WETHERSFIELD - It has been five years since the Newington football team saw its last victory over Wethersfield.
But the Indians changed all that Wednesday evening.
A 10-point second quarter and five interceptions turned out to be the difference as Newington beat the Eagles 17-7, snapping a seven game win streak in the process.
“This was one of the most emotional games I have ever been a part of,” Indians head coach Jason pace said after reclaiming the Thanksgiving game trophy. “I’m proud of our seniors and the guys that were on the field at the end.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Newington regained possession of the ball off of a bounce. On the next play, running back Dylan Nees-fair ran into the end zone from six yards out, putting not only the first points of the night on the scoreboard, but also recording his first varsity touchdown.
But Wethersfield did not hesitate. Just 17 seconds later, Eagles quarterback Craig Mitchell connected with Ryan Skelly for a 61-yard passing touchdown. Michael Messina’s extra point ties the game 7-7.
Earlier in the week, Pace had told Newington it would need to play a near perfect game, without any penalties if it wanted to snap its losing streak over Wethersfield. But going into the half, the Indians already racked up a total of nine penalties for 50 yards.
AJ Ferreira’s 26-yard field goal with 8:17 left in the second quarter, however, put the Indians back up by three with a 10-7 score heading into the locker room at the half.
The third quarter proved to be a difficult as the first with neither team able to score in the sixteen minutes after halftime ended.
It wasn’t until Indians quarterback Robert Sanchez connected with wide receiver Carlum Caldwell for a 44-yard touchdown to give Newington a bit of insurance. Ferreira’s kick put the Indians ahead, 17-7.
And once again, it looked as though the Eagles would respond to a Newington touchdown when backup quarterback Matthew Silver was picked off in the end zone.
“They could have easily been like, here we go again, and lost it at the end, but they didn’t,” Pace said.
Wethersfield had subbed Elliot, who was who was 10-for-21 for 173 yards with three interceptions, for Silver in the second half. But Silver proved to be just as ineffective. He only connected on 8 of his 24 passes with 69 yards and two interceptions.
Sanchez, meanwhile, finished the night off with 6-for-28 with 69 yards and one touchdown.
Wethersfield was able to get possession of the ball with under a minute left to go. Silver, however, threw three incomplete passes before the clock ran out, giving the victory and Newington its long awaited trophy.
“Today was a crazy one,” Indians safety and receiver Luke Pappalardo said. “Wethersfield fought hard, they’re a great team. We played with heart today and nothing can beat heart.”
Newington finishes out the season 3-7, while Wethersfield ends its year at 4-6.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @shelbyiava