By Kyle Brennan
Special to CIACsports.com
Saturday morning at Willowbrook Park in New Britain, it’ll be just like old times in the CIAC Class S football championship game.
No. 1-seeded Ansonia (12-0) will face No. 2 Bloomfield (12-0) for the state title at 10:30 a.m. It’ll be the record sixth time the programs have squared off for a state championship.
Ansonia holds a 3-2 edge with championship wins in 1994 (54-14), 1995 (7-0) and 2006 (34-12). Bloomfield earned victories in 1998 (40-7) and 1999 (56-0).
“It’s awesome,” Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. “Obviously, Bloomfield started with Jack Cochran and what he did there. Since he’s left, they’ve been up and down. But when they’re able to get it cranked it up like they have this year, with the size and the athletes that come from Bloomfield, it’s amazing.”
“It’s so exciting,” Bloomfield coach Ty Outlaw said. “Just the sound of it sounds great. Ansonia-Bloomfield — I mean, I want to make sure I’m at the game.”
Both teams boast plenty of speed and athleticism entering the championship game.
Ansonia, playing in its state-best sixth consecutive final, does most of its damage with the two-headed attack of seniors Tajik Bagley and Tyler Bailey.
Bagley carried 33 times for 213 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers’ 31-22 win over No. 4 Trinity Catholic in Monday’s semifinals. Bailey added 18 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown as well as four catches for 48 yards in the game.
“I thought it was fun,” Brockett said of the semifinal, which he added was good preparation for the final. “We enjoy being in that environment. I think we’re in our comfort zone with that. It was good. It was a hard-fought game with two really good high school football teams and really good players on both sides of the ball. No turnovers on either side of the ball. That’s how high school football should be played.”
Bloomfield knows the type of team it will face Saturday. Brockett will coach in his ninth state final in 10 seasons and has more championships (five) than postseason losses (four).
“Ansonia is very well coached, no doubt about it,” Outlaw said. “Year after year, they’re in the playoffs for a reason. Brockett will have them ready to play, and we’ve gotta be ready to play.”
The Warhawks may have more weapons capable of finding the end zone. Their speedy stable is led by quarterback Rayshawn Phillips, who has tallied more than 3,000 total yards this season.
He’s surrounded by running back Andrell Pinnock, utility player Duane Roberts, and receivers Russell Thompson-Bishop, Isaiah Colebrook and Jose Crespo.
“When you drop back and see four dudes that run 4.5 and 4.4 (seconds in the 40-yard dash), it’s a blessing,” Phillips said. “All my guys catch the ball very well. I just thank God that I’m on such a talented team. The major thing we need to do is execute. If we execute everything we do and go 100 percent, that should give us the (win).”
Brockett said the Chargers are wary of everything Bloomfield can do after the Warhawks cruised past No. 6 Seymour, 47-21, in Monday’s semifinals.
“They can score on any one play, and it’s not one or two guys who can score on any one play. They’ve got six guys, seven guys who can score,” Brockett said. “Their defense is so big and physical and fast. We’re going to have to hit some of our play-action passes, which we missed (Monday), and do some different things because they’re going to take away everything you do.”