Newtown wins state title on Sandy Hook anniversary

Newtown High School quarterback Jack Street threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Riley Ward on the final play of the Connecticut Class LL state championship game Saturday against Darien, giving the Nighthawks a 13-7 win and the state title on the seventh anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The championship was Newtown’s first since 1992. The school finished its season 13-0, while Darien fell to 11-2.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Ward told the Hartford Courant. “I love this town, I love everybody. I’m at a loss for words.”

Newtown head coach Bobby Pattison called the victory “absolutely amazing.”

“I’m so proud of my kids for not giving up,” he told the Courant. “We had moments in that game where it didn’t look too good for Newtown. … I’m so proud of the kids. I couldn’t be happier.”

Vigils and church services were held Saturday in Connecticut to mark the anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook and remember victims of other gun violence since the tragedy in Newtown.

Twenty first-graders and six educators were killed at the school on Dec. 14, 2012. Ben Pinto, whose brother Jack was among those killed, played linebacker for Newtown on Saturday.

Gov. Ned Lamont ordered all state and U.S. flags in Connecticut to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday in remembrance of the victims.

“The tragedy that occurred that day is one of the worst in our history,” Lamont, a Democrat, said in a statement. “But in its aftermath, we witnessed an unprecedented outpouring of humanity, hope, and kindness cascading into our state from over the entire world, spreading a message of love that we must proactively protect.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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