- COACH — LOU MARINELLI (38th year, 321-96-6)
- CONFERENCE — FCIAC West
- PLAYOFF CLASS — Class LL (676 boys enrollment)
- HOME — Dunning Stadium, New Canaan
- 2017 RECORD — 9-3
- 2018 OPENER — Sept. 8 at St. Joseph, 1:30 p.m.
- TEAM WEBSITE — RamFootball.com, Maxpreps | TWITTER — @NewCanaanFB
- DREW PYNE Jr. QB, (6-0, 175)
- QUINTIN O’CONNELL Sr. WR, (6-0, 195)
- GARRETT BRADEN Sr. LB, (6-2, 225)
- JACK CONLEY Sr. OL/DL, (6-7, 315)
- JACK STEWART Sr. OL/DL (6-5, 275)
RB Owen Shin, LB/K Grant Morse, LB Chase Strupp, OL/DL Seamus O’Hora
It’s just a part of donning the uniform at New Canaan that there are certain expectations to uphold each season.
Even with that fact, those expectations couldn’t be higher in 2018.
The Rams have four players in Jack Conley (Boston College), Jack Stewart (Michigan), Drew Pyne (Notre Dame) and Garrett Braden (Rice) committed at the Division I level, and the entire team still has a salty taste in its mouth from falling short of a state title a season ago.
New Canaan will jump into Class LL for the 2018 season, not only looking to dethrone rival Darien — winners of the last three LL titles — but also expel its own demons.
“We’re very fortunate to have the kids that we have,” coach Lou Marinelli said. “The expectations are high, but they’re always high here and they should be. We want them to be high and let’s see what we can do.”
That starts with the Rams not beating themselves. In each of their three losses last season there was a common theme for New Canaan: penalties and turnovers. Improving on those has been the focal point of the preseason.
“We just have to improve on how undisciplined we were last year,” Marinelli said. “It’s not that we got beat, we gave games away of our own undoing so we have to improve on that. Who knows what’s going to happen? But I know this, the kids are anxious to get started and it doesn’t get any better than this.”
With Pyne at the helm in his third year as a starter, there looks to be no ceiling for what the Ram offense can accomplish in 2018. The Grip It and Rip It tournament held at New Canaan earlier in the summer was a perfect example of that, as the Rams walked away with the crown over a stacked field.
Yes, passing leagues aren’t the real thing, but adding a line that is bookended by two Division I tackles should provide no setback to the lethality of the Ram attack.
“It’s definitely second-nature,” Pyne said of his familiarity with the offense. “Freshman year I came in and learned all the offense, but by now me and (offensive coordinator Dante Correnty) have worked hard to have one mind together. If he calls a play I know exactly why he’s calling it and who we’re thinking about on that play.
For us to do that we had to put a lot of work in and I think we’re doing pretty well so far.”
There’s a saying that iron sharpens iron and, with that in mind, the New Canaan defense has no better tool to improve than facing that offense in practice every day.
“You couldn’t ask for anything more,” Braden said. “The offense is giving the defense the best look they can give us and it’s vice versa. I think both units thrive off the competition and we have something really great where we can both give each other that competition and reps.”
At practice, New Canaan looked to be loose and having fun. Yes, they have a goal in mind, and yes there’s a ton of expectation from both inside and outside the program. But, to the Rams, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“I’ve heard that pressure is a privilege,” Pyne said. “So, it’s a privilege to be where we’re at and we’re working hard to keep being where we’re at.”
- Sept. 8 — at St. Joseph* 1:30 p.m.
- Sept. 14 — DANBURY** 7 p.m.
- Sept. 21 — at Trumbull** 7 p.m.
- Sept. 29 — WESTHILL** 1:30 p.m
- Oct. 6 — GREENWICH** 6 p.m.
- Oct. 19 — at Trinity Catholic** 6 p.m.
- Oct. 27 — at Pascack Valley (NJ) 2 p.m.
- Nov. 2 — NORWALK** 7 p.m.
- Nov. 19 — at Ludlowe** 6 p.m.
- Nov. 22 — DARIEN* 10:30 a.m.
Home game in CAPS
* CONFERENCE game