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.”