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Early Tricks And Treats For Newtown High Boys’ Booters

Halloween isn’t here just yet but there have been tricks — hat-tricks for both Clay Gattey and Charlie Poarch in a 6-1 win at Immaculate of Danbury on October 14 — and treats — four lopsided wins over conference foes to begin the month of October — for Newtown High School’s boys’ soccer team.

The Nighthawks have been scary-good of late, outscoring New Milford, Brookfield, Oxford, and Immaculate a cumulative 21-3. Sounds more like the pigskin game played on the gridiron — but soccer is, after all, futbol.

The Nighthawks got three goals each from Gattey and Poarch in a 6-1 rout of Immaculate at the Portuguese Cultural Center field in Danbury to cap off a stretch of wins over South-West Conference rivals. It was the team’s second consecutive 6-1 triumph, after having beating visiting Oxford by that score at Treadwell Park on October 11. Newtown previously walloped Brookfield 4-0 on October 8 and New Milford 5-1 on October 3. The team carried a five-game winning streak (including a 1-0 nail-biter over Bunnell of Stratford on September 30) into a nonconference clash with a tought Guilford team on October 15. The Nighthawks blanked Guilford 1-0 behind a Matt Mossbarger tally assisted by Grant Ricketts. The Hawks improved to 9-3-2 overall, and dropped Guilford to 8-2-3.

Five different players got on the score sheet in the win over Oxford, led by Matt Cook’s two tallies, and one each from Omar Rodriguez, Mossbarger, Poarch, and Gattey.

“We’re finally doing what we thought we were going to do in preseason,” Newtown Coach Brian Neumeyer said after the win over Immaculate, alluding to the offensive fireworks. “It’s coming from different players and it’s fun to see.”

Aside from a 5-1 toppling of Notre Dame-Fairfield three games into the season, the Nighthawks were pretty well tested in the early going. They managed only seven goals in eight of their first nine contests, and posted a 3-3-2 record before the winning streak.

“It’s how we planned on playing starting the season — lots of goals, pretty much dominating the SWC,” Gattey said of his team’s recent success.

The offensive firepower can be attributed to, in part, the Hawks improving on the field — and not only among the attacking corps.

“I think things are starting to finally click in the midfield,” said Neumeyer, adding that the defense is also doing a nice job of moving the ball out of Newtown’s end of the field more quickly than earlier in the year.

Newtown has feasted on both teams with losing and winning records. Sure, Oxford has only one win, and Immaculate dropped to 4-7-1, but Brookfield is 6-2-5, and New Milford is 6-5-2. What’s more, the Hawks scored more goals their wins over Brookfield and New Milford than any of the other opponents those teams faced.

In the lopsided wins, Newtown’s second-team players have gotten onto the field and made an impact, all the while getting game exposure that could prove to be valuable in the years to come. The Nighthawks are focused on winning now, but “we’re looking toward next year, too,” Neumeyer said. “We’re not looking past this year but we’re always building and looking ahead.”

All of these big leads have also taken some pressure off goalkeeper Eli Klorczyk. “It feels pretty good. It takes a lot of stress off me,” he said. “I think we’re starting to hit our stride.”

The Nighthawks, following a game with Pomperaug of Southbury on October 15, will visit Kolbe Cathedral of Bridgeport in the regular-season finale on October 21.

Then come the SWC playoffs, which are scheduled to get under way October 25 or 26.

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