The Shelton Orange Seahawks eighth-grade football team brought home the first Colonial League Conference championship for the four-year old Shelton American Youth Football program with an exciting 40-26 victory over the former National champion-winning Chargers from Bridgeport on Saturday night at Nolan Field in Ansonia.
Bridgeport opened the scoring in the first period with a long drive to take a 7-0 lead, but Shelton answered on its second possession when David Wells found David Berritto in the back of the end zone on a play-action pass from 10 yards out to take an 8-7 lead.
After a quick three-and-out, Shelton drove 71 yards behind the strong blocking of Nate Miller, Dan Barone, Robert Valeri, Mike Simons, Matt Liscio and JJ Lever.
Jon Sobotka dove into the end zone from a yard out to end the drive and increase the score to 16-7.
Bridgeport made it 16-13, before Sobotka returned the ensuing kickoff for 65 yards and a touchdown, and Shelton went into the locker room up 24-13. In the third quarter, Bridgeport showed why it is the defending national champs, as the Chargers scored on their first two possessions to take a 26-24 lead.
Berritto put Shelton back in front when he ran a kickoff back 75 yards for a 32-24 Seahawk lead with time running out in the third quarter.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Shelton defense led by Sobotka, Nate Miller and Matt Liscio would shut out the Chargers running game and force them to go to the air, only to be intercepted by Nick Galuppo two times from his safety spot.
Joe Zoppi was perfect with five successful kicked extra points and Miller recovered a fumble.
The Shelton Seahawks will play the Meriden Rangers at 5 p.m. Sunday at Falcon Field in Meriden for the state championship. The winner will advance to the New England Regional Championships.
7th grade Seahawks
Shelton closed out its season with a dramatic 28-26 Orange Bowl victory over Ansonia at Kennedy Stadium in Bridgeport.
The Seahawks opened the scoring when quarterback Matt Rice raced 17 yards to paydirt to give Shelton the 6-0 lead.
With Ansonia up 7-6, Spencer Gangi exploded for a 22-yard touchdown run to give Shelton a 14-7 halftime lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, Robert Wood muscled in from five yards out to knot the score at 20.
Then, with 43 seconds left in the game, Robert Wood raced 26 yards for a touchdown and after Matt Rice’s extra-point kick, Shelton walked away with the dramatic 28-26 victory.
The Seahawk ground game nettled 306 yards with Gangi, Wood, Rice and Conner Murphy doing most of the damage.
On defense, the Seahawks were led by Wood and Ryan Rodko with six tackles each.
Also starring on defense were Michael Lombard, Murphy, Lawrence Mills and Matt Trez.
6th grade Seahawks
Shelton ended the season with a 7-2 record, after the Seahawks lost to Monroe in the Colonial League championship by a score of 40-7.
The Seahawks were up 7-6 after one quarter of play, but turnovers and Monroe’s big-play offense put the Hawks down 34-7 at the half.
Team members are Nick Andrade, Brian Berritto, Jake Breton, Jack Carr, Sam Chalk, Jake Delima, Matt Dilieto, Jake Falanga, Jake Ferrigno, Paul Ferrigno, Connor Greene, Lucas Haray and Tyler Janik.
Also, Michael Kucky, Leon Maringola, Colin Mengold, Nick Miska, Nick Pavone, Nico Motasky, Jordan Peck, Sean Rago, Ryan Re, Jake Roberts, Daniel Sheehy, Colin St. Pierre, Andre Valeri, David Yakowitz, David Youngquist, Christian Zlamany and Domenick Zlamany.
5th grade Seahawks
Shelton completed its remarkable season with an 8-1 regular-season record to secure a spot in the Colonial League playoffs.
The Seahawks defeated a tough Newtown Nighthawk team 10-0 in the semifinals at Finn Stadium to earn a spot in the Colonial League championship game against an unbeaten, unscored-upon Bridgeport Charger team.
Bridgeport jumped in front 15-0 on Saturday at Nolan Field in Ansonia.
The Seahawks fought together as a team all season and never gave up including this day.
The Seahawk offense, led by quarterback Joe DeJesus, threw a long touchdown pass to an open Jake Oddo, who scored the first touchdown against an impressive Charger defense. A Gergio Ghzal extra point made the score 15-7.
Shelton’s defense, led by Kyle Corby, Phil Sissik, Mike Lockavitch, Jacob Demarco, Richie Romanowski, Jake Oddo, Tyler Pjatak, Nick Cilliberti, Chris Thompson, Nick Pagliuso, Jack Sweeney, Jared Grindrod, Antonio Baerga, Santino Deflippo and James Curly, swarmed the speedy Charger offense throughout the game.
In the second quarter, Pjatak held up a Charger running back and that allowed Lockavitch to strip the ball and scamper 55 yards to paydirt.
After Ghzal’s extra point, the Seahawks trailed 15-14 going into halftime.
In the second half, the Seahawks moved the ball on the ground and in the air.
The horses up front, led by Phil Sissik, Craig Ferris, Jake Falcioni, Kyle Corby, Brian Carafiello, Joe Agreda, Chase Fida, Brady Havy, Joe Valasquez, Jonathan Monaco and Nick Cilliberti, pounded and pushed the Charger defense around.
Running the ball hard were Lockavitch, Grindrod, Pagliuso, Pjatak and Thompson.
The air attack was provided by DeJesus, Shiavo and Oddo.
Midway through the third quarter, Lockavitch rumbled and stumbled 60 yards for a kickoff return touchdown, which made the score 27-22.
Bridgeport proved to be too strong this day, and opened up a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter to win the title.