The football rivalry between Shelton High and Derby High has witnessed its share of nailbiters over its 101 meetings.
In 1999, Derby had an opportunity to finish at 500 with a win, but Shelton took control in the second half en route to a 34-20 victory.
Leading the Gaels (9-1) to victory was Kofi Wilson, who rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns to win the game MVP Award.
Matt Curran ran for two touchdowns and caught a scoring pass from Dan Orlovsky (11-of-22, 175 yards).
Adam Ives threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Neil Connery to give the Red Raiders a 7-0 lead.
Shelton was on top 14-7 when Ives scored on a one-yard run to make it a 14-13 game at the half.
With Shelton leading 34-13 late in the third quarter, Ives (16-for-30, 166 yards) threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Andy Baklik.
In 1998, Derby was looking to score an upset and did when the Red Raiders (3-6) played the Gaels (7-2) to a 7-7 tie in the rain.
With a win, Shelton would have tied for the Housatonic Division title.
The Gaels dominated the first half and took a 7-0 lead into the locker room on Kofi Wilson’s three-yard run and Charlie Fowler’s conversion kick.
Dan Orlovsky completed his first six passes in the game, two coming on third down during the scoring drive.
Derby’s Gene DiGiovanni (78 yards on 16 carries), voted the game’s Most Valuable Player, scored on a 35-yard run to complete a 66-yard scoring drive on the Red Raiders’ first possession of the third quarter.
Shelton had brought a 26-point per game scoring average into the contest behind the play of Orlovsky (9 touchdown passes) and Wilson (17 touchdowns).
The defense was paced by the stellar play of Matt Piccirillo, Ryan Kekacs, Joseph Gampel, Charlie Fowler, Eric Lally and Rich Grabowski. It allowed only 13 points per game.
Fowler was a good punter and place-kicker (23 points) for Shelton.
Derby was led by Craig Schuette (9 touchdowns), the running of George French, Gene DiGiovanni, Andy Baklik and Joe Francoeur, and the pass receiving of John Ives (4 touchdowns) and Mark Tilki.
Derby had allowed 18 points per game with DiGiovanni, Jeff Stochmal, Mark Padilla, French, Chris Smith, Pat Thomas, John Hay and Neil Connery leading the way.
In 1997, Shelton’s Mark Novack broke free for a 44-yard touchdown in the third quarter and the Gaels held on for a 7-0 win.
The win gave Shelton an 8-3 record. Derby finished 5-6.
Novack rushed for 167 yards on 31 carries to finish the year with more than 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Red Raider defense was led by Tony Guliuzza (fumble recovery), Glen Francoeur and Schuette.
Pacing the Gael defense were Jeff Klauser, Matt O’Connell (interception) and Nick Wilson.