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In an unforgettable performance, Newtown’s fourth grade football team advanced to the Shoreline Conference Championship game by battling back from a two-score deficit in the second half to force overtime and edging the Shelton Vikings 25-24 at Taylor Field, on November 5.
Shelton came out firing on all cylinders, marching downfield for a score on its first possession. Newtown answered with 20 yard runs by Nick Pavia and Emmet Regan, followed by a 15-yard touchdown scamper by Travis Rekos to even the score. Shelton bounced back with a long TD run, but the 2-point conversion kick attempt was blocked by Linebacker Marcus Gerace.
With the score 12-6 Shelton near the end of the first half, Luke Stewart recovered a loose ball which was forced out when Gerace crushed Shelton’s ball carrier at the line of scrimmage. Following the change of possession, Emmet Regan hauled in a 20-yard reception as the Hawks advanced downfield, determined to even the score before halftime, but Newtown’s drive fell short and time expired in the half.
The second half began with Shelton scoring on a long TD run, extending the lead to 18-6. With the season hanging in the balance, the Hawks rallied when QB Gerace connected with Regan for an electrifying 55-yard TD strike. The Nighthawk defense clamped down on Shelton, with Cameron Longhi, Cole Stockwell, Lucian Place, Luke Stewart, Rekos, Nick Pavia, and Gerace all making key tackles. Chris Moseman recovered a fumble at a critical stage in the contest.
With time running out in the fourth quarter, Newtown drove the field as Gerace, Pavia, and Grady Marks contributed with bruising runs to move the chains, setting up a score on a 5-yard QB keeper by Gerace to tie the game with one minute to play. The PAT was stuffed, sending the game to OT.
Overtime began with the Vikings taking the first possession in the Kansas tiebreaker format and scoring on their second play, but linebacker Cole Stockwell denied the conversion to limit the deficit to six. The Nighthawks took their turn on offense and quickly evened the score when Pavia dashed in from 5 yards out. On the PAT conversion, Pavia took a direct snap from Ryan Hislop and sprinted his way to pay dirt for the win as a mob of fans and parents converged to celebrate in the far corner of the end zone.
Newtown will meet the undefeated Glastonbury Tomahawks, who handed the Nighthawks their only loss back in week two, in the championship game hosted by Guilford this coming weekend.