New Canaan beats Avon, will face Windsor Sunday
Much has been made throughout this season of New Canaan's two-platoon quarterback situation, with outsiders sometimes looking to forge a controversy when there was none to be found.
With the offense struggling most of the night, Bossidy's 16-yard touchdown to Andrew Read and Cascione's subsequent 2-point conversion pass to Jack Gilio gave the sixth-seeded Rams a one-point lead over No. 3 Avon with 11:01 remaining in their quarterfinal round CIAC Class L playoff game.
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Cascione, who had received a majority of the snaps before Tuesday, was limited because of an ankle injury suffered last Thursday in a loss to Darien, but he later threw another scoring pass and conversion as New Canaan rallied for a 16-7 victory at Simsbury High School.
"Nick was a little banged up and I got most of the reps this week," said Bossidy. "It was nice that we could both contribute."
New Canaan (9-2), which has appeared in six straight state championship games, will face No. 2 Windsor (10-0) on Sunday at a site and time to be determined.
"Everybody was saying to the kids all week that Avon's league stinks, but we knew they were a good team and they came right down the field and shook our kids up," New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. "To our kids' credit, they hung in there."
The Rams (9-2) had to deal with a pair of initial shocks. The first was when Colin Moore, the Falcons' 2,000-yard back, broke a 49-yard run on the game's fifth play.
While New Canaan's fourth-quarter rally might have been the most obvious storyline, it was the play of the defense that set up the comeback.
"I can't say enough about them," Bossidy said. "It's not often that you win a game with 16 points. It's all on them."
The second setback was psychological, as the Rams went into halftime shut out for the first time in recent memory.
"We were surprised," Bossidy said. "We were a little freaked out. (Offensive coordinator) John Marinelli and the rest of the staff calmed us down. They said all the stuff was there, we just had to execute."
The Rams were still scoreless entering the final period, but on the third play, Bossidy hit Read to end the drought. With cornerback Casey Ouellette, the normal holder, injured early in the game, Marinelli after a timeout decided to go for two points. Cascione took a pitch from Bossidy and found Gilio open on an option pass for the lead.
"We practice that play," Marinelli said. "Nick didn't practice all week but both of our quarterbacks stepped up."
The next time the Rams got the ball, Bossidy led a 10-play, 55-yard drive. Cascione came in on third-and-goal from the 8 and hit Cole Turpin for a score, then found Graham Wagner on the conversion to make the score 16-7 with 3:53 left.
Then the Rams' defense stepped up one final time in what was a spectacular effort. Avon (11-1) quickly drove down to the New Canaan 23, but sophomore Zach Allen, one of the team's most underrated players, sacked quarterback Noah Hahn and then Wagner broke up a fourth-down pass to secure the victory.
Moore had 104 yards in the first half but just 4 yards on the ground and an 11-yard reception in the second half.
"The defense did a really good job, that was a key to the game," Marinelli said. "At this time of the year the kids are banged up. It was nice to see them fight through."
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NEW CANAAN 16, AVON 7
NEW CANAAN 0 0 0 16--16
AVON 7 0 0 0--7
A--Colin Moore, 49 run (Mitch Cappello kick)
NC--Andrew Read, 16 pass from Teddy Bossidy (Jack Gilio pass from Nick Cascione)
NC--Cole Turpin, 8 pass from Cascione (Graham Wagner pass from Cascione)
Records: New Canaan 9-2, Avon 10-1