New Canaan defeats rival Darien to capture Class L championship

New Canaan's football players hold the state championship trophy after defeating Darien 44-12 in the Class L title game (via Terry Dinan via Twitter)

New Canaan’s football players hold the state championship trophy after defeating Darien 44-12 in the Class L title game (via Terry Dinan via Twitter)

The rematch went to New Canaan.

Darien might have ruined New Canaan’s perfect season on Thanksgiving, but the Rams earned a bigger prize Saturday: the Class L state championship.

Senior Nick Cascione threw two touchdowns passes and rushed for another as third-seeded New Canaan cruised to a 44-12 victory over the top-seeded Blue Wave at Boyle Stadium in Stamford. The Rams certainly exacted revenge on their rivals after Darien knocked off New Canaan, who was then unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the Register Poll, 28-24 in the Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving.

The Rams (14-1) won their ninth title, and first since 2009. It was the second victory for New Canaan over Darien in a state championship game. The Rams defeated the Blue Wave 26-7 in the Class MM final in 2008.

[WATCH: Full replay on MSGVarsity]

Darien, which has not won a state title since 1996, falls to 4-7 in state championship games. New Canaan leads the overall series with the Blue  Wave 49-35-2.

The Rams, who won 14 games in a season for the first time in school history, entered the playoffs ranked fifth in the Register Top 10 Poll, even though many believe New Canaan is the best team in the state.

It was a complete victory for the Rams, who scored on their first possession and built a 17-0 halftime lead. While the New Canaan offense was effective despite snowy conditions, the Rams also scored on special teams (a 42-yard punt return by Alex LaPolice) and on defense (a 35-yard interception return by Zach Allen).  Cascione ended his career by completing 14 of 24 passes for 226 yards and rushing 11 times for 76 yards.

Frank Cognetta scored on a 1-yard run on New Canaan’s opening drive. In the second quarter, Cole Turpin caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Cascione and Peter Swindell kick a 30-yard field goal to give the Rams a 17-0 lead at halftime.

The Rams went 10 quarters without allowing a touchdown in the playoffs before Darien’s Silas Wyper scored on a 35-yard run in the third quarter. The extra point attempt was muffed, and the Blue Wave trailed 17-6.  Wyper’s touchdown came after Will Hamernick intercepted a Cascione pass. New Canaan shutout Farmington 46-0 in the quarterfinals and North Haven 17-0 in the semifinals.

On the ensuing New Canaan possession, Cascione connected with Alex LaPolice on a 49-yard touchdown pass. Swindell’s extra point put the Rams on top 24-6. LaPolice added a 42-yard punt return touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Wyper scored again, this time from 6-yards out, in the fourth quarter, well after the game was decided, while Cascione scored on a 42-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.


New Canaan 44, Darien 12
(at Stamford)
New Canaan    7    10    7    20    —    44
Darien    0    0    6    6    —    12
First quarter
N—Frank Cognetta 1 run (Peter Swindell kick)
Second quarter
N—Cole Turpin 23 pass from Nick Cascione (Swindell kick)
N—Peter Swindell 30 FG
Third quarter
D—Silas Wyper 35 run (run failed)
N—Alex LaPolice 49 pass from Nick Cascione (Swindell kick)
Fourth quarter
N—Alex LaPolice 42 punt ret
D—Silas Wyper 6 run (pass failed)
N—Nick Cascione 42 run (kick failed)
N—Zach Allen 35 int ret (Swindell kick)
Team records: Darien 12-2; New Canaan 14-1


  1. The Facts says

    In the playoffs:

    Ansonia gave up 21 points to Coginchaug. Ansonia gave up 27 points to Rocky Hill. Ansonia gave up 12 points to Woodland.

    That adds up to 60 points.

    New Canaan gave up 0 points to Farmington. New Canaan gave up 0 points to North Haven. New Canaan gave up 12 points to Darien.

    That adds up to 12 points.

    OK, we confess. The Facts are Ansonia haters.

        • Hannibal_Barca says

          Congratulations, New Canaan. You beat all your opponents convincingly. Prep and Southington may differ (and Ansonia too), but based on their record and the quality of their opposition, New Canaan is #1.

          • Glb says

            Do you really think in 1 game Ansonia couldn’t compete with NC? If so you are really mistaken in the pride of Ansonia football. Ansonia scrimmages West haven every year and beats them every year and you saying West haven is no good? The Fciac doesn’t have all good teams so don’t make it sound like you play top teams every week. Seymour always scrimmaged NC and always played with them.

      • says

        new caanan has 1 loss——-ansonia is 15-0—–marinelli saluted ansonia as no.1 team in state—-class move.cant control polls,ansonia beat eveyone in front of them,new caanan didnt.

        • Hannibal Barca says

          Beating Lilliput 15 times doesn’t make your team #1, Ray. NC beat every team it played, 8 of whom were actually ranked which is more than I can say about your squad good as they may be.

        • says

          My god are we on Ansonia scrimmages with West Haven again???? No they don’t beat everyone because ND tools on Ansonia in those Scrimmages and I don’t know if you know but Scrimmages are not for winning you clown that knows zero about football. Shelton beats them every year and lets be f’n honest because your stupidity is erking me. If it was a real game not a scrimmage that you love bragging about yet no one else cares The Westies would f’n destroy Ansonia and that fact why because I know more about Football then you ever will and that’s proven because no real knowledgeable person talks scrimmages so your out Can’t even let you in the big boy FBALL club. Jerkoff go back to NVL powder puff and Ray don’t go to they beat everyone in front of them because every single team that made states could do that YES!!!! even the techs. NC pounded and paid back the team that won on THXgivig. 12000 people of course Darien will play out there ass there NOT NAUGATUCK another pathetic team.

  2. bgarf says

    Great game, thoroughly enjoyed watching both teams. Lapolice was huge on both sides of ball, been impressed by NC all year but just as impressed with Darien now. That is a football program, to lose 24 seniors and compete at the level they have is rarefied air. Love #5 and if #45 is also an underclassman, he too can be a true beast with some more time in weight room. Hurt losing Harrison early but #28 did a nice job filling in, just too much size and quickness on Ram defense. CT football has improved dramatically despite what some believe.

    • P-Daddy says

      Great positive post.
      Congrats to Coach Marinelli, his staff, the players, and parents.
      Champions (again)!!
      Let’s hope Zach Allen (Jr.) plays for Coach Diaco at UCONN!!
      Joining Newsome and Cochrane.

    • Pete says

      Garf,great post finally an Ansonia backer with something positive to say about other teams programs.I am an Scc fan but without question after watching NC twice this year this is the states most talented and balanced team out there.would be total injustice is they do not get the overall number 1 based on schedule ect…Not taking away from Ansonia who also had a great year and have a wonderfully player in Newsome but they are way too one dimensional to be able to compete with NC.Best of luck to Prep tomorrow to salvage the year in a big LL way for the SCC.

  3. Jerry says

    im actually a little disappointed so far on the championship games because none of them are actually tight games, maybe class LL can change that

  4. Casual High School Sports Fan says

    Thanks to the CIAC for relocating the Class L game to Boyle Stadium to counter the weather and to allow a great and enthusiastic turn out for a great rivalry despite the snowy conditions! And congratulations to the Rams for an impressive win and to Darien for probably one of the best team and coaching efforts in the State pushing themselves to a top five or six ranking and the Turkey Bowl during a rebuilding year! And Congrats to Ansonia and St. Joe’s on their great wins. This is what High School Football is all about…the kids having fun!

  5. PapaDags says

    I’m curious as hell as to the attendance at Boyle today!!! Anybody with real figures only PLEASE respond. Thank You….

  6. SCC Fan says

    To be ranked #1, you need to have the team and you need to have the schedule. I beleive New Canaan has both. No disrespect at all to Ansonia. They are a great team with a proud tradition, but their schedule does not warrant a #1 ranking.

    • Player's mom says

      You are absolutely right.
      Ansonia’s coaches could have simply moved up their team to play in the class M, L or LL if they were confident that they could compete.
      Hillhouse although is a smaller school their coaches always move up and play in the LL in boy’s basketball.
      To be considered the best you have to play against the best.

      • Gob says

        Your wrong Ansonia coaches couldn’t move up. Ciac doesn’t allow it. Get your facts straight before you criticize a team.

        • Valley Fan says

          You’re right Gob, they can’t move up to the big boys, but they can and were asked to come UP to the SCC and take Derby’s position and have declined to do so. We will never know how good they really are while they continue to play down in a woeful league. And, if they are so good, then why do they have virtually no one playing at the next level?

          • GO NOLES!! says

            Valley Fan (though I doubt that)-
            You are perpetrating yet another myth that has been repeatedly refuted.
            Ansonia is a football power that does not even have teams in a number of other high school sports.
            Though you can’t tell by the interest in this blog, there ARE other high school sports. And a school moving to a conference-that is a multi-sport conference unlike the Pequot-has to have an athletic program that offers multiple sports to avoid divisional and scheduling nightmares. Not to mention rivalries that have been established over many decades are important in high school football.

          • Valley Fan says

            It’s not a myth that Ansonia was asked and has declined. That is a fact. Ansonia would have been a perfect replacement for Derby who also doesn’t have hockey, lacrosse and swimming. The only myth is that it would be a scheduling nightmare-that is simply not true. All SCC schools do not have all of the “minor” sports, and the scheduling is done accordingly. By the way, who are Ansonia’s established rivals?

      • GO NOLES!! says

        “Player’s mom”-
        While I respect your right to post your opinion, please at least have your facts straight.
        The CIAC mandates at what level teams play in football. Not the schools or the coaches. Coaching staffs of the top programs would wholeheartedly endorse an open division and better non-conference matchups during the season. Hell, they would line a parking lot to play!

        Basketball classifications have always been more fluid, and the CIAC currently arbitrarily moves up teams that have had success in lower divisions. Though there are still some flaws, it is a good system.

        Finally, there have been some good comments in this thread. My opinion is that Ansonia is an incredibly fast team, with one of the greatest players in the history of Connecticut high school football. Their OL is big, talented and athletic. If not turning the ball over, they are very difficult to stop. And they are only as one-dimensional as they need to be. They have demonstrated they have other weapons on offense, and can throw it if necessary. Definitely a top 5 team this season.

        But I saw very little defense played around the state this year. And even Ansonia’s defense was not at the level of past seasons. New Canaan is probably the most balanced team among the elite, and the Rams fielded a great defense. Combine that with wins on the field against quality teams, and New Canaan gets my vote for top dog.

      • says

        Ansonia’s team has the same amount of numbers that M and L have. Most likely LL to. Just because the school is small means nothing on the size of the football team 60-70 kids on Ansonia’s roster and no thats not freshman. Thats as big as any team in state. Play someone your pissing everyone off Chargers!!!!

        • Wake Up says

          I know you hate Ansonia but Ansonia hasn’t had 70 kids on their sideline EVER! Their roster with freshman team included is probably 45 to 50 in a good year. They will NEVER play any of the higher class teams until the CIAC makes them, so save yor breath or typing, it is just a dumb argument about fiction! I’m sure you argue who’s a better superhero too! Congrats to all the teams and their coaches. Not just the champs or playoff teams either. I mean everyone cause in this day when no one wants to work for ANYTHING,I give credit to kids on 1-10, 2-9 or 3-8 teams who show up everyday to improve and never give up! Those are the young adults who are learning the real life lessons and will be successful adults!!

    • No need for a Poll says

      The Poll is basically based on Record thusly Ansonia will finish #1.Since this is basically true there is no needfor the Media to cast a vote and basically feel guilty especially after looking at the following .On the field Ansonia has defeated 14 different opponents.If the Sports writers really want to look at something interesting,view all 14 teams they defeated AND ALSO take the opponents those 14 teams defeated and let me know which team out of the 40-50 teams ranks the highest.It leads nowhere maybe a borderline top 20 ?

  7. mooncake says

    Cassione (nc qb) played a great game. Best I’ve seen from him all year, considered the conditions. He was wonderful.

  8. Vern says

    It looks like maybe too many teams make the playoffs by the scores this year. Hoping to see one competitive final. I hope the Ciac is thinking of letting more teams into the dance.

    Congrats to all the champs!

    • aok says

      the number of teams is excellent, it’s which teams get in! CIAC should re-evaluate the point system, Xavier/Shelton would have provided more competition than Hall/ Newtown. Ansonia and St.Joe in wrong division, they are 2 of the best in state and made a mockery of m,s divisions. allow some teams to step up divisions if they want to be tops…schools won’t do it if they know they can’t

  9. willie says

    Congrats to NC. Well done. Also to Darien. Good team. Still got the upset on thanksgiving and that is something to remember.

  10. PapaDags says

    I’ll ask again, what was the actual attendance at Boyle yesterday, SPB, you must know. I appreciate the 1 response saying 3/4 full on both sides. Unfortunately that tells me nothing as I do not know how big or small Boyle is & how many it holds. How bout Leroy from the CIAC, you must know or any CIAC official could probably respond.(unless it’s some big secret) also, @playersmom, I’m pretty sure teams can not move at will or at their own discretion as to what class they play in. I’m told it is based strictly on male enrollment and that’s that. Here’s another one for the phantom CIAC official. Is what I just said accurate???

  11. Gfre714 says

    Obviously, snow was the deciding factor in the NC – Darien game. I am not saying that Darien would have won had there been no snow, but I think they would have played much better and we would have had a much closer game. Remember, Darien beat NC only a few weeks ago.

    Having said that, with the strength of schedule and their ability to perform in so well in a blizzard, I think New Canaan is clearly #1 in the state.

    • wave says

      Gotta agree with that. For some reason NC just handled the snow better. And that’s not taking anything away from them, there was obviously a better team yesterday and it was NC.
      I think the score was a little misleading, the game was closer than that.

  12. Frank Rizzo says

    I can tell you a lot of the writers that determine the final poll, don’t really understand what makes a team #1. It’s how you did against the body of work ! If your not looking at who a team beat, then your not voting probably. Ansonia would not beat the same caliber of teams that NC defeated. It’s not Ansonia fault, but the NVL teams are not in a competitive conference. If you had to prepare for teams that can hit you, tackle you, and out scheme you every week, it would take several years for the Ansonia players to adapt to that grind. They would be able to do it, but until they do, you can’t put up the #1 finger.

    • GO NOLES!! says

      To make a blanket statement that Ansonia would “not beat the caliber of teams that NC defeated” either demonstrates hopeless bias against Ansonia’s program, or incredible ignorance. Which is it?

      NC is a great team that had a great year, with the exception of the toe stub in Thanksgiving Day. Their SOS was very good, and I posted above that they would get my vote as top team in the polls.
      But if you don’t think that Ansonia is a top 5 team (at least) this season, your lack of football knowledge is alarming.

      • Frank says

        I do think Ansonia is a Top 5 team this season, I rank them as high as 3. Put out the fire, no need to be alarmed. I think Ansonia is a very good team, I based it on the movement of the line of scrimmage, I think they would do awesome against the best competition in the state, but they don’t play a soul, so they can’t be the best in my book.

      • says

        go noles,

        What are you qualifications to say that they could play the quality of team? I’m more than qualified and you can trust me on that and save the embarrassment. You know what let me know the qualifications you have and then I’ll educate you because mine are second to none

  13. Jeb says

    The biggest play of the game was the one handed catch that the end (smith) made for new Canaan. Otherwise Darien stops NC on downs after that long kickoff return. My friend Brian from Stamford feels the same way.

  14. PapaDags says

    Guess no one can tell me what the HELL the attendance was yesterday at Boyle….[...] Not one CIAC official or sportswriter can answer this very simple question I posted 3 damn times!! (as if the Ciac or the very sportwriters aren’t continuously on this blog)

  15. Jeb says

    Papa days, An athletic director from the fciac said they sold approx 2,600 tickets. When you count the freebees they had bit short of 3,000. A far cry from the 6,000 that showed up two weeks ago at the thanksgiving day game.

  16. PapaDags says

    Thank you Jeb. Didn’t think anyone from the CIAC would answer me..probably too embarrassed. It was announced there were 1400 at the Woodland/Ansonia game in the Freezing cold and driving roughly 1 hr. at night knowing darn well what the outcome would be. The following am at Boyle had(correct me if I’m wrong) maybe 2 inches of snow. In fact , wasn’t it only 2 inches of snow until 5 pm when the real storm started. Again, someone correct me if I’m wrong please. My point is simple , as stated many times before. A REAL FAN will go see their team no matter what. 2-3 inches of snow won’t stop a real fan…ESPECIALY if the darn game is 7 miles away. ARE YOU KIDDING me?? You would have thought after finally getting their way of having the game moved to their damn backyard they would have shown their support and warranted all that crying about 95 traffic we all read about for almost a week. (95 traffic on a Saturday???????? I’ve never seen it) I guess now the excuse was it was too early in the morning…Wah Wah Wah. I REST MY CASE

    • Lem says

      So much complaining, so little insight. You’re the one crying here. (1) You somehow believe that those who hoped the game could move to Boyle are the very same people who didn’t go to the game, a point that can’t be proved, and makes no sense. (2) As for driving, your comments about I-95 are also irrelevant, since no one from Darien or NC would take I-95 to Boyle. Believe me, local surface roads Saturday morning were not always plowed or safe. But lets’s pretend the game didn’t move, and went as originally scheduled, in which case, everyone actually would’ve been on I-95. I guess you’ve never been on I-95 on a Saturday near Christmas? I have, and yes, Virginia, there is traffic. Then add the snow: your argument about when “the real storm” started is completely nuts, since the original 2:05 PM game time at Arute would have put both team’s players, fans, and families on the road, 60 miles from home in the very worst of the storm. So I agree with the CIAC moving the game to Boyle. (3) I haven’t heard anyone “Wah Wah Wah” about an early game time (the Turkey Bowl starts earlier!), that’s just more of your vindictive fantasy. (4) This blog is about the GAME (that’s why it’s called Gametime), it’s not about your arbitrary opinions of what “real fans” do or don’t do. My high school kids are “real fans” but couldn’t go to the game because they have jobs on Saturdays (not on Friday nights, and not on Thanksgiving). There have been some great games this season, maybe sometime you can come to this blog and talk about football.

  17. No Ax to Grind says

    I was present at the Class L championship game. I would estimate that there were 600 NC fans and 600 Darien fans in the so called stands at Boyle Stadium of which there was 150 students from each school. Another 100 with media passes around the sidelines. 1,600 in attendance give or take. For all the complaining that the NC and/or Darien fans did, it was a very poor showing. Another 10,000 fan game at Boyle never materialized. I guess it was better than having only 800 show up to CCSU if the game was never moved. The CIAC must have took it on the financial chin for moving the game. There had to be a least 12 Stamford Police, an EMS crew and 12 grounds crew. Being a weekend game, the City of Stamford must have submitted a huge bill to the CIAC. I95 was in pretty good shape as the bulk of the storm came later that evening. There was about an inch of snow on the field throughout the game. Boyle Stadium did not have any aluminum or wooden bleacher seats; just cement ones. Odd. A very poor facility to choose and for fans to watch a game. I do not know Boyle’s seating capacity but if you took in the empty pockets on both sides, I would say that each side was half filled. For the FCIAC/CIAC to say that 2,600 were sold does not jive with the actual fans present. 2,600 tickets may have been sold but only 1,500 fans showed up. I guess watching the game on MSG with the creature comforts of home was a better deal than coming out to root your team on in person. If I were the CIAC, I would have not made alternative field arrangements and kept the games at CCSU. The field would have been clean for all the games that were played and given all teams a level playing field to showcase their football talents. Instead, sloppy weather conditions affected how well the teams played. Wish the CIAC better luck next year.

    • wonder of it all says

      And your point is? Go back to sleep until next year so you can spew your negativity then. The game was great and there were well over 3000 people, there were more than any of the other games so far by a wide margin. I watched the game at CCSU on Friday and there was snow on it from a week earlier? You make no sense this is a football blog not an attack board, I guess your team had no skin in the game.

      • No Ax to Grind says

        Wonderless: The point is that there were not 3,000 fans present. Not close. 1,500 the most. Simple eye test. Even my NC friends who I sat with were surprised at the poor turnout and the poor facility. The fans where great but not to the promised “we can fill Boyle with 8-10,000.” Boyle was the site that the NC/Darien wanted because CCSU was inconvenient. Not because of safety but because why should we have to travel all the way to New Britain when we have local facilities. It was a horrible site to hold a game. Poor media accommodations, poor seating, poor parking, poor field conditions, non-operable scoreboard……Were you concerned that one of the players might injure himself on the snow covered field? No. I assume from your comment that you watched the Friday night game on TV. I was present at CCSU Friday night and you were not. The CCSU grounds crew did a wonderful job of clearing the field of all the snow. There was not a single bit of snow present. Ask the Ansonia or Woodland players and fans. Ansonia had a great crowd present. Woodland was pretty light. If the CIAC was concerned about overall safety, they could have postponed the playing of the games at CCSU like the Class LL game. I did not hear Ansonia, Woodland, St. Joe’s, Brookfield fans complain that they had to travel to CCSU. Their buses and fans got there and back without issue. Would the CIAC have moved the games to alternative sites when they played at the Rent. No. Too costly. I have the upmost respect for the players on the field. They make the game worth going to. There is no negativity in my comments about the players or the result of the games. You just don’t like being told the truth. Unfortunately, too many parents complain and get their way because thats what they are use to these days. What are we teaching the kids? In the end, the CIAC limited coffers will be spent and spread out at too many sites when one site was all that was needed. CCSU is central to all teams, has great parking and wonderful facilities. How many of the NC crowd would have gone to CCSU if it had not snowed. Very few just like when they played at the Rent two years ago. NC fan base does not travel well.

        • wonder of it all says

          What happened you get beat up when you were a kid? Your post again is a rant about nothing, I was at the game on Friday and there was snow on the field (pointless anyway)> Moreover, there were plenty of fans at Boyle and people enjoyed it. I travel to many games throughout the state all year round and enjoy watching the kids play football regardless of the team. Its negative people like you who have nothing positive to say that put a blemish on these blogs. Are you now an expert on the parents in fairfield county? Advice: grow up and have fun, worry about yourself, you might even smile…

  18. wonder of it all says

    By the way Congratulations to Ansonia, New Canaan, St. Joes and the winner of the Prep/Southington Game!!! Remember its about you young men playing football and not what a bunch of behind the scene naysayers think. Great year and good luck next year.

  19. jeb says

    No axe to grind………….must disagree with you about the attendence at the class L game. They had at least 2800 to 3000 people. Though a far cry from what they anticipated. It was a nasty day and I’m sure that kept the crowd down.

  20. Fan says

    There were 5000 at the game. The stadium seats 6000 and the seats were over 2/3 full. Adding in the few hundred not in the stands, I’d say 5000 is a reasonable estimate.

    There was no way this game was going to draw the 10,000+ the 2008 FCIAC game drew. All the college kids and family home for the holidays change the dynamic a lot.

    • JB says

      Fan is closer to correct. Estimate is 4000 in attendance. Boyle seats 6000 easily, not to mention the roped off end zones. Good turnout on short notice and poor weather. Also, MSG broadcast keeps some folks away compared to that famous T-day game.

      Compare that to the attendance at the M finals same morning … what did they get, about 500 up at Arute?

      • JB says

        Just looked on the CIAC website. M finals crowd at Arute was 675. Nothing reported for L finals at Boyle.

        Holding the L finals at Boyle bailed out the CIAC, otherwise they would have lost there shirt again on this central site thing.

        This is all common sense … hold the games were the fan base is largest. Southern CT has the largest population in CT and will turn out at Boyle. Move that LL game to Boyle and the CIAC will make an extra $20k.

  21. ctmike says

    There should only be 3 state classifications. And 1 private school classification.
    Class A. 1100+ Students
    Class B. 600-1099 Students
    Class C. 599 and lower

    And 1 Conference for all Private schools. Only the top 4 rated private schools participate in the States.

    • 19X says

      Ansonia would pound the ball on New Canaan and be by far the best team they have played. New Canaan had a chance to finish #1 and lost. Don’t forget that Ansonia plays great defense too. Has Ansonia played quality competition? No, but they’ve dominated every game , except one, for the last three years.

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