"I've been big ever since I was little." - William "The Refrigerator" Perry
Despite some stellar running on offense and a strong overall defensive performance, the New Canaan 3rd Grade Red football team was at the wrong end of a 15-0 score against a very big, strong Fairfield Wildcats team on Saturday morning at Dunning Field.
New Canaan took the opening drive down to the Fairfield 24 yard line behind a 14-yard run from tailback Max Budnick, followed by a 25-yard run by QB Giovanni Cascione. Strong blocking was provided by Cooper Dinan and Trey Hartnett on the left side of the O-Line, and by Andrew Rittenberry and Charlie Besgen on the right side. The drive would stall there however; as Fairfield recovered an NC fumble, preventing the Reds from taking an early lead.
The Red defense would not bend, however. After stopping Fairfield on 1st and 2nd down, with Colin Tiscornia and Gunnar Watson sealing off one end of the field, and Rittenberry and Matthew Salmini crashing down on the other end, Brian Balkun slid through the middle to drop the Fairfield QB on 3rd down for a drive-ending sack.
New Canaan took over again, switching up the offensive scheme with Cascione moving to tailback. Taking a pitch from QB Ryan Connelly, Cascione reeled off a sweep to left side for a 20-yard gain. Budnick followed with a 10-yard run, and the Reds were seemingly back in business in familiar territory at the Fairfield 20.
Unfortunately for New Canaan, the drive ended there. Fairfield was able to hold NC just a couple of yards short of what would have been a 1st & Goal, and the Wildcats took over on downs.
Led by Will Larson’s 3 solo tackles and Henry Scott and Jack Hladick’s pressure from the outside LB positions, New Canaan had Fairfield seemingly held in check with a 4th & 5 at the NC 15. However, the Wildcats were able to draw NC offside, and with a fresh set of downs, they eventually punched it in for the game’s first score. After a successful 2-point conversion, New Canaan was down 8-0.
With only 30 seconds left in the half, New Canaan took over at the 20. A quick bubble screen from Cascione to Hartnett netted 14 yards, stopping the clock with 22 seconds left. Cascione took the next play to midfield, and New Canaan called a timeout with 11 seconds to go. Fairfield was able to hold NC from there, switching to a dime package on defense, eliminating any chance of a Hail Mary. The teams went into the half with NC down 8-0.
The second half featured brilliant defense from James and Will Casey, whose hard hitting and tight coverage gave the Wildcats double-vision, and Griffin Gentner who was constantly wreaking havoc in the Fairfield backfield. New Canaan clamped down, allowing only one big play – a 50 yard TD run – in the entire half. In spite of the spirited effort, New Canaan was not able to overcome the two-score deficit.
The New Canaan Red 3’s will be in action this upcoming Saturday on the road against arch-rival Darien. Kickoff is at 9am at Darien High School.