The top-seeded Shelton High football team hosts fourth-seeded Newtown High on Monday night at 6:30 p.m. with a return trip to the Class LL state final on the line.
The Gaels (11-0) downed Southern Connecticut Conference rivals West Haven High, 40-20, in the quarterfinals on Tuesday night, while Newtown (10-1) knocked off fifth-seeded Glastonbury High, 21-20.
In Monday’s other Class LL semifinal, the top-ranked teams in the state square off when No. 2 seed Darien (10-0) tangles with third-seeded Southington High (11-0).
A key for Shelton in its effort to cage the Nighthawks will be attempting to neutralize Newtown’s junior middle linebacker/fullback Ben Mason. Mason, who reportedly has several Division I scholarship offers, is matchup nightmare on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, the 6-2, 240-pounder has notched 96 tackles, four sacks and four interceptions marshalling a Nighthawk defense that is surrendering just 9.3 points per game.
Mason also has 12 touchdowns on the other side of the ball — six receiving (along with 21 catches for 324 yards) and six rushing (5.3 yards per carry average).
Quarterback Justin Dunn leads the attack, with a 1,571 yards passing, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Ethan Carpenter is the leading Newtown receiver, hauling in 27 receptions for 529 yards and four touchdowns.
Jared Pearson spearheads the run game, with 106 carries for 647 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Hunter Cobb has 105 carries for 596 yards and two touchdowns.
Newtown’s Christian Morlock has five sacks, followed by Mason and Nick Samuelson (three).
Carpenter has three interceptions.
Newtown’s lone loss of the season came to New Fairfield High, 13-7 on Nov. 13. The Rebels are in the Class M state semifinals.