TRUMBULL -- Here's one way to try to explain New Canaan High's lopsided 49-7 victory over Trumbull Friday: The Rams were loaded with incentive with a Class L state tournament berth on the line.
Or perhaps the host Eagles were trying to give Thanksgiving Eve opponent St. Joseph a false sense of security with their worst effort of the season. Or maybe it was some comments uttered by the home team during the week -- the Eagles were "looking forward" to playing New Canaan at McDougall Stadium, according to NC coach Lou Marinelli -- something that quickly became bulletin board fodder for the Rams.
Whatever the case, it all added up a complete blowout that had to surprise many FCIAC followers, including both coaches.
"I never expected this," Marinelli said after the Rams (8-1), led by quarterback Nick Cascione and a running attack that finished with 333 rushing yards, piled up 565 total yards and 28 first downs. "I guess the early touchdown set the tone and it kind of snowballed on them."
"There's nothing good you can say about our performance," Trumbull coach Bob Maffei said. The Eagles ended up with 103 total yards but if you subtract a 46-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run by Marc Cesare after the Rams had built a 49-0 lead, the Eagles had 57 total yards on 39 plays and four first downs. "If we had a good start, maybe we would've been more competitive."
The Eagles (4-5), who had won four of their last six, losing to only undefeated Staples and Greenwich during the stretch, botched a punt on their first possession. That left the Rams on the Trumbull 20-yard line, where Louis Hagopian took it in from the 1. It was all downhill from there.
Cascione (two rushing TDs, one passing, 197 total yards, 162 in the first half), led the Rams to a 28-0 halftime lead. The score wasn't the most impressive number: the Rams outgained Trumbull 298-9 in the first 24 minutes.
The Eagles never adjusted to New Canaan's multi-dimensional quarterback tandem of Cascione (6 for 10, 120 yards, 77 rushing) and Teddy Bossidy (5 for 7, 112 yards, 21 rushing).
"We don't know if they're quarterbacks or running backs," Marinelli said. "They give us a lot of different looks, a lot of wrinkles. It's hard to figure out what they're going to do."
Cascione scored on runs of 28 and 15 yards and threw an 18-yard score to Jack Gilio. Bossidy and Gilio connected on a 16-yard scoring play later while Hagopian, Cole Harris and Morgan Carson also scored for the Rams, who will likely play on the road in the first round of the Class L playoffs, which begin Nov. 27.But was a seventh consecutive state playoff berth what had them so pumped up Friday?
"We heard that Trumbull said they looking forward to playing us up here," Marinelli said. "They were happy we were coming. I guess they're happy we're leaving now."
New Canaan 49, Trumbull 7
NEW CANAAN 14 14 14 7--49
TRUMBULL 0 0 0 7--7
NC--Louis Hagopian, 1 run (Neal Koller kick)
NC--Nick Cascione, 28 run (Koller kick)
NC--Cascione, 15 run (Koller kick)
NC--Jack Gilio, 18 pass from Cascione (Koller kick)
NC--Cole Harris, 3 run (Peter Swindell kick)
NC--Gilio, 16 pass from Teddy Bossidy (Swindell kick)
NC--Morgan Carson, 2 run (Swindell kick)
T--Marc Cesare, 46 run (Ryan Pearson kick)
Records: New Canaan 8-1, Trumbull 4-5.