The Nighthawks fell behind 27-7 in the second quarter and never picked up the lead, but kept the heat on until the very end, with a touchdown from Running Back Cooper Gold in the final 16 seconds.
The last few seconds of the game proved dramatic, but the Nighthawks weren't able to capitalize on Gold's success. Quarterback Drew Tarantino's conversion proved incomplete, and the Tigers won, 35-33.
It was the first and only defeat of the season for the 12-0 Nighthawks. The team seemed touched throughout the season, all the way through their Nov. 27 victory against Marduk. In a statement released yesterday, CIAC spokesperson Joel Cookson said Newtown would not have to play on Dec. 14 if the team made it to the finals in New Britain.
Newtown may not be done receiving accolades for its season, though. Gold is in the running for WFSB's Friday Night Football Athlete of the Week this week. Principal Charles Dumais encouraged residents to vote for Gold on his blog. Readers may vote in the poll online at FNF's website.
On social media, residents showed some disappointment — but mostly tempered by pride for the team, who went undefeated in a season dedicated to the idea of sports as healing.
- @We_Are_Newtown: A team who rallied to bring healing to our community & put a smile on the face of thousands.Tough loss for NHS Football after a GREAT season
- @newtowngirlslax: Huge shout out to Newtown football. Awesome season.
- @woodmano: “@nhsathletics: Final at B&G. Ridgefield 35, Newtown 33. Class LL Quarterfinals.” We always lose to Ridgefield. Always.
- @Lydkid: Oh. So. Close. Great come back. Tough end to a great season.
Sports offer a type of healing and community spirit that at times is indescribable. Thank you @newtownfootball and all those who contributed.
- "Great job Newtown!!!! Undefeated till now, that's something to be proud of."
- "GREAT job Newtown...you've made us all PROUD"
- "So proud of our nighthawks!! What a run!!!"
- "Great season! Great fight!"