NEWINGTON - The Newington football team has had plenty of success on opening night games as of late, and this season was no exception.
Under the direction of sophomore Nick Pestrichello, who made his first varsity start as the Indians quarterback, Newington cruised to an easy 41-0 win over Amistad, New Haven Friday evening at Veterans Alumni Field.
The signal caller connected on seven of his 10 passes, for 70 yards and two touchdowns to help the Indians win their sixth straight season-opening game. Newington is now 30-25-2 in Week 1 since the program began 57 years ago.
“I pulled Nick in [and talked to him] before the game,” Indians head coach Jason Pace said. “Just to make sure he was alright, calm him down, but he really didn’t need it.”
Pestrichello was just one of the many new starters who took the field.
“[The new starters] did good,” Newington linebacker Julian Mulero said. “Everyone came out to play. It was a good night.”
Pestrichello connected just three minutes into the game with Izayah Ciarcia for a 18-yard touchdown pass. Gunnar Johnson completed the play with an extra point to put the Indians on the board 7-0.
“We worked as a team and came out strong,” Johnson said. “We were talking in the locker room and it’s all about coming out strong, especially in those first plays. Once we showed that we were dominate, we just kept climbing and stepping on their throats.”
But it was not the Indians’ passing game that won them the game. Instead, Newington relied on its running game and its defense. Dylan Nees-fair ran for a career-high 95 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, the defense intercepted Amistad quarterback Nayshawn Smith twice and recovered two fumbles.
“We were just focusing on what we need to do better, improvement,” Pace said. “We wanted to gain some experience with our young team. We really hadn’t had an opportunity to play together in a varsity game so I think that was the biggest positive in our game. Tonight we were able to come together as a team and play.”
Nees-fair rushed five yards into the end zone with 4:40 left to go in the first quarter. But once the ball was turned over to the Wolves, Johnson intercepted it at the 38-yard line on the first play of their possesion.
It wasn’t much later when Nees-fair rushed another five yards for a touchdown with 1:53 left in first quarter.
Pestrichello connected with Julian Ortiz for a 13-yard passing touchdown will 11 seconds left to go in the first quarter. Johnson completed the play, collecting the extra point.
“I think Nick did good, especially as a sophomore," Johnson said. "I thought he was going to be a little nervous, throw one away but he came in throwing dimes. He knew exactly what to do, every play.”
By the end of the first quarter the Indians led 27-0 over Amistad.
The Wolves only got as close as the 39-yard line over six plays before Mulero intercepted the ball on their next drive. It only took the Indians seven plays to find the end zone for the fourth time in the first half. Pestrichello handed the ball off to Nees-fair as he ran for a 15-yard TD with 6:07 left in the second quarter.
The running clock came into effect after the Indians’ lead grew to 34. Newington didn’t score again until the final quarter. Freshman Shakir Smith rushed two yards to cap off the the night for Newington.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWINGTON 41, AMISTAD 0
Newington (1-0) 27 7 0 7 - 41
Amistad (0-1) 0 0 0 0 - 0
N-Izayah Ciarcia 18 pass from Nick Pestrichello (Gunnar Johnson kick), 9:07
N-Dylan Nees-fair 5 run (kick failed), 4:40
N-Nees-fair 5 run (Gunnar Johnson kick), 1:53
N-Julian Ortiz 13 pass from Pestrichello (Gunnar Johnson kick), .11
N-Nees-fair 15 run (Gunnar Johnson kick), 6:07
N-Shakir Smith 2 run (Gunnar Johnson kick), 7:02
Rushing- Newington: Nees-fair 19-95-3TD, Smith 5-20-TD, John Amaning 11-45, Javier Polanco 2-8, Gunnar Johnson 2-5. Amistad: Michael Fletcher 1-1, Jason Vasquez 1(-4), Tyrone Moye 1-1.
Passing-Newington: Pestrichello 7-10-95-2TD, Austyn Howe 0-0. Amistad: Nayshawn Smith 0-4-INT, Jordan Blanding 1-10-7-INT.
Receiving-Newington: Ciarcia 3-40-TD, Julian Ortiz 1-13-TD, Polanco 2-15. Amistad: Anthony Foster 1-7.