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Football Harmon steps up for Ansonia

December 1, 2018

ANSONIA — Injuries happen to every team, but it’s not an excuse Ansonia has used this year, though few would blame them if they did.

Yet, behind the emergence of Shykeem Harmon the Chargers are once again on the doorstep of another state championship title.

During the first week of the season, starting senior running back Darwin Amaya tore his ACL. Next up was junior Kevin Dobbs, who became the top running back for a game before breaking his fibula and tibia.

With their two top running backs done for the season, before Week 3, the Chargers turned to Harmon.

“I wasn’t expecting to have a really big role this year,” Harmon, a junior, said. “I thought I would play offense and defense, just play my role that (coach Tom) Brockett told me.”

Nineteen-hundred and forty eight rushing yards and 18 touchdowns later, Harmon has taking over a role he had always wanted.

“I’ve been looking up to people who have been doing this since I was 5,” Harmon said. “I’ve always wanted to do this and now that I am, I feel amazing.”

Harmon said that he relied on both Amaya and Dodds whenever he faced adversity.

“Darwin taught me to never put my head down. Keep on playing,” he said. “I fumbled a couple of times in games and I just kept playing.”

His play has not only helped the Chargers go undefeated, but he has left an impression on his teammates.

“He’s done a real good job,” senior John Picheco said. “He’s a small kid, he runs nice and hard.”

“Very elusive,” junior Garrett Cafaro added. “He’s quick and can break tackles.”

On the legs of Harmon and an outstanding Chargers’ defense — that has allowed just 7-points per game — Ansonia is one win away from reaching its state-record 32nd state championship game.

Standing in the way of the Chargers is Bloomfield.

Some call it a rivalry, despite the team’s meeting just six times.

All six though have come in the state championship, with three wins going to each school. The last two meetings have been spilt, Bloomfield won the 2015 Class S championship, 31-20and Ansonia won the titlewith a 34-12 win in 2006.

“You have great respect for the program because you know what they are capable of,” Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. “I think when we talk about Ansonia and Bloomfield, some of the greatest teams, some of the greatest players ever in the history of Connecticut high school football, most certainly have participated in those programs.

“Dwight Freeney’s not playing in this game,” he added. “Alex Thomas isn’t playing in this game, so it’s totally a new cast of kids.”

Bloomfield’s offense has scored 444 points (40.3-points a game) this season.

The Chargers’ defense will have their hands full with running back Ky’Juon Butler (2,036 yards rushing), as well as big receivers David Robinson, Jayvon Massey and quarterback Daron Bryden.

“And a big physical offensive line, so add that too,” Brockett said. “There are other receivers that are big too and fast. That’s kind of what you get when you play Bloomfield, you’re going to face great players.”

With the game at Jarvis Stadium on grass, many would think the grass would slow down the Warhawks high-flying offense. Brockett is not one of them.

“I think they would be fast in snow. I think they would be fast anywhere,” he said. “We’re happy to have the game at home, there’s no place we would rather play it. Their speed is still going to be a factor in the game.

“Offensively, we’re going to have to be able to throw the ball solid and make sure we’re moving the chains, to keep that ball out of their hands,” Brockett said.

Pete.Paguaga@hearstmediact.com; @PetePaguaga

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