NEW CANAAN — It might have been the first practice of the season for the New Canaan football team and coach Lou Marinelli, but it hardly seemed that were the case.
The sounds of whistles and buzzers continuously echoed across the New Canaan campus as Marinelli ran a strictly-timed, well-coordinated and disciplined first practice of the season in preparation for what will likely be a highly competitive season.
The Rams will be competing in Class L this season after being defeated in the Class LL state championship by Greenwich last year.
Class L projects to be contentious this season with New Canaan joining Hand, who was the Class L State Champion last season, and St. Joseph, which is moving to Class L after winning titles in Class M and S the past two seasons.
— Will Aldam (@AldamWill) August 20, 2019
“It’s great for high school football,” Marinelli said. “It is going to be tough, there are a number of teams that are really good. I just hope that in the end we get to the playoffs and everything. We will see. It’s a long season.”
Marinelli’s biggest challenge is filling the holes left by the graduation of a talented senior class, including a roster of all-staters: linemen Jack Conley (Boston College) and Jack Stewart (Michigan), linebacker Garrett Braden (Rice) and receiver Quintin O’Connell (North Carolina, lacrosse).
“We lost a lot,” Marinelli said. “(Last season’s) senior class was really good, but we have a lot of kids so we’re excited and we will see what happens.”
With the new campaign on the horizon, new names will be called upon. Senior safety/running back Drew Guida will look to step into a larger role for the Rams, along with senior safety/receiver Walker Swindell.
New Canaan finished 10-3 last season, falling to St. Joseph in its opening game. The two teams line up this year on October 4th at New Canaan.
It may have been the first day of practice, but it is the start of a long battle for senior quarterback Drew Pyne, Marinelli and the rest of the Rams in their quest for a Class L championship.