The New Canaan defense chases down Greenwich quarterback Gavin Muir during last year’s football clash at GHS. — Dave Stewart photo
John Marinelli left the New Canaan football program in 2015 to begin work on re-establishing the Greenwich Cardinals as an FCIAC and state powerhouse.
During his first match-up against his former team the hype machine dubbed the game “The Marinelli Bowl,” setting it up as a family affair between the son and the father, New Canaan’s Lou Marinelli.
The most important thing the hype may have missed, and a fact which both coaches would likely attest to, is that the game is about the players first.
“It really shouldn’t be about the coaches,” Lou Marinelli said during a Ram practice this week. “It’s about the kids. It’s about two good programs squaring off, with good kids, and hopefully it’ll be a great game. It got moved to Saturday night, so a lot of people can come and see it, so it should be fun.”
The unbeaten Greenwich Cardinals (3-0) will visit New Canaan’s Dunning Field this weekend for the latest installment of this rivalry in a rare Saturday night game starting at 7 o’clock.
With the game being played on a Saturday night, a huge crowd is expected. So much so, that the New Canaan athletic department is urging fans of both teams to buy tickets in advance online. You can buy tickets by clicking here.
A lot is on the line, particularly for the Rams (3-1), who can ill-afford another loss in their pursuit of a state tournament berth in their first year at the Class LL level. While a defeat wouldn’t by any means end their playoff chances, a win would go a long way towards a tourney ticket.
“Our kids know it’s a big game, and they know that their backs are against the wall having lost to St. Joe’s (in week one),” Marinelli said. “They seem pretty focused and we’ve had a really good week of of practice.”
“We’ve gotten better,” he added. “I don’t think we were mentally or technique-wise ready for that first game. I don’t know if we thought we could just show up and play, but it was a learning experience. The good thing is we’ve really rebounded since then and now we’ll see how we do against a great team.”
So far this season, Greenwich’s offense has looked unstoppable, albeit against teams which aren’t currently in the FCIAC’s top rung. The Cards topped Trumbull 42-7 and Trinity 56-0 in the first two weeks and then, after a bye, blanked Norwalk 55-0 last Friday night.
Greenwich was 12-1 last fall and reached the final of the Class LL tournament, falling to Darien 31-22 in a snow-covered Boyle Stadium. The Cards are set on taking that final step to a state crown this year and so far, they’ve looked every bit the part.
Greenwich’s offense is led by senior co-captains Gavin Muir at quarterback and Tysen Comizio at running back. Both are two-year starters and are two of the top weapons in the FCIAC.
Muir (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) set several Greenwich High School passing records last year, including passing yards (2,902) and TDs (33) in a season. He’s off to another great start in 2018, completing 48-of-72 passes for 646 yards and 8 TDs with just one interception.
Comizio (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) has 32 rushes for 262 yards and 6 TDs this year, after running for 1,379 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior.
Two of Muir’s favorite receiving targets are also seniors: Stephen Bennett (5-foot-11, 171 pounds) has 12 catches for 182 yards, and Lance Large (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) has 11 catches for 166 yards.
John Marinelli, a former New Canaan quarterback as a player and offensive coordinator as a coach, is cutting edge when it comes to directing an offense. One of the game’s biggest battles will be the clash of John Marinelli’s offense and Silvestri’s defense.
“Johnny does an excellent job on offense and it’ll be an interesting match-up between Johnny and Chris (Silvestri, the Rams’ defensive coordinator),” Lou Marinelli said. “He was Johnny’s boyhood idol. I have pictures of Johnny wearing his No. 11 with Chris as a high school senior. That’s the inner story here. Johnny has done a tremendous job there and Chris has done a tremendous job for us.”
Greenwich’s defense is top-notch as well, and features a few standouts, with DE Mozi Bici, MLB Jack Feda, and CB Charlie Ducret as senior co-captains.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Bici is a defensive force and led the Cardinals in sacks with 14 last year. Feda (6-foot-1, 207 pounds) led the team in tackles with 130 as a junior, and has 29 tackles, including 5 for a loss, in the first three games this year.
Senior DE Emilio Camou (6-foot-3, 222 pounds) has 6 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks, while the secondary features Ducret (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) and senior cornerback Ryan Raybuck (6-foot-3, 180 pounds), who has three picks in three games.
That defense is tough to crack, but the Ram offense has been on an upswing behind quarterback Drew Pyne. Through four games, the junior signal-caller has completed 57-of-88 passes for 866 yards and 12 touchdowns against just two picks.
Senior co-captain Quintin O’Connell has been New Canaan’s top offensive weapon, with 25 receptions for 386 yards and five touchdowns. Other prime targets for Pyne have been senior Wyatt Wilson and junior Zach LaPolice, each of whom caught a touchdown pass on Homecoming last weekend.
On the ground, New Canaan has been led by senior JR Moore, who has run for 141 yards and one TDs, with junior Drew Guida as the second option. Sophomore Christian Sweeney, who filled in for an injured Guida last weekend, had a huge game, scoring twice — once on the ground and once through the air.
“Sweeney, LaPo and some of the younger kids are starting to get involved,” Lou Marinelli said after last week’s win. “It’s great. Some of those sophomores are doing really well — and LaPo’s a junior. The further we go on in the season, the more some of those guys are starting to step up and contribute. That’s really a good thing.”
The big crowds should be electric for what is a marquee match-up.
“Jay Egan and Gus Lindine got together and thought it would be a great idea to do it on a Saturday night, especially since the next week is a bye week,” Lou Marinelli said. “It should be a great crowd, a great nice and a great game. I hope it’s representative of how good Connecticut football as gotten.”
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New Canaan-Greenwich football final moved to 10 a.m. Saturday at Boyle Stadium
Tuesday December 04, 2018
New Canaan senior co-captain Garrett Braden (1) sacks Fairfield Prep QB John Iaropoli during the CIAC Class LL semifinals Sunday at Rafferty Stadium in Fairfield. — Dave Stewart photo The New Canaan Rams and Greenwich Cardinals will play for the CIAC Class LL football championship at Boyle Stadium in Stamford Saturday, Dec. 8, at 10 […]
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New Canaan’s Olivia Bognon (13) defends as Ridgefield’s Tasha Riek works with the ball during the FCIAC girls soccer final Thursday at Warde High School. — Christian Abraham/Hearst Connecticut Media photo The New Canaan Rams weren’t really on anyone’s radar as a contender for the FCIAC girls soccer championship when the season began in September. […]
The post New Canaan edged by Ridgefield, 1-0, in FCIAC girls soccer final appeared first on W88live.
The post New Canaan-Greenwich football final moved to 10 a.m. Saturday at Boyle Stadium appeared first on W88live.
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