NEW CANAAN - The old Dan Patrick catchphrase “you can’t stop them, you can only hope to contain them” might be the best approach for teams playing the New Canaan Rams.
Tonight, Fairfield Warde could do neither.
Led by senior QB Nick Cascione’s 4 TD’s (3 passing and 1 running) and another dominant defensive performance, New Canaan rolled over the Mustangs 45-21.
Displaying a devastating combination of quick defensive outs coupled with a lightening-fast offense, the Rams had Warde gasping for air by halftime, having built up a 31-0 lead.
“When you play a team like Warde that has a lot of kids going both ways, it wears them down,” said New Canaan Head Coach Lou Marinelli, who saw his team improve to 4-0 (3-0 in the FCIAC). “We’re fortunate enough that we’re able to kind of platoon.”
After being forced to punt after their first offensive drive was halted, the Rams took a trick play out of their back pocket to draw first blood. Cascione threw a swing pass to the right to senior WR Jack Gilio, who then threw a pass 34 yards to a wide-open Cole Turpin in the end zone for a 7-0 New Canaan lead.
“We worked on it going both to the right and left,” said Gilio. “The point was to bring it in a completely unexpected spot; I didn’t even expect it. Coach just asked if I was ready. I was pumped when he caught it…it was great.”
“They were coming up on the swings, and it worked,” said Marinelli. “It’s something in the offense that we have.”
After New Canaan extended the lead to 10-0 on a 33-yard Peter Swindell FG at the start of the 2nd Quarter, Alex Dobbin pounced on a Mustang fumble to set the Rams up on the Warde 27. Two minutes later the Rams punched in another score, as Cascione hit Carson Armstrong for a 10-yard TD and a 17-0 lead.
“Once we get going and once we get our rhythm, no one can really stop us,” said Gilio. “They held us for a little bit, but eventually we took off.”
After another quick defensive stop, Cascione wasted little time finding the end zone again, extending the lead to 24-0 with a 5-yard TD run.
“I trust my feet a little bit more than my arm at times, and I trust my arm a little too much at times,” said Cascione, who finished the game 9-16 for 138 yards passing to go along with team-high 47 yards rushing in just over one half of playing time. “They were filling windows really well, and I just got them moving when I was running, which opened up new windows when I was rolling out. Occasionally when those windows weren’t open I tucked it and ran and took what I could get.”
Four minutes later, Cascione found Turpin for a 25-yard scoring strike, and New Canaan went into the half up 31-0.
After a moving halftime ceremony honoring the late Ram QB Tom Mazzella with a plaque dedication at Hawes Plaza, the Rams picked up right where they left off. Cascione hit Graham Wagner with a bubble screen, and the senior WR followed an escort of blockers into the end zone for a 38-yard TD, putting New Canaan up 38-0.
Warde avoided the shutout with a 1-yard TD run from Colin Ventura, but New Canaan – despite resting most of their starters – answered with a scoring drive of their own, capped off with a 3-yard TD run from Chris Andrews. The Rams took a 45-7 lead into the 4th quarter.
Warde scored two unanswered 4th quarter TD’s against the New Canaan second-team defense, but it did little other than cover some spreads.
Never one to rest on his laurels, no sooner had the game ended when Marinelli already began looking toward next weeks’ homecoming matchup against a tough 2-2 Danbury squad.
“This is the worst week of the year for me,” said Marinelli. “We’ve got more distractions – Clone Day, School Spirit day, this day, that day – and sometimes you lose focus on what our job is, and that’s to win the game.”
1 2 3 4 TOT
NEW CANAAN (4-0) 7 24 14 0 45
WARDE (1-3) 0 0 7 14 21
NC – Gilio 34-yd. pass to Turpin (Swindell kick good)
NC – Swindell 33-yd. FG
NC – Cascione 10-yd. pass to Armstrong (Swindell kick good)
NC – Cascione 5-yd. run (Swindell kick good)
NC – Cascione 25-yd. pass to Turpin (Swindell kick good)
NC – Cascione 38-yd. pass to Wagner (Swindell kick good)
W – Ventura 1-yd. run (kick good)
NC – Andrews 3-yd. run (Swindell kick good)
W – Ventura 5-yd. run (2-pt. conversion good)
W – Bisack 27-yd. pass to Girard (2-pt. conversion failed)