New Canaan football rolls over Norwalk
NEW CANAAN -- Grady Lynch is soft-spoken and unassuming. His personality is much like his play for the New Canaan football team, and Lynch's contributions, in turn, have been a microcosm of what has made the Rams successful through the first half of the season.
Lynch did nothing spectacular but a little bit of everything quite well Friday night, helping New Canaan reach the midway point at 4-1 following a methodical 39-7 home win over Norwalk.
"A little here and there goes a long way," said Lynch, words that New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli can borrow to describe his senior wide receiver and defensive back in two months at the team's postseason banquet.
Actually, Marinelli was more effusive in his praise of Lynch after the Rams positioned themselves nicely for a critical meeting next Saturday at St. Joseph.
"He's not a real rah-rah kind of guy," Marinelli said. "He's a quiet leader but he's really focused and determined. I think he's one of the better receivers in the league, if not the state."
Lynch's dual nature was displayed on the Rams' first drive. On their fifth play of the night, quarterback Nick Cascione broke free for an 18-yard gain, but fumbled. Lynch was there for the recovery.
Lynch as a playmaker emerged moments later, when he had an 18-yard catch on a bubble screen, gained 14 yards on a sweep and then completed a 10-play, 67-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown reception.
"We wanted to come out hard and we wanted to come out fast," said Lynch, who later ended Norwalk's first drive of the second half with an interception. "We knew this was a definitive game at the midpoint of the season."
New Canaan broke the game open when it added a second touchdown five seconds later. Following the ensuing kickoff, Casey Ouellette returned an interception 39 yards to make the score 14-0.
"We are really starting to become a team," Marinelli said. "Guys are stepping up and guys are helping out."
Cascione and Teddy Bossidy again split turns at quarterback and flashed their versatility. Cascione was 14 of 21 for 109 yards and threw a pair of touchdown passes, and had 6 carries for 46 yards. Bossidy was 5 of 10 for 68 yards and a score, and carried the ball 5 times for 65 yards.
The Rams have operated underneath the radar since losing to Trinity Catholic in the second week, but a win at St. Joseph would be their fifth in a row and return them to the spotlight.
"It's kind of nice this way, I kind of like it," Lynch said. "The focus is elsewhere. Hopefully we pop up later."
Norwalk, which was swept by the three Stamford schools following an opening-game win against Danbury, has struggled offensively. It has been outscored in the losses by a combined 127-22 margin.
The Bears were held to just 28 yards in the first half by New Canaan and were shut down until Tomar Joseph's 47-yard run set up his 1-yard touchdown with 10:38 remaining.
"The kids play their butts off each week," Norwalk coach Sean Ireland said. "Today they just ran into one of the most disciplined teams you will ever see. New Canaan is always in the right spots and do their assignments. That was the difference in the ballgame."
Neal Koller, an underrated part of the New Canaan offense, kicked field goals of 31 and 32 yards, respectively, in the first half to give New Canaan a 20-0 lead.
NOTES: Friday night's game was dedicated to the Norwalk-based Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. The disease is the second-most common form of blood cancer and is currently incurable.
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NEW CANAAN 39, NORWALK 7
NORWALK 0 0 0 7--7
NEW CANAAN 14 13 6 6--39
NC--Lynch, 6 pass from Nick Cascione (Neal Koller kick)
NC--Casey Ouellette, 39 interception return (Koller kick)
NC--Koller, 31 field goal
NC--Koller, 32 field goal
NC--Frank Cognetta, 1 run (Koller kick)
NC--Andrew Read, 27 pass from Teddy Bossidy (kick failed)
N--Tomar Joseph, 1 run (Andy Lovo kick)
NC--Cole Turpin, 4 pass from Cascione (kick failed)
Records: NC 4-1, NWK 1-4