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It was the tale of two halves, or really three quarters and one quarter, for Newtown High School’s football team in its visit to New Fairfield, on October 20.
The Nighthawks overcame a 14-7 halftime deficit, after committing a trio of turnovers before the break, and scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to post a 28-14 win over the always tough-to-beat Rebels.
In a span of 2:40 midway through the fourth quarter, the Nighthawks scored twice to turn a seven-point deficit into a seven-point lead. And just a little over a minute later, the Hawks added their final touchdown.
All told, it took the Hawks just 3:42 to go from being doubled up to scoring three TDs and turning the tables on the Rebels, doubling their point total.
Newtown quarterback Ryan Kost connected with Joe Pagett on a 19-yard touchdown pass on third down and 16 yards to go, knotting the score at 14-14 with 7:07 to play.
After Pagett made a big play on defense, breaking up a third down pass, the Nighthawks quickly got the ball back on a punt, and took little time to score again. Just two plays after the kick, Jack Miller caught a screen pass over the middle, broke a few tackles, then broke free on a 60-yard dash to the end zone.
With 4:27 left, Newtown had its first lead, 21-14.
Shea Talbot pounced on a fumble at the New Fairfield seven yard line and, two plays later, Kost again connected with Pagett, An eight-yard pass into the end zone gave Newtown a two-TD lead with 3:25 remaining.
“Our kids showed some grit at the end,” Newtown Coach Bobby Pattison said.
The Hawks improved to 4-2 overall and 4-0 in South-West Conference play; the Rebels dropped to 1-5 (0-4),
It looked for a while as if the Rebels might win its first conference tilt and, in doing so, hand the Hawks their first loss against its SWC rivals. They scored first, capitalizing on a turnover and running the ball in for six just 2:46 into the contest.
Newtown answered when Jack Miller scored on a five-yard rush, aided by strong push from the offensive line.
New Fairfield, however, won most of the battles at the line of scrimmage during the first three quarters, with the defense regularly getting into Newtown’s backfield for tackles for losses, and the offense moving the ball against a Newtown defense that had shutout its previous three South-West Conference foes this fall.
The Nighthawks turned to more of a pass-heavy game as the contest wore on, and used several screen pass plays to make things happen.
The game was even at 7-7 through on quarter of play. The Nighthawks turned the ball over twice in the second quarter, each time on a fumble, and the Rebels cashed in on the latter miscue on a 71 yard run to pay dirt.
“We put our defense in a bad spot. New Fairfield came ready to play and they took it to us,” Pattison said. “They dominated the line of scrimmage which I was not happy about.”
This was a flag-filled contest, as both teams were whistled for numerous infractions.
“Obviously we’re happy about the win but we have an immense amount of work to do,” Pagett said. “They outplayed us for the for the first three quarters — there’s no doubt about that. In big games we just can’t catch up.”
Pattison also felt there was a lot of room for improvement.
“Yes, I’m pleased we fought back and got the win, but I have to say I’m disappointed and frustrated the way we played the first three quarters of the game because we’re not always going to be able to come back in the fourth quarter,” Pattison said.
Newtown will host Stratford on Friday, October 27, in the first of three consecutive 7 pm games at Blue & Gold Stadium.