Seven years after tragedy struck Newtown, Connecticut, the town is celebrating a poignant victory. The high school football team won the state championship on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.
On Dec. 12, 2012, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took the lives of 26 people, many of them grade school children. For the last seven years, Dec. 12 has been a day of mourning for many. So when Newtown school officials learned that the football team would be playing the championship game that day, they wanted to be sensitive about it.
“Obviously it was going to be difficult and we wanted to make sure they were prepared,” said Superintendent Lorrie Rodrigue to the Hartford Courant. “The consensus was [that] they wanted to play and this was important to them.”
WOW! Holy crap. Newtown wins the CLASSS LL title 13-7 over Darien I’m the final play Jack Street hits Riley Ward for 36-yard TD #cthsfb
Newtown’s first state title since 1992 pic.twitter.com/BfSMc0rNIy
— Pete Paguaga (@PetePaguaga) December 14, 2019
Not only did the team play, but they won the state championship for the first time in 27 years.
Newtown principal Kimberly Longobucco said that the win was “a little glimpse of joy on what is a sad day in our community.”
Many players on the team have personal connections to the tragic events of the shooting. Some of them attended Sandy Hook, and one player, Ben Pinto, lost his brother Jack during the shooting.
Rodrigue said, “It’s hard to describe. People were in tears, feeling so proud of the boys, knowing that you have to overcome your own feelings to really emerge as victors on this kind of day.”
In case you haven’t seen, last night Newtown HS football won the state championship on a last-second play on the 7th anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) December 15, 2019
This was a win for both the football team and the community as a whole. Football coach Bobby Pattison said, “The great thing about football and sports in general, moments like this brings people together. These guys had an outstanding year. To win a state championship, to win on the last play it’s been a tremendous accomplishment. And these boys deserve it. They’re a great bunch.”