Week 8 Predictions

Seven weeks have gone by just like that. We still have some huge games on the slate, notably Woodland vs. Holy Cross and Ansonia vs. Wolcott. The game at Municipal Stadium could determine the Copper Division champion (if the Crusaders win) while the contest at Joe Monroe Field is for the Brass Division title. We'll get to those later in the week in the Co-Games of the Week thread.

Unfortunately, due to the snow and subsequent power outages, we were unable to shoot our weekly videos. (We know how upset you must be.) However, we didn't forget to mention our CSWA Top 15 polls and our NVL Power Rankings.

Kyle's CSWA Top 15: 1) Masuk, 2) Xavier, 3) Ansonia, 4) Daniel Hand, 5) Staples, 6) Windsor, 7) New Canaan, 8) Conard, 9) Notre Dame-West Haven, 10) Valley Regional/Old Lyme, 11) North Haven, 12) Glastonbury, 13) New London, 14) Bunnell, 15) Hartford Public

Remmy's CSWA Top 15: 1) Masuk, 2) Xavier, 3) Ansonia, 4) Daniel Hand, 5) New Canaan, 6) Windsor, 7) Staples, 8) Valley Regional/Old Lyme, 9) Conard, 10) Notre Dame-West Haven, 11) North Haven, 12) Northwest Catholic, 13) Pomperaug, 14) Newtown, 15) Berlin

Kyle's and Remmy's NVL Power Rankings: 1) Ansonia, 2) Holy Cross, 3) Torrington, 4) Wolcott, 5) Woodland
And now, without further ado, the first set of our Week 8 picks.

St. Paul (0-7, 0-7, 0-4) at Sacred Heart (2-4, 2-4, 1-3): The Hearts were locked in a battle with Holy Cross all night long on Friday but they lost their best offensive threat, Jaquan Overbey, to an ankle injury before halftime. If Overbey can't go this week, Sacred Heart may struggle a little, but the team has other capable running backs like Jolly Black to carry the load. St. Paul continued to struggle last week. The Hearts' secondary is very athletic and should be able to force a few turnovers.
Picks: Remmy- Sacred Heart, 36-20. Kyle- Sacred Heart, 33-14.

Seymour (5-2, 4-2, 2-2) at Derby (2-5, 2-5, 1-3): The old Housatonic rivalry gets rekindled this week at DeFilippo Field with the Wildcats looking to keep pace in Class S while the Red Raiders seek to play spoiler. Derby matched Torrington step for step in the first half on Friday before letting it slip away. The Raiders' run defense did them in, so we expect a lot of Jon Wilson and Luke Grabowski on the ground from Seymour. But you can never count out Ray Kreiger to at least make this thing close.
Picks: Remmy- Seymour, 34-28. Kyle- Seymour, 36-26.

Kennedy (1-6, 1-5, 1-3) at Torrington (5-2, 5-1, 3-1): Torrington has a big rooting interest in the Holy Cross-Woodland game. But even if the Hawks pull the upset that the Red Raiders need, Torrington still has its own business to take care of in the next two weeks with Kennedy and Sacred Heart. The Eagles will have some momentum riding into this game after their first win against St. Paul, and Kennedy's ugly style of football can always power an upset. But Torrington's run defense has been very good over the last few weeks and as long as that continues, the Raiders shouldn't have a lot of problems.
Picks: Remmy- Torrington, 62-49. Kyle- Torrington, 53-20.

Naugatuck (4-3, 3-3, 2-3) at Watertown (2-5, 2-4, 2-3): The Greyhounds are finally done with their Copper Division stretch, but it crippled their season with three straight losses. Naugy will be playing for pride the rest of the way with no division or playoff spot to contend with. We wouldn't be surprised to see Jake Yourison take out a little bit of frustration this week. Naugatuck has turned over the ball 11 times in the last three games so if the 'Hounds get sloppy again, Watertown will be right in this one.
Picks: Remmy- Naugatuck, 28-13. Kyle- Naugatuck, 34-20.

Wilby (3-4, 3-3, 2-3) at Crosby (1-6, 1-5, 0-4): Wilby's four losses have come by a combined 17 points. The Wildcats are realistically about four plays away from being 7-0. But unfortunately, that's not how football works. Still, Wilby is a much-improved team and hasn't lost consecutive games all season. Jay'Len Mahan and Jacob Thomas have both been explosive at different times all season, and those two should be able to power the Wildcats past a hapless Crosby squad.
Picks: Remmy- Wilby, 38-12. Kyle- Wilby, 44-13.

As always, we invite you to make your picks along with us. The Predictions Tracker has been updated through Week 7.

Our Co-Games of the Week thread, featuring the Brass championship between Wolcott and Ansonia as well as the potential Copper championship between Holy Cross and Woodland will be coming on Wednesday.

SCHEDULING UPDATES: Please look inside this thread for the latest scheduling updates due to the power outages. We will also update the schedules in the right sidebar and on Twitter. Stay warm, everyone!

Week 7 Wrap

Although there were no upsets in Week 7, a few of the major division contenders had some first-half scares before pulling away. In the end, all division matters stayed the same as they were entering the week.
Seymour's Jon Wilson is taken down by Wilby's Duvonte Zimmerman on Thursday night at Municipal Stadium. Seymour won, 32-30, to stay alive in the Class S playoff hunt.
Credit: Christopher Massa/Republican-American
What Happened
In our Thursday night showcase, Seymour outlasted Wilby, 32-30. Seymour pulled ahead and had a 24-6 lead in the first half thanks to a pair of long Jon Wilson touchdown runs before Wilby stormed back to tie it at 24-24. Seymour went back ahead, 32-24, on a Luke Grabowski run before Wilby scored again. But Wilby as 0-for-5 on two-point conversions, which ended up costing it the game. Jay'Len Mahan made some more incredible long runs, but a pair of second-half turnovers and the conversion futility were too much to overcome. Seymour (5-2) is still in good shape in the Class S playoff standings.

Woodland crushed Naugatuck, 40-14, for the Hawks' eighth win in nine all-time meetings between the two teams. Anthony Scirpo had one of the season's best games by a wide receiver with two touchdown catches, a 59-yard touchdown run, an interception, over 100 total yards, and plenty of moves to go with them. Naugatuck's mistakes hurt again with two red-zone turnovers. The Hawks (5-2) are still very alive in Class S and can help themselves get back in the Copper hunt with a win over Holy Cross next week.

Speaking of the Crusaders, they trailed Sacred Heart in the first half but rallied for a 21-13 win. Holy Cross did it without the suspended Dave DiGiorgi, so plenty of other players stepped up to do just enough on offense, including Adrian Brown. Jaquan Overbey ran well in the first half for Sacred Heart before exiting with an ankle injury. The Crusaders will win the Copper Division with a win next week over Woodland and are in very good shape in Class S, but DiGiorgi's status for next week is up in the air.

In another game featuring an ankle injury, Torrington pulled away from Derby, 58-28. Brenden Lytton suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter and didn't return, but it is believed to be only an ankle sprain. The teams traded blows until late in the second quarter when Torrington took the lead for good. Ray Kreiger had a great game with over 350 yards passing, but it wasn't enough for the combined 450-plus yards by Lytton and Joan Toreibo. Torrington is still hovering in Class L while they need a Woodland victory over Holy Cross next week to take control over the Copper.

Wolcott also trailed Watertown early but pulled away for a comfortable, 28-12 victory. Mike Nicol had one of his best passing games of the season to lead the Eagles, who have played well defensively ever since their loss to Torrington. Wolcott hosts Ansonia for the Brass Division championship next week and can likely clinch a playoff berth by winning even just one of its final three games.

Ansonia had no trouble in a 42-6 pasting of Crosby in which Arkeel Newsome had three touchdowns on nine carries while Elliot Chudwick had over 100 yards passing. Newsome is clearly being paced in this soft stretch in Ansonia's schedule, which seems to be the obvious and smart decision by the Chargers' staff. Ansonia's defense continues to play incredibly well, and the Chargers will have their biggest game in weeks when they play for the Brass title on Friday.

Finally, congratulations to Kennedy on earning its first win of the season in a 29-14 victory over St. Paul. Logan Marchi didn't throw for a touchdown and was intercepted twice, including a pick-six, and we can only imagine that the poor weather conditions factored into the tough passing day. Kennedy scored 15 points in the second quarter and held on in the second half. St. Paul is now the only winless team in the league.

Who Did It
Woodland wide receiver/safety Anthony Scirpo is our NVL Blog Player of the Week for Week 7. He only had 132 total yards, but he scored three total touchdowns, intercepted a pass and made a long return to set up another touchdown, and made some of the most incredible moves of the season in the Hawks' win over Naugatuck.

Week 7's top rushers: Wilby's Jay'Len Mahan (319 rush yds, 3 TD); Torrington's Brenden Lytton (256 rush yds, 4 TD); Torrington's Joan Toreibo (200 rush yds, 2 TD); Seymour's Jon Wilson (192 rush yds, 2 TD); Woodland's Matt Zaccagnini (169 rush yds, 2 TD); Sacred Heart's Jolly Black (138 rush yds, 2 TD); St. Paul's Jordan Rowley (128 rush yds, 2 TD); Naugatuck's Jake Yourison (127 rush yds, TD); Holy Cross's Adrian Brown (127 rush yds, TD); Ansonia's Arkeel Newsome (118 rush yds, 3 TD); Holy Cross's Nick Giambacini (65 rush yds, 2 TD); Wilby's Jacob Thomas (35 rush yds, 2 TD)

Week 7's top passers: Derby's Ray Kreiger (27-45, 363 pass yds, 2 TD, INT); Wolcott's Mike Nicol (13-16, 251 pass yds, 3 TD); Woodland's Tanner Kingsley (8-10, 130 pass yds, 3 TD, INT); St. Paul's Logan Marchi (10-23, 127 pass yds, 2 INT); Ansonia's Elliot Chudwick (5-10, 130 pass yds, TD)

Week 7's top receivers: Derby's Brian Dobek (155 rec yds, TD); Ansonia's Andrew Matos (118 rec yds, TD); Derby's Dillon McMahon (106 rec yds, TD); Wolcott's Pat Byrne (83 rec yds, TD); Woodland's Anthony Scirpo (73 rec yds, 2 TD)

How It Looked
Remmy saw parts of two games on Friday night, so check out his videos of the Ansonia-Crosby and Naugatuck-Woodland games below.


And as always, here are some additional bits of multimedia from our friends at the Rep-Am and Register Citizen.

Videos: Naugatuck-Woodland, Holy Cross-Sacred Heart, Holy Cross-Sacred Heart, Wolcott-Watertown
Photos: Seymour-Wilby, Naugatuck-Woodland, Holy Cross-Sacred Heart, Derby-Torrington, St. Paul-Kennedy

What's Next
Week 8 will provide us the champion of the Brass Division and could give us a winner of the Copper Division, too.

Wolcott hosts one of its biggest games in program history on Friday when it welcomes Ansonia in the de facto Brass Division title game. Meanwhile, Holy Cross meets Woodland at Municipal Stadium in a huge Copper Division game. If the Crusaders win, they are the champions of the Copper. If Woodland wins, then Torrington assumes the driver's seat. The Red Raiders host Kennedy.

By the way, if you don't quite understand how the tiebreakers would work out, check out this post on the Red Zone blog for the clear explanation of the rules.

Wolcott, Ansonia, Holy Cross, Woodland, Torrington, and Seymour will all be playing for their playoff hopes, too. The winner of the Wolcott-Ansonia game will basically clinch a spot in Class M while Holy Cross, Woodland, and Seymour jockey for position in Class S. Torrington still needs a bit of help to climb up in the Class L standings.

Look out for our Week 8 picks on Monday, along with looks at the six remaining NVL playoff contenders' situations later in the week. Enjoy the snow!

Week 7 Live Scoreboard

In our first game of the week, Seymour held on to beat Wilby, 32-30. Friday's games carry plenty of importance for the other six teams still fighting for playoff berths. We'll have updates from Naugatuck-Woodland and hopefully plenty of other games.

All five of the Friday night games went as we thought they would, although three of them were in doubt in the first half. Woodland, Holy Cross, Torrington, Wolcott, and Ansonia all won to keep their division and state playoff hopes alive. Kennedy earned its first win of the season by beating St. Paul on Saturday.

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!

Click here to watch a replay of the Week 7 Live Scoreboard.

Game of the Week 7: Naugatuck at Woodland

Last year, this game was as close to a Copper Division championships as we got. This time around, only Woodland is in contention for the division title. But the game is sure to be as intense as ever between these two rivals.

Naugatuck is no longer a contender in the Copper Division race after losses to Torrington and Holy Cross while Woodland will need wins in their final three games, along with someone beating Torrington, to get back on top of the division. Still, both teams are alive in the state playoff hunt so they have plenty on the line. Click here to watch Kyle's and Remmy's video previewing the game.
Senior co-captain Zach Plourde will be important on both sides of the ball to helping Woodland defeat Naugatuck for the eighth time in nine games. Credit: Jim Shannon/Republican-American
Remmy's Keys to the Game: Naugatuck may very well be coming into this game defeated. The 'Hounds must ensure they match Woodland's intensity level because the Hawks will be looking to rebound from last week's loss to Torrington at home. These are two of the tougher squads in the NVL facing off on Friday night. Therefore, I expect Naugatuck to try to establish the run game early and bully the Woodland defense. If Naugatuck can't run the ball, it won't win. It's that simple. Woodland will definitely need a fantastic performance from quarterback Tanner Kingsley. Naugatuck will be flying to the ball very aggressively and Woodland needs to make sure it gets Kingsley out of the pocket to make some plays. Make no mistake about it--Naugatuck will be trying to take Kingsley out of his rhythm as early as possible.
Kyle's Keys to the Game: Both of these teams are coming off tough losses, so the possibility that either or both teams come out flat is certainly not out of the question. Re-establishing consistent, mistake-free offenses as well as physical offensive lines and strong defensive fronts--some of the basic foundations of football--is important for both Woodland and Naugatuck. The Greyhounds turned over the ball five times against Holy Cross and few very football games are won in that manner. The Hawks' were dominated up front--something that happens far fewer times than not--in the second half against Torrington. Something tells me the chances of that happening two weeks in a row are slim. On offense, Woodland's short passing game will be important because that has consistently been the most effective and high-percentage facet of the offense thus far. Naugatuck needs to integrate some other playmakers besides Jake Yourison but not all of a sudden put it all on Zac Mercer. There are other good athletes in the borough that can help.

Remmy's Players to Watch: Naugatuck's Matt Harris may be the X-factor for the 'Hounds this week. Harris got back into the swing of things last week at Holy Cross and I expect Plasky to call Harris' number a lot more this week. Harris is a quick, speedy player with good instincts and has the ability to make anyone on the field miss. Another player to watch for is Naugatuck quarterback Zac Mercer. Mercer is coming off of a rough game but he will not be looking to have a repeat performance from last week. If Naugy finds a way to get Mercer out in space to create some plays, it has a shot at a win this week. Woodland quarterback Tanner Kingsley will need to have a great game as I expect Naugy's defense to key on Hawks running back Matt Zaccagnini. This game has all the makings for Kingsley to be spectacular because Naugy's pass defense has been pretty suspect this season with the loss of some studs due to graduation. Hawks wide receiver Anthony Scirpo is also due to have a breakout game. Scirpo is a reliable target and looks like he is one of Kingsley's more favorable targets.
Kyle's Players to Watch: Woodland's offensive line needs a comeback performance this week if the Hawks expect to keep their postseason hopes alive. That bunch, led by Tom Gendreau and Jeremy Clark, need to establish themselves to allow Zaccagnini more yardage on first-down carries and allow the offense to keep progressing. The Hawks' receivers have also been very good lately, including Scirpo, Kyle McClintick and tight ends Zach Happy and Levi Fancher. Keeping the ball spread around is a good way to keep a reeling Naugatuck defense on its heels. Greyhounds defenders like Mike Giugno and Tim Woodfield will have their hands full but are adept at slowing down offenses in the middle of the field.

Historically, Woodland has had Naugatuck's number and with the Greyhounds trending down, it looks like the Hawks might win again. Woodland's consistency, especially on offense, should propel the Hawks to victory and keep their Copper Division and Class S hopes alive.
Picks: Remmy- Woodland, 35-20. Kyle- Woodland, 28-21.

Week 7 Predictions

Holy Cross running back Adrian Brown gets past Naugatuck linebacker Tim Woodfield during the Crusaders' 43-0 win over the Greyhounds on Friday. Holy Cross can win the NVL Copper Division with wins in its next two games. Credit: Christopher Massa/Rep-Am
We're already at the end of October, which means Week 7 is here. After this week, we'll know if we have a two- or three-team fight atop the Copper Division and which teams will put themselves in position to qualify for the state playoffs.

But Week 6 was an exciting and important one, so click here for one last look back at what happened with Kyle's and Remmy's video.

Even though our Game of the Week--Naugatuck at Woodland--has the most riding for both teams, most of the Week 7 matchups feature at least one team fighting for either a division championship or a playoff berth. Click here to watch the video of Kyle's and Remmy's Week 7 picks.

Seymour (4-2, 1-2) at Wilby (3-3, 2-2): For as nice as these pair of Wildcats' starts have been after poor seasons last year, neither squad has yet to beat a team with a winning record. Wilby's had the more explosive offense of these two teams this season with Jay'Len Mahan and Jacob Thomas, who's coming off a 357-yard, five-touchdown performance along with two interceptions. Seymour hasn't really been too pretty in its wins but it is in position to challenge for a Class S playoff spot. Seymour will have to slow down Mahan and Thomas and Wilby will have to limit Luke Grabowski and Jon Wilson. If Seymour tries to air it out too much, Wilby's talented secondary may take advantage.
Picks: Remmy- Wilby, 32-27. Kyle- Wilby, 26-22.

Holy Cross (5-1, 3-0) at Sacred Heart (2-3, 1-2): Both of these teams are playing their best football of the season as they enter the Holy War. The Crusaders had their best rushing performance two weeks ago and had their best passing performance last week. Meanwhile, the Hearts have transformed into a rushing and defensive team instead of their usual passing style. As well as Sacred Heart has been in the physical components of the game, it may be a little too much for them to stick with Holy Cross' size and strength. Still, it's a rivalry game so anything can happen.
Picks: Remmy- Holy Cross, 34-30. Kyle- Holy Cross, 28-20.

Derby (2-4, 1-3) at Torrington (4-2, 3-1): Torrington gained one of the biggest victories of this season last week with a great second half at Woodland. Torrington's offensive and defensive lines have improved greatly since their 1-2 start, and we can't say enough about how great Brenden Lytton has been lately. Derby has been disappointing, losing three games that they led in the second half. Now Ray Kreiger and Co. are relegated to the role of spoiler, which is a dangerous thing with how Derby's passing game can explode. If Torrington keeps doing what it's been doing, though, it should be able to pull away.
Picks: Remmy- Torrington, 42-26. Kyle- Torrington, 40-21.

Wolcott (5-1, 4-0) at Watertown (2-4, 2-2): The Eagles are one of the hottest teams in the league and perhaps the most unexpected successful squads in the state. Their offense is better than it was last season with Mike Nicol posing a big problem with his athleticism at quarterback and DeVante Bonvillian emerging into an effective option in the passing game out of the backfield. Watertown looked like it was going to be competitive but has really dropped the ball in the last two games by allowing almost 100 points. If the Eagles win, they'll host Ansonia for the Brass Division title next week. Who saw that coming?
Picks: Remmy- Wolcott, 38-16. Kyle- Wolcott, 38-14.

Crosby (1-5, 0-3) at Ansonia (6-0, 3-0): After starting off the season with a gauntlet of the league's better teams, the Chargers have earned a bit of a reprieve during the middle of the year. This is another one of those games that Arkeel Newsome will probably be hanging out on the bench by the start of the third quarter. Crosby has been bad over the last four weeks and there's no sign of that changing this week.
Picks: Remmy- Ansonia, 39-6. Kyle- Ansonia, 55-7.

St. Paul (0-6, 0-3) at Kennedy (0-6, 0-3): One team will be left as the only winless team in the NVL after Saturday morning's game. Both of these teams have showed the ability to compete in some games (see Woodland for St. Paul, see Wolcott and Seymour for Kennedy) but both squads had perhaps their worst performances of the season last week. Somebody has to win--according to the rules.
Picks: Remmy- St. Paul, 42-41. Kyle- St. Paul, 42-20.

The favorites--Holy Cross, Torrington, and Wolcott, especially--certainly all have the potential to be tested against sub-.500 teams that have shown flashes of brilliance. If the Crusaders and Eagles both win, both will be able to clinch division titles with wins in Week 8. But first thing's first, and that's this week.

As always, we invite you to make your picks along with us for record-keeping in the Predictions Tracker (which is updated through Week 6). CaptainObvious has a four-game lead over the rest of the pack.

We'll have a busy week on the blog, with a look at playoff chances, division tiebreakers, and our Game of the Week thread and videos coming up Wednesday.

Week 6 Wrap

So which team (besides Ansonia) is playing better football: Holy Cross, Torrington, or Wolcott? All three did a pretty darned good job in Week 6.
What Happened
The Copper Division continued its shaking-out process, and Holy Cross is the lone remaining undefeated team in the division while Torrington assumed second place, and Woodland and Naugatuck fell to third and fourth, respectively.

The most important win was likely that of the Red Raiders, which used a five-touchdown second half to beat Woodland, 44-29, and claim second place in the Copper. Torrington (4-2, 3-1) was clearly the more physical team and dominated the trenches in the second half. Brenden Lytton is absolutely on par with Arkeel Newsome, and any doubt of that fact was erased on Friday when Lytton rushed for 268 second-half yards and finished with 325. The Raiders still trail Holy Cross by a game (as well as the head-to-head tiebreaker) in the Copper, so they'll need some help to win the division and to climb into the hyper-competitive Class L playoff picture. Woodland (4-2, 3-1), meanwhile, is still alive in the Copper and in Class S but certainly have to figure out how to become more consistent on both sides of the ball.

Holy Cross stayed perfect in the division with a 43-0 win over Naugatuck. This was a 14-0 game into the fourth quarter when the Crusaders (5-1, 3-0) blew it open with a long touchdown pass from Zach Brown to Isaiah Wright, a pick-six by Wright, and a pair of touchdown runs. Cross has been really tough to figure out, but its offense has been clicking lately. After showing no life in the passing game recently, Brown played well against Naugy (4-2, 2-2) while the 'Hounds threw three interceptions for the second straight game. Naugy is basically finished in the Copper race while the Crusaders can win the division by winning their next two games (Sacred Heart, Woodland).

Wolcott pulled away from Derby for a 36-20 win behind another Mike Nicol's dual-threat performance. The Eagles (5-1, 4-0) scored the game's final three touchdowns to pull away from the Red Raiders (2-4, 1-3), whose last shot at the playoffs is now gone. Wolcott, meanwhile, is still sitting pretty in Class M but the Eagles still have tough games against Ansonia, Woodland, and Holy Cross remaining. It looks like Wolcott will go as Nicol goes, and the Eagles' defense has been able to do the job in all but one game.

Ansonia beat Watertown, 51-14, and Seymour beat Crosby, 35-14, in a pair of as-expected games. One of the most interesting stats of the week was Newsome being held under 100 yards rushing. Granted, he played only the first half, but still. The Chargers (6-0, 3-0) haven't skipped a beat and are a win over Wolcott (in two weeks) away from winning another Brass Division title. The Wildcats (4-2, 1-2) are still in contention in Class S and may be able to qualify by winning out. Watertown (2-4, 2-2) and Crosby (1-5, 0-3) are struggling of late.

Sacred Heart trounced Kennedy, 41-14, and is playing some really solid football right now, especially in the running game and on defense. Jaquan Overbey has become the offensive star of the team while the defense and special teams are creating loads of turnovers. Don't be shocked if the Hearts (2-3, 1-2) give Holy Cross a run for their money in Week 7. The Eagles (0-6, 0-3) are still searching for their first win.

In the final game of the week, Wilby crushed St. Paul, 60-27. The Wildcats were already up by seven touchdowns at halftime with an incredible performance by Jacob Thomas, who rushed for over 300 yards, scored six total touchdowns, and intercepted two passes. Good for Wilby (3-3, 2-2) for rebounding again after a tough loss. Young St. Paul (0-6, 0-3) continues to struggle.

Who Did It
Wolcott's Mike Nicol earned our NVL Blog Player of the Week honors for Week 6. The Eagles' quarterback has been getting it done on the ground and in the air, and his role in Friday night's comeback win over Derby was no exception with his 112 rush yards, 230 pass yards, and three overall touchdowns. We very well could have picked Wilby's Jacob Thomas, whose stats were the best of the week, but St. Paul isn't exactly the best opponent around.

Week 6's top rushers: Thomas (357 rush yds, 5 TD); Lytton (327 rush yds, 4 TD); Overbey (184 rush yds, 3 TD); Wilby's Emmanuel Zapata (122 rush yds, TD); Nicol (112 rush yds, 2 TD); Watertown's Dan Brodeur (112 rush yds); Woodland's Matt Zaccagnini (102 rush yds, TD); Newsome (84 rush yds, 3 TD)

Week 6's top passers: St. Paul's Logan Marchi (19-39, 344 pass yds, 4 TD, 4 INT); Woodland's Tanner Kingsley (16-28, 240 pass yds, 2 TD, 2 INT); Nicol (13-19, 230 pass yds, TD); Brown (7-12, 195 pass yds, TD, INT); Derby's Ray Kreiger (17-30, 168 pass yds, 2 TD, 2 INT); Ansonia's Elliot Chudwick (4-6, 108 pass yds, TD, INT); Torrington's Phil Bresson (7-15, 108 pass yds, TD, INT)

How It Looked
Remmy caught the first half of Watertown-Ansonia and the second half of Torrington-Woodland. Click those links to check out the videos.

And of course, our friends from the Rep-Am and the Register Citizen have these bits of multimedia for us.

Videos: Torrington-Woodland, Torrington-Woodland, Naugatuck-Holy Cross
Photos: Sacred Heart-Kennedy, Torrington-Woodland, Naugatuck-Holy Cross

What's Next
The Copper Division race is now a three-horse race with Holy Cross in sole possession of first place. The division could either take a step further toward being determined in Week 7 or become even more muddled with the results of a few key games.

Naugatuck-Woodland is an important game for both teams, especially in terms of state playoffs. The 'Hounds, with two losses, are all but out of the running the Copper, but they're still 14th in Class L and have an outside shot at getting in if they win out. Meanwhile, Woodland is still alive in the division but will have to win its next two. The Hawks are all the way back in 16th in Class S, so winning out is also probably required of them if they want to get back to the playoffs.

Holy Cross-Sacred Heart might not look like a huge game on paper, but the Hearts are playing their best football of the season right now with two and a half excellent games under their belts. That momentum, especially in a rivalry game, might be enough to keep this one interesting into the fourth quarter. If the Crusaders stumble, welcome back Torrington and Woodland in the divisional race.

Torrington, 12th in Class L, need to win out and get help to make the playoffs and still have a chance at the Copper if Holy Cross stumbles. They welcome Derby, which of course is the alma mater of coach Dan Dunaj. Derby has been in every game late except one, so this might not be a rollover in the battle of the Raiders.

Wolcott can stay perfect in the Brass with a win against Watertown, which would force a de facto Brass Division title game in Week 8 against Ansonia. That one could be interesting.

Coming up Monday, we'll have our Week 7 picks thread and videos up. The week gets underway Thursday night when Seymour and Wilby face off at the Stadium. Be sure to make your picks along with us, as the Predictions Tracker has been updated through Week 6. Also coming this week is a preliminary analysis of the playoff picture and hopefully some clarification in case the Copper Division becomes a three-way tie.

Week 6 Live Scoreboard

Week 6 kicked off with a lopsided Sacred Heart win over Kennedy. In the big games on Friday, Torrington knocked off Woodland and Holy Cross demolished Naugatuck to give us clear-cut (for now) 1-2 teams in the Copper Division. Wolcott also beat Derby to remain perfect in the Brass Division while Seymour earned its first division win over Crosby. Ansonia coasted past Watertown to stay unbeaten. Wilby also crushed St. Paul in the final game of the week.

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!

Click here to watch a replay of the Week 6 live scoreboard.

Ziti Dinner Fundraiser for Frank Delibro

We were asked to post this. The dinner is for a very good cause. Please support if you can.

When: Monday, Oct. 24, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Ansonia High School Cafeteria
Donations: $10 per person; $25 per family

For information and tickets, please contact:
Ansonia High School: 203-736-5060
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Sponsored by: Ansonia Youth Football and Ansonia Gridiron

Co-Games of the Week 6: Torrington-Woodland, Naugatuck-Holy Cross

In a little less than a month, when the Copper Division race has been settled and there is one team left standing to play for the NVL championship, we will likely look back at Week 6 as a major turning point in the race. We're here, and the big games are here: Torrington at Woodland and Naugatuck at Holy Cross.

Watch Kyle's Game of the Week preview video here.
Torrington at Woodland
Remmy's Keys to the Game: Both teams need this game. It will boil down to who wants it more. Woodland has arguably one of the top defenses in the NVL but has yet to play a formidable opponent except for Ansonia. The Hawks' play from their front seven and linebacking corps will be huge in determining the outcome of this game. Woodland needs at least two guys tackling Brenden Lytton every time. Lytton is one of the bigger backs in the NVL and he has great speed. One guy isn't going to be enough to bring Lytton down! Torrington has played some tough opponents thus far (Ansonia, Holy Cross, Naugatuck) and have lost two big ones. The Raiders cannot afford to lose another one or their chances at winning the Copper Division will truly go down the drain.
We all thought Torrington would come out throwing versus Naugatuck based on the previous week's performance against St. Paul. But that was not the case. The weather and field conditions probably had something to do with that. If Woodland's defense is as good as people think it is, then Torrington will need to make some plays in the air to win this game. Torrington will need to apply pressure on the Hawks' O-line and force Woodland's young quarterback into making bad throws. The key for the Torrington defense is to fluster Tanner Kingsley and make him uncomfortable so he does not get into a groove. Woodland's defense will have its hands full trying to contain Lytton. Will Woodland stack the box like Ansonia did? That will be interesting to see.
Kyle's Keys to the Game: Remmy made it pretty obvious that the biggest key to this game is Woodland's ability to tackle Lytton. Naugatuck was able to hit Lytton fairly often around the line of scrimmage and for minimal gains, but he slid off dozens of tackles for extra yardage and even touchdowns. If Woodland can tackle Lytton effectively, the Hawks will win. If Lytton breaks tackles like he did against the Greyhounds, Woodland will lose. The passing games in this one could also be interesting. The edge in consistency definitely goes to Kingsley and Woodland because we're still not sure what we're going to get from Torrington. One week Phil Bresson throws for 300 yards, and the next week he's replaced in the second quarter. I think Woodland's offensive variety and balance will be tougher for Torrington to stop than Naugatuck's, but the Hawks have to be careful not to open it up too much because Lytton is a ball hawk in the secondary.

Remmy's Players to Watch: I expect some big hits from both teams on defense. Woodland's front seven will determine whether or not the Hawks win this game. But my real players to watch will be on the offensive side of the ball--Woodland running back Matt Zaccagnini and Torrington quarterback Phil Bresson. Zaccagnini will need at least 20 carries to take the load off of the young quarterback, Tanner Kingsley. This matchup is setting up well for Zaccagnini to have a monster game. However, if the run game isn't there for Woodland, it will be in a tough spot putting pressure on the young quarterback to win the game. On the other side, Bresson will need to pick up his squad if the Hawks stuff the Red Raiders' run game. I don't expect the Raiders' run game to stall in this game, but I don't expect Brenden Lytton to run for over 300 yards, either. Bresson will have to do some of the work!
Kyle's Players to Watch: The Woodland offensive line is going to be big in this one. If the Hawks want to be successful on offense, they need to establish the run game early, and the line will be huge in blocking for the bruising Zaccagnini. I think the Hawks' receivers, Anthony Scirpo and Kyle McClintick, as well as tight ends Levi Fancher and Zach Happy could be the difference. Kingsley has done a very nice job of distributing the ball around the field so defenses have a tough time keying in one one or two guys. The receivers have good speed and the tight ends have good size so if Kingsley can get them the ball, Woodland's offense will be in good shape. For Torrington, paving the way for Lytton will be big. The Torrington offensive line will have its hands full with Woodland's front seven, which usually does a good job of getting penetration into the backfield and around the corner. We'll see how the Raiders' wide receivers are able to block, too.

Picks: Remmy- Torrington, 28-26. Kyle- Woodland, 27-22.
Naugatuck at Holy Cross
Remmy's Keys to the Game: The Crusaders will need to match Naugatuck's intensity. Naugatuck is coming off of a big home loss to Torrington. And for the second week in a row, the 'Hounds play a game that will determine the outcome of who becomes the top dog in the Copper Division. Holy Cross finished off Kennedy after being down at the half, 6-2. The Crusaders eventually won the game, but it doesn't seem to me that they are as hungry as this Naugatuck team might be after last week's loss to the Red Raiders. I don't think Holy Cross wins this game unless Adrian Brown and David DiGiorgi rush for a combined 200 yards. That's pretty tough to ask from Cross against the Naugy defense, but it can get done. And hopefully (for the sake of my picks), Holy Cross has some payback on its mind after it lost to a down Naugatuck team a couple of years ago, 6-0.
Kyle's Keys to the Game: Naugatuck's offense has to find its passing game again in order to beat the Crusaders. Holy Cross' secondary is a solid unit but the ability for Naugy to connect on screens with the occasional longer pass will be important to helping Jake Yourison have an easier time running the ball. Yourison can throw, but Zac Mercer has been successful in his appearances and I would think the 'Hounds have to reintegrate him into the office. Allowing Yourison to take a handoff rather than a direct snap gives him another couple of yards to read the defense and get a fast start. If the Greyhounds tackle as poorly as they tackled against Torrington, Brown and DiGiorgi will take advantage and gain substantial yardage. Holy Cross seems to be much more suited for running the ball with a strong offensive line and two backs. An occasional throw would be good, but many of the Crusaders' mistakes have come in the passing game this year. Keeping the ball on the ground with the playmakers--even the occasional screen--would seem to be the best chance at offensive success.

Remmy's Players to Watch: Naugatuck quarterback Zac Mercer did not have a big game last week against Torrington and it may have determined the outcome of that game. We were expecting a good game from him but it didn't happen as he wasn't on the field too much. This week, he will need to regroup and make some plays for Naugatuck if the 'Hounds intend on being victorious. And if my memory serves, Matt Harris is back for the Garnet and Grey. We'll see what kind of spark he gives this team., if any. Harris is a very quick, very elusive player. Holy Cross will need its speed guys on defense to watch Harris' every move, or he's gone! Crusaders junior Adrian Brown will need to pick up where he left off last week. Brown rushed for over 100 yards in a win over Kennedy and was a great compliment to David DiGiorgi in the backfield. Brown is very fast. He took one to the house against Ansonia (JV) on a run to the outside. No one was catching him. Brown and Harris may very well be the guys who show up for their respective teams this week.
Kyle's Players to Watch: Last week, Holy Cross running back Dave DiGiorgi had his first 100-yard game since Week 1. Keeping him heavily involved in the offense will be important as he's an experienced back with the ability to pound up the middle in short-yardage situations. Jake Yourison will likely get the bulk of Naugatuck's offensive work, but it's important to develop a more effective passing game so defenses can't focus on sending multiple players at Yourison on every play. On defense, the big playmakers in the front seven are Naugatuck's Mike Giugno and Holy Cross' Anthony Jamele. Both are very strong against both the run and the pass, so we can expect solid performances from both of these guys. Giugno made several big stops late in the game against Lytton last week while Jamele has forced several turnovers this season.

Picks: Remmy- Holy Cross, 26-18. Kyle- Holy Cross, 21-14.

Week 6 Predictions

We're now moving into the most important part of the regular season where we'll sort out--or muddle further--the mess that's been made over the first five weeks of the year. Week 6, in particular, will be perhaps the most pivotal week of them all as two huge Copper Division battles headline our slate.

Watch Kyle's Week 5 review video here.

The rest of the Week 6 schedule pales in importance to our Co-Games of the Week--Torrington at Woodland and Naugatuck at Holy Cross--but a few Brass Division teams will be looking to either keep their momentum going or rebound from losses.

Watch Kyle's Week 6 picks video here.

Kennedy (0-5, 0-2) at Sacred Heart (1-3, 0-2): Remember last season how the Eagles upset the Hearts in the middle of the season at Municipal Stadium. Well, it's the middle of the season at Municipal Stadium and Kennedy's the underdog. Nobody doubts how hard the Eagles play each night, and that very well could result in a win or two over the second half of the season. Kennedy is tough in the trenches and can control the ball for chunks of time. That was the recipe for beating Sacred Heart last year. The Hearts finally seemed to find their offense last week and ran the ball with effectiveness.
Picks: Remmy- Kennedy, 22-18. Kyle- Sacred Heart, 33-12.

Watertown (2-3, 2-1) at Ansonia (5-0, 2-0): The SNY Traditions team will be at Jarvis Stadium for this one, but those folks probably won't be treated to much more than 15 minutes of a football game. Watertown is coming off its worst lost of the season to Derby while the Chargers are rolling. Chalk up Arkeel Newsome for another 300 or so yards, and then let's see what the rest of the playmakers can do. The real competition here might be between the Ansonia defense and itself. Those guys would love to finally pitch a shutout.
Picks: Remmy- Ansonia, 36-0. Kyle- Ansonia, 47-7.

Wolcott (4-1, 3-0) at Derby (2-3, 1-2): This game has the potential to be the best of the week, something that these teams have gotten used to recently. Derby is a very solid 2-3 team and is hosting a 4-1 team with a lot of momentum. The Raiders finally seemed to click on all offensive cylinders and their defense played its best game of the season last week in a 41-0 win over Watertown. Meanwhile, Wolcott's one-two punch of DeVante Bonvillian and Mike Nicol have been versatile weapons all season and the Eagles' defense and physicality have shown up when needed. This one should be close in the fourth quarter either way.
Picks: Remmy- Wolcott, 30-18. Kyle- Derby, 34-31.

Crosby (1-4, 0-2) at Seymour (3-2, 0-2): The Wildcats played Ansonia tough for a quarter. But that's not enough to win a football game. Well, unless you're playing a struggling Crosby team. Crosby showed some signs of a team to be reckoned with earlier in the year. But lately, the Bulldogs have struggled mightily against the competition. The 'Dawgs are coming off of a blowout loss to Sacred Heart and we do not expect them to rebound against a sound Seymour team.
Picks: Remmy- Seymour, 32-18. Kyle- Seymour, 35-7.

Wilby (2-3, 1-2) at St. Paul (0-5, 0-3): Wilby is coming off of a big divisional loss to Wolcott. The loss was rather emotional for the Wildcats as their former coach lost the game to his former team. St. Paul has a bit of momentum going coming into this game despite losing to Woodland at home. The Falcons competed for four full quarters, something that they haven't done much of this season. The determining factors in this one will be if Wilby can pound the ball on the ground and if St. Paul can dissect the Wilby defense. This game could go either way.
Picks: Remmy- St. Paul, 42-30. Kyle- Wilby, 30-24.

We'll be discussing our Co-Games of the Week in detail starting Wednesday, so just hold your horses on those two Copper Division showdowns.

As always, we invite you to make your picks along with us. The Predictions Tracker will be updated very soon, so don't think we're not looking at your picks.

Week 5 Wrap

What a Week 5 we had.
What Happened
In our Game of the Week, Torrington had just enough to outlast Naugatuck, 31-27. Brenden Lytton had perhaps his best overall game of the season with 287 rushing yards, four total touchdowns, and two interceptions--the last of which sealed the game. The Naugy defense couldn't bring down Lytton very often and Torrington's defense looked solid. Meanwhile, the Greyhounds' offense was disappointing, aside from Jake Yourison, and they never got anything going in the passing game. This result really throws things into upheaval in the Copper Division and will definitely make for some exciting games over the next few weeks.

Our other big game of the week saw Wolcott beat Wilby, 23-20. DeVante Bonvillian powered the Eagles' offense with 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Wolcott's defense was able to hold up, too, despite allowing 199 combined rushing yards to Jay'Len Mahan and Jacob Thomas. Now the Eagles are 4-1 and still unbeaten in the Brass Division. While winning the division over Ansonia is unlikely, Wolcott's chances in Class M are very much alive. Still, the Eagles don't yet have a quality win so we'll see what happens.

Ansonia's 41-6 win over Seymour was pretty uneventful after the Wildcats made a game of it for about a half. Arkeel Newsome ended up with four more touchdowns and 327 rushing yards and the Chargers' defense was excellent after allowing early success to Luke Grabowski.

Holy Cross struggled with Kennedy all night before pulling out a 28-12 win in a game that appeared to be closer than the final score would indicate. Cross actually trailed, 6-2, at the half. Adrian Brown and Dave DiGiorgi both rushed for over 100 yards, which is a good sign for the Crusaders' offense. Still, Holy Cross seems a little shaky at the moment but appears to be in good position to make its Copper Division challenge.

In a pair of Friday night blowouts, Derby beat Watertown, 41-0, and Sacred Heart beat Crosby, 47-6. Finally, the offenses that we expected to have some pop to them came alive in a pair of must-win games for those teams. Incredibly, both the Red Raiders and Hearts are alive in the Class S playoff race, but challenging for a spot will likely take winning out.

And in the last game of the weekend, Woodland beat St. Paul, 27-17, in a game that wasn't quite as close as the score would indicate, although the Falcons probably played their best game of the season. Tanner Kingsley continued his solid play at quarterback with three more touchdown passes and Matt Zaccagnini got back on track with over 150 yards. Now the Hawks will take on all their Copper challengers in a row, which should be interesting for a team that doesn't have a quality win yet.

Who Did It
In the spirit of keeping our NVL Blog Player of the Week award rotating among different athletes while still acknowledging game-breaking efforts, our Week 5 honor goes to Wolcott running back DeVante Bonvillian. The senior rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yarder to re-extend the Eagles' lead late in the game.

Week 5's top rushers: Newsome (327 rush yds, 3 TD); Lytton (287 rush yds, 3 TD); Sacred Heart's Jaquan Overbey (208 rush yds, 3 TD); Zaccagnini (152 rush yds, TD); Yourison (147 rush yds, 3 TD); Bonvillian (138 rush yds, 2 TD); Brown (129 rush yds, 2 TD); DiGiorgi (120 rush yds); St. Paul's Jordan Rowley (117 rush yds); Kennedy's Talance Stith (106 rush yds); Mahan (100 rush yds, 2 TD); Thomas (99 rush yds, TD).

Week 5's top passers: St. Paul's Logan Marchi (18-35, 192 pass yds, 2 TD, 1 Int); Kingsley (12-16, 190 pass yds, 3 TD, 1 Int); Crosby's Marcel Lugo (8-30, 190 pass yds, TD, Int); Derby's Ray Kreiger (15-22, 166 pass yds, 2 TD); Grabowski (9-21, 148 pass yds).

How It Looked
Remmy worked double-time in Week 5 to bring you two highlight videos. Click here for the Ansonia-Seymour highlights and here for the Wolcott-Wilby highlights.

As always, our friends from the Rep-Am and other outlets have some additional multimedia for the pleasure of your eyes.

Videos: Ansonia-Seymour (highlights), Ansonia-Seymour (full first half), Holy Cross-Kennedy, Holy Cross-Kennedy, Torrington-Naugatuck
Photos: Ansonia-Seymour, Holy Cross-Kennedy, Torrington-Naugatuck, Wolcott-Wilby

What's Next
Week 6 was circled on our calendar before the season even began because of its massive implications in the Copper Division race. Two huge Friday night games--Torrington at Woodland and Naugatuck at Holy Cross--will go a long way in telling us who's going to win the division. If either Torrington or Naugatuck lose, they're likely eliminated from the race. But if one or both of those teams win, we're going to have a three- or four-team contest on our hands.

Wolcott continues its Brass Division schedule with a trip to Derby, which suddenly found its high-scoring offense again, while Seymour has a chance to break its two-game losing streak with a game against struggling Crosby. Ansonia hosts Watertown in a game that probably won't be very good.

What We Know Halfway Through the Regular Season:
Remmy: First thing's first. Picks are getting harder and harder to make. With Derby absolutely shelling Watertown, Crosby losing big to Sacred Heart, and Wolcott at 4-1, it's just ... a little crazy, perhaps?
No team looks like it has what it takes to compete with Ansonia--yet. Ansonia has played through the grunt of its schedule, beating three of the top four teams in the Copper. On paper, Ansonia has two really important games left on the schedule. Wolcott is one (Nov. 4) and Naugatuck is the other (Thanksgiving). And now that Naugy went down to Torrington, things are very uncertain in the Copper. Torrington still has a date with Woodland and Holy Cross has two pretty big games left (vs. Naugy, vs. Woodland). Things are just getting hectic in the Copper Division, as we expected prior to the start of the season. Which team will emerge as the victors in the Copper? Anyone want to see a Torrington-Ansonia rematch? Raise your hand. I do.

Kyle: So far, we know that Ansonia is certainly going to win the Brass Division, we're going to have a mess atop the Copper Division, and a few teams who haven't yet been tested will be very soon. Holy Cross, Naugatuck, Torrington, and Woodland are all within striking distance in the Copper Division race, and we're either going to sort out the contenders from the pretenders this week or we're going to have a muddle on top. All I know so far is that Ansonia is for real. I'm still not totally sold on Holy Cross, Wolcott, Woodland, Torrington, or Naugatuck. Out of those five teams, I think Woodland and Torrington are the best, but it's hard to tell, especially since Holy Cross beat Torrington earlier this season. Another thing that we don't know is how to sort out a three-way tiebreaker if the Copper Division comes to it, so I'm going to get on that soon and get an answer before chaos starts.

As always, our Week 6 picks thread will be up on Monday afternoon!

Week 5 Live Scoreboard

This week marks the halfway point in the 2011 high school football regular season, and the action has been as exciting as ever.

In Thursday's games, Ansonia defeated a pesky Seymour squad, 41-6, and Holy Cross rallied from a halftime deficit to beat Kennedy, 28-12. On Friday night, Torrington finally earned a big, 31-27 win over Naugatuck. Wolcott stayed hot and sneaked past Wilby, 23-20, to remain atop the Brass Division. In a pair of blowouts, Derby beat Watertown, 41-0, and Sacred Heart beat Crosby, 47-6. Woodland also beat St. Paul, 27-17, on Sunday.

Here are video highlights of Ansonia's win over Seymour at DeBarber Field, and here are video highlights of Wolcott's win over Wilby at Municipal Stadium.

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!

Watch a replay of the Week 5 live scoreboard here.

Game of the Week 5: Torrington at Naugatuck

Prior to this season, we pointed out a number of games that would be pivotal in determining the champion of the Copper Division. Needless to say, Torrington-Naugatuck is one of those matchups. The Greyhounds are 4-0 and the defending NVL champions, but they've had a few close calls. The Red Raiders, meanwhile, are off to a somewhat disappointing, 2-2 start, but they used a new-look offense to score 80 points last week.

If Torrington loses, it will be probably out of the running in the Copper Division race and will be completely out of the Class L playoff hunt. If Naugatuck stumbles, we'll have a mess brewing in the division.

Click here to watch Kyle's and Remmy's Game of the Week video.

Remmy's Keys to the Game: Without question, it will be whether or not Torrington can run the ball on Naugatuck. We all know that Naugy will be set on stopping Brenden Lytton. But whether it's Lytton or Phil Bresson, will Torrington's new-look offense be enough to rattle Naugatuck?
Everyone's been a witness to the fact that Torrington has not showed up in big games this year. This is another big game for the Red Raiders. Will they lose another one? In one of those games vs. Ansonia, Lytton was held in check. Against Holy Cross, Lytton had his fair share of yardage, but could not get into the end zone when he needed to.
I said this about the Torrington-Holy Cross game in Week 3: "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."
And that's exactly what happened. The only difference this week is that Torrington has found an athlete to fill a big void at quarterback. And he might be the guy that finally puts the Raiders over the top.
There are two reasons Naugatuck will need to pound the ball on the ground to win this game. First, Jake Yourison needs to get off on the right track this week after a scare versus Sacred Heart in Week 4. And second, the less time Torrington has the ball on offense, the higher the chances get at beating Torrington. If Yourison rushes for 150 yards and two touchdowns, I think the 'Hounds win this one.
Kyle's Keys to the Game: It's going to be very interesting to see how Torrington handles its passing game this week. It's natural to be enamored with the new toys and want to play with them some more, but I think it's important that the Red Raiders don't try to throw it around too much. While Bresson had a phenomenal debut, we have to take that performance with a grain of salt because it was against the worst defense in the state (statistically). Naugatuck's secondary is more athletic and has more playmakers than St. Paul's. Lytton still needs to carry the ball 25 times in this game, not including his touches on screen passes. With the way both of these defenses have been playing of late (yes, Torrington's defense has been much improved), this might be more of a ball-control, defensive game than some might expect in a game involving Torrington's offense. Running the ball is generally a better way to minimize mistakes than throwing it around the yard.
Naugatuck finally seems to have all of its players ready to play in the same game, which is definitely encouraging. The return of Matt Harris, who had to sit out the first four weeks after transferring from Holy Cross, could be a very interesting addition to the 'Hounds offense. Zac Mercer has been playing well at quarterback and maintaining their recent balance is very desirable. Naugy needs to find a way to contain a spread offense with a prolific runner. Leaning toward stopping the run and maybe playing some man on the outsides in the passing game could be the way to go with a quarterback who only has one game under his belt, but we'll see.

Remmy's Players to Watch: Torrington's Brenden Lytton and Naugatuck's Jake Yourison are the most obvious picks here. But let's not forget about the two quarterbacks--T-town's new gunslinger Phil Bresson and Naugatuck's Zac Mercer. Will the Red Raiders' staff put the ball in Bresson's hands when the game is on the line, or will it go to Lytton? That will be interesting to see this week. Naugatuck's Mercer will need to make a couple of big plays and third-down conversions with his arm or with his feet in order for Naugy to keep on rollin'. Both teams will be keying in on each other's running backs and focusing on stopping those two horses all night long.
Kyle's Players to Watch: The feature running backs and quarterbacks will obviously be very important to each team's chances of winning. Both teams figure to pass at least 10 times in this game, so both sets of receiving corps could be key. Torrington's wideouts and skill players, like Desmond Langs, Joan Toribeo, Demetrius Dailey, and even Jason Abbott will be important to helping Bresson, while Naugatuck's weapons, like Mick Pernell, Matt Harris, Mike Schebell, and Besim Bomova, will be big in making some plays for Mercer. In the past, I've also pointed out Dan Schebell in Torrington's linebacker corps, and the same goes for Tim Woodfield in Naugatuck's group. These guys will be very important in helping slow things down at the line of scrimmage and in the passing game.

The Picks: As we figure will be the case in most of these key Copper Division games, this should be a close one that ends up being decided in the fourth quarter. We'll see how both of these teams complement their feature backs with their improving passing games and which defense can make the key stops when they need it. Both these teams have a ton riding on this game, so it's sure to be physical and emotional.
Picks: Remmy- Naugatuck, 30-18. Kyle- Naugatuck, 27-20.

Week 5 Predictions

With this week, we'll already be halfway (halfway?!) through the regular season. We continue to move into the heart of divisional play with a few more crucial matchups that will help determine which teams remain contenders or fall away as pretenders.

But first, as we know you all enjoy, it's time for Kyle and Remmy to take one last look at Week 4. Click here to watch that video.

In Week 5, the three remaining teams with undefeated divisional records in the Brass are all in divisional play while the second major game between major Copper contenders--Torrington at Naugatuck--will be showcased as our Game of the Week. That game was also the My9 Game of the Week.

Click here to watch Kyle's and Remmy's Week 5 picks video.

Ansonia (4-0, 1-0) at Seymour (3-1, 0-1): Remember a similar showdown between these teams a few years back at DeBarber Field? Unfortunately, we're probably not going to get a repeat of that classic. Seymour was beaten pretty easily in its first game against a quality opponent in Wolcott last week while Ansonia continued to roll with a blowout of Holy Cross. There probably isn't much that Seymour can do to keep this game close if the three Copper contenders couldn't. The Chargers should continue their tear through the Brass Division and the NVL.
Picks: Remmy- Ansonia, 48-13. Kyle- Ansonia, 41-6.

Holy Cross (3-1, 1-0) at Kennedy (0-4, 0-1): This game is either the best or worst thing possible for the Crusaders. Holy Cross needs an opportunity to rebound from a tough loss at Ansonia, and this game provides that opportunity against a winless divisional opponent. But it always seems like this sort of game is the one in which Kennedy springs up and pulls an upset every year (see Sacred Heart, circa 2010). The Eagles are physical, like always, up front and it wouldn't be a huge surprise if they hang around into the second half. Cross has to make sure it doesn't look ahead to its huge game against Naugatuck next week.
Picks: Remmy- Holy Cross, 35-12. Kyle- Holy Cross, 21-6.

Wolcott (3-1, 2-0) at Wilby (2-2, 1-1): Certainly the most exciting Brass Division game of the week, this game has so many intriguing facets. First, we have a matchup between perhaps the two most athletic quarterbacks in the league with Wolcott's Mike Nicol and Wilby's JayLen Mahan. Toss in two of the better running backs in Wolcott's DeVante Bonvillian and Wilby's Jacob Thomas. Mix in the divisional and playoff implications--particularly for the Eagles--and finish it off with Wilby coach Patrick Russo facing his former team, and we've got all the makings for an outstanding game. Wolcott may have the edge with its slightly stronger defense and better passing attack, but the intensity with which Wilby played last week was highly impressive.
Picks: Remmy- Wolcott, 28-24. Kyle- Wilby, 30-24.

Derby (1-3, 0-2) at Watertown (2-2, 2-0): The Red Raiders are perhaps one of the best 1-3 teams in the state but have lost two fourth-quarter leads on a couple of incredible late-game plays. If Derby still wants to make the Class S playoff field, the Raiders will most likely have to win their last six games. That starts this week against a steadily improving Watertown squad which has played very well in the fourth quarters of its last two victories. The Indians' strong running game and ability to mix it up with the pass could be problematic for a Derby defense which hasn't been great. Ray Kreiger wasn't as accurate as usual, especially on the deep ball, against Wilby, which didn't help the Raiders. This game very well may have the hopes for the season on the line for both teams.
Picks: Remmy- Watertown, 34-26. Kyle- Derby, 35-28.

Sacred Heart (0-3, 0-2) at Crosby (1-3, 0-2): Our ugly game of the week nominee goes to this one between city teams at a combined 1-6 through four weeks. Sacred Heart has been awful in the first half of all three of its games this year before rallying in the second half of games at Woodland and Naugatuck. If the Hearts can put together a little something in the first half, they should be OK. Crosby's been impossible to figure out so far. The Bulldogs looked fairly good in a loss to Holy Cross before smoking St. Paul. But they've been horrible over the last two weeks with nearly no offense. These teams should match up in athleticism, but who knows what will be the result.
Picks: Remmy- Crosby, 29-20. Kyle- Sacred Heart, 29-21.

Woodland (3-1, 2-0) at St. Paul (0-4, 0-2): Woodland has only really faced one quality opponent through its first four games, and we all know how that turned out. This is the Hawks' final chance to coast through a game before the three most important games of their season all come in a row with Torrington, Naugatuck, and Holy Cross. Matt Zaccagnini had to leave last week's game against Kennedy with a minor ankle injury, but he should be good to go for this one. The one thing that could make this game sticky for the Hawks is that their young secondary didn't look good in the second half of their game against Sacred Heart, which was the only game in which they faced a passing team. If it comes to it, we'll see how St. Paul handles a JV quarter this time around.
Picks: Remmy- Woodland, 47-26. Kyle- Woodland, 41-14.

We have several matchups that are very capable of being one-score games either way, so this week's picks and contests should be very interesting. It's been tough to get a read on some of these teams so far, but this week should help quite a bit in that regard. Kyle and Remmy differ on three picks this week, so we're sure we'll have plenty of variety from you guys.

As always, we invite you to make your picks along with us (by the way, the Predictions Tracker is updated) and share your thoughts one the very intriguing games we have this week. What's going to happen in the Wilby-Wolcott game? Can Watertown stay hot in the Brass? How badly is Ansonia going to beat Seymour? There's plenty to chew on.

Stay tuned for our Game of the Week thread coming early on Wednesday!

Week 4 Wrap

Where do we even start in Week 4? There was only one game decided by single digits, but that doesn't mean we didn't have a ton of exciting action, notable players, and controversy. If there's ever a week to read the stories we link to in this wrap, this is it, because there's no way we can cover everything that happened in one post.
What Happened
We'll start with the first game of the day, Wilby's come-from-behind, 38-28 win over Derby. Neither the field conditions nor the referees were great, but I don't think either factor affected the outcome. The game was a fantastic duel between Wilby quarterback JayLen Mahan and Derby quarterback Ray Kreiger. Mahan did his work mostly without his arm. The senior returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, converted on several fourth-down runs, ran for two touchdowns, made three two-point conversions, and sealed the game with a 65-yard interception-return touchdown on Derby's two-minute drill. The game was never a two-possession game until the final score as Kreiger threw for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns while running for two more. It looks like the Raiders (1-3; 0-2) are completely out of things in the Brass and the Wildcats (2-2; 1-1) have pumped new life into their season by finally winning a game in the fourth quarter.

Next up is Torrington's controversial, 80-39 beatdown of St. Paul. We've already had some fierce opinions on both sides of the issue in this game, so to properly inform yourself of what happened to make a good judgment, check out one of the three articles linked in this paragraph. In short, Torrington had a 61-12 lead before the half and pulled its starters before St. Paul quarterback Logan Marchi led a comeback to 61-39 and the Falcons were threatening again. According to Torrington's coaching staff, St. Paul also refused a running clock to begin the second half. The Raiders varsity re-entered and re-extended the lead with two touchdowns before a pick-six accounted for the final margin. I have no problem with that Torrington did as I've explained in some previous comments, but that's just me. Perhaps the bigger storyline in this game is the Raiders' new spread offense in which new quarterback Phil Bresson was 17-of-24 for 318 yards and three touchdowns while Brenden Lytton ran for 311 yards on 11 carries with six touchdowns. Maybe this new offense can revive the Raiders' (2-2; 1-1) chances in the Copper.

In the closest game of the night, Naugatuck rallied to beat Sacred Heart, 34-29. The Greyhounds lost a 21-0 halftime lead when the Hearts went ahead late in the fourth quarter on a 52-yard interception-return touchdown by Shyquan Thompson to make it 29-28. On the ensuing kickoff, Nate Franklin returned a 72-yard touchdown to put the 'Hounds back on top, 34-29. Sacred Heart's final drive stalled at the Naugatuck 35 when Jake Yourison made a fourth-down stop to seal the game. The near-come-from-ahead loss can't be comforting to Naugy, but the Greyhounds (4-0; 2-0) will certainly take it. Two of Sacred Heart's touchdowns came on returns and Naugatuck had another pretty balanced offensive effort.

Our Game of the Week turned out to be a dud--as we expected--with Ansonia romping over Holy Cross, 45-13. The Crusaders were able to do something no other team has yet been able to do by scoring first on the Chargers. But after Dave DiGiorgi's 2-yard touchdown run on the opening drive, it was all Ansonia. Arkeel Newsome had another 385 yards on 23 carries and five touchdowns before exiting in the second half. There's not much left to say about the Chargers except that I'm not sure we can feature them in any more Games of the Week.

Wolcott established itself as potentially the second-best team in the Brass Division with a fairly easy, 39-14 win over Seymour. The Eagles' pair of playmakers--DeVante Bonvillian and Mike Nicol--stayed hot as each found the end zone three times. Bonvillian is finally looking like one of the league's top skill players and Nicol is all of a sudden seeming like one of the league's best quarterbacks. Seymour really couldn't get anything going on either side of the ball in its first game against a quality opponent. Now, Wolcott (3-1; 2-0) has vaulted to the top of the Brass standings while Seymour (3-1; 0-1) is left looking up at the rest for the time being.

Woodland's 32-0 win over Kennedy was about as unexciting as a game gets. The Hawks led, 19-0, at the half and coasted all the way for an easy Copper Division win. Tanner Kingsley had his best game of the season at quarterback, going 13-of-22 for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those went to Kyle McClintick while one went to Anthony Scirpo. Matt Zaccagnini and Taylor Tucciarone also scored on the ground while Woodland allowed just 103 yards of total offense. It could be another blowout next week against St. Paul before the Hawks' (3-1; 2-0) schedule ramps up in a hurry.

In the least offensive game of the night, Watertown beat Crosby, 20-0, and scored all of its points in the fourth quarter. There aren't any stat lines that jump off the page from this game except the Indians' nine sacks and Eric Ford's 91-yard interception-return touchdown to make it a 13-0 game. Anthony Avoletta and Dan Brodeur also scored on the ground in the fourth quarter for the Indians (2-2; 2-0) who share the best record in the Brass Division.

Who Did It
Week 4 featured some of the best stat lines we've seen in this young season. Our NVL Blog Player of the Week didn't put up the same yardage as some of the other passers and runners, but he more directly contributed to his team's win than any other. Wilby quarterback JayLen Mahan willed the Wildcats to a comeback win over Derby with his kickoff return touchdown, two rushing touchdowns, three two-point conversions, several huge fourth-down conversions, and the game-sealing pick-six.

As always, here's a look at Week 4's top rushers: Newsome (385 rush yds, 5 TD), Lytton (325 rush yds, 3 TD), Nicol (154 rush yds, 3 TD), Yourison (125 rush yds, TD), Wilby's Jacob Thomas (112 rush yds), Seymour's Luke Grabowski (109 rush yds, TD), Avoletta (95 rush yds, TD), and Bonvillian (75 rush yds, 2 TD).

The passing game vaulted back into the driver's seat of offense this week, so here are Week 4's top passers: Marchi (21-48, 397 pass yds, 6 TD, 3 INT), Bresson (16-24, 313 pass yds, 3 TD, INT), Kreiger (22-37, 292 pass yds, 2 TD, 2 INT), Kingsley (13-22, 199 pass yds, 3 TD, INT), Nicol (8-15, 193 pass yds, TD), Naugatuck's Zac Mercer (6-12, 155 pass yds, 3 TD, INT), and Grabowski (10-26, 120 pass yds, TD).

Since the passing game flourished, we need to include some of the league's best receivers in Week 4: St. Paul's Justin Gonzalez (9 rec, 209 yds, 2 TD), Bonvillian (4 rec, 160 yds, TD), Lytton (5 rec, 151 yds, 2 TD), Torrington's Desmond Langs (4 rec, 123 yds, 2 TD), Naugatuck's Mick Pernell (3 rec, 109 yds, 2 TD), Scirpo (5 rec, 101 yds, TD), and Derby's Dillon McMahon (8 rec, 87 yds, TD).

How It Looked
Check out Remmy's video of the Holy Cross-Ansonia game here.

And here are some photos and videos from our friends at the Rep-Am, Register-Citizen, and CT Post.

Videos: Naugatuck-Sacred Heart, Torrington-St. Paul
Photos: Naugatuck-Sacred Heart, Torrington-St. Paul, Ansonia-Holy Cross

What's Next
Week 5 features an excellent slate of games, starting with a pair of important Brass Division games. In one contest, Seymour hosts Ansonia on Thursday, and in the other, Wolcott heads to Municipal Stadium on Friday to take on former coach Patrick Russo and Wilby. The winner of the latter game will establish itself as Ansonia's most significant Brass challenger.

On Friday night, another domino will fall in the Copper Division race when Torrington heads to Naugatuck. That game is nominated for NBC's Game of the Week and will be ours, as well. The other Copper contenders, Holy Cross and Woodland, shouldn't be tested in their games against Kennedy and St. Paul, respectively. Derby also visits Watertown in an intriguing Brass game. The Indians will look to stay unbeaten in the division.

We look forward to what you thought about Week 4--especially on the Torrington-St. Paul subject--and we'll have our Week 5 videos and threads up starting Monday!

Week 4 Live Scoreboard

Kyle and Remmy will be posting scores from Derby-Wilby, Ansonia-Holy Cross, and Woodland-Kennedy. We'll also have scores from other NVL games in the live feed below.

While some of the games this week may not be "big," they will be somewhat important in terms of division races and division supremacy. Seymour is 3-0 and will have its first real test as the 'Cats face Wolcott. Torrington desperately needs to rebound from its two losses to keep its hopes alive of catching Naugatuck, Woodland, and Holy Cross in the Copper. And two 3-0 teams, Holy Cross and Ansonia, will battle it out tonight at Jarvis Stadium.

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!

Click here to watch a replay of the Week 4 live scoreboard.

Game of the Week 4: Holy Cross at Ansonia

Surprise, surprise! Ansonia's playing in our Game of the Week again. Can Holy Cross do anything to avoid the blowout losses suffered by the Chargers' first three opponents?

Click here to watch Kyle's and Remmy's preview of the Game of the Week.

Remmy's Keys to the Game: We're in Week 4 and no one has stopped, let alone slowed down, Ansonia's rushing attack. But if it's one team that looks like it could limit the Chargers from running the ball at will, it's Holy Cross (based on the Crusaders' performance last week). Keeping Arkeel Newsome out of the end zone is easier said that done. However, Cross allowed over 300 yards rushing to Torrington in Week 3 but did not allow Brenden Lytton to get into the end zone many times. The Crusaders' passing game will have to win this game. Zach Brown's ability to get the ball downfield to his young playmakers will be the difference this week if the Crusaders intend on leaving Jarvis Stadium with a win. The Chargers will need to stick with their bread and butter--Newsome. The Chargers have not played from behind all season. So, scoring first is a must in this game. Despite being able to dominate the competition in three-consecutive weeks, Ansonia must keep that momentum going and not allow a team like Holy Cross, who is rather balanced on offense, to gain any momentum early in the game. The less confidence Cross has, especially at Jarvis Stadium, the worse the outcome will be for Gang Green. Last year, the Crusaders strolled into Ansonia with a boatload of confidence and it went downhill quickly. That cannot happen this year. The mindset has to change. The first couple of series will tell us a lot about whether or not Holy Cross came to play. For Ansonia, it must get Newsome the ball on screens and watch him dazzle into the end zone. When Newsome is in space, he is outstanding. If Newsome has to carry the rock more than 30 times, I think Ansonia loses this game. Otherwise, the Chargers will go to 4-0.
Kyle's Keys to the Game: There's no need to overthink this one. Ansonia just needs to play like it has been playing and this game won't be close past the first quarter. The Chargers' offensive line and front seven have been playing great, and we all know how good Newsome has been. It's going to take Holy Cross forcing some turnovers and capitalizing on all of its offensive possessions to keep this game close. The Crusaders had't found a ton of flow on offense until the second-half comeback against Torrington, so there is at least some momentum upon which they can build. I've said this about Woodland and Derby, and I'll say it with Holy Cross--if you can't throw the ball on Ansonia, you can't win the game. Brown's athletic and has a good arm, so we'll see how Cross tries to use him and the rest of the playmakers. The one thing the Crusaders can hang their hat on from last week is that they only allowed one big play to Lytton. If they can at least take the big play away from Newsome, they can hang around.

Remmy's Players to Watch: If you saw the film from last week's Torrington game, you'd see how Holy Cross freshman Isaiah Wright had a fantastic game on offense, defense, and special teams. He has size for a freshman and will be one of the top players in the league, if not the state, in the coming years. He made some great grabs last week--one over Lytton--for a touchdown. He's also tough on defense where he intercepted a pass to end the game and broke up at least two others that went his way. It's only "Wright" that Zach Brown will target the freshman wideout but I expect No. 13 to be involved on jet sweeps and/or reverses--anything to get the offense going for Cross. David DiGiorgi will have to take the load off of Brown and Wright. He'll need at least 25 carries and 150 yards rushing for the Crusaders to have a shot. If Ansonia's Tyler Wood and company are blowing up the Holy Cross rushing attack, it'll be a long game for the Crusaders. Ansonia' Andrew Matos will be back in the lineup this week. If Newsome struggles on the ground, expect Matos to haul in some passes from Elliot Chudwick. Ansonia hasn't had to pass the ball much because its offensive line has smashed the opposing defense in the first three weeks of the season. But it's always nice to see other guys like Ryan O'Connor, Raeshaun Finney, and Matos get involved. Ansonia's offensive line is the biggest reason for the Chargers' success. So, that will be the most interesting battle to watch this week and how Holy Cross' defensive front defends the run.
Kyle's Players to Watch: Ansonia's players to watch are no secret by now since this is the fourth time in a row the Chargers are playing in our Game of the Week. For Holy Cross, Wright, Brown, and DiGiorgi are the offensive playmakers and will all have to contibute. Guys like Adrian Brown are capable of making some plays out of the backfield, too. This variety could help the Crusaders. On defense, Anthony Jamele played very well against Lytton and Torrington, and he'll have to be even better against Newsome and Ansonia. He swarms to the ball, but there's no way one guy can slow down Newsome. The rest of Holy Cross' defense will have to be sure tacklers. Derby was able to get to Newsome a few times last week but he just shook off the hits. If that happens, this game is a blowout.

The Picks: We've said it over and over and we'll continue to say it until somebody steps up and proves otherwise--Ansonia isn't going to play a game closer than two scores, much less lose a game, for the rest of the regular season. Opponents either need to play a perfect game or force Ansonia to make some major mistakes to make games close. We don't think either happens in this one.
Picks: Remmy- Ansonia, 40-18. Kyle- Ansonia, 35-7.