A year after one of the most horrific acts of violence on a school campus in history, the Newtown High football team has posted a perfect regular season.
Newtown (Conn.) High ran its record to 11-0 with a 42-7 rout of archival Masuk High (Monroe, Conn.) on Tuesday night. The win sealed the top overall seed in the forthcoming Class LL state tournament.
Wearing helmets emblazoned with a special logo honoring the 26 victims of the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown dominated an overwhelmed Masuk squad on a slick field. According to the Connecticut Post, running back Cooper Gold ran for 256 yards and five touchdowns behind Newtown’s big offensive line, wrapping up the team’s first 11-0 campaign in more than 10 years.
While the perfect regular season has given local fans something to celebrate, the team insists that its real focus is on the postseason. The Nighthawks have not won a state title since 1992, and coach Steve George said that ending the school’s 21-year title drought would be particularly poignant one year removed from the Sandy Hook tragedy.
"Our players are hungry to win the championship to give everyone in town a great Christmas present and something to feel happy about a year after such a horrible tragedy," George told Reuters.
There is still a ways to go before a Newtown state title becomes a reality, but one striking coincidence already emerged when the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference released the dates for the football title games; if Newtown makes it to the state finals, it would compete on either December 13 or December 14, which is the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings.
That coincidence isn’t lost on the Nighthawks players, even if they are keeping their focus on the field.
"Obviously, what our team and community went through the past year was really tough," Newtown quarterback Andrew Tarantino told Reuters. "We just want to put a smile on everyone's face by bringing home a state championship."
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