STAMFORD — For a New Canaan program adjusting to life in Class LL, Friday’s game at Trinity Catholic provided a reprieve for the powerhouse on the outside looking in at playoff qualification after opening the season ranked No. 1 in the state.
Notre Dame commit Drew Pyne completed 16 of 20 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers in the first half as the Rams cruised to a 42-7 win. Pyne also added a rushing touchdown before giving way Reid Brown after halftime.
“We had a great week of practice — probably the best week of practice we’ve ever had all season,” Pyne said. “Translating from practice into the game makes everything feel better and makes us realize how much more important is. So we’re just taking it week by week, game by game, because, you know, we’ve got our backs against the wall.”
The Rams, now 4-2, entered the game unranked in the latest GameTimeCT poll after losing to Greenwich and sitting idle in the last two weeks. Their only other loss came in the opener against St. Joseph, but that’s all it takes to be passed in the rankings.
More concerning than New Canaan’s place among the pollsters, though, was its spot in the CIAC Class LL Point Rankings. The Rams entered the week ranked 12th, needing to close a considerable gap to get into the top eight and earn a playoff spot.
“We have to win,” New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “Even if we win out, there’s a chance we won’t make it. We made our own bed, so hopefully we can just keep winning and see what happens.
“We had great expectations coming in and we blew it the first game, and against Greenwich,” Marinelli added. “So we made our own bed.”
The Rams may have to sleep in that bed eventually, but Friday night wasn’t that time.
Smiles were abundant on the visiting sideline at Gaglio Field as New Canaan’s offense sliced through an overmatched opponent. The Rams, who were bumped up to Class LL this season with a listed enrollment of 679 boys, were visiting Trinity, one of the smallest schools in Class S.
The Rams recorded an interception on the game’s opening drive and running back J.R. Moore reached the end zone just two plays later. The Rams went on to score touchdowns on six of their seven first-half drives while their defense pitched a shutout — Trinity’s only score came on an electric 85-yard kickoff return from Michael Barrett. Total offense was 457 yards for New Canaan and negative-2 for Trinity.
Moore ran for 50 yards on six carries while Pyne and Luke Morton rushed for 47 yards each. Quintin O’Connell caught eight passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Rigione had two sacks.
“I think our special teams are a little suspect, so we have to go back and work on (that),” Marinelli said. “But I thought our offensive line got better this week. We were missing one of our guys, but the other kids stepped in and did a good job. But I do think it’s a work in progress and we have to keep improving each week.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Drew Pyne. He made the game look easy, putting the Rams up 42-7 at halftime. The entire second half featured a running clock.
“I think they deserve an awful lot of credit,” Marinelli said of Trinity. “They got like 30 kids, we got like 90, and they came out and fought like hell. They came right back and there was no quit in them. I think their coaches and their kids are really to be complimented; they’ve done a tremendous job. They just got a little overwhelmed people-wise but I think they’re doing a hell of a job.”
Trinity heads across Stamford to face Westhill at 1 p.m. next Saturday. New Canaan heads to New Jersey to face Pascack Valley at 2 p.m. next Saturday before closing with Norwalk, Ludlowe and Darien.
NEW CANAAN 49, TRINITY CATHOLIC 7
NEW CANAAN 21 21 7 0 — 49
TRINITY CATHOLIC 7 0 0 0 — 7
NC — J.R. Moore 3 run (Nicholas Radman kick)
NC — Moore 16 pass from Drew Pyne (Radman kick)
TC — Michael Barrett 85 kickoff return (Mark Lombardo kick)
NC — Pyne 28 run (Radman kick)
NC — Stephen Wronski 11 pass from Pyne (Radman kick)
NC — Quintin O’Connell 22 pass from Pyne (Radman kick)
NC — Wyatt Wilson 52 pass from Pyne (Radman kick)
NC — Luke Morton 47 run (Radman kick)
Records: New Canaan 4-2, Trinity 0-6