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The New Haven Register sports department is celebrating our 200th birthday by sharing 200 of the most interesting stories relating to sports in Greater New Haven over the past 200 years. Check back daily for historical updates.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bubby Natowich was Ansonia's first football star

In an era when high school football looked more like rugby, and the odds of a game ending in a scoreless tie were better than average, Andrew “Bubby” Natowich was decades ahead of his time.

Natowich, Ansonia’s first football superstar, was considered a radical because he carried the ball with one hand — coaches of the day preached using both to protect the football from swarms of tacklers.

Few utilized the forward pass, defensive schemes centering around loading the line of scrimmage to stop the run. But tackling Natowich, speedy and elusive at 170 pounds, proved to be darn near impossible. He racked up yardage and touchdowns at a pace that, even for today’s high-octane offenses, are almost unheard of. His 451 yards rushing against Naugatuck on Thanksgiving Day in 1936 was a state record that stood for 66 years until Farmington’s Brandon Willard went for 508 in 2002. Alex Thomas brought the record back to Ansonia five years later with a 518-yard day against Woodland.

Natowich, only a junior, scored a state-record seven touchdowns (which stood until 1999) that afternoon in a 79-0 victory he’d been thinking about for eight years.

Read Chip Malafronte's complete story

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