Week 3 Live Scoreboard

Some games were finished Friday, others Saturday, and Woodland-Jonathan Law will push into Sunday. But it's been a pretty wild Week 3.

On Friday, Seymour came back to defeat Kennedy, 12-6, in overtime, and Holy Cross used a great second half to beat Torrington, 19-12.

During Saturday's action, Naugatuck beat St. Paul, 33-6. Ansonia had no problem finishing Derby in a 55-19 win while Watertown rallied to beat Wilby, 22-16. Wolcott crushed Crosby, 40-14, in the late game on Saturday.

Woodland beat Jonathan Law, 48-10, on Sunday afternoon to complete Week 3 in the NVL.

As always, you can follow updates from as many games as we have reports from on Twitter using the live scoreboard below. If you have a Twitter (which we recommend having) and you'll be at any game during this season, make sure you tweet your updates and use the #ctfb hashtag. You can also tweet @NVLFOOTBALL or @kylebrennan1 and we'll try to retweet you. Enjoy the games!

Co-Games of the Week 3: Ansonia-Derby and Torrington-Holy Cross

Contrary to the beliefs of some bloggers, we have two equally important games in our first full week of NVL divisional play.

Remmy's Keys to the Game: Although some may not believe it, Derby quarterback Ray Kreiger WILL need to have the game of his life. This is the best team, on paper, that he will face in the NVL since Derby came over. The most obvious key will be Derby's ability to sustain drives on offense against that tough Ansonia defense. I don't think Ansonia's Arkeel Newsome vs. the Derby defense will be as much of a factor in this game as Derby's aerial attack vs. Ansonia's D will be. It's the most glaring matchup of the game--slightly more important than Derby's O-line play vs. Ansonia's defensive front.
In my head, I want to say Ansonia will play press-coverage and bump Derby's wide receivers, which will allow the Ansonia defense to get an extra second or two to get in the backfield and deter Kreiger. But thus far, I've seen Ansonia play their defensive backs off of the ball. We'll see if the Chargers' staff goes with the former. Makes sense to me that they would. No-brainer.
On the Derby side, I expect the Derby staff to get Kreiger out of the pocket before he fires the ball. Quick, quick reads, too. I don't expect Kreiger to sit in the pocket for long at any point during the game. He's a tough kid, but if he sits in that pocket, he will take a beating--guaranteed. Rolling out Kreiger seems like the way to go this week. This will give Derby a shot at some big plays. These types of play calls will also lead to the Chargers playing their worst pass defense as they will be forced to rotate and latch on to defenders way downfield. Kreiger usually hits these guys so Ansonia will have to play very soundly in the secondary when Kreiger is moving to the right or his left as he looks for his targets.
Kyle's Keys to the Game: If Derby doesn't have incredible success throwing the ball, it's tough to see the Red Raiders staying close in this game, much less winning it. Ansonia's defense proved that it's the best unit in the league by a long shot but so far the Chargers have only really been tested on the ground. Their athleticism in the defensive backfield should be OK, but if Kreiger has one of those nights, there might be a little magic in store like we saw in last year's first half. Derby also had a big lead early last year and gave it away. A big lead this year would be helpful, too, because Ansonia gets stronger throughout the game.

Remmy's Key Players: Do I have to mention Arkeel Newsome again? I think I have to, until he has a few bad games in a row. He will be the most electrifying player on the field on both sides of the ball and special teams. With Ansonia's Andrew Matos sidelined this week, it may prove to be pivotal if Derby somehow slows down Newsome. While Matos has dropped some big passes, he is Ansonia's go-to receiver, and it's a big loss for the Chargers. On the other side of Division Street, Derby's Tyrae Small may be the player who is most under the radar. While everyone thinks Derby will try to throw the ball every down, I can see a shift in the game plan for a bit with Small in the backfield. He's a bruiser. The question is how much will George French call his number? I think Small gets at least 15 carries this week to try and throw the Ansonia defense off of its course.
Kyle's Key Players: Everyone knows Ray Kreiger and receivers Dillon McMahon, Tim Adanti, and Brian Dobek will need to have great nights for Derby to have any chance. With that being said, the Ansonia secondary will have to keep its end of the bargain and hold out long enough for players like Tyler Wood to get to Kreiger. Kreiger's effective when he scrambles, so keeping him from gaining free yards will be key to getting the Raiders off the field.

Torrington-Holy Cross
Remmy's Keys to the Game: This one is easy: Holy Cross' ability to stop the Torrington running game. It sounds simple but stopping the Torrington running game will win you the game. Of course, that's sometimes the task of a lifetime. I expect Brenden Lytton to run all over the Cross defense but I do expect some turnovers in this game if the Crusaders contain Lytton and Torrington has to count on its quarterback to win the game. After the Ansonia game, it's apparent that Torrington will continue to run Lytton despite being down by five touchdowns in a game. But as we also saw, Torrington quarterback Jason Abbott did have his number called and completed a couple of big passes (one for touchdown) later in that game. Who knows what'll happen this week? One thing is for sure--Lytton carries the ball 40 times and will score at least three touchdowns. Torrington's defense has been rather sketchy thus far and Holy Cross will be a tougher opponent than Wolcott was last week. That's what makes this game so interesting. Torrington will, of course, bring it on offense. Can Holy Cross put up enough points against the Torrington defense to win this one? I'd be surprised if they do but it's very possible.
Kyle's Keys to the Game: This game will likely be more about what Holy Cross does than what Torrington does. Brenden Lytton will likely get his yardage and touchdowns, and the Red Raiders will probably not be so stout on defense. The Crusaders have to put some hits on Lytton and keep him from busting the long run. Giving up first downs isn't nearly as bad as giving up long touchdowns. On the offensive side, working toward establishing the balance Cross wants to find is key. Dave DiGiorgi is the known entity on the Crusaders' offense and should have a pretty solid game. But the Holy Cross passing game needs to click. Zach Brown is a very good athlete and can power the offense with both his arm and legs. It will be interesting to see if Cross lets him makes plays from the pocket with his strong arm against a Torrington defense which isn't especially strong.

Remmy's Key Players: Holy Cross quarterback Zach Brown will need to air it out against the Torrington defense to get his Crusaders a win. Stellar freshman Isaiah Wright will need to contribute in big ways on both sides of the ball as well as senior Dave DiGiorgi, who will certainly have something to prove in this game as it is his senior season. In Raider country, Brenden Lytton is preparing for another huge game where he will have a chance at proving his critics (from the Ansonia week) wrong, showing that he really is one of the best running backs in the state. One thing we haven't heard much about is the players on Lytton's squad that complement him--guys like Demetrious Dailey and Joan Toribio. If these guys get into the mix and contribute with big plays and scores, it could get ugly for the Crusaders.
Kyle's Key Players: The major offensive playmakers on both sides of the ball will be big because we expect this game to be a high-scoring affair. How Brown, Wright, and the other Crusaders playmakers factor into the offense will be important. Not to be overlooked are two of the crucial defensive players in this game--Torrington's Dan Schebell and Holy Cross' Anthony Jamele. Both of these players have been all over the field so far this season and they could both factor heavily into this game. Jamele, in particular, could be the most effective force to slow down Lytton.

Ansonia-Derby Picks: Remmy- Ansonia, 46-20. Kyle- Ansonia, 42-14.
Torrington-Holy Cross Picks: Remmy- Torrington, 38-28. Kyle- Torrington, 35-28.

Week 3 Predictions

We're through two weeks in the 2011 NVL season and we've barely yet sorted out anything. But Week 3 should start to clarify the divisional pictures with some important intradivision matchups, including a headline game in both the Brass and Copper Divisions.

But first, as always, let's take one more look at last week's action with Kyle's solo recap. (Plus, his Week 2 review on the Red Zone blog.)

We once again have Co-Games of the Week, with Ansonia-Derby being the big Brass battle and Torrington-Holy Cross the crucial Copper clash. But a number of other teams are in action with divisional games of their own to help boost their own standing as we move toward the middle of the season.

As a side note, Sacred Heart is idle this week after not being able to find a Week 3 opponent.

Wilby (1-1) at Watertown (0-2): The Wildcats dominated Kennedy in a 36-0 win at the mudpit that was Wilby High on Friday and now have some confidence rolling into their first divisional game of the season. Wilby's Jay'Len Mahan and Jacob Thomas have both rushed for over 100 yards in each of the first two games and it might not be a surprise if both do it again. Watertown hung around with Holy Cross last week before the Crusaders pulled away. It's still tough to know what to make of the Indians, but they can't afford to drop to 0-3. Wilby's speed may win out over Watertown's size.
Picks: Remmy- Wilby, 29-16. Kyle- Wilby, 28-21.

Jonathan Law (0-2) at Woodland (1-1): The most disappointing loss of Week 2 was taken by Woodland, which played toe-to-toe with Ansonia for 15 minutes before the Chargers dominated the rest of the game. Even though this is a nonconference game, it's an important chance to bounce back for a team with all of its goals still achievable. This situation is very much like the one Torrington faced last week, except the Hawks face a better opponent from the SCC with a balanced offense but a suspect defense. Woodland's offense really struggled against Ansonia so if Matt Zaccagnini and Tanner Kingsley can find their grooves early, the Hawks should be OK.
Picks: Remmy- Woodland, 27-12. Kyle- Woodland, 21-14.

Kennedy (0-2) at Seymour (2-0): The Wildcats, at 2-0, might not necessarily be a surprise thus far, but it's definitely a change of pace from what we've seen over the last two years. Seymour won a sloppy game over Crosby last week and needs to work on sharpening its offense before the meat of its schedule hits in a few weeks. Jon Wilson and Luke Grabowski both ran for over 100 yards in Week 2 and the Wildcats' play-calling hinted at some balance, but Grabowski threw three picks before settling down. This one shouldn't be a problem for Seymour, but it would be nice to see a game with fewer turnovers and penalties against a team that struggled all over the field against Wilby last week.
Picks: Remmy- Seymour, 26-17. Kyle- Seymour, 35-12.

Naugatuck (2-0) at St. Paul (0-2): Week 2's most exciting game was won by the Greyhounds, as Jake Yourison scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute left. Naugatuck's victory was made more impressive by the facts that they only allowed one passing touchdown by Derby's Ray Kreiger with a defense that had only four regular starters available. Those players should begin to return soon and Naugy should only improve as it can implement more variety into its offense. The 'Hounds shouldn't need to do anything fancy in this game to earn a win over a team that has had the league's worst defense over the first two weeks.
Picks: Remmy- Naugatuck, 38-18. Kyle- Naugatuck, 42-14.

Crosby (1-1) at Wolcott (1-1): Crosby has been among the more interesting teams over the first two weeks as the Bulldogs hung with Holy Cross for nearly the entire game before enjoying a fairly comfortable win over St. Paul. Crosby has tried to run a balanced offense, led by Marcel Lugo, and even though his completion percentage is well below 50 percent, he's been able to make some plays with his arm and legs. Crosby's defense has been pretty good, too, as it picked off five passes last week. Wolcott struggled on offense in its first game and was blown apart on defense last week by Brenden Lytton and Torrington. The Eagles need to find some rhythm on both sides of the ball.
Picks: Remmy- Crosby, 18-6. Kyle- Crosby, 27-14.

Kyle and Remmy agree on all five of these picks in Week 3, so there's no exciting disagreements with these games (at least for us). These games should start to provide some clarity in the divisional races and sort out the contenders from those who will sink to the bottom. We invite you to make your picks along with us in this thread.

The Co-Games of the Week thread and video, featuring Ansonia-Derby and Torrington-Holy Cross, is coming your way on Wednesday. Those both could be excellent games as they concern the tops of both divisional races as the season moves along.

Week 2 Wrap

Torrington's Brenden Lytton rushed for 427 yards and six touchdowns, Ansonia's defense held Woodland to 169 yards, Seymour's 2-0, and Naugatuck beat Derby with 53 seconds left. There were plenty of noteworthy numbers from Week 2 in the NVL.
Brenden Lytton ran for a career-high 427 yards and six touchdowns, threw for another, and led Torrington to a 66-28 win over Wolcott on Saturday. Lytton is the NVL Blog Player of the Week for Week 2. Credit: Michael Kabelka / Rep-Am
What Happened
Seymour started the week with a 26-14 win over Sacred Heart in what can best be described as a sloppy game on all counts. Despite the turnovers and penalties that plagued both teams, Seymour's Luke Grabowski and Jon Wilson both rushed for over 100 yards to help the Wildcats start 2-0.

Ansonia and Woodland were hooked in a defensive battle until about 15 minutes into the game, and for the last 33 minutes it was all Chargers, who coasted to a 36-6 win. Arkeel Newsome rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns while the Ansonia varsity defense held the Hawks to just 97 yards of offense. Not bad.

In the other two games played Friday in spite of the rain, Wilby shut out Kennedy, 36-0. The two-headed rushing attack of Jay'Len Mahan and Jacob Thomas was great again, combining for over 300 yards and four touchdowns while the Wildcats' defense was very quick along the line of scrimmage. Holy Cross used a 21-point second quarter to coast past Watertown, 42-20. We originally had a report that the Indians outgained the Crusaders by a fairly substantial margin, but corrected statistics show us that wasn't the case. Anthony Avoletta ended with less than 100 rush yards in the game and Cross had little trouble on offense.

On Saturday at Municipal Stadium, Naugatuck didn't take a lead until the final minute when Jake Yourison scored on a 12-yard run, which he set up with a 35-yard pass to Zac Mercer. The 'Hounds, with only four regular defensive starters playing, held Ray Kreiger to 249 yards and just one touchdown en route to a 14-13 victory.

Torrington crushed Wolcott, 66-28, thanks in large part to Lytton's huge day, which was tied for the fifth-most rushing yards in a game in state history. There was no better way for the Red Raiders to bounce back from the tough loss to Ansonia, so it appears as though Torrington is back on the right track. According to Torrington's staff, the team ran for 647 yards in the game, which is a new state record.

In the final game of the week, Crosby scored in every quarter and beat St. Paul, 41-21. Marcel Lugo ran for three touchdowns and threw for another while the Bulldogs intercepted Logan Marchi five times.

Who Did It
Lytton was the star of the weekend and earned our NVL Blog Player of the Week award with his 427 yards rushing, six rushing touchdowns, and a 14-yard touchdown pass to lead the Red Raiders to a big bounce-back win.

Passing took more of a back seat in Week 2 than it did in the opening round of games. Only Kreiger (14-28, 249 pass yds, TD), Marchi (12-38, 198 pass yds, three TD), Lugo (13-32, 152 pass yds, TD), and Grabowski (10-18, 147 pass yds, two TD) broke the century mark this week.

Your list of 100-yard rushers for the week: Lytton (427 rush yds, six TD), Newsome (196 rush yds, four TD), Yourison (191 rush yds, two TD), Thomas (170 rush yds, TD), Mahan (131 rush yds, three TD), Wilson (126 rush yds, two TD), Grabowski (125 rush yds), and Torrington's Jared Williams (110 rush yds, two TD).

We also two 100-yard receivers: Derby's Dillon McMahon (7 rec, 141 yds) and St. Paul's Justin Gonzalez (5 rec, 103 yds, TD).

How It Looked
Since Remmy was away this weekend, we don't have any video of our own to show you. But we can direct you to a few photo galleries and videos from our friends at the Rep-Am Red Zone.

What's Next
Just as we had Co-Games of the Week in Week 2, there are two more important games in Week 3. But this week's games are even more important than last because most teams get their first taste of divisional play.

The slate is headlined by Ansonia at Derby and Torrington at Holy Cross, both on Friday night at 7 p.m. Those matchups will have a great deal of say in who could emerge atop the Brass and Copper Divisions, respectively. Also of note is Wilby at Watertown, also on Friday at 7 p.m. The only teams not engaging in divisional play are Woodland, which will host the SCC's Jonathan Law, and Sacred Heart, which could not find a Week 3 opponent and will sit idle.

The Week 3 predictions thread and videos will be coming early this week, so stay tuned. (Maybe I'll even get to updating our Predictions Tracker, too, since I was perfect this week.)

Week 2 Live Scoreboard

We got underway in Week 2 on Thursday with Seymour beating Sacred Heart, 26-14. Ansonia, Holy Cross, and Wilby all posted dominating victories in the Friday games that weren't canceled.

In Saturday's first game, Naugatuck beat Derby, 14-13, in the most thrilling game of this young season. Later, Torrington crushed Wolcott, 66-28. Crosby earned its first win in the last game of the week with a 41-21 victory over St. Paul.

As always, you can follow updates from as many games as we have reports from on Twitter using the live scoreboard below. If you have a Twitter (which we recommend having) and you'll be at any game during this season, make sure you tweet your updates and use the #ctfb hashtag. You can also tweet @NVLFOOTBALL or @kylebrennan1 and we'll try to retweet you. Enjoy the games!

Co-Games of the Week 2: Ansonia-Woodland, Derby-Naugatuck

We've never done this before--maybe it's an easy way out--but we've got two Games of the Week in Week 2. Both of these interdivisional rivalry games are huge for bragging rights, tiebreakers at the end of the season, playoff points, and momentum.

We're talking about Ansonia at Woodland and Derby at Naugatuck, both happening on Friday night at 7 p.m.

Remmy's Keys to the Game: Ansonia will have to keep Woodland's defense off-balanced and guessing throughout the night. Woodland's passing game against Ansonia's sketchy pass defense, especially in the secondary, will be something to watch.
Kyle's Keys to the Game: Woodland needs to control the time of possession. The less time Arkeel Newsome has the ball, the better chance the Hawks have to win. Woodland will also have to be able to move the ball in chunks with the passing game because the Ansonia front seven is tough. The Hawks have to be careful, though, not too become too reliant on the passing game and stay balanced, even when the running game isn't picking up big chunks of yardage.

Remmy's Key Players: The Woodland defensive line will be key in this game as it needs to prevent Ansonia from doing damage on the ground. Woodland quarterback Tanner Kingsley will need to have the game of his short career if Ansonia plays a clean game with no turnovers. For Ansonia, wide receiver Andrew Matos will need to start catching passes from Elliot Chudwick.
Kyle's Key Players: The Woodland linebackers are going to be crucial to the Hawks' defensive effort because they'll have to be able to stop Newsome before he gets running on full steam, especially around the corner. Woodland running back Matt Zaccagnini might not always be able to make positive gains on the ground, but he'll have to keep plugging away. The two playmakers to watch could be Woodland wide receiver Anthony Scirpo and Ansonia utility player Tyler Lester. Both can line up in different spots on the field and are among the most athletic players on their teams.

Remmy's Keys to the Game: Without question, it's Derby's Ray Kreiger and that great passing game versus Naugatuck's stifling defense. Naugy's defense must contain Kreiger's targets. But more importantly, Naugy's defensive front will need to pressure Kreiger and limit him from rolling out of the pocket on pass plays. That's where Derby will really punch teams in the mouth and hit them for big plays and scores.
Kyle's Keys to the Game: This game has the potential to be as high-scoring as the Derby-St. Paul game last week. Derby seems like the constant in this game--we know the Raiders are going to be committed to passing the ball and we know they're not going to have the best defense Naugy will see this season (although it was better than expected against the Falcons). Naugatuck's defense passed a test against East Longmeadow's running game, but the secondary wasn't tested. That will probably be the key matchup of the night--Derby's passing game against the Naugatuck defense. Pressure on Kreiger--while not letting him run for positive yardage--will be paramount for the Greyhounds. Keeping the ball out of Kreiger's hands by controlling the running game will also be important for Naugy. If Kreiger is as accurate as he was against St. Paul, the 'Hounds will have to try to keep up on offense.

Remmy's Key Players: Derby quarterback Ray Kreiger and wide receiver Dillon McMahon are the obvious stars. However, Red Raiders tailback Tyrae Small is my dark horse in this game. Derby will need to establish some kind of run game to beat the 'Hounds. If Small rushes for less than 80 yards, I don't like Derby's chances. On the other side, Naugy's Jake Yourison will need to take command of his defense and pound Derby when he is on the offensive side of the ball. It will be interesting to see how much quarterback Zac Mercer contributes on offense and whether or not he can be consistent throughout this game. Naugy may very well elect to run the ball 90 percent of the time if it is successful early in the game. Derby better be ready to get physical.
Kyle's Key Players: We know that Kreiger is going to be the big weapon for Derby and we know that Yourison is the most important player on both sides for Naugatuck. To me, this game comes down to what the Greyhounds do. I'm not sure that the 'Hounds want to get into a passing war with Derby, so heavy doses of Yourison and Mike Schebell can be expected. Still, we know Rob Plasky likes to throw, so Mercer will have to be careful with the ball and not turn it over. The Naugatuck secondary is going to be huge in this game. It's the one part of the defense that was especially ravaged by graduation losses and it wasn't tested against East Longmeadow. If the Naugatuck defensive line can get pressure on Kreiger, it might make things a little easier on the secondary.

Ansonia-Woodland Picks: Remmy- Ansonia, 40-21. Kyle- Ansonia, 35-21.
Derby-Naugatuck Picks: Remmy- Derby, 36-32. Kyle- Naugatuck, 41-35.

Week 2 Predictions

After an interesting Week 1, we head to a Week 2 headlined by a couple of big-time games. But before we move on to this week's games, here's one last look at what happened in the opening week with Kyle and Remmy.

In addition to our two Games of the Week--Ansonia-Woodland and Derby-Naugatuck--other teams are in interdivision action looking for chances to rebound.

Seymour (1-0) at Sacred Heart (0-1): Seymour played even better than some people thought they would against O'Brien Tech, led by Jon Wilson's five touchdowns. Now the Wildcats face a stronger offense in the Hearts, who struggled a bit against Woodland in Week 1. Javon Martin took a while to find his groove, but he played much better at quarterback in the second half than he did in the first. If Sacred Heart can build upon that, a win could be in order against a Seymour defense that wasn't tested much, especially in the secondary, against the Condors.
Picks: Remmy- Sacred Heart, 27-18. Kyle- Seymour, 35-26.

Kennedy (0-1) at Wilby (0-1): Even in defeat, Wilby gained some momentum rolling into NVL play this week. The Wildcats had two 100-yard rushers--Jacob Thomas and Jay'Len Mahan--and held a late lead over Lyman Hall before turnovers wound up costing them the game. Kennedy found no offensive rhythm at Wolcott, so it will have to rely on another good defensive effort to hold Wilby in check. If the Wildcats are to be considered on the rise, they have to take care of games like these.
Picks: Remmy- Wilby, 26-12. Kyle- Wilby, 26-6.

Wolcott (1-0) at Torrington (0-1): This is an interesting matchup because of how similar Torrington's position is to what Wolcott faced last year. The Red Raiders had a big letdown at Ansonia, so this game becomes way more important than if Torrington won at Jarvis Stadium. Of course, this is the same situation the Eagles faced last year. Wolcott finished in a slump after the loss to Ansonia when expectations were high, so Torrington knows that to avoid a similar stretch, it needs to win this game. With how sloppily Wolcott played last week against Kennedy, Torrington should be able to handle this game by getting Brenden Lytton back on track.
Picks: Remmy- Torrington, 28-18. Kyle- Torrington, 28-14.

Watertown (0-1) at Holy Cross (1-0): Holy Cross' offense wasn't as sharp as it would have liked, but it did enough to get a win over Crosby. Watertown played better than many expected against Montville, so this could be a very intriguing matchup. Both teams look to be strong defensively and not yet be strong in the passing game, so it could be an old-fashioned, defensively dominated Valley game. The edge would seem to go to the Crusaders' run game with David DiGiorgi and new freshman weapon Isaiah Wright, but Anthony Avoletta played very well for Watertown in the opener.
Picks: Remmy- Holy Cross, 27-22. Kyle- Holy Cross, 14-7.

St. Paul (0-1) at Crosby (0-1): Crosby held its own with Holy Cross in Week 1 while the Falcons were frankly dominated by Derby on both sides of the ball. With St. Paul's poor defense, the Bulldogs' athletes should be able to find some holes and make some plays. Crosby's defense played fairly well against Holy Cross, so it might be able to hold Logan Marchi and Jordan Rowley in check. Either way, both of these teams are likely to be among the basement-dwellers in their respective divisions.
Picks: Remmy- Crosby, 38-8. Kyle- Crosby, 27-21.

Will Seymour keep its momentum against a better Sacred Heart team? How does Wilby build on a near-win against Lyman Hall? Can Torrington avoid a slump after the loss to Ansonia? What will Holy Cross do to improve its offense against Watertown? Is St. Paul really in for as bad a year as its loss to Derby would suggest?

We look to you for your answers to these questions, and as always, we encourage you to make your predictions along with us.

Week 1 Wrap

While Week 1 in the NVL will likely be remembered for Ansonia's demolition of Torrington, there were plenty of notable results and performances of which we should take note.

What Happened
Let's start with the Chargers' dominance of the Red Raiders. Most of us seemed to have overrated Torrington, whether we picked them or not (like I did). The important thing for the Raiders is that they don't dwell on the loss and get back to work. They've still got Brenden Lytton, who won't face many more defenses like Ansonia's. For the Chargers, the speed and intensity of the team was perhaps even better than some people were expecting, headlined by Arkeel Newsome's incredible performance. It looks like we've got a clear-cut NVL favorite (as if we didn't already).

A number of offenses around the league were better than many people were expecting. Woodland's offense, led by Matt Zaccagnini and Tanner Kingsley, looked to be perhaps the most balanced unit in the league with three touchdowns each coming by the ground and the air. Derby showed its offense might not suffer too much without Jacob Tomczak (defense could be a different story) as Ray Kreiger and Dillon McMahon picked apart the Falcons. Naugatuck also turned in a good offensive day with Jake Yourison and Zack Mercer. And let's not forget about Jon Wilson's attention-grabbing game on the first night of the season for Seymour against O'Brien Tech.

Holy Cross didn't do anything too special against Crosby as the Crusaders' offense wasn't as sharp as they would have liked, but David DiGiorgi and Isaiah Wright could make a darned good one-two punch. Watertown and Wilby both put up solid nonconference performances. Anthony Avoletta and Jay'Len Mahan could be two of the better playmakers in the league for the Indians and Wildcats, respectively.

In a few disappointments, neither Wolcott nor Kennedy were great in the battle of the Eagles. DeVante Bonvillian, the best player in that game, made enough plays to lead Wolcott. But it looks like those teams could be at the bottoms of their divisions. St. Paul's defense was the worst in the league in Week 1, giving up 42 points to Derby in a quarter and a half, while Sacred Heart struggled on both sides of the ball. The loss of David Coggins was apparent in that game and Javon Martin still has a way to go before he becomes a consistent offensive threat. Crosby showed some promise but had too many mistakes on both sides of the ball.

Who Did It
Newsome is our first NVL Blog Player of the Week for 2011 after his 319-yard, six-TD performance against Torrington. His shiftiness and ability to hit the corner could make him the hardest player to stop in this league.

New quarterbacks were impressive for two of the Copper contenders. Kingsley was 7-of-8 passing for 123 yards and three TD in the first half against Sacred Heart while Mercer was 8-of-12 for 161 yards and two TD against East Longmeadow.

Several players had strong rushing performances. 100-yard rushers included Newsome, Wilby's Jacob Thomas (198 yds, TD), Zaccagnini (187 yds, three TD), Yourison (171 yds, TD), Avoletta (173 yds, two TD), DiGiorgi (154 yds, two TD), St. Paul's Jordan Rowley (138 yds, two TD), Lytton (127 yds, TD), Mahan (118 yds, TD), and Wilson (106 yds, three TD).

Kreiger was the dean of quarterbacks, tossing for 298 yards and three TD. Martin had 199 yards and three TD while St. Paul's Logan Marchi had 173 yards and two TD and Mercer threw for 161 yards and two TD.

What It Looked Like
Remmy had his camera for the three games he saw this week--Seymour-O'Brien Tech, Ansonia-Torrington, and Derby-St. Paul--and here's a look at what happened in those games.

Seymour-O'Brien Tech


Derby-St. Paul

What's Next
There are a couple of huge interdivisional games on Friday night as Ansonia travels to Woodland and Naugatuck hosts Derby. We'll have more on those two games throughout the week.

Municipal Stadium also hosts a pair of other interesting matchups, as Seymour and Sacred Heart meet on Thursday night before Watertown and Holy Cross hook up on Friday.

We'll have our Week 2 picks and videos up starting Monday afternoon.

Week 1 Live Scoreboard

One more game awaits us in Week 1: Naugatuck at East Longmeadow (Mass.) today at 1:30 p.m. We'll have as many updates as we can.

For stories on the Week 1 games, check out these links:

Seymour-O'Brien Tech: Rep-Am, NH Register, CT Post
Torrington-Ansonia: Rep-Am story, Rep-Am column, NH Register, Register Citizen, CT Post
Sacred Heart-Woodland: Rep-Am
Wilby-Lyman Hall: Rep-Am, Meriden Record-Journal
Watertown-Montville: Rep-Am, Norwich Bulletin, The Day
Crosby-Holy Cross: Rep-Am
Kennedy-Wolcott: Rep-Am

If you've got a Twitter and you'll be at any game during this season, make sure you tweet your updates and use the #ctfb hashtag. You can also tweet @NVLFOOTBALL or @kylebrennan1 and we'll try to retweet you. Enjoy the games!

Game of the Week 1: Torrington at Ansonia

We've been waiting for this game since it was announced in May, and now it's almost here. It's time to talk Torrington-Ansonia. (Side note: We had a video planned, but it was accidentally deleted before we were able to post it. Don't worry--everything that follows is what we talked about in the video.)

What's at stake here? Playoff points, potential divisional tiebreakers, and confidence for the rest of the season, particularly for a Torrington team that is being picked by many to win the Copper Division for the first time. How will the Red Raiders rebound if they lose this much-anticipated opener? How would the Chargers react to losing their first game of the season against a non-traditional power at home? We'll find out the answer to one of those questions in Week 2, depending on what happens Thursday night at Jarvis Stadium.

Remmy's Keys to the Game: Ansonia will need to be balanced if it intends on winning this game. Arkeel Newsome will have his time and so will Brenden Lytton. But it's the cast of characters that we don't usually hear about making plays on both offense and defense that will determine the outcome of this game. If Torrington scores early behind Lytton and his massive O-line and takes the lead, I expect the Red Raiders to continue to feed Lytton the ball and then pop Ansonia with surprise play-action passes for some scores. The Ansonia defense better be up to the task if it wants to send Torrington home with a loss. The line play will be crucial! The Raiders will also need to be mentally up to the challenge. It seems like it doesn't matter what the visiting teams' coaching staff says to its players before visiting Jarvis Stadium--the visitors are always pumped-up for the game all week long, but once Ansonia scores a go-ahead TD, it seems to take the life out of the visiting team each and every time, no matter how excited they were to step in and pummel Ansonia. Keeping the team focused on the task at-hand, despite what the scoring difference is, will be something for these staffs to think about.

Kyle's Keys to the Game: To me, proving balance is more important for Torrington than Ansonia. Newsome will do his work, and we saw Elliot Chudwick throw some passes in big situations last year. The Raiders will have to be able to throw the ball in key situations on Thursday even though Lytton will be the horse and account for the majority of the offense. This is particularly the case if Torrington finds itself trailing in this game. Perhaps my biggest key to this game is that the Raiders need to stay in this game early. We saw last season that Derby jumped on top of Ansonia at Jarvis Stadium fairly substantially and still lost. Torrington needs to either have a lead at the half or be within a score. Its offense is not built to come from multiple scores behind. Besides, the psychological factor that the Chargers have been there and the Raiders have not will be in play. If Torrington falls behind (a la Holy Cross and Wolcott in 2010), the team may start losing its confidence and allow the gravity of the game to affect it. Plus, the Red Raiders' defense was not great last season and will give up yardage and points to the Chargers, so the offense will have to start hot and stay hot.

Remmy's Players to Watch: We all obviously know about the studs in Newsome (AHS) and Lytton (THS). But I feel these teams will need another player to make plays for it in order to win this game. Sure, Lytton is good for more than two TDs and Newsome might be as well. However, guys like Jason Abbott (QB, THS) and Elliot Chudwick (QB, AHS) will have to step up to win this game for their squad. Other notables are Tyler Lester (QB/WR/DB, AHS) and Demetrious Dailey (WR/DB, THS). Lester is very tough and speedy. He is a very versatile athlete that can play at any of the skill positions. I think Ansonia will maximize its potential by using Lester in various positions at different points in the game. This will be the key to Ansonia's success if it can cash in on Lester's play-making ability. For Torrington, Dailey will need to score whether it's on special teams or catching darts from Abbott. I have an eerie feeling about this game and that's why I feel strongly about a new star being born right in front of our very eyes under the bright lights of Jarvis Stadium this coming Thursday.

Kyle's Players to Watch: All of Remmy's key players, plus the two big guys, are definitely going to be important. If this league expands its passing capability (as it looks like it may), these two quarterbacks will have to be on top of their games. Lester is certainly an interesting player, as is Jared Williams (RB/WR/DB, THS) for the Raiders. Both are very good athletes and have versatile skill sets which could make them prime candidates for gadget plays. In addition to those singular players, I'll be anxious to see how two units play as wholes. Last season, Ansonia's pass catchers (including Andrew Matos, Miky Mason, Jake LaRovera, and Raeshaun Finney) were only somewhat reliable with drops in big spots. If the Chargers want to balance their offense more this season, those guys will have to improve and make sure good passes are caught. On the other side, Torrington's offensive line (including Brad Brown, Zach McNutt, Kelley Kelley, and others) could be the unsung heroes of the night. Last season, Lytton had Dean Tsopanides to run behind. This year, the dominant big man is no longer there, so we'll see how that affects Lytton's ability to rack up big yardage. Ansonia's defense is seasoned, quick, and physical, so the line will have to play well to lead Lytton.

The Picks: This may very well be the game of the year if it shapes up to be the type of game everyone is anticipating. We know that Ansonia has a more balanced offense in 2011 compared to last season. And we know that Torrington boasts what will likely be the most powerful running game in the NVL this season with its horses up front and Lytton in the backfield. Make no mistake about it--this game may all fall onto the shoulders, or right arm, of Abbott and his ability to connect with his receivers and stun the Ansonia secondary with some big gains. And make no mistake about it--Torrington has a good shot at sending Ansonia off of its own field with an 0-1 record.
Picks: Kyle- Torrington, 27-24. Remmy- Ansonia, 28-21.

Week 1 Predictions

Week 1 is FINALLY HERE! And we've got two videos to kick off this season the right way. First, a final preview of the season with our statewide rankings and other picks.

And of course, the Week 1 picks. Last season, Kyle and Remmy were the only people submitting weekly picks. We challenge any of you guys to beat us! So submit your picks on a weekly basis and we'll keep track of them in the Predictions Tracker tab.

Seymour (0-0) at Emmett O'Brien Tech (0-0): 0-10. That's what the 2011 Wildcats are trying to forget about going into this game. EOB has some players but we just don't know if they will gel by Week 1 and beat the Wildcats. Either way, this is a lose-lose for Seymour. A win and the Cats were "supposed" to beat a first-year program in EOB. However, a loss would certainly make people wonder about what's going on in Seymour.
Picks: Kyle- Seymour, 35-14. Remmy- Seymour, 44-12.

Sacred Heart (0-0) at Woodland (0-0): Both of these teams lost their multi-purpose quarterbacks which accounted for most of their teams' offenses. The Hearts will feature quarterback Javon Martin, who is said to be similar to Rohan Ifill, but lost All-American wide receiver David Coggins for the season. Speed will be the name of the game for Sacred Heart, which still has wideout Dwayne Ellis and other athletes on the field. For Woodland, sophomore Tanner Kingsley fills in at quarterback with Matt Zaccagnini taking over as the feature running back. The Hawks' offensive line and defense are mostly still intact, but the secondary is the inexperienced spot on the field and could be the team's weakness.
Picks: Kyle- Woodland, 28-21. Remmy- Woodland, 27-19.

Watertown (0-0) at Montville (0-0): In the battle of the Indians, Watertown will be without Matt Quatrano, one of the best athletes in the league over the last few years. They will have plenty of size, though, so perhaps all is not lost for Mike Veronneau's team. Watertown will need to work on developing go-to offensive weapons, including a new quarterback and backfield. Defense could make a difference this year for the Indians. Montville lost running back Tyler Girard-Floyd, one of the state's top runners, and likely won't be as strong as it was last season, but there should be enough in the cupboard for another solid year.
Picks: Kyle- Montville, 27-7. Remmy- Montville, 35-14.

Lyman Hall (0-0) at Wilby (0-0): The new-look Wildcats face an SCC-D2 team and have a shot at winning their opener under new head coach Patrick Russo. The word on some reports we've seen during the preseason is that Lyman Hall is likely going to have a down year and that the Wildcats have looked very good with new motivation behind their big guys and quick athletes. We'll see if that translates into a win for the Green Machine.
Picks: Kyle- Wilby, 26-14. Remmy- Wilby, 22-8.

Kennedy (0-0) at Wolcott (0-0): Wolcott suffered, in numbers, the most substantial losses of any team in the league. While the Eagles may not be as big as they have been in the last few years, they may make up for it in speed. DeVante Bonvillian will be leading the offensive attack as one of the top returning running backs in the NVL, but he won't be able to carry Wolcott by himself. Kennedy also lost a lot on both sides of the ball, but Chris Sarlo's single-wing offense is always quirky enough to sneak up on some teams.
Picks: Kyle- Wolcott, 21-8. Remmy- Wolcott, 30-20.

St. Paul (0-0) at Derby (0-0): Some of the talk recently has been about this Week 1 game between the Falcons and Red Raiders, who figure to have the two best passing offenses in the league this season. On one side, there's sophomore quarterback Logan Marchi with his main weapon in Justin Gonzalez. On the other side, there's senior quarterback Ray Kreiger with his main weapon in Jacob Tomczak injured for the season, so he'll have to develop some other targets. There are a lot of questions on how well these teams can run the ball and play defense, so there's a good chance this thing's going to be a shootout.
Picks: Kyle- Derby, 47-42. Remmy- Derby, 62-61.

Naugatuck (0-0) at East Longmeadow (Mass.) (0-0): The defending NVL champion takes its new-look game out of state for its opener, taking on a team that is usually among the stronger teams in Massachusetts. The Greyhounds have a new quarterback, Zack Mercer, but have a lot of speed on both sides of the ball, pretty experienced lines, and one of this year's do-it-all players in Jake Yourison, who will likely see some snaps in a wildcat formation. It remains to be seen if Naugy will have the skill players and physicality that led the team to the NVL title a season ago.
Picks: Kyle- East Longmeadow, 26-21. Remmy- East Longmeadow, 20-13.

Crosby (0-0) at Holy Cross (0-0): The Crusaders have been pegged by some as one of the few favorites in the Copper Division as they figure to have a pretty balanced all-around team. David DiGiorgi is the known entity for the 'Saders, but they'll need to develop more, including a stable passing attack, to maximize their potential in the division. For Crosby, a few linemen return but there will be some turnover on offense and defense with a new coach. We'll have to find out what sort of production comes from both of these offenses and how well the defenses will play.
Picks: Kyle- Holy Cross, 35-13. Remmy- Holy Cross, 28-15.

Torrington (0-0) at Ansonia (0-0): Coming up Tuesday in our Game of the Week!

2011 NVL Season Predictions

It's that time. No fancy intros, no need to set it up. It's time to make our predictions for what's going to happen this season in the Naugatuck Valley League.
Brass Overview
Remmy's Take: Let's not be surprised if Seymour rebounds and battles Derby for the runner-up in the Brass. We're not psychics and we rarely ever predict the future correctly (Kyle may disagree) but it seems like Ansonia's division to lose. Derby took a big, big hit losing Mr. All-everything, Jacob Tomczak. But Ray Kreiger is still commanding that offense which means Derby has a shot. The Raiders will run into problems this season holding their opponents to fewer than 20 points per game. I think the defense is their weakness and they will have to win high-scoring shootouts to be competitive in the Brass. Wilby is supposedly making strides as a program but we have yet to see the new-look team win a game. I don't feel they are a contender this year but watch out for the Wildcats of Waterbury in a couple of seasons. And then there's Watertown, Wolcott, and Crosby. Don't know what to say about these three squads entering the season, but I will be surprised if either of the three are competing for the division title.
Kyle's Take: Unless there's a surprise hiding in Seymour, Watertown, or Wilby, the two teams fighting for the Brass Division championship are going to be Ansonia and Derby. The Chargers may be the best all-around team in the league while the Red Raiders may have the best passing game. I wouldn't rule out either of the Wildcats--what should be an improved Seymour squad and a Patrick Russo-coached Wilby team--making a run or the Indians stealing a few games, but the division is likely Ansonia's or Derby's to win.

Brass Key Game
Remmy's Take: Seymour vs. Derby. This game has the potential to be a great one. Yes, Seymour went winless last season. But things may be looking on the up-and-up at DeBarber in 2011. A small and depleted Derby squad may be the prey the 'Cats are looking for. My honorable mention is Wilby vs. Ansonia. This is a game at Jarvis Stadium just prior to Thanksgiving. The Chargers may be caught looking forward to payback on Naugatuck and depending on the type of year Wilby has (if it has a good one), I can see an upset brewing in A-Town.
Kyle's Take: Ansonia vs. Derby. This is the obvious choice to be the de facto Brass Division championship. The Red Raiders had it sewed up before Montrell Dobbs led the Chargers back at Jarvis Stadium. Kreiger and the Derby passing game will be strong, but can they beat Ansonia with an unproven running game and an unflattering defense? My guess is no.

Copper Overview
Remmy's Take: This year's Copper division, collectively, certainly has better horses in the stable compared to the teams in the Brass. It will be brutal road for the winner of this division. It has teams like St. Paul, who may very well throw the ball 50 times per game, the defending NVL champ in Naugy, a team that lost its best player but can still put up big-time points in Sacred Heart, teams like HC and Woodland, and last but not least, the team with a chip on its shoulder in Torrington with arguably the top player in the NVL--Brenden "You Ain't Kiddin'" Lytton.
Kyle's Take: The Copper is undoubtedly going to be the most exciting, competitive division with any one of five teams having a legitimate chance of winning the championship. Defending champion Naugatuck, runner-up Woodland, and Class S playoff team Sacred Heart will have retooled offenses while Lytton-led Torrington and David DiGiorgi-led Holy Cross may be the division favorites. Throw what could be an explosive St. Paul offense and the quirky Kennedy unit in the mix, and just about every division game should be outstanding.

Copper Key Game
Remmy's Take: Torrington vs. Naugatuck. Don't tell me Torrington isn't looking to blow out Naugatuck after last year's shellacking in Litchfield County. Naugatuck lost some of its stars but after seeing its defense make some big-time plays at the spring game, I know it'll be a war when Lytton takes handoffs and sees a pack of Greyhounds trying to catch him. I have to believe T-Town's line will have something to prove in the trenches. I am sure Holy Cross will make some noise but I can't see any of its games being bigger than my Copper key game of 2011--the Raiders vs. the 'Hounds. I still believe Holy Cross has a shot at winning the Copper despite not having a game that really stands out compared to T-Town's offense vs. Naugy's defense.
Kyle's Take: Week 6. Call it riding the fence, but I can't see one game determining the division championship the way Naugatuck-Woodland in Week 8 did last season. In Week 6, Torrington travels to Woodland while Naugatuck meets Holy Cross at the Stadium. All four of these teams figure to probably still be alive at this point in the season so they'll both be crucial games. I wouldn't be surprised to see the advanced tiebreaker rules used to determine the 2011 Copper champ.


Remmy's Brass Division
1. Ansonia (9-1, 6-0)
2. Derby (6-4, 5-1)
3. Seymour (5-5, 4-2)
4. Watertown (5-5, 4-2)
5. Wilby (4-6, 3-3)
6. Crosby (3-7, 2-4)
7. Wolcott (3-7, 2-4)

Kyle's Brass Division
1. Ansonia (9-1, 6-0)
2. Derby (6-4, 5-1)
3. Seymour (6-4, 4-2)
4. Wilby (4-6, 3-3)
5. Wolcott (3-7, 1-5)
6. Watertown (2-8, 1-5)
7. Crosby (2-8, 1-5)

Remmy's Copper Division
1. Holy Cross (8-2, 5-1)
2. Torrington (8-2, 4-2)
3. Naugatuck (7-3, 4-2)
4. Woodland (5-5, 3-3)
5. Sacred Heart (4-5, 2-4)
6. St. Paul (3-7, 2-4)
7. Kennedy (2-8, 1-5)

Kyle's Copper Division
1. Torrington (8-2, 5-1)
2. Woodland (8-2, 5-1)
3. Holy Cross (8-2, 5-1)
4. Naugatuck (6-4, 3-3)
5. St. Paul (5-5, 2-4)
6. Sacred Heart (4-5, 2-4)
7. Kennedy (0-10, 0-6)
* Torrington wins division based on better record vs. common opponents.

Remmy's NVL Championship
Ansonia over Holy Cross

Kyle's NVL Championship
Ansonia over Torrington

Your turn! Share your picks, and what you think of ours. We'll post them later on the Preseason Picks page.

Preseason Interviews with Naugatuck and Woodland

We continued our preseason video interviews around the Valley with two more on Friday. First, we caught up with Rob Plasky's Naugatuck Greyhounds at practice, two weeks before the defending NVL champions head to East Longmeadow (Mass.) for their Week 1 nonconference game against the Spartans.

Here are senior tri-captains Jake Yourison (Sr., QB/RB/LB), Nico Cari (Sr., OL/DL), and Mike Giugno (Sr., OL/DL). (Don't mind the annoying bugs buzzing in the background.)

We also took a trip up to the hill to talk to Tim Shea's Woodland Hawks a day before their scrimmage against Guilford and North Haven. Woodland opens the season when it hosts Sacred Heart on Thursday, Sept. 15, in a rematch of the game that cost the Hawks last year's Copper Division title.

Here are senior tri-captains Matt Zaccagnini (Sr., RB/LB), Zach Plourde (Sr., FB/LB), and Tom Gendreau (Sr., OL/LB). (Don't mind the wind blowing.)

And since we were never able to preview Woodland during the spring, here's all the info:

About the Team
Class/Division: S / NVL Copper
Head coach: Tim Shea (fourth year, 18-14)
2010 record: 7-4 (5-1 Copper; Copper runner-up)
Playoff result: Class S quarterfinalist
Returning starters: 12
Players to watch: Tom Gendreau (Sr., OL/LB, capt.), Zach Plourde (Sr., FB/LB, capt.), Matt Zaccagnini (Sr., RB/LB, capt.), Zach Happy (Sr., TE/LB), Vigan Mulahu (Sr., OL/DL), Dave Alves (Sr., OL/DL), Ryan Wilkinson (Sr., OL/DL), Eric Collodel (Jr., OL/DL), Anthony Scirpo (Jr., WR/DB), Jeremy Clark (Jr., OL/DL), Kyle McClintick (Sr., WR/DB), Tanner Kingsley (So., QB), Brian Zaccagnini (So., WR/DB), Taylor Tucciarone (So., RB/DB), Levi Fancher (So., TE/LB)

Coach's Corner
Shea's team outlook: "We would like to be one of the eight [playoff teams] for Class S. We want to compete for a Copper Division championship. We return our fronts on both sides of the ball this year. We will rely on their experience to help us win games. We need our young skill kids to mature and get better every week. We will come out and play hard each and every Friday night."
Shea's league outlook: "I think the league is more balanced than ever this year. Any one of five teams could win the Copper. The league will be very competitive every week. This will be a fun season to watch. You are going to get good football from Week 1 until Thanksgiving."

Stay tuned for NVL season predictions this week!