Shelton’s fourth grade football team certainly grew up fast on the football season this fall.
The Vikings, after beginning the campaign as a group mostly new to football, ended up compiling a winning record and upsetting Madison in the Shoreline Conference playoff quarterfinals.
Shelton pushed Newtown to the wire, ultimately falling 25-24 in overtime, in the NFC finals on Sunday. Newtown will play the AFC champion for the title.
“I’m so proud of my team,” Shelton coach Ken Corby said. “How could I ask for more? They played their hearts out. We went into NFC Championship game versus Newtown playing with house money, as no one expected us to be here.”
Shelton held a 12-6 halftime lead and went up 18-6 in the third quarter.
After Newtown fought back to send the game into overtime, the Vikings scored first in OT, but Newtown answered and won the game with the extra point.
Among 18 team members are 16 with little or no tackle football experience, and eight of the team members aren’t even fourth graders, but are third graders.
The Vikings posted a record of 4-3-1 and defeated host Madison 20-8 in the first round of the playoffs for the right to play Newtown.
In the visit to rainy Hawley Field in Newtown, all four Shelton touchdowns were scored by quarterback Kenny Corby, with great blocking from Michael Owens, C.J. Oksenberg, Mason Johnson, Chase Galke, Christian Gonsalves, Illia Gavrysh and Carter Wood.
One of the touchdowns came on a long run made possible from a great block by Charlie Casey.
The relentless defense of James Zaccagnini, Cole St. Pierre, Andrew Loskowski, Brodie Tamas, Ismael Torres, Harry Jones, Evan Bouteiller, Dwayne Anderson and Jamir Small held Newtown’s offense to just six points until midway through the fourth quarter.
A couple of tough penalties and small mistakes hurt the Vikings, said Coach Corby, who added that his small roster ran out of gas against Newtown’s 30-player team of fourth-graders.
In addition to being a new-look group on the field, the Shelton squad had an entirely new coaching staff this fall.
Corby is assisted by coaches Jay Zaccagnini, Joe Gencarelli, Ronald Casella, Harry Jones and Bernie Oksenberg.