NEW CANAAN >> New Canaan’s football team ran onto St. Joseph’s field and boldly dropped the hammer on the Hogs’ logo at midfield.
The symbolic gesture, while it rankled St. Joseph’s players, pretty much summed up New Canaan’s eventual dominance in a 41-14 victory on a cold and rainy day at the Dalling Sports Complex in Trumbull.
Frank Cognetta ran for 200 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries as the unbeaten Rams rolled up over 400 yards of offense while holding St. Joseph to a mere 86.
“A lot the receivers didn’t really like the weather, rainy, windy, cold, stuff like that. But I love it,” Cognetta told the New Canaan Advertiser. “As a running back, I just love that. We noticed on the first drive that the running game was there, so we just kept doing what worked. I just did my thing.”
New Canaan, which actually had its ceremonial hammer confiscated by Trumbull police and didn’t have it returned, improved to 7-0 and kept pace with unbeaten rival Darien and McMahon in the FCIAC championship race. St. Joseph fell to 6-2.
New Canaan led 7-0 after a quarter, then exploded with three touchdowns to take a 28-0 lead at the break. Mike Collins threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Zack Smith. Alex LaPolice scored on a 1-yard run and threw a halfback option pass touchdown to Zach Allen just before halftime.
“St. Joe’s is one of the power teams in the conference,” Allen told the New Canaan Advertister. “So coming out and beating them the way we did is just a testament to everything we’ve been working on, everything we’ve done, and our coaches and how they’ve prepared us.”
Allen was also a force on defense, with two sacks and constant disruptions in St. Joseph’s backfield. The Hogs were without starting center Jack Ganser and struggled with snaps in the rainy conditions all afternoon.
“Good football by them, bad football by us. That’s about it,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia told Connecticut Post. “We couldn’t get a snap off. Any time we seemed to get anything going, we’d have a major bad play.”
Despite being utterly dominated on the stat sheet — back Mufasha Absul-Basir was a non-factor with just 18 yards on 7 carries at halftime — St. Joseph did its best to wriggle back into the game.
New Canaan fumbled away a punt, and then shanked another in the third quarter and St. Joseph cashed in both times. Lars Pedersen threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Pat Battista and scored on an 18-yard run to make it 28-14.
But, in between, the Hogs couldn’t score on first-and-goal from the New Canaan 8 following an interception by K’tory Cobb.
New Canaan, which also missed a 35-yard field goal, finally put the game away on Mike Collins’ 45-yard scoring pass to Smith with eight minutes remaining.
New Canaan 7 21 0 13 — 41
St. Joseph 0 0 14 0 — 14
NC — Frank Cognetta 11 run (Peter Swindell kick)
NC — Alex LaPolice 1 run (Swindell kick)
NC — Kyle Smith 34 pass from Mike Collins (Swindell kick)
NC — Zach Allen 8 pass from LaPolice (Swindell kick)
SJ — Patt Battista 10 pass from Lars Pedersen (Seamus Keating pass from Pedersen)
SJ — Pedersen 18 run (run failed)
NC — Smith 45 pass from Collins (pass failed)
NC — F. Cognetta 31 run (Swindell kick)
Team Records: New Canaan 7-0, St. Joseph 6-2