Sports


Hawk Gridders Blank Rebels In Opener

Published: September 10, 2018 at 10:07 am

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This article has been updated to include statistics and comments from Coach Bobby Pattison

Backed by a strong defensive effort, Newtown High School’s football team shut out visiting New Fairfield 35-0 in the season opener, at Blue & Gold Stadium, on September 7.

The Nighthawks led 14-0 at halftime and never looked back.

Quarterback Luke Melillo connected with Riley Ward for a six-yard pass and catch scoring play on fourth down and five, opening the scoring with 5:31 left in the opening quarter. The opening stanza ended with Newtown driving.

On the first play of the second quarter, with the Nighthawks facing third down and eight to go, Melillo hit Ward on a misdirection screen play for a 17-yard touchdown just ten seconds into the period.

Neither team mustered any more first-half offense to speak of. Newtown’s James Knox, assisted by Jared Dunn, sacked New Fairfield quarterback Will Enright for a whopping 17-yard loss and Zach Loomis also had a QB sack late in the opening half.

In the second half, Dan Mason rushed for a pair of short-yardage scores, and Matt Dubois added one-yard rushing score.

Melillo completed 12 of 20 pass attempts for 184 yards, and Jack Street connected on his two pass attempts for 26 yards. Mason rushed 17 times for 125 yards. Ward hauled in six catches for 67 yards, and Shea Talbot caught two passes for 92.

"I was happy to get out of week one healthy and with a win. The defense played better than the offense. We need to do a better job moving the chains consistently. Our first two drives were touchdowns, but our next few were three and outs with bad field position. Luke Melillo played well in his first varsity start at quarterback. He did not get sacked," Newtown Coach Bobby Pattison said.

"I was pleased with the defensive effort on Friday. The defense really stepped up creating chaos and turnovers. We sacked their QB six times, and had one forced fumble, and two interceptions. They did a nice job for us," Pattison added.

Most of the defensive standouts were returning varsity starters, but Pattison noted that James Knox and Zach Loomis both stepped up at defensive end, pressuring the QB all game; each had two sacks. Michael Haddick recorded a sack, and Jared Dunn and Nick Sabillon combined on QB takedown in the backfield. Joe Pagett and Griffin Cross had the interceptions. Dunn forced a fumble and Pagett recovered.

Dunn compiled seven solo tackles and assisted on another, Knox had six tackles, Easton Ricks, Dubois, and Loomis each had five.

The Nighthawks will host Cheshire, which lost to Southern Connecticut Conference rival Shelton 17-10, on Friday, September 14. Kickoff is at 7 pm.

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