Jake Roberts remembers first visit to Newtown
Jake Roberts remembers being a waterboy, about a decade ago for the Newtown High football team.
The reason was simple — his dad Ken Roberts was the Nighthawk coach.
That was then; this is now.
On Friday night, Jake Roberts led his Shelton High football team onto Newtown’s Blue & Gold Stadium for an inter-conference battle.
The grass is gone; the field surface having been switched to turf since Ken coached there, beginning in 1997 as an assistant and from 1998-2007 as head coach.
But the memories remain, and some new ones were made in Shelton’s 35-28 win over Newtown.
Ken was in attendance to see his son complete 20 of 33 pass attempts for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Jake rushed for 36 yards and another score.
When the Gaels secured this victory, offensive coordinator Mike DeFelice, who stepped in as lead coach for the game with head coach Jeff Roy out because of an injury, received a celebratory ice water bath.
That brought back memories for Jake, who recalls, before his days as a water boy, his dad coming home after a big victory.
“I remember when I couldn’t come to the games because I was too young,” Jake said. “I remember he came home soaking wet.”
Jake went on to spend time along side his dad on the sideline.
“One of the best things about Jake being a waterboy is he understood at a very young age how important football is to me,” Ken Roberts said. “Jake realized at the age of five that this is more than just a game, it is serious and very important to many people.
"I think being the son of a coach, you realize how much goes into a football game and how much you get out of playing this sport depends on your level of commitment. Jake has committed to playing football and understands that if you go out there and earn it you will get it.”
Ken earned coach of the year accolades in 2006. He has many fond memories of coaching at Newtown High, including a state playoff appearance in 2000 and some big wins over rival Masuk of Monroe.
“I would say the biggest success I had at Newtown is coaching many of the players that are now in coaching,” said Ken, who coached a variety of sports for 27 years, 16 of those in Shelton, and about a decade’s worth in Newtown.
“I have so many great friendships and memories from my years at Newtown. I still stay in touch with many of the coaches, as well as many players also. It was a great opportunity for me and a great time, my years at Newtown.
“My reasons for leaving Newtown were to be with my three kids during their youth sports and to be able to watch them play and grow up. Watching Jake play on that field added to all of the special times and memories I have had at Newtown.”