With three touchdowns in last 1:35, New Canaan Red and White football game ends in tie
NEW CANAAN -- In his postgame huddle, longtime New Canaan football coach Lou Marinelli informed his team that this was his 33rd Red and White spring game, but that wasn't the point.
The point, he said of the 28-28 tie at Dunning Stadium that featured three touchdowns in the final 1:35, was that this was the best of those 33 games.
"I couldn't believe it. We have a lot of young kids, but they really did their job," Marinelli said. "That's the highest scoring game I can remember. I was pleasantly surprised."
Trailing 21-14, quarterback Nick Collins capped an 11-play, 70-yard touchdown drive with a 16-yard scramble to pay dirt, but Red missed the extra point and still trailed 21-20.
White got the ball back, and on the third play of the drive, Collins launched a 69-yard touchdown bomb to Carson Armstrong, who eluded several defenders on the catch-and-run to the end zone, giving White a 28-20 lead with 1:05 remaining.
Down eight, quarterback Nick Cascione threw a sideline strike to Bobby DiRocco, who shook a tackle and went 54 yards down to the 16. After three incomplete passes, Red converted fourth-and-10 on a 10-yard pass to Carson Morgan, who had to fight through a few tackle attempts to fall forward for the first down.
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"We were really competing out there. All together I felt really good tonight," said Cascione, who wore a black "no contact" jersey and played for both teams, as did Collins. "This is a lot better (than a typical practice) because you get to take a little bit more rage out on your friends, and it's a lot of fun."
Two plays later, Cascione rolled to his right to find Graham Wagner along the back of the end zone for the touchdown as time expired, and Cascione hit Wagner again on the two-point conversion to bring the game to a close at 28-28.
"I think the kids really got into it and felt the excitement there," Marinelli said. "To come back and tie it like that with no time left gives us something to build on over the summer. We have a tough schedule so we're going to have to be good."
Other big plays included a 55-yard touchdown pass from Cascione to Carson Armstrong on White's opening possession, a leaping interception by White's Sam Haney, a seven-yard touchdown run by Max Wilson, an interception by Red's Sterling O'Hara, a 17-yard touchdown screen pass from Cascione to Red's Teddy Dumbauld, who broke several tackles, a three-yard touchdown run by Dumbauld and a 49-yard connection from Collins to a wide open Kevin Arnone for the White team.
The game was played in memory of Brian Wilderman, a captain and All-State linebacker from the class of 1997, who passed away in 2000 from a heart condition. At halftime, a tribute video highlighting Wilderman's playing career at New Canaan High School showed on the Dunning Stadium scoreboard.
"He was tremendous football player, tremendous wrestler, tremendous kid. He was always upbeat, always had a smile on his face," Marinelli said. "Just a wonderful kid. The thing that's really nice is you've got guys in his class that wanted to name this game after him and keep his memory alive."
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RED 28, WHITE 28
RED 0 0 7 21 -- 28
WHITE 14 0 0 14 -- 28
W--Carson Armstrong, 55 pass from Nick Cascione (Dean Wertz kick)
W--Max Wilson, 7 run (Wertz kick)
R--Teddy Dumbauld, 17 pass from Cascione (Wertz kick)
R--Dumbauld, 3 run (Wertz kick)
R--Collins, 16 run (kick failed)
W--Armstrong, 69 pass from Collins (Swindell kick)
R--Graham Wagner, 6 pass from Cascione (Wagner pass from Cascione)