Special to CIACsports.com
ANSONIA – Tajik Bagley scored three touchdowns, including two in the final six minutes to leads top-seeded Ansonia to a 31-22 victory over Trinity Catholic in the Class S semifinalsTuesday night at Jarvis Stadium.
The win sends the Chargers (12-0) to their sixth straight CIAC state title game where they will meet Bloomfield, which dispatched Seymour, 47-21, in the other Class S state semifinal on Monday night. Bloomfield and Ansonia will meet in a CIAC football title game for a record sixth time on Saturday when they kick off at 10:30 a.m. at Willow Brook Park.
“It was a really hard fought football game,” Ansonia coach “We just kept battling and we had so much inexperience this year that to be in this position and to be able to play Saturday for an undefeated season is remarkable. It’s a credit to the seniors and those kids in the locker room.”
Tyler Bailey scored from six yards out and Bagley ripped off a 37-yard TD run to give the Chargers a 14-6 lead at the half. It could have been more but Trinity Catholic stopped Ansonia on fourth-and-goal from the two with 36 seconds left in the second quarter.
Bryson Cafaro kicked a 23-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter to extend the Ansonia lead to 17-6 before Trinity Catholic got back in it.
Anthony Lombardi threw a 54-yard TD pass to Izaiah Sanders and ran for the two-point conversion to make it 17-14 with 9:59 to play.
Ansonia put the game away with touchdowns on its next two possessions. Bailey returned the ensuing kickoff to the Trinity Catholic 37 and six plays later Bagley scored on a four yard run to make it 24-14. The Crusaders threw four incompletions on their next possession and turned the ball over at their own 24 with 5:19 to go.
Bagley got the ball four straight times and the final carry was a 14-yard TD run that made it 31-14 with 3:05 to go.
“I let up the touchdown that made it 17-14 but I just kept my composure,” Bagley said. “Great players bounce back and it felt good to get those last two touchdowns.”
Johnny Somers caught a one yard TD pass from Lombardi with seven seconds left and also caught the two-point conversion to cap the scoring.
Trinity Catholic was making its second playoff appearance in four seasons and first under Panapada. The Crusaders had won nine-straight games since losing their season opener to Greenwich.
“We accomplished a lot this year and they have a lot to be proud of,” Trinity Catholic coach Don Panapada said. “This group of seniors didn’t win a game as sophomores and they went on a hell of a run this season. We just came up short against a very good football team.”
Bloomfield, which dispatched Seymour, 47-21, in the other Class S state semifinal on Monday night. last played for a state title in football in 2006 when it lost the Class S title game to Ansonia, 34-12. The Chargers are 3-2 against the Warhawks in the previous five meetings in state championship games.
Ansonia 31, Trinity Catholic 22
Ansonia 14 0 0 17—31
T.C. 6 0 0 16—22
A – Tyler Bailey 6 run (Bryson Cafaro kick)
TC – Jonmichael Bivona 72 run (run failed)
A – Tajik Bagley 37 run (Cafaro kick)
A – Cafaro 23 FG
TC – Izaiah Sanders 54 pass from Anthony Lombardi (Lombardi run)
A – Bagley 4 run (Cafaro kick)
A – Bagley 13 ruh (Cafaro kick)
TC – Johnny Sommers 1 pass from Lombardi (Lombardi pass to Sommers)
Rushing: A – Tajik Bagley 33-213, Tyler Bailey 18-64, Bryson Cafaro 3-11, Malcolm Martin 1-0, Totals 55-288; TC – Anthonly Lombardi 6-35, Jonmichael Bivona 9-88, Totals 15-123.
Passing: A – Cafaro 5-8-71, Bailey 0-2, Bagley 0-1; TC – Lombardi 9-23-183.
Receving: A – Bailey 4-48, Angel Falero 1-23; TC – Johnny Sommers 3-28, Kyle Bernard 1-10, Izaiah Sanders 2-86, Justine Green 1-(-5), Dom Svrcek 2-64.
Records: A 12-0; TC 9-2.