No. 2 New Canaan routs No. 3 St. Joseph in ‘statement game’

NEW CANAAN — Amid all the hype and hoopla leading up to New Canaan’s unbeaten showdown with FCIAC rival St. Joseph, New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli tried his best to convince his players this was just another game.

Turns out he was right all along. This was just another game. It was a typical New Canaan rout.

Nick Cascione threw six touchdown passes and New Canaan’s defense harassed St. Joseph’s into four turnovers — all of which turned into points — in a 62-21 beating Friday night at Dunning Stadium.

“This is definitely statement game,” said linebacker Cole Harris, who recovered a fumble and forced a fumble that end Connor Buck took 56 yards for a back-breaking 56-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. “ It’s us flexing our muscles, playing another full game, another full four quarters and showing the whole state what we can do.”

New Canaan isn’t buying into any ranking talk, however. Not yet, anyway.

Asked if this was the best team in the state, Buck a 6-foot-5, 244-pound senior captain said simply, “We’ll find out.”

New Canaan (8-0) certainly looked the part. It amassed 520 yards of total offense and scored on all of its first-half possessions. The closest St. Joseph could get was 10-7 midway through the first quarter before the Rams responded with 24 unanswered points to close the half up 34-7.

“We gave them 17 points off turnovers and we dropped three touchdown passes,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “We had a lot of opportunities but we didn’t finish and that was the difference.

“They’re not bad. They’re fast and they don’t make too many mistakes.”

Cascione completed 20-of-26 passes for 379 yards and ran for a touchdown. Six of his touchdown passes went to four different receivers.

“He was on tonight,” Marinelli said. “He works hard and his receivers, they’re not the biggest, but they’re quick and they run good patterns. Our receivers did a tremendous job running their patterns and setting things up for us.”

St. Joseph quarterback Jordan Vazzano completed 19 of 42 passes for 222 yards, but was intercepted twice by Mike DiCosimo and Michael Root. Mufasa Abdul-Basir ran for 129 yards.

“They’re a very good football team,” Marinelli said of St. Joseph. “I was very impressed watching them on film. We were able to take advantage of them defensively and that was the difference.”

ST. JOSEPH 7 7 0 7 — 21
NEW CANAAN 17 17 14 14 — 62
NC—Swindell 34 field goal
NC—Alex LaPolice 10 pass Nick Cascione (Swindell kick)
SJ—Lars Pedersen 5 pass Jordan Vazzano (Kevin Bortnick kick)
NC—LaPolice 29 pass Cascione (Swindell kick)
NC—Connor Buck 56 fumble recovery return (kick failed)
NC—Cole Turpin 18 pass Cascione (Swindell kick)
SJ—Mufasha Abdul-Basir 1 run (Bortnick kick)
NC—Swindell 45 field goal
NC—Cascione 4 run (Swindell kick)
NC—Paul 14 pass Cascione (Swindell kick)
SJ—Pedersen 7 pass Vazzano (Bortnick kick)
NC—Gilio 75 pass from Cascione (Swindell kick)
NC—Kyle Smith 5 pass Cascione (Swindell kick)
Team records: St. Joseph 7-1, New Canaan 8-0


    • ciacfollower says

      agreed, Joes were overated but I still believe NC gets the nod for #1.
      Beefup your sched Ansonia or shut up & keep accepting 2nd banana.

  1. Steve says

    New Cannan is good. Probably deserves a chance as #1 based on schedule but to say they’d beat Ansonia by 4 TDs is a joke that St Joes team doesn’t sniff that 2010 joes team. Newsome would fly past these kids. Heard statements it’s the best NC team ever and if that’s true, that’s not saying a lot

  2. Gordo says

    NC’s execution has always been a hallmark to their success. They field intelligent teams that read and react with the best annually, this year though, they have significant size, athleticism, and speed on both lines. True key to this year’s success is that not a single player goes both ways and only a few participate on special teams. At the high school level and with a coach that’s been doing it his way for over 30 years, that’s a tough combo to beat.

  3. RAY BROWN says

    when you beat a ranked team by 41, your making a statement.was surprised by lack of speed by st.joes——theyll be ok they just need to recruit harder next year

  4. JB says

    Ray … talk to your coach and get them to petition the CIAC to let Ansonia play up to the L playoffs this year. Come on, just once lets do this right. It would be great for CTHSFB. I am talking game of the century. It would go down for the ages. Newsome in his last tilt … vs the Rams fearsome foursome. Come on, lets do this!

    • P-Daddy says

      NC is not just good; they are historically great. They have destroyed: Hand, Greenwich, Staples, and now St. Joe’s. They are not only the best team this year, they deserve to be compared with the greatest teams in the history of Conn high school football. Maybe the 1968/69 New Canaan team was better. Maybe.

          • DOM says

            NC has middletown and platt waiting in the playoff . lets see what they do against some teams with real athletes , speed , and size . i think middletown might be the one to take them down

      • Hannibal Barca says

        Haha, Masuk ’10, X ’11, Hand ’12 were just as good. Masuk ’10 was an exceptional squad on both sides of the ball plus special teams. X ’11 brutally strong with fine QB/receivers. Hand ’12 hard-hitting and outstanding execution. This NC team looks very good indeed, but let’s see how they perform over the course of an entire season. Of the 3 I mention, I’d pick Masuk ’10. They were ridiculously good with Flynn, Testani, the receivers, and CC and destroyed some very fine FCIAC teams in the playoff SF and F games. They were a fine reason not to judge a team based on it being handicapped by a weak conference. On that note, Ansonia may be as fine a team as any of these but we’ll never really know based on the division in which they play. Not their fault, but I’d say that on the field demonstrations unquestionably trump theoretical justifications. If both A and NC run their respective tables I’d have to say fair play to both but based on strength of competition NC gets the nod. That said, A may be better on a relative basis, that is, better relative to Class S opponents than NC may be to L opponents. On an absolute basis, that argument doesn’t wash well for A, and since we’ll never know, again, the vote ought to go to NC if present trends continue.

        • P-Daddy says

          These were all exceptional squads. There certainly is a great deal of subjectivity. All I know, is that NC is playing a tougher schedule than either Masuk or Hand and they are blowing out top-10 playoff teams by 30 plus points. The point differential is time and time again staggering. Last year NC played a cream puff schedule, but this year they are playing the state’s most challenging slate – by far. And, again, they are blowing folks out as if they are playing Ansonia’s schedule.

          • Just Sayin says

            Great team but Hand is playing the toughest schedule. North Haven, Xavier, West Haven, New Canaan, Shelton, Fairfield Prep, Hillhouse, Guilford, Notre Dame, Cross, Cheshire. I can’t stand Hand, but to say New Canaan plays a tougher schedules is just wrong. Did New Canaan hammer them? Yes. Tougher schedule? No.

  5. jeb says

    As a viewer of the New Canaan vs St.Joes game I came away impressed by both teams…I think it’s totally unfair for New Canaan to have to beat St. Joes again in the FCIAC title game. ST. Joes can beat anyone in the state..they are that good. New Canaan is an exceptional team..I have never seen receivers as wide open as the Rams were. They were waiting for ball all night. Defensive pressure they put on the QB was lacking due to the size of St. joes offensive line but when they did get to the QB they made him turn it over. The NC quarterback is totally underrated ..this kid Casione can do it all. Linebacker speed for NC is exceptional….two sensational interceptions turn the game into a rout. St. joes could very well beat New Canaan the next time around but I would make the rams an 8 point pick.

    I have seen Ansonia and they are very good as well and I’m a big admirer of their program. If you want to compare teams you can break it down in very simple terms. I will say I am a New Canaan fan but I’m tring to be partial in my observation.

    Running Game….Ansonia
    Passing Game….New Canaan
    Offensive line…..Ansonia
    Defensive line….New Canaan
    Linebackers…. New Canaan
    Kicking Game….New Canaan
    Coaching….both teams have exceptional coaches.

  6. Walter Camp says

    So far in 2013, NC is the best team in the State. However, anyone that closely follows HS football in CT knows that the traditional powerhouses they have beaten (Hand, Darien, Greenwich and Staples) are a shadow of themselves due to large graduating classes and inability to replenish the great talent they lost. Hand lost their entire offense and defense as well as 3 first team and 3 Class L All State players. This year Hand has only 9 seniors and five are starters. They are playing with a lot of juniors and sophmores. They are OK but not a top 10 team. Watch out for the 2014-2016 Hand teams. Likewise, Staples lost their All-State RB, WR and LB and most of their offense and defense. Darien the same. Greenwich for some reason has been down in talent the past couple of years. NC’s lucky stars aligned both with talent and their schedule in 2013. They may not be that lucky in 2014. Yes, NC is very talented. However, this year’s NC team would not have beaten the 2012 Hand (who beat the Class LL and M Champions), South Windsor, Xavier, Hillhouse, or North Haven teams. However, that is last year and this is 2013. They are not one of CT historic teams. The 2010-2011 NC teams had much better talent. NC would have major problems with 2013 Ansonia’s speed and huge/quick offense line. NC hasn’t seen or played a team with Newsome’s speed and ability to cut to holes that his O Line blows open. The NC passing game could take advantage of Ansonia’s DB’s. They are undisciplined. NC plays year round in local and out of state passing leagues and the timing shows. NC’s defense is very good but they haven’t played a well oiled machine like Ansonia’s Offense. St. Joe’s offense is a paper tiger and their defense is non-existent. St. Joe’s will not go far in the playoffs. I would give a slight edge, a field goal, to NC if they played Ansonia. They have a very good kicker and Ansonia does not. The best historic teams in the State over the past ten years have been Hand’s 2011-2012, Xavier’s 2010-11, Masuk’s 2010, New London’s 2008 Reed/Cochran or pick one of the Ansonia Dobb Newsome teams.

  7. Football fan says

    The bset Ct. teams of all time were the 1998-99 Bloomfield teams. There is no team in the history of ct. football that could have beaten them.They had 5 or 6 Div. 1 players. Dwight freeney was a beast, Andrew Pinock, Jamal Lewis, etc.
    Back in the late 60’s NC wasn’t the only great team. Do you all remember the 68 Westies, and the 69 Derby Red Raiders. Both had many div. 1 players. As far as the past 10 years, you have to put the 2007 Ansonia team in the mix, with Alex Thomas and that Big O.line, and a great defense. They beat a very good New London team that year in the finals 35-0. Back in the 80’s there was great Cheshire teams also. These things can be debated for ever. I’m sure there are so many teams to put on this list.

  8. CT FB fan says

    To say that a team is historically great 8 games into a season is a bit premature. Are the good this year? Yes, very good. Do they stack up to 90s Bloomfield, 2000’s New Britain or Xavier and Hand from the past couple of years? We will never know but I don’t think so. Their true test will come in the L playoffs.

  9. says

    As I have stated several times, it only matters who is #1 at the end of the season after the last game has been played. All the hype about best team ever is just that, hype. I played against Derby-69, and WH-68. Those teams dominated physically, not through fancy sophisticated schemes. They played very basic hard hitting football. While the spread teams are the rage, have a deep feeling they would be hard pressed to deal with that kind of football.
    If you think tackling in space is tough, try tackling in a confined space while getting run over by multiple blockers.

  10. says

    New Canaan is an exceptional team. They are a Sr laden team with tons of experience and I just don’t see any team in CT staying with them. With all due respect to Ansonia, saying they could hang with NC is like saying Northern Illinois can beat Alabama this yr.. Neither would happen.. but the season still needs to be played out before anyone anoints NC as a greatest ever. Hand’s ’83 team was ranked 25th in the country (USA Today) with 7 D1/1AA players and they came up short in the title game vs East Catholic 14-12.. So anything can happen. I don’t think it will, but ya never know and that’s why we play the games.. I also agree it is a down year of sorts in the FCIAC and SCC, but these are not bad teams. Shelton, Hand, FP, X, WH and NH could probably all play each other 10x and no team would win more than 6 vs each other.. it’s good parity but none are way and above better than the others. Middletown has speed but I doubt they can hang with NC either.. let’s see

  11. ROY BRAWN says

    I just spoke with a high-ranking administrator in Ansonia’s Public School system, as well as a CIAC big shot. Ansonia will be the SCC’s 20th member in 2015, then will transfer to the FCIAC in 2017.

    By the year 2019 the only arguments being debated on SPB’s blog will be who the SECOND-best team in CT is.


  12. Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

    @jeb – read your estimate, unless I’m off (entirely possible, since it appears you and I differ on one result), I see St. Joseph outpointing Staples if they both win out. Conservatively, I can only see Staples getting to 117.8 (1060 total / 9) and St. Joseph getting 118.8 (950 / 8). Staples would need Greenwich to lose to either Westhill or Danbury, or Wilton to beat Ridgefield or NC to outpoint SJ.

  13. jeb says

    Spb…You are right. I just checked the Fciac web site and they had the wrong totals..St. Joes will beat out Staples…My apologies.

      • JB says

        Yes, that was my error as well. Darien is way off on the website and missing 100 points. Better off starting from scratch like Sean did. I get Sean’s numbers from actual win/loss records. Joes is the likely rematch team unless Wilton upsets Ridgefield at Fugitani …

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      Math, please.

      I have Staples at 790 winning its final games (Norwalk 120, Central 100 + 790) = 1010. Then, 40 Guarantees (Stamford-Ludlowe, Danbury-Trumbull, Trumbull-Central, Norwalk-Stamford) = 1050. Then, finally, looking at the 50 bonuses: Wilton (NC, Ridgefield), Westhill (Harding, Greenwich), Danbury (Greenwich).

      The only bonus I REALISTICALLY see them getting is Westhill over Harding = 1060 / 9 = 117.8.

      What am I missing?

  14. Brian says

    10 points from Ludlowe or Stamford 10 points for hill over harding, 20 from Trumbull and 10 from norwalk/SHS then 130 for beating Norwalk. thats 280 plus 790 =1070/9 =118.89

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      @Brian – Norwalk is worth 120. It doesn’t get points for beating Westhill in Week 1. That was a non-league game set up by the two schools during FCIAC/SCC week.

  15. Brian says

    Joes will get 20 from RHS, 10 from Darien, 10 from Tc/or bassick, 130 from warde and 160 from mcmahon. thats 330 plus 620 950/8 is 118.75. Staples Gos!!

  16. Kyle says

    Look I’m an Ansonia guy and I went down to New Cannan to watch the game. It was pretty impressive from a standpoint of how bad the #3 team in the state looked. A testament to New Cannan as well as an unimpressive let down from St Joes. I’m not going to sit here and say who would beat who because I think they can play 100 times and you’d get 99 games that would be awesome.

    Bashing the NVL is an awful argument when stating how good Ansonia is, bashing the NVL as an argument to say that New Cannan should be #1 is fine. After seeing both teams I still think Ansonia is #1 well because I obviously have a bias towards the Chargers, but in actuality NC is well deserving of it.

    The Alabama/Northern Illinois comparison is comical. Ansonia is a LL talented team playing in an S format, dont blame Ansonia, blame the CIAC. Every year Ansonia has at least one top 5 player in the state and at least 3 or 4 of the BEST in most years. TO say we’ve never played anyone is also a far cry. We played that 98 and 99 Bloomfield teams who were the best to ever play and yes they were in S. We played in M and M was 10x worse than S.

    We played Jordan Reed, the next best TE in the NFL, he played for New London and they were the #4 team in the state that season – he was defeated 35-0….. Mike Croce and Dan Mulrooney, went to Bryant and BC respectively beat a Stratford team 40-0 in the SS final with Octavius McCoy who just set an NCAA record running for 455 yards at West Conn. He ran for 13 yards in that final. We beat them 27-13. Ryan Osieski set all kinds of records at UNH from Seymour and he was defeated 49-14 and 48-13 in back to back years. We have stood up to the competition, we’ve been beaten by some good teams St Joes in ’10 Bloomfield in ’98 and ’99. We take our lumps but boy do we dish it out. Not to mention the Golic brothers that went to Notre Dame came to Jarvis and got beat 28-7.

    When we’re really good, we are unbelievabley good. Newsome would hands down be the best player 90% of the programs in this state ever would have had. At Ansonia he has to be put into a discussion with about 15 other people. Enough said

    Ansonia-NC would be awesome to watch. You think that NC team is fast? HA! Newsome McKnight Bailey and Bagley are all faster than your fastest guy. Get that open division going because I’m sick of this L/LL talk because the best team ever was 98 Bloomfield and they played in class ‘S’

    • The Truth Hurts says

      See now that’s the point.Those examples above add to a resume when claiming the #1 spot in the poll.I would venture to say that Holy Cross team was the #2 Team in the State that year.Unfortunately the last few years the “S” has been awful and the NVL has not “Shown Up” in the State Playoffs except for Ansonia and Holy Cross a few years back in an awful “S” division vs Cromwell.

  17. jeb says

    newsome is lightning fast…only once have I seen him caught from behind and the defender did not have an angle. That was a star player from Torrington two years ago. I don’t know his name.

    Kyle’s….comments are right on. Ansonia vs New Canaan would be a classic.

  18. anotherfan says

    I offered $20 to anyone who could prove any high school team in Ct wants to play against Ansonia,No one spoke… I’ll do better ,what would it take to get Ansonia to move up to L this year? Cash?I’ll chip in the 1st grand.Let’s do this and end all speculation for this year who is the best team in the state …c’mon Jersey put your money where your flaper is! How’s that Sean.

  19. anotherfan says

    Nah, I can’t take a punch…I learned my lesson a long time ago.I like the analogy though.No refresher courses please!!

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