WCA football gives strong effort in historic playoff loss to Ansonia

Copyright, Sports on CT69, 2022 file photo

The WCA football team did a great job representing Waterbury Public Schools in the first CIAC state playoff game in history on Tuesday night.

The eighth-seeded Spartans trailed top-seeded Ansonia by a touchdown and faced a 4th and 7 from the Charger 34 early in the fourth quarter at Derby’s DeFilippo Field. WCA ran a direct snap, but came up an agonizing one yard short of a first down. Three plays later, Ansonia sophomore Crishon Fogle was gone for a 64-yard touchdown. The undermanned Chargers, missing three key starters – and they lost a fourth on Tuesday’s first drive – pulled away for a 28-14 win over the pesky Spartans. Ansonia (10-1) moved on to the semifinal round to face 4-seed Cromwell/Portland. WCA saw its season end at 6-5. It was the final game for Spartan seniors Jordan Rossi, Jerry Baskins, KaVaughn Canady, Antonio Vergera, D’Vonte Lane, Julian Snead, Newman Reeves, Justice Brown, Tristan Nelson, Tracy Graves, Adesanya Ademiluyi, Chris Ndreko and Adam Gaafar to graduation.

Snead had touchdown runs of 18 and 11 yards for WCA. Quintez Whittle scored on runs of 8 yards and 1 yard for Ansonia. Matteo Sorrentino scored from 6 yards out for the Chargers. Neither side could generate any scoring until more than halfway through the second quarter. When a snap to Ansonia punter Paul Palmer sailed high and went for a huge loss, WCA had a terrific opportunity to go ahead. The Spartans went backwards instead to almost midfield on three penalties and a sack. The Chargers gave all the yardage back on back-to-back penalties – defensive holding and roughing the passer – to give the visitors another set of downs, at the original line of scrimmage. WCA still faced a fourth down at the Ansonia 18, but Snead ran right, then cut back middle into the end zone for the touchdown. Dylan Rossi’s extra point put the Spartans ahead, 7-0, with 4:53 left in the first half.

WCA held its lead until the final seconds of the first half. Ansonia quarterback Matteo Sorrentino turned a scramble into a six-yard touchdown with 13 ticks on the clock. Palmer’s extra point sent the teams into halftime tied, 7-7.

Ansonia managed to hold onto the ball for the entire third quarter, thanks in part to a WCA fumble on an interception return at the 5:10 mark. 

NOTE: It was a tough play to make out, even on the live stream provided by Predator Production LLC on YouTube. The pass was a screen that was picked off in a crowd. After a couple seconds, the ball came free and the Chargers got it back at the Spartan 32. The WCA coaching staff thought their player’s progress had been stopped, but didn’t get the call.

On 3rd and goal from the WCA 8, Whittle ran it in for a touchdown, and Palmer’s extra point put the Chargers ahead, 14-7. The Spartans had 1st and 10 at their own 36, but a false start was called and the third quarter clock ran out. Ansonia ran 18 plays to WCA’s 0 in the quarter.

Snead and freshman quarterback Ethan Blaize got the ensuing drive off to a great start with solid runs to open the fourth quarter. The Chargers stiffened up and forced a 4th and 7 at their 34. Snead took a direct snap and ran, but was stopped a yard short of the first down.

Fogle ran free for his touchdown, then Whittle added his second following a turnover on downs by WCA. Snead scored from 11 yards out with 54 seconds left in the game to make the final score more respectable.