ANSONIA – The Ansonia Tigers looked to break into the win column Friday night in their Cross County Conference matchup versus last year’s league co-champion and playoff qualifier Miami East.
The Tigers struggled in their first performance in front of the home crowd as they fell to the Vikings 41-7.
Ansonia received the opening kickoff and promptly ran it back 70 yards to the Miami East 26 where the Tigers began their first offensive series. The crowd was excited and momentum seemed to be with the Tigers but quickly would shift as Ansonia fumbled on its first offensive play.
The Vikings recovered and went on a 12-play march that lasted over five minutes and culminated with a Levi Adducchio 9-yard touchdown run. The PAT was missed, but Miami East led 6-0 midway through the first quarter.
On Ansonia’s next possession the Tigers were determined to answer the Viking scoring drive. Ansonia reeled off 12 plays and moved the ball 46 yards to the Miami East 23 before Colt Frazier intercepted a pass for the Vikings on fourth down to stop the Tigers’ offensive push with 6.3 seconds left in the first period.
The very next play saw Justin Brown scamper around right end on a 52-yard touchdown run. The Vikings converted the two-point conversion to take a 14-0 lead into the second stanza.
Ansonia was forced to punt after three plays to open the second quarter, but Miami East’s offense was in full control at this point.
The Vikings took over the ball at their own 40 and six plays and two minutes later Adducchio was again in the end zone on a 1-yard rush. The PAT was converted, expanding the visitors’ lead to 21-0, which would stand until halftime.
Miami East came out of the intermission with the intention of putting the game out of reach quickly. The Vikings began the second half with the ball at their own 38 and three plays later Adducchio scored his third touchdown of the night on a 44-yard breakaway run. The kick was good, pushing the Viking lead to 28-0 with 10:47 to play in the third frame.
Freshman quarterback Hunter Buckingham now was leading the Ansonia offense. He replaced sophomore Matthew Shook late in the first half when Shook was injured. The Tigers gained a first down but could not keep the drive alive and were forced to punt.
The Vikings’ ground attack kept going full throttle. They took over at their own 42-yard line and three plays later Adducchio scored touchdown No. 4 of the evening on a 30-yard jaunt. The kick was converted to give Miami East a 35-0 advantage.
The Tigers would have the ball one final time in the third quarter, and they began to move the football on the Viking defense. A false start penalty on third down made it third and 11. The Ansonia pass was intercepted by Adducchio and returned 52 yards for a touchdown, his fifth of the night. The conversion attempt failed, making the score 41-0 Miami East.
The ensuing kickoff gave the Tigers their scoring for the evening. Junior Max Wardrip returned the ball 80-plus yards for the lone Ansonia score of the night. The PAT was good, and the Tigers now trailed 41-7, which would be the final score.
Even though Ansonia trailed the Tigers did not give up the fight. On the next Miami East possession they forced and recovered a fumble and on the Vikings’ final drive managed to sack the quarterback with under a minute to play.
“Congratulations to Coach Current on a well-played game,” Ansonia football coach Eugene Hoening said. “They were a typical Miami East team, fundamentally sound. They did a good job of protecting the ball.
“Our return game gave us a spark returning the ball for that touchdown,” Coach Hoening continued.
Ansonia was 2-for-5 passing for the game, gaining 27 yards with two interceptions. The ground game had 43 attempts and advanced the ball 146 yards. The Tigers were led by senior Trevor Beam’s 62 yards. The defense was led by Wardrip with nine tackles with Aydan Sanders contributing seven and Hunter Muir adding six.
With the loss Ansonia is now 0-3 on the season and 0-2 in the CCC. Miami East advanced to 2-1 overall with a 2-0 record in conference play.
Next up for the Tigers is another road game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Twin Valley South.