Greenwich’s pass rush became more fierce as its game against FCIAC football foe Trumbull progressed last week, a welcome sight to the coaching staff and stressful one for the Eagles.
Pressuring the quarterback and creating havoc in the opposition’s backfield were among the Cardinals’ strengths in 2017 and those aspects certainly surfaced in their 42-7 season-opening home win over Trumbull.
The Cardinals, of course, hope to continue to apply the pressure when it hosts visiting Trinity Catholic at 4 p.m.
“Our defensive line will create matchup problems for some of the teams we are going to face,” GHS coach John Marinelli said. “Our athleticism should make it tough for some teams to handle. We feel we have two defensive ends who can create havoc.”
Senior defensive ends Mozi Bici and Emilou Camou combined for 2.5 sacks a week ago against Trumbull, which saw quarterback Colton Nicholas absorb seven sacks. Bici is coming off a 2017 season in which he registered 14 sacks.
“Camou and Bici, the two of them are so dynamic, so strong and so fast,” Marinelli said. “They are lighter than what you normally have at ends, but they don’t play their weight. Mozi had a great year last year and Camou saw a lot of time. Those two guys coming off the edge create matchup problems.”
Junior defensive tackle Eddy Iuteri and senior defensive tackle Joe Kraninger registered 1.5 and one sack, respectively, in the Cards’ season-opener and will look to continue to get a big push up front.
“Iuteri and Kraninger are strong and they are athletic for their size,” Marinelli said. “They move their feet well and they are effective with their hands. I don’t think our offense scored in our two-minute drill during the preseason, because our defensive line creates havoc for us every day in practice.”
At linebacker, senior Jack Feda recorded 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks, while senior Larry DeLuca had 13 tackles and one sack against Trumbull. Junior Evan Weigold also solidifies the linebacker corps.
“They cleaned up last week after the defensive linemen did their job,” Marinelli said. “How the defense communicates will be one of the keys to our success this season. Sometimes you can lose that communication and guys try to make plays on their own. But the guys did a tremendous job of communicating with each other on Saturday.”
Defensively, the Cardinals must be disciplined Saturday against a Trinity Catholic team that shows a different offensive look than most squads.
“Trinity Catholic is dynamic,” Marinelli said. “They have athletes that can do some damage and their offense has some Wing-T tendencies, which does present a challenge to us.”
The Crusaders dropped a 27-22 decision to host Danbury in Week 1.
TOO MANY FLAGS
Sophomore wide receiver A.J. Barber’s (the son of former New York Giants star running back Tiki Barber) three-touchdown day and senior quarterback Gavin Muir’s three scoring strikes were bright spots from last week’s triumph over Trumbull, Greenwich was penalized throughout the game.
Flagged 14 times in the first half, the Cardinals were charged with 21 penalties for the matchup.
“That’s not the way we are trying to build this program,” Marinelli said. “We don’t consider ourselves to be a highly penalized team. This is on us, the officials did a great job. “We need to play a cleaner game. It was the same thing as Dec. 9, we hurt ourselves against penalties in the state finals against Darien.”
Thanks to the Greenwich Athletic Foundation a new scoreboard was installed at Cardinal Stadium last week, just in time for the Cards’ season-opener. The scoreboard/video board live streamed game action.
“To see the support the Greenwich Athletic Foundation gives and for them to get this done and bring that was great to see,” Marinelli said. “It benefits the soccer, field hockey and lacrosse teams as well.”