For the first time since 1993, the Newington High School football Indians won at Wethersfield this morning, beating their annual Thanksgiving Day rivals by a score of 9-7. Woohoo! [UPDATE: According to commenter Dave, the Indians won on a field goal with 26 seconds left. Wow! It was a 31-yard kick by quarterback/kicker Bobby Hemmann. More than 2,000 people were in attendance to watch the most dramatic NHS-WHS ending in many years.]
The Newington victory breaks a six-game Eagles home winning streak against the Indians that began my freshman year at NHS. Overall, counting games at both schools, NHS has now taken 3 of the last 4 after losing ten straight to WHS.
If not for Masuk’s 17-14 comeback win over Newtown last night, Newington would be celebrating more than just a win over Wethersfield right now — they’d also be celebrating a spot in the state playoffs. Instead, the Indians finish #5 in Class L, and they’ll have to be satisfied with a 9-1 record, Newington’s best winning percentage in 27 years. (Details after the jump.)
NHS is one of just three teams in the state to finish with one loss yet be denied a playoff berth. The others are Avon and Jonathan Law of Class M. Twelve other one-loss teams are still alive for a state championship.
Newington’s only loss was a 31-6 defeat at Bristol Eastern on October 20. The Lancers finished 10-0 and are the #1 seed in Class M.
It’ll be interesting to see how Newington does next season without superstar tailback Nathan Pagan, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior who is being recruited by several Division I-AA colleges. Coming into the Wethersfield game, Pagan had 1,816 yards and 32 touchdowns on 232 carries this season, and he ranks third all-time in Connecticut for both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in his career. His arrival at NHS directly coincided with the Indians’ return to glory: they were 13-89-2 (.135) during the decade before he enrolled, then 31-9-1 (.768) during his four-year career. Will the 2008 season, the first of the post-Pagan era, be a return to the bad old days, or will Newington be able to maintain the momentum of the past four years? Only time will tell.
For now, I’m just glad they beat Wethersfield. I think a recitation of the fight song would be in order, eh?
We’re the boys of Newington High
The best team on the field
And we are the boys that do or die
The team that will not yield
(Rah! Rah! Rah!)
With our colors gold and blue
We’re out to win this game
‘Cuz we are the boys that
Fight! Right! Through!
Bring Newington High to fame!
It’s Thanksgiving, which means it’s time for the annual presidential turkey pardoning:
You know, when President Clinton was in office, a turkey had to donate $5,000 to his presidential library to get a pardon.
P.S. The Washington Post has an article on the history of the turkey-pardoning tradition, which apparently doesn’t go back nearly as far as is annually reported. (Hint: 1989, not 1947. Bush, not Truman.)
UPDATE: Welcome, InstaPundit readers! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.
Torii Hunter, long the only jewel in the struggling Twins’ offensive lineup, has jumped ship to Anaheim (I refuse to call them the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim"–Aside from being geographically incorrect, it’s a mouthful to say, and quite annoying).
What does this mean? Now Vlad Guerrero will have another bat to back up his own, and the Angels will have a fourth spectacular outfielder. This may lead to platooning a DH, or it might lead to a trade (in the article, there’s talk about sending Gary Matthews, Jr. to Baltimore for Miguel Tejada–I just hope that Peter Angelos tries get more from the Angels than just Matthews–not that Matthews is bad, but that Angelos sucks the sweat off a dead man’s balls when it comes to owning and operating a baseball team, so they need all the help they can get).
Also, defensively-strong utility player (though he mostly plays 2B) for the Padres, Geoff Blum, adds his glove to the field in Houston, which lost Craig Biggio to retirement this year.
Happy Thanksgiving, all, and remember: just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean that baseball is over. Baseball is never over. Just remember that while you watch Green Bay and Dallas slaughter Detroit and New York today.
Masuk’s 17-14 victory over Newtown, combined with losses by East Hartford (to Manchester) and Windsor (to Bloomfield), have mathematically eliminated Newington from playoff contention before the Indians even take the field against Wethersfield in their annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry tomorrow morning.
Including “bonus points” from games that affect the playoff contenders’ strength of schedule, Masuk, currently ranked #4 in Class L, is guaranteed to finish with a point average of no worse than 124, while #5-ranked Newington’s maximum possible average is 123.
In addition to being stuck behind Masuk, the Indians also cannot leapfrog #1 Bunnell or #2 Staples, even if either loses tomorrow. Bunnell can finish with an average of no worse than 145.6; Staples is guaranteed at least a 123.3 average. #3 Conard, which has finished its season, can do no worse than its current 126 average.
So the Indians are out of the state championship hunt. That sucks. With star tailback Nathan Pagan a senior, you had to think, or at least hope, that maybe this was their year. But as it turns out, their one loss of the season — a 31-6 setback at undefeated Class M power Bristol Eastern on October 20 — was too much to overcome, as too many other Class L teams finished either unbeaten or with one loss, and all of them had stronger schedules than Newington.
But there’s still plenty to play for tomorrow. The Wethersfield game is always important, regardless of any outside implications, and in this case the Indians are looking for their first victory at Wethersfield since 1993, as I mentioned previously. Also, with a win, Newington would finish the season 9-1 — their best season, judging by win-loss percentage, since they won the state championship at 11-1 in 1980.
– Dutch police arrest Joran van der Sloot on suspicion of involvement in the killing of Natalee Holloway in Aruba, prosecutor tells AP.
Two nearby Knoxville suburbs, Loudon (home of Jay and Ashley) and Maryville, are reeling from a car accident Monday night that killed 25-year-old Shawn Bowers, an assistant football coach at Division III Maryville College, and left 25-year-old Trey Lefler and 24-year-old Matt Lambert in critical condition. This is all too reminiscent of the numerous tragedies that have struck Newington in recent years, striking down young people in the prime of life. Here’s hoping and praying for a full recovery for Lefler and Lambert.
Remember Jonathan Tu, the USC fan and blogger on a cross-country, stadium-by-stadium college-football tour, who Jay and I met up with for the Tennessee-Arkansas game 10 days ago? Well, he got arrested in College Station, Texas on Monday, trying to sneak into Texas A&M’s Kyle Field. I kid you not.
Well, hey, it’ll make for an interesting chapter in his book.
Longer clip (without background music, and without helpful camera-zoom enhancement) here.
Granted, it’s against Middle Tennessee State, but still.
MTSU 21- UT 61 at the half.
JaJuan Smith has 26 on his own. At the half.
This is a team that people in Westwood, Chapel Hill, etc., should be very, very concerned about.
UPDATE: Final 109-40. That was with the Vols sleepwalking through the second half.
UPDATE #2: The basketball dudes from Westwood look like they are being coached by Karl Dorrell. The fUCLA hoopsters are trailing Michigan St. by around 10 (as they have most of the game) a few minutes into the 2d half.
UPDATE BY BRENDAN: fUCLA pulled it out. Nick Saban described it as a comeback on par with American forces in the Pacific rallying to defeat imperial Japan. :) Anyway, by beating Sparty, UCLA just barely accomplished something that puts them in elite company alongside Grand Valley State. Congrats, Bruins! ;)
Also in the Pac-10, #11 Oregon was stunned by St. Mary’s. Maybe Gonzaga won’t be the only at-large candidate from the WCC this season!
– Polygamous-sect leader Warren Jeffs is sentenced to five years to life in prison for arranging the marriage of a minor, AP reports.
But what would that make Michigan’s loss to Appalachian State? Antietam?
P.P.S. I don’t know what everyone is so upset about. We all already knew that SEC football is a war! :)
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced Monday that news writers, graphic artists and other CBS news staff members working in the television and radio news departments voted to authorize a work stoppage. The CBS news writers have been working without a contract since April 1st of 2005 and have not met at the negotiating table with CBS since January when the WGA rejected CBS’s "final" offer.
Back in September, the football team at nearby Bearden High School here in West Knoxville lost to archrival Farragut High School for the eighth straight time, 35-28 in 2 OTs. Although I didn’t go, it was an epic Friday-night football clash by all accounts — and now it’s going to have a sequel, in the state playoffs this Friday night.
Meanwhile, back home in Connecticut, the Newington Indians are on the playoff bubble. They need to hope Newtown beats Masuk tomorrow night, and then the Indians must take care of business on Thanksgiving Day against their archrival, Wethersfield.
More on both Bearden and Newington after the jump.