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Masuk stuns Newtown, earns Class L berth with field goal in final seconds by Michael Epifano




NEWTOWN After 11 weeks, nine full matches and 47 minutes of football, the SWC title and Masuk football’s chance to play in the Class L state tournament came down to one game and one leg.

With six seconds to go and the Panthers tied with Newtown, senior kicker Michael set Epifano from 37 yards away while drowning out the noise. The ball snapped and Epifano connected right in the middle for a 24-21 lead, sending the Panthers hysterical and unofficially the Class L playoffs. The CIAC will publish the official links on Friday.

It felt great, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, said Epifano. It’s a great night and it’s great to be a champion. It’s all I could ask for.

An interception by Jake Dellapiano in midfield with 31 seconds left resulted in a field goal that would crown Masuk SWC champion.

We actually have games in training where we find out how far he can go, said Masuk coach Steve Christy. He was three feet from his limit. That boy, he had cramps and pain. He also played great defensively.

With Quinebaug Valley beating Thames River on Wednesday night, Masuk has earned an unofficial offer to play in the L-class tournament, when a loss would have ended the season.

This is for the Masuk nation, for all the people of Masuk, Christy said. It’s been ten years of struggle man, and this is a good team that we just beat. We just never stop, we believe, and faith is a strong feeling. I am so proud of these children. They deserve this.

Masuk has a lot of experience with games that get to the bone. Epifanos’ kick won the game against Barlow two weeks ago and a two point conversion took Masuk past New Fairfield the week before.

To play back-to-back tight games against New Fairfield and Barlow, I think that prepared us for this, said Nick Saccu. We had been here before and had no doubts that we would drive down and score.

Saccu had 134 yards rushing on 16 carries, including two touchdowns, the first on Masuk’s opening drive and the second with six minutes left to tie the game at 21-21. Saccu also had two receptions for 58 yards.

After Saccus’ first touchdown, Newtown quarterback Dylan Magazu bagged it himself at the end of the first quarter to tie the game 7-7. Newtown was up 14-7 with 15 seconds left at halftime when Magazu connected with Andrew Swierbut for a 25-yard touchdown pass. With 50 seconds left in the third quarter, Masuk tied the game at 14-14 when Dylan Jackson (21 for 28, 231 yards) found Justin Briganti for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

Justin Briganti, I think he’s a sleeper, said Saccu. He’s had some big touchdowns in the last few games and I love that man to death.

Magazu walked in for his second touchdown of the game with 7:08 to go before Saccu reacted a minute later.

We don’t know who we will have next, but whoever it is, I’m sure it will be a challenging game, said Saccu. After this Thanksgiving break, it’s time to get back to work.

Newtown (6-4) needed a win to keep playoff hopes alive. The season is coming to a close for the defending SWC and 2019 Class LL champion.

This is always tough, you want to finish with a win and that’s not always possible, said Newtown coach Bobby Pattison. I am proud of our senior group; they have been fighting all year. It was a difficult program and we had some challenges. We were in it right away, we just came up short a few times too often this year.


For the second game in a row, Mike Epifano sends Masuk home victorious with a field goal, this time to claim the SWC title and bid for the Class L state tournament. Epifano feels no pressure and has ice in his veins.

[email protected]; @AldamWill


MASUK7 0 7 10-24

NEWTOWN7 7 0 7 -21

MNick Saccu 2 run (Kick good)

N Dylan Magazu 2 run (Kick good)

NAndrew Swierbut 25 pass from Magazu (Kick good)

M Justin Briganti 17 pass from Dylan Jackson (Kick good)

N Dylan Magazu 2 run (Kick good)

MNick Saccu 3 run (Kick good)

MMichael Epifano 37 field goal




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