ANSONIA – It was senior night for three Ansonia Tigers: Dane Wentworth, Nick Buckingham and Cody Burnfield.
The trio all scored in Friday’s game, and for nearly three-and-a-half quarters the contest was still in doubt in a very competitive game against visiting Bethel … but the Bees swarmed the Tigers in the end, leaving town with a 48-27 win.
Ansonia stopped Bethel on its first possession of the game and then sustained a nice drive that eventually stalled after crossing mid-field.
Bethel didn’t take long on its second possession as the Bees’ big junior fullback Josh Wills rumbled 72 yards, running over a Tiger defender on the 10-yard line on his way to a touchdown. Erica Tuner’s kick gave the Bees a 7-0 lead at 3:18 in the first quarter.
Will’s would score again at 11:31 of the second quarter on a 15-yard run to give Bethel a 13-0 lead.
Ansonia then went to work as senior quarterback Dane Wentworth threw a post pattern pass to Aydan Sanders, who made a great acrobatic catch for a 25-yard gain, giving the Tigers some momentum.
Ansonia then pounded away up front until Nick Buckingham finished the drive on a 1-yard plunge, and the Tigers trailed 13-6.
Ansonia’s Trevor Beam recovered a Bethel fumble to stop a Bethel drive and put the Tigers back in business.
Ansonia took advantage as the ground game was clicking behind the left side of the line, and Buckingham capped the drive on a 4-yard run. Wentworth’s pass to Hunter Muir was good for the two-point conversion, and Ansonia had captured the lead 14-13 at the half.
In the third quarter Bethel regained the lead at 6:18 on a 10-yard run by quarterback Jacob Evans up the middle. Josh Wills ran in the conversion, and the Bees led 21-14.
Back came Ansonia. Again it was a pass play that got things going, this time a 28-yard pass from Wentworth to Muir downfield.
Moments later it was senior Cody Burnfield up the middle for a 3-yard score … but Bethel’s Ian Anderson picked off the conversion pass, and Ansonia trailed 21-20 at the end of three quarters.
Heading into the final stanza it was still anyone’s game to win.
But the Tigers couldn’t contain the big plays from Bethel or get the big stop they needed.
Jacob Evans scored on a 15-yard run at 10:45 to go up 28-20.
Ansonia was forced to punt on its next possession, and needing the football back, the Tigers had Bethel in a long fourth down and 20. But they let the Bees off the hook as Evans threw a boot pass to Josh Wills in the flat, and Wills would not only gain the 20 yards … he added to that as well with some nifty moves, taking it down to the 3-yard line. Wills then would put the dagger in with the 3-yard run as Bethel went up 35-20 at 3:55 to go in the game.
Bethel put the game away with Noah Burrows scoring two quick touchdowns, one from 35 yards and the other 10 yards, to break open what was a close game, 48-20.
Wentworth would provide one last highlight for the seniors from Ansonia as he bolted 90 yards on the kickoff for a touchdown, but it was too little, too late as the Bees left town with a 48-27 Cross County Conference win.
Bethel raised its record to 5-4 overall and 4-3 in the conference and will celebrate its senior night on Friday when the Bees host Arcanum.
Ansonia falls to 2-7 overall and 1-6 in the CCC and will travel to Covington on Friday.
BET: Josh Wills 72-yard run (Erica Turner kick) 7-0 – 3:18
BET: Wills 15-yard return (kick no good) 13-0 – 11:31
ANS: Shane Buckingham 1-yard run (Conversion no good) 13-6
ANS: Buckingham 4-yard run (Hunter Muir – reception from Wentworth) 14-13
BET: Jacob Evans 10-yard run (Wills run) 21-13
ANS: Cody Burnfield 3-yard run (conversion no good) 21-20 – 3:39
BET: Evans 15-yard run (Turner kick) 28-20 – 10:46
BET: Wills 3-yard run (Turner kick) 35-20 – 3:55
BET: Noah Burrows 35-yard run (Turner kick) 42-20 – 2:02
BET: Noah Burrowes 10-yard run (kick no good) 48-20
ANS: Dane Wentworth 90 kickoff return (Andrea Brangi kick) 48-27