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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Can Derby upset No. 4 Ansonia?

Last year, Ansonia trailed by 13 points at halftime before rallying for a 33-32 victory over rival Derby.

The rematch takes place Friday at 7 p.m. at Derby's DeFilippo Field. No. 4 Ansonia (2-0) has looked impressive in victories over expected NVL contenders Torrington and Woodland.

Derby (1-1) earned a Week 1 win over St. Paul before losing a 14-13 heart breaker to Naugatuck last week. That loss, though, hasn't diminished the anticipation nor the expected intensity for Friday's contest.

"Either way, it's going to be Ansonia vs. Derby," Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. "Those (Derby) kids had their hearts broken last year, being that close to victory. I'm sure they want nothing less than a victory."

Ansonia leads the series with Derby 52-28-8. Ansonia has won the last four meetings, and nine of the last 10. Derby's last victory in the series came in 2001. The teams did not play from 2004-2008. Last year's game resparked interest in the rivalry after some recent lopsided Ansonia victories.

"It (2010) brought back the rivalry real quick," Brockett said. "You look at halftime when we were down 13 points and another 1,500 people showed up. There's no doubt about it that the rivalry is alive and well."

Derby joined the NVL in 2009 moving over from the SCC. In 2009, the Red Raiders went 4-6 and last season, in current Derby coach George French's first season with the Red Raiders, Derby finished at 5-5.

The Red Raiders, though, have not had a "trademark" win in some time. That could change if they're able to knock off Ansonia.

"Last year we made great strides in getting the program in the proper direction," French said. "This year, in Year 2, we have to get that benchmark win. We have to learn how to win against the good teams. Our kids are learning one step at a time. They had another tough loss last week (against Naugatuck). A couple of plays here and there and it goes in our direction. We have to start turning those plays in our direction.

"We have a lot of respect for Ansonia. They're one of the top five teams in the state this year and one of the most storied programs in state history. We have a lot of respect for them, but we know we can compete with them. We have to make our kids believe that we can compete on the same level as Ansonia, and our kids believe they can do it."

Read more about the Ansonia-Derby game in Friday's print editions of the Register and on-line at

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