New Canaan beats Wilton to clinch spot in FCIAC title game
Updated 8:20 pm, Wednesday, November 13, 2013
WILTON -- There were times during the game when New Canaan football coach Lou Marinelli found a part of himself rooting for the Wilton players.
Not to win the game, mind you, but Marinelli was impressed with how hard all the Warriors -- especially QB/DB Brett Phillips -- played before eventually falling to the No. 1 Rams 35-7 at Veteran's Memorial Stadium.
"Every year it's a tough place to play," Marinelli said. "How about that kid Phillips? I can't say enough about hard they play and how well they are coached. They just ran out of people. They had us on the ropes and there is a part of me that is watching them play and you are kind of rooting for them, I hate to say it but they just play so hard. They had us stunned, stunned."
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The win clinches a spot for New Canaan in the FCIAC championship game.
Wilton came in with a game plan hoping to slow the Rams offense by controlling the ball on the ground, not turning it over and not committing penalties. And for a half the strategy worked to perfection as Wilton went into break tied 7-7 with the top team in the state.
The Warriors, with most players going both ways, simply wore down in the fourth quarter and could not play catch up against one of the league's toughest defense.
"Everybody gave great effort, man," Wilton coach Bruce Cunningham said. "They got it rolling a little in the fourth quarter and they are tough to chase. I said all along that St. Joe's was the most complete team, but I retract that statement now that I have played them. I think more than anything else it is their defense. I have not seen a defense that dominant in a long time. They shut you down."
New Canaan opened up the game in the second half behind the running of Frank Cognetta after starting quarterback Nick Cascione went down with a concussion in the second quarter and did not return.
Cognetta scored two rushing and one receiving touchdown in the second half.
The Rams, who turned the ball over three times in the first half, scored first in the first quarter when Cascione hit Cole Turpin on a 3-yard pass, making it 7-0.
Wilton tied the game in the second quarter when John D'Elisa scored on a 3-yard run, knotting things up 7-7.
On the Rams first pay after that touchdown, Wilton nearly took the lead but an apparent fumble recovery for a touchdown was ruled an incomplete pass keeping it deadlocked at halftime.
New Canaan, with sophomore Mike Collins under center, scored to open the second half, driving 60 yards behind runs from Cognetta and two passes by Collins.
"We said in spring practice `next man up,' whoever it is, it happened to be our quarterback today," Marinelli said. "This was the best thing that could have happened to us because they really had to come back out and answer. (The first second half touchdown) was very important for me because I thought I was having a heart attack. When you answer like that, it's huge. We just wore them down."
New Canaan led 14-7 after three quarters, adding a few late touchdowns against a tired Wilton defense.
NEW CANAAN 35, WILTON 7
NEW CANAAN 7 0 7 21--35
WILTON 7 0 0 0--7
Records: NC - 9-0; W -- 3-6
NC--Cole Turpin 3 pass Nick Cascione (Peter Swindell kick)
W--John D'Elisa 3 run (kick good)
NC--Frank Cognetta 3 run (Swindell kick)
NC--Cognetta 49 run (Swindell kick)
NC--Cognetta 16 pass Mike Collins (Swindell kick)
NC--Morgan Carson 14 run (Swindell kick)