Derby 14 - Ansonia 12

2001 Season Opening Win

Ansonia pass in the air...

but Derby's Peter Najda  intercepts.......

and turns it into the winning TD

This was the play that brought Derby a season opening win. Click on each image for a larger picture.

A brilliant and sunny late summer day at Nolan Field in Ansonia served as the setting for a season opening 14-12 win by the Derby High School football team. Following a moment of silence and the playing of God Bless America and the Star Spangled Banner in tribute to the victims of this week's terrible events, the two teams resumed one of the state's most storied gridiron rivalries.

Ansonia 6-0

Ansonia drew first blood in the first quarter on a quarterback sneak by sophomore Kenny Tinney from the one yard line. However, the subsequent extra point try sailed wide right and proved to be very critical.

Derby 6 - Ansonia 6

Derby pulled one out of its bag of tricks with a halfback option pass that caught Ansonia by surprise. Robbie French pulled up and tossed a strike to Santiago Vallejo who was 10 yards behind the Ansonia defense and he waltzed into the end zone.

Derby 7 - Ansonia 6

Seconds later Derby took the lead as Santiago came back to kick the extra point. That was the way the first quarter ended.

Derby 13 - Ansonia 6

Derby then scored a crucial second touchdown in the second quarter on an interception return by Peter Najda.  Najda picked off the pass, eluded a pack of would-be Ansonia tacklers and dashed about 45 yards to the endzone.

Derby 14 - Ansonia 6

Santiago Vallejo's line drive extra point whizzed through the uprights and set the strategy and ultimately decided the outcome of the game. At the half, it was Derby 14 - Ansonia 6.

Derby 14 - Ansonia 12

Ansonia wasted little time in the second half as they scored on their very first possession as Allen Robertson hauled in a short pass and then carried it 40 yards to the score that cut the lead to two and set the stage for the key play of the game. 

Derby 14 - Ansonia 12

A very aggressive Derby defense snuffed the extra point attempt and with it Ansonia's momentum for the rest of the game.

Derby 14 - Ansonia 12

The rest of the game proved to be a defensive struggle with Derby mounting the only serious scoring drive. Through the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth, they used  a steady ground game to march to the Ansonia two yard line and a second and goal. Ansonia then dug in and threw Derby for a two yard loss. The defense then stopped two Derby passing attempts into the end zone.

However, they were unable to mount any offense of their own against a swarming Derby defense, and with one last Hail Mary pass pictured here the clock ran out and Derby fans swarmed the field to celebrate a well-earned victory.

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