gerace. An interception from Garrity returned to the one yard line set up another score. Masuk’s offense however, started to chip away and the Panthers ultimately took the lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Hawks needed a score and a stop to win the game and that’s exactly what they did. Newtown’s offense strategically put together an 80-yard drive that finished with another Stockwell TD run. The defense was tested on the final drive but ultimately stopped the Masuk attack on fourth down for the emotional 34-30 win, handing Masuk its only loss of the season.

The offensive line of Michael Johnson, Jack Dunford, Ryan Hislop, Aiden Molina, and Mack Foss digs in against Monroe as Emmet Regan goes in motion. —Suzen Stewart photo
Marcus Gerace was a key player for Newtown’s freshman team this fall. —Jennifer Stockwell photo
Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply