No. 2 New Canaan smothers Staples


WESTPORT — There wasn’t a whole lot Staples quarterback Jack Massie could do. And there wasn’t a lot of room for him to go as New Canaan’s monster defensive end Zach Allen made the quarterback quite familiar with the turf Friday evening at Staples Field.

Allen was the highlight of a dominating defensive performance from the Rams that limited the Wreckers to just one touchdown and put constant pressure on Massie all evening. New Canaan defeated Staples 43-7 to improve to 7-0 and 5-0 in the FCIAC.

“Watching him (Allen) … he looked like he was having a lot of fun out there,” New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli said. “I thought our defensive staff did a tremendous job of stopping their option attack.”

It was an imposing start and finish from the Rams, ranked No. 2 in the state. After scoring on its first drive of the game, an 18-yard pass from quarterback Nick Cascione to Alex LaPolice, the New Canaan defense kept the momentum going. Allen got to Massie forcing the ball to come out as teammate Maxson Wilson recovered. A few plays later and Cascione waltzed into the end zone for the 14-0 lead.

“It helps tremendously when you have a short field to work with,” Cascione said of orchestrating the offense. Cascione rushed for two scores and added another through the air.

That was the story of the night as New Canaan’s defense did its job, the offense rarely had to make a full-length drive down the field.

Staples (5-2, 5-1) made things interesting in the first quarter as Patrick Lesch had a nice return, and then senior Jack Greenwald burst up the middle for a 47-yard score to make it a 14-7 game. But New Canaan’s offense had no trouble responding.

The next series Cole Turpin almost ran back the kick off going nearly 60 yards. New Canaan’s offense continued to roll as Frank Cognetta capped off the short drive for the 12 yard touchdown.

The Rams took a 27-7 lead into the half.

“I think you got to give them a lot of credit. They’re a great football team and I think physically up front, we kind of got worn down,” Staples head coach Marce Petroccio said. “We couldn’t protect Jack (Massie) and (when) you can’t protect the quarterback it’s hard to get any sort of passing game going.”

As Staples has been down before at the half this fall and made many of comebacks, Friday wasn’t one of them. New Canaan scored on the opening drive of the third quarter – an 18-yard run by Cognetta — to make it a 34-7 advantage.

“I think three times they’ve been down at halftime and they come back to win,” Marinelli said. “They almost pulled it out against Xavier. We warned (them) this thing is not over by any means.”

Staples had a few chances offensively, but were again plagued by penalties and had trouble creating a steady offense, which was due to New Canaan’s defense.


“That’s a good defense,” Petroccio said of the Rams. “There’s no moral victory. We just wish we could have played better tonight than we did.”

While Allen and the defense had one of the best performances of the season, they still found room to improve.

“I mean we did let up a touchdown,” Allen said. “We want to get that zero on the scoreboard. We just got to practice harder and do better. We’ll celebrate for one day and then focus on St. Joe’s.”


  1. Rob (On Connecticut's East Coast) says

    So a question for all the “Poll Rattlers”; Is the winner of next weeks New Canaan VS St. Joes game a more tested, thorough and legitimate number 1 when the poll is taken and released the week of November 4th?

    Easy RAY, I don’t mean to say Ansonia is not deserving, nor am I saying they couldn’t match up with and/or win against other highly ranking teams. My question follows college football’s BCS Logic minus the points that that system awards for large margin point victories even when those victories are at the expense of teams that are having a bad year (think Alabama VS Arkansas earlier this year).

    To state each teams case (Each predicated on wins through next weekend);

    New Canaan: Will Have Wins Over: Daniel Hand (L-6w), Bassick (L-1w), Greenwich (LL-3w), Fairfield Warde (LL-2w), Danbury (LL-3w), Chicopee (MA) (M-2w), Staples (LL-5w); and 11/1 v.St. Joseph (M-6w) Combined wins of Opponents, 28, Number of LL’s 4, L’s 2, M’s 2 and no Class S Schools.

    St. Joseph: Will Have Wins Over: Notre Dame-West Haven (L-2w), Fairfield Prep (LL-5w), Ridgefield (LL-5w), Darien (L-5w), Wilton (L-3w), Bassick (L-1w), 10/26 Trinity Catholic (S-0w), and 11/1 New Canaan (L-7w) Combined wins of Opponents, 27, Number of LL’s 2, L’s 5, No M’s and 1 Class S School.

    Ansonia: Will Have Wins Over: Torrington (L-0w), Sacred Heart (S-0w), Holy Cross (S-5w), Wilby (LL-4w), Derby (S-4w), Masuk (L-4w), Wolcott (M-4w), 11/1 v.Watertown (M-1w) Combined wins of Opponents, 23, Number of LL’s 1, L’s 2, M’s 2 and 3 Class S Schools.

    Top 3 Signature Wins:
    New Canaan: Hand(Reigning Class L Champs, SCC Front Runner, 6 win L), Staples(LL Semis Last Year, 5 win LL), St Joe(M Front Runner, FCIAC East Front Runner, 7 win M)
    St. Joseph: New Canaan(L Semis Last Year, L Front Runner, FCIAC East Front Runner, 7 win L), Fairfield Prep(5 Win LL), Ridgefield (5 win LL)
    Ansonia: Holy Cross (5 Win S), Masuk (4 win L), Wolcott (Class M #1-Seed last year, 4 win M)

    In my opinion, here’s what’s wrong. Ansonia is a team that plays very well, they are talented and do what you want any great team to do; beat everything put in front of them. While they have done that, so have St Joe and New Canaan and the teams put in front of St Joe and New Canaan are more impressive than the ones that have played Ansonia. That being said, as for Ansonia’s place atop the Register and Day polls, they haven’t had the opportunity to show how much they deserve that spot the way St Joe’s and New Canaan will have once the dust settles next Friday Night. If I were an Ansonia fan, I’d be routing for a 6-6 Tie between New Canaan and St Joseph. That way you’d be able to point and say, “See, they didn’t even win all their games!”

    Solution: Open Division 4 team playoff. Until then, it’s all just something to argue about.

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