ANSONIA -- He makes the ridiculous seem everyday, does Ansonia senior running back Arkeel Newsome. Drop a snap? Pick it up and run for 30 yards. Find no holes two plays in a row? Break off an 83-yarder across Nolan Field, one of seven touchdowns.
That's part of what has made Newsome the state's all-time leading rusher. He had a career-best 492 yards on 26 carries to go over 10,000 yards Tuesday night in the No. 1 Chargers' 49-21 win over Coginchaug in the CIAC Class S quarterfinals.
"I never thought I'd get there," Newsome said.
It seemed inevitable, even needing 337 coming into the day. Of course, this was a player who'd rushed for over 400 yards in a Thanksgiving win over Naugatuck, holder of an assortment of state records.
He took the Chargers' first play 72 yards for a score, and Coginchaug never caught up -- to him or to the Chargers.
"He realizes how hard people work for him," Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said.
The Chargers (13-0), the second seed in the Class S tournament, will face third-seeded Rocky Hill in the semifinals Saturday at 2 p.m. at Sheehan. The Terriers beat Prince Tech 51-8.
Newsome goes into that game with 264 carries for 3,350 yards, 413 shy of the state record he set as a sophomore. He has 10,155 yards in all on 876 attempts.
Alex Thomas set the school record -- then the state record -- with 518 yards against Woodland in 2007. He did that on 44 carries. Newsome's 26th on Tuesday went for just 3 yards, but it was his seventh touchdown.
He took the direct snap all night, with quarterback/defensive back Jai'Quan McKnight nursing a sprained ankle. McKnight was dressed and threw before the game, and Brockett said he could've played.
"We had different packages. Obviously without (McKnight), we do a little more Wildcat."
Newsome does well in that, someone told Brockett.
"He'd do well anywhere," Brockett replied.
Newsome said he enjoys it.
"You're back there by yourself. You see everything," he said. "It's definitely a big advantage. You see where the blitzes are coming."
The Blue Devils (9-3) assembled a nice eight-play scoring drive to cut the Chargers' lead to 14-7 late in the first quarter. They recovered the onside kick a yard into Ansonia territory.
But the Chargers' defense forced a punt -- "Huge for the guys to step up like that," Brockett said. Newsome went nowhere on two carries, but the third, he quickly faked a handoff to Saiheed Sanders, broke a tackle at the line and was gone.
Touchdown No. 3. Nine carries for 196 yards. And just a start.
"We were just thinking we had a couple of mistakes," Newsome said. "We had to come back and redeem ourselves."
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COGINCHAUG 7 0 0 14--21
ANSONIA 14 13 8 14--49
A--Arkeel Newsome 72 run (Witold Gul kick)
A--Newsome 15 run (Gul kick)
C--Jacob Ober 8 run (Jack Granger kick)
A--Newsome 83 run (Gul kick)
A--Newsome 68 run (kick blocked)
A--Newsome 64 run (Tajik Bagley run)
C--Devin Rodrigue 9 pass Tyler Meeker (Granger run)
A--Newsome 55 run (Bagley run)
A--Newsome 3 run (kick failed)
C--Eric Solomon 31 run (pass failed)
Records: Coginchaug 9-3; Ansonia 13-0