How good was Arkeel Newsome's sophomore season?
So good that you could argue it's the best season ever turned in by a Connecticut high school running back.
Newsome, a sophomore at Ansonia High School, capped the season by running for 364 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries during a 38-0 triumph over Ledyard in Saturday's Class M championship game at Rentschler Field.
That performance gave Newsome the state record for yards rushing in a season (3,763). Former Ansonia running back Alex Thomas set the previous record (3,596) in 2007.
Newsome also completed the season as the leading rusher in the nation. Johnathan Gray of Aledo, Texas is second with 3,447 rushing yards. Gray has one game to play.
“We had high expectations, but it's kind of hard to expect a sophomore to lead the country in rushing,” Ansonia head coach Tom Brockett said. “He's such a dynamic player. Obviously college football is all about speed, and in terms of high school his speed is on another level.
“He's also dangerous in the kick-return game. I think he has a chance to be a big-time [college] running back.”
Newsome also set the state record for touchdowns scored in a season with 62 (58 rushing). He scored on runs of 13, 50 and 95 yards in the victory over Ledyard, which handed the Ansonia program its state-best 17th state championship.
Ansonia became the first team to complete a season with a 14-0 record. The Chargers outscored teams 624-154 this season.
Ledyard completed its season with an 11-2 record.
“We've already heard from BC, Connecticut, Miami and Iowa,” Brockett said. “People are just trying to get in on the process. I think college coaches will come after him as a running back, but he could definitely play on the other side of the ball. He'll have [scholarship] offers by the time he takes the field for his junior year.”
XAVIER 42, STAPLES 7: Mike Mastroianni ran for 239 yards on 29 carries as Xavier completed an unbeaten season (13-0) by winning the Class LL title.
The victory extended Xavier's winning streak to 26 games. Mastroianni, one of 19 seniors on the Xavier roster, ran for 229 yards when Staples beat Trumbull in last year's Class LL championship game.
Xavier's last loss came against Staples in the 2009 semifinals.
Xavier had a 505-175 edge in net offense. It was the largest margin of victory in a Clsss LL championship game.
Xavier led 28-7 at halftime. Staples finished its season with an 11-2 record.
HAND 34, NEW CANAAN 10: Kevin Frey rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries as Hand (13-0) prevailed in the Class L championship game. It was Hand's 10th title.
Frey rushed for 480 yards in Hand's three playoff games. Hand's Nicholas Vitale made 11 receptions for 87 yards and scored two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving).
New Canaan quarterback Matt Milano completed 38 of 63 passes for 357 yards in the loss. He matched the state record for completions in a game.
New Canaan (11-2) reached the state final for the sixth consecutive season.
HOLY CROSS 34, CROMWELL 27: Quarterback Zach Brown broke a 27-27 tie on a 23-yard touchdown run with 3:57 remaining as Holy Cross won the Class S championship.
Holy Cross running back Dave DiGiorgi ran for 314 yards and four touchdowns. Ryne Byrne sealed the win when he intercepted a pass in the end zone with 27 seconds to play.
Holy Cross finished the season with a 12-2 record.
Cromwell quarterback Anthony Morales completed 14 of 32 passes for 323 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted twice. Cromwell finished 10-3.
Holy Cross received three first-half touchdowns from DiGiorgi and carried a 20-14 lead into the third quarter.
Holy Cross won its other state championship in 2006.
Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.