New Canaan routs Greenwich
GREENWICH -- New Canaan used a variety different methods to reach the same destination Saturday.
And there wasn't much Greenwich could do to stop these battering Rams.
Putting on a clinic on both sides of the ball, the New Canaan football team scored points with its offense, defense and special teams en route to a convincing 66-20 victory over FCIAC rival Greenwich at Cardinal Stadium.
The 3-0 Rams, who quickly turned a close game into a rout in the second quarter, amassed nearly 500 yards of offense and held the Cardinals to under 200.
"Right now, everything looks good," New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. "But this was only game three, we haven't won anything yet. I like they way we're playing though and I thought our kids handled the challenge of coming down here well."
Senior quarterback Nick Cascione was outstanding for the third straight week, completing 14 of 27 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams's signal caller also displayed his elusiveness, running for 44 yards and three scores.
"Our offense as a whole has great chemistry," said Cascione, who has thrown nine touchdown passes, while being intercepted just once through three games. "We have a fast paced offense, which makes it really tough to keep up with us."
The Cardinals, who also struggled in last week's road loss to Darien, were stymied offensively for most of the game and had trouble stopping the Rams once they got their spread offense rolling. The 66 points is the most Greenwich has allowed in recent memory.
"My message to the team after the game was that I think we played three of the toughest teams we are going to see all season and the rest of the year we have to improve game-by-game." Greenwich coach Rich Albonizio said. "It's going to be a dogfight for us each week."
Greenwich (1-2) actually led 6-3 after junior Austin Longi returned a kickoff that was squibbed 75 yards for a touchdown with 8:37 remaining in the first quarter. New Canaan promptly responded, driving 45 yards in three plays the ensuing possession. After a 32-yard pass to senior Cole Turpin, Cascione ran it in on a sweep from three yards out, giving the Rams a 10-6 edge.
The home team managed to stay in the game for a bit, but the flood gates opened in the second quarter. Cascione scored on a 4-yard run and Rams senior linebacker Cole Harris intercepted Cardinals senior quarterback Jose Melo and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown. Sophomore Peter Swindell converted the third of his nine PATs and the Rams held a 24-6 advantage with 7:52 to go in the second quarter. After forcing Greenwich to punt on its next possession, sophomore Cass Knox broke through the Cards' line, blocked the punt and the opportunistic Harris scooped up the ball, returning it 25 yard to the end zone, making it a 31-6 game with 6:10 still left in the second quarter.
"It's a great feeling when our defense or special teams score," Harris said. "We like to score sometimes too. Putting all the hard work in practice helps you be in the right place at the right time."
The Rams' defense made it difficult for the Cardinals to generate much offensively throughout. Melo was intercepted three times in the opening half and Greenwich's passing attack was limited to 19 yards the first two quarters. Senior defensive backs Robby Paul and Michael DiCosmo also had interceptions for the visitors.
"We're not good enough to beat anybody, let alone the No. 1 team in the state when we give up points like that on turnovers and blocked punts," Albonizio said. "We're just not talented enough to overcome that. Our team is thin at certain positions."
Leading 38-6 at halftime after Cascione's third touchdown run, the Rams continued to move the ball at an impressive pace. Behind offensive linemen Joao Rocha, Ryan McKenna, Jim Keneally and Beau Santero, junior Frank Cognetta found a lot of room to run in the second half. He keyed the Rams' opening drive of the third quarter, which was capped by Cascione's 29-yard scoring strike to receiver Alex LaPolice. Cognetta (102 yards, 16 carries) added a 13-yard scoring run and Cascione connected with receiver Jack Gilio for a touchdown later in the half.
"We just did everything we practiced and came out and executed," Cascione said. "Our receivers catch everything, which makes my job easier, and our offensive line did a great job, they were blocking their butts off."
Tommy Rappa (101 yards, 21 carries) scored on a 15-yard run and Matt Marzulla, who replaced Melo in the second half, threw a scoring pass to Melo in the final quarter for Greenwich.
"We have to have a short memory and try not to focus much on this loss," GHS senior defensive lineman Jack Harrington said. "New Canaan is a great team, we have tremendous respect for their offense. We did not match their level of play."
Despite rolling up 462 yards of total offense looking strong defensively, Cascione had some news for opposing teams.
"We came out and executed our best, but we still could be a whole lot better, which is scary," he said.
Indeed, it is.
New Canaan 66, Greenwich 20
NEW CANAAN 10 28 14 14 -- 66
GREENWICH 6 0 14 0 -- 20
NC -- Peter Swindell field goal
G -- Austin Longi 75 kickoff return (kick failed)
NC -- Nick Cascione 3 run (Swindell kick)
NC -- Cascione 4 run (Swindell kick)
NC -- Cole Harris 24 interception return (Swindell kick)
NC -- Harris 25 blocked punt return (Swindell kick)
NC -- Cascione 6 run (Swindell kick)
NC -- Alex LaPolice 29 pass from Cascione (Swindell kick)
NC -- Frank Cognetta 13 run (Swindell kick)
G -- Tommy Rappa 15 run (kick failed)
G -- Matt Marzulla 15 pass to Jose Melo (Longi pass from Marzulla)
NC -- Jack Gilio 31 pass from Cascione (Swindell kick)
NC -- Morgan Carson 8 run (Swindell kick)
Records: NC 3-0, G 1-2