Class L: Cascione, New Canaan cruise to win over Farmington

NEW CANAAN – The New Canaan football team was in a state of shock after border-rival Darien handed the Rams their first loss of the season in the Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving Day.

Farmington head coach Chris Machol wasn’t very happy about it either.

Machol knew his team was on a collision course with New Canaan, and that the loss would still be fresh in the minds of the Rams. It was the Blue Wave who kicked the hornet’s nest. But the Indians were the ones who had to run through the swarm.

“I didn’t want to play this team when they were mad,”Machol said. “I almost wish they were still undefeated and then they would have felt a lot more pressure. I knew we were running into a buzz saw.”
And then some.
Senior quarterback Nick Cascione completed 21 of 33 passes for 327 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a 6-yard score in the first quarter and the third-seeded Rams totally overpowered the Indians on defense to post a 46-0 victory over No. 6 Farmington in the Class L quarterfinals Tuesday night at Dunning Field.
The Rams (12-1), making their ninth straight appearance in the state playoffs, led 19-0 early in the second quarter, using a 14-play, 99-yard drive to score the third touchdown on a 12-yard run by senior Frank Cognetta.
Cole Turpin, who caught a game-high eight passes for 124 yards, turned a quick center screen pass into a 46-yard touchdown on the third play of the second half to make it 25-0 and the Rams went on to score on four straight possessions during a 27-point third quarter.
New Canaan cranked out 501 yards of offense, including 70 yards and two touchdowns by Cognetta. Defensively, the Rams were just as tough, holding the Indians (9-3) to a mere 147 yards in the game and two first downs through three quarters.
All the while, the FCIAC-champion Rams thought of nothing else but bouncing back from the 28-24 loss to Darien last week.
“That was the major motivation for us,”said Cascione, who rushed for 57 yards on six carries. “We really wanted to come out and show everyone that we’re not done and that we were going to keep fighting until the very end. It added some fuel to the fire and it showed us that we still had more to prove, that winning the FCIAC wasn’t enough.”
New Canaan will move on to face No. 7 North Haven and its single-wing offense in the Class L semifinals Saturday afternoon in an intriguing matchup of philosophical opposites. North Haven (10-2) advanced with a 35-0 victory over No. 2 Platt. The game will be played at 2 p.m. at Law in Milford.
New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli started to say his team has never faced a single-wing team before, then quickly took it back.
“We did, in 1981. Darien ran it under Jack Davidson,” Marinelli said. “We’ll see what happens. It should be interesting.”
With one more victory, the Rams might have a shot at revenge should No. 1 Darien get past Middletown in the semifinals. The Blue Wave survived in a 31-29 thriller against Hand.
“To bounce back, that’s what the whole pre-game talk was about,” Marinelli said. “It’s not so much what happens to you, but how you react to it. I was nervous because we didn’t seem like we had the focus in practice the last couple of days. But they surprised me. And to see these seniors go out like this on this field is tremendous.”
Farmington, which lost three of four to end the season, seemed to have some life when Ivan Guadalupe intercepted a pass by Cascione and returned it to the Indians 43 with New Canaan leading just 12-0. But Farmington just could not budge senior lineman Connor Buck (sack) and the Rams defense.
Guadalupe, who went into the game with 1,007 yards rushing, gained just 58 yards on 14 carries. Forced to throw, the Indians had no chance against a defense that is as fast as it is big. Quarterback Jeremy Buck completed just 8 of 25 passes for 58 yards and three interceptions and ran five times for 33 yards.
Senior captain Michael Root, senior Michael DiCosmo and junior Trey Gesing all had interceptions for the Rams.
“New Canaan is a superior team. They’re a very good team,” Machol said. “There’s a reason why they’re ranked so highly. Our guys competed. We just didn’t have enough to stay with a team that’s as good and well-coached as New Canaan.”
The Rams ran their offense at a dizzying speed similar to that of the Oregon Ducks, barely allowing the officials to spot the ball before snapping it. Even more effective was New Canaan’s distribution. Nine players ran the ball for the Rams while 10 different players caught passes.
Morgan Carson gained 50 yards on six carries in the second half, including a 1-yard touchdown run, while Alex LaPolice and Graham Wagner had one touchdown reception each, the second one from backup quarterback Michael Collins.
“That’s our offense. We want to get as many of our athletes the ball and get them in space,” Cascione said. “I’m happy we got as many kids as we got the ball to, but that’s our offense and we just did our jobs tonight.”
New Canaan 46, Farmington 0
Farmington         0              0              0              0              -              0
New Canaan      12           7              27           0              -              46
NC – Frank Cognetta 1 run (run failed)
NC – Nick Cascione 6 run (pass failed)
NC – Cognetta 12 run (Peter Swindell kick)
NC – Cole Turpin 46 pass from Cascione (kick failed)
NC – Morgan Carson 1 run (Swindell kick)
NC – Alex LaPolice 8 pass from Cascione (Swindell kick)
NC – Graham Wagner 26 pass from Michael Collins (Swindell kick)
Records: F-9-3;NC-12-1.

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