Rams beat up Bassick in opener
BRIDGEPORT -- After a long offseason in which it wanted to erase the off-field issues of its 2009 CIAC Class MM championship team, the last thing the New Canaan football team wanted to do was wait to get on the field.
But that's what the Rams had to do Thursday night at Kennedy Stadium in Bridgeport, as a lightning delay, a rain storm and a slow-draining old-school Astroturf field forced a 45-minute delay to start its season-opener against Bassick.
Though the relatively-young Rams looked rusty at the start of the game, they went on to roll over the Lions, 41-0.
"It was kind of annoying being in the locker room, just sitting there with no idea what was going on until five minutes before we were going out there," said senior wide receiver Kevin Macari, who hauled in touchdown passes of nine and 25 yards from first-year starter Matt Milano. "It was a little tough with the rain and wet field but I think we sharpened up as the game went on."
Head coach Lou Marinelli, who began his 30th season as the Rams' head coach, said he was proud of the way his team was able to keep its focus despite the delay.
"There were some first-game jitters with a new group, but I think it was good to get this one over with," Marinelli said.
Milano finished his first start by coming out at halftime with a 35-0 lead. He completed seven of 13 passes for 102 yards and three touchdowns.
While his numbers looked good, Marinelli said Milano did make a few rookie mistakes. For example, there were a pair of ill-advised passes to covered receivers on one second-quarter drives that could very well have been intercepted.
"He just needs some reps," Marinelli said of Milano. "He needs to be in some of those situations more, but he's brand new, so I was kind of happy."
Bassick coach Frank Marcucio said he wished he could have had those two passes back. They were defended by Bassick players, and if picked, very well could have been returned for touchdowns.
Then there was a bang-bang pass interference called on Bassick defensive back Jaquii Tuck in the first quarter on a Milano pass to Connor Kilbane that Marcucio questioned, and felt could have kept his team in the game.
But he said New Canaan was able to capitalize on its mistakes, and Bassick did not, something that happens -- and is more than coincidence -- against the top competition in Connecticut.
"That's going to happen when you play the number one team in the state," Marcucio said. "They are going to make it so the mistakes you make are going to get magnified."
The Rams showed they can run the ball, something that wasn't a hallmark of the 2009 team. New Canaan had 11 players carry the ball for a total of 195 yards.
It helps that the running backs are carrying behind a line that includes third-year starting tackles Conor Hanratty and Jack Atchue, and was bolstered when junior Nick Pelli emerged as the starting center.
"Our center was hurt and Nick Pelli kind of came out of nowhere to start, and he did a great job tonight," Marinelli said. "That offensive line is experienced so we expect to run the ball more."
The New Canaan defense held Bassick to just 66 rushing yards. The Lions did not have a completed pass.