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Unbeaten Conard Rolls to 9th Victory, 61-13

As offense and defense dominate Newington, Cersosimo movess to 20th place all-time with his 180th career victory.

From his customary perch in the bleachers at the stadium that bears his name, former football coach Bob McKee was in a sunny place Saturday.

And as Conard carried an overwhelming lead into halftime, McKee was soaking in the effort by his son-in-law, coach Rob Cersosimo, who moved into a tie for the 20th winningest coach in state history with a 61-13 victory over Newington.

“The thing that amazes me,” McKee said, “is how he gets these young people today to hang together like a bunch of grapes. He has to contend with a lot. Young people today are on a different wavelength.”

Undefeated Conard certainly is playing that way.

“We’re trying to work hard on doing everything right,” said Cersosimo, who gained his 180th win to tie Ron Carbone. “We just played really well. Our kids played hard.”

Carbone won most of his games with Hamden, Ansonia and Derby in a 33-year career that began in 1963. Cersosimo succeeded McKee in 1984 and is in his 28th season.

“We made the right calls. We put a lot of pressure on them and they made mistakes because of it,” Cersosimo said. “We were fortunate today that everything went our way."

Stacy Thomas sparked an opportunistic defense with two of five interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. He also recovered a fumble that seemed, at first, to be returned for a TD.

Dominic Spaulding, Anthony Lugo and Nick Venora each scored twice as Conard improved to 9-0 to set up pivotal season finale with Hall next Saturday at McKee.

Conard, which has won 14 straight regular season games, has outscored opponents 325-71, including 108-13 in the past five days.

“You never take anybody for granted and we respect everyone,” Cersosimo said. “Our kids played well right from the get-go. I’m really proud of the fact they’re staying on task, staying focused.”

Spaulding scored on 2- and 12-yard runs and kicked seven extra points. With 34 successful boots, Spaulding surged to fifth place in single-season Conard PATs.

Lugo opened the scoring with his fourth interception of the year and third returned for a touchdown, accelerating 35 yards with 8:26 in the first quarter. A reverse pass from Newington wideout Freddy Burgos to quarterback Jonathan Snyder (9-for-23 passing, 113 yards, two TDs) appeared on target until a flash of speed by Lugo.

“If we were able to get a better throw on that, then it’s down the sideline [for a score],” Newington coach Roy Roberts said. “Don’t get me wrong – that throwback [pass] isn’t going to make up 61 points. They’re a good football team.”

Conard threw Newington (2-7) for losses or no gain on 14 plays. In the final tally, Newington had 0 yards rushing.

Conard led 41-0 at halftime after Thomas picked off Snyder – a cousin of Conard quarterback Owen Snyder – and ran 26 yards for a TD. In the first quarter, Thomas picked up a fumble that set up Lugo’s 30-yard TD burst.

“Stacy was in the right place at the right time,” Cersosimo said. “He did a great job and should be commended for playing great defense.”

Venora took over at quarterback for Conard in the second half and scored on a pair of keepers, including a 64-yard run.

Conard running back Ricky Cotton also was rested after rushing for 78 yards on 11 carries, including a 24-yard score. With more than 1,150 yards, Cotton moved to sixth place in single-season Conard rushing.

Conard gained 356 yards on the ground – the final 31 on a TD gallop by Ty Hollens.

And the defense repeatedly drove Newington into the turf. There were four sacks. Matt Douglin and Luis Colon intercepted passes.

“[Assisant coaches] Jeff Redman, P.J. Foley and Steve Garneau do an absolutely phenomenal job with our defense,” Cersosimo said. “And our kids are listening and doing what we ask them to do.”

Conard, ranked third in Class LL, can clinch a home-field berth in the playoffs by beating (8-1), which moved up to No. 5 with a 21-14 victory over Glastonbury. The top eight teams make the postseason.

“Hall’s a great team that has done a good job all year long. It’s going to be a tough game all around,” Cersosimo said.

d harrington November 13, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Great game coach, when its all working its a beautiful thing to watch. Your team showed awesome sportsmanship, and you showed all that a coach can stay with in the rules and play hard, with class! Conard makes no excuses, and leaves no doubt.

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