Let me take you back in time to five years ago to my freshman year. At this point in time, Hawk Pride was the highest it had ever been. Student sections were packed, hallways were decorated during spirit week, and one freshman was even kidnapped by the senior class and ransomed for pizza and soda. That Hawk Pride was led by the football team. That football team was then led by no one else, but the quarterback, Tanner Kingsley. Kingsley was a three sport athlete in high school and of course a hard worker inside the classroom. Kingsley has the most passing yards in school history, a member of the 1,000 point club for basketball, and was always able to close out games in the seventh inning on the mound. Tanner’s senior year was one that Woodland must never forget and the younger Hawks must be told. When talking about my freshman year two, seemingly impossible, events occurred that magical fall in 2013.
The first event came on October 4th, the home game against Naugatuck. Yes. THE GREYHOUNDS WERE IN TOWN. Woodland geared up for its biggest fan section ever as they hosted Naugy. This was the game that #BeatNaugy and #HawkPride struck the halls of Woodland. These hashtags even spurred some flare from the Greyhounds and Twitter wars began. This game almost felt like a boxing match; banter before the game and once you step onto the court/arena, it’s all bite instead of bark. Both teams were undefeated coming into the game at 3-0 but both sides were determined to end their opponent’s hot start.
Per tradition, the winning team receives the Pinho Trophy, in memory of Woodland alum, Jack Pinho’s father, due to his football involvement in both towns. So not only do you receive bragging rights for a whole year, you also earn a trophy for beating your biggest rival, which definitely adds a little fuel to the fire. Fortunately, Kingsley led the Hawks to a close 25-22 victory that night. Kinglsey finished the game with four total touchdowns (one rushing), 294 passing yards, and topped the night off with a quarterback rating of an impressive 110. The Hawks rightfully went crazy after this game, as the players grabbed the Pinho Trophy, waved it at the student section, and trotted back to the locker room in triumph. Yeah, you could say Beacon Falls was living on top of the world that night.
The next key moment in Kingsley’s high school career was the state semifinal game against Bloomfield. The winner of this game would move on to the state championship. Obviously, he adrenaline was pumping on both sides of the field and both teams were determined for a shot at the football juggernaut, Ansonia, in the championship. Once again, Kingsley put on a show for his school. Tanner led his offense to two touchdowns in the first quarter, which really motivated his defense. He would finish the game with a total of five touchdowns (one rushing), no interceptions, and a rating of 119. The Hawks prevailed with a score of 30-26. The Hawks were MOVING ON TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP. Obviously, the team would not have been able to make it that far without the impressive year Kingsley had. He would finish the year with 51 total touchdowns, 3,613 passing yards, and a rating of 116.
However, his dreams of becoming of professional athlete do not stop in high school. Let me take you back to one week ago to Week 1 of college football at Syracuse University, home of the Orange. Kingsley was listed as a redshirt sophomore on the Central Connecticut Blue Devils roster. As the game progressed into the fourth quarter, the Orange had clearly ran away with the victory with a score of 44-7. At that moment, Blue Devils head coach, Peter Rossomando, decided to put in Tanner Kingsley. Number 14 was finally able to lead a division one college team, against a highly accredited athletic school. Kingsley would finish the fourth quarter by completing six of 8 passes and a rating of 103.
As his redshirt burned that night, Kingsley will now be considered as the backup quarterback for the Blue Devils. Kingsley has been working all preseason to be in the position that he is in and will continue to work hard and possibly end up as the starter by the end of the season.