Bye week breakdown: Rams heating up
Published 12:00 am, Friday, October 6, 2017
NEW CANAAN—It’s taken a couple weeks, but the Rams seem to be back on track after their shocking 38-35 loss to St. Joseph in the season opener.
Four weeks in, the Rams sit at 3-1, and after a shaky win in game two over Danbury—yes, the score was 42-7, but New Canaan still seemed off—the Rams have rattled off back-to-back drubbings of a talented, but young, Trumbull squad (61-14) and then-undefeated Westhill (49-7) last Thursday.
I fully expect the Rams to be back to their typical A+ level by the end of the year—if they aren’t already—but the early struggles and turnover issues kept me from giving an A just yet.
Obviously, the offense goes as Drew Pyne goes. The 2020 top-QB prospect seems to have found his footing the last couple weeks. His 920 yards and 12 touchdowns through four games are impressive, but it’s his legs that have made the difference, rushing 30 times for 136 yards and three scores. The New Canaan offense is most dangerous when he can extend plays and get outside the pocket.
Speaking of legs; coming into the season the running back position was completely unknown. Owen Shin and J.R. Moore however, have combined to form of the more formidable duos in the state. What makes the difference is how well each player’s game complements each other. Shin
(41 carries, 303 yards, 14 catches, 182 receiving yards, three total touchdowns) is a shifty runner who excels in space and catching the ball out of the backfield. Moore (five touchdowns and 108 yards on 11 carries) is a downhill bruiser whose best work comes late in games and at the goal line.
Outside, junior Quintin O’Connell has been as advertised, already racking up 296 yards and seven touchdowns. Recently, Pyne has started to get the other receivers—Justin Greco, Patrick Metzger and Wyatt Wilson—involved, a dangerous thought for opposing defenses.
The Rams have shown the last few weeks, they have the line, the run game, the quarterback and the weapons, and they’re starting to put in all together as we hit the midseason mark.
After getting shredded by David Summers and Jared Mallozzi in week one, the New Canaan defense has rebounded to give up only four touchdowns in its last three games.
Junior Garrett Braden is a game-changer at defensive end, and has 27 tackles and seven sacks through the first four games. Inside linebacker Grant Morse picked up where he left off last season, leading the team with 42 tackles and contributing three sacks.
The key, as it always is for New Canaan, is takeaways, and they’re starting to come for the Rams, who have 13 total on the season. Coordinator Chris Silvestri has proven that as long as his team can win the turnover battle, they’re good enough to win every week.
In coach speak, the most important game is always your next one. In this case, that’s more than a cliché, as after the bye New Canaan travels to Greenwich on Oct. 14 for the third installment of the Marinelli Bowl. The Cardinals are 3-0 and have outscored opponents 167-23. New Canaan will get a chance to see how good it really is on both sides of the ball—whether its offense can keep up with the high-flying Cards attack, or its defense can slow it down.