New Canaan 6th Grade Red Football Shuts Out Fairfield


For “Shiftin’”Griffin Gentner, timing was of the essence.

The elusive New Canaan 6th Grade Red running back has had a tremendous, workman-like 2016 season, picking up huge yards and several key first downs all year long, but had yet to find the end zone. That is…until this past Saturday.

Gentner’s breathtaking 20-yard touchdown run in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter sealed the deal for Big Red (6-0-1) as they took down the tough Fairfield Wildcats  (5-2) 14-0 on the road at Taft Field.

“Everybody was blocking for me,” Gentner—who broke three would-be tackles on the run—told “I just read my blocks and ran as hard and fast as I could until I got into the end zone. It felt awesome because I knew we were going to win the game after that, and it was my first touchdown of the year.”

2016 has been a remarkable season thus far for Big Red, as they’ve shut out opponents in six of seven games en route to their undefeated record with one regular season game left to play. The only team to score against New Canaan this year was previously unbeaten Wilton White who crossed the goal line twice in Big Red’s 15-14 win two weeks ago. Even so, New Canaan entered Saturday’s contest just one-half game ahead of Fairfield for first place in the league. The Wildcats had pitched shutouts in five straight games—all wins—making Saturday’s showdown a defensive dream matchup.

New Canaan set the tone on the game’s opening series, as tackles from Caden “The Alley” Bowling, Gunnar “The Show” Watson andRyan “Dash” Calyanis forced a Fairfield three-and-out.

New Canaan then took the ensuing possession 57 yards on just five plays for the game’s first score. Despite playing without lineman Zach “I Am The” Manna and drawing the unenviable task of blocking Fairfield’s star defensive lineman Wyatt Morgan, center Charlie “Don’t Call Me George” Harrison and guard “Super” Cooper Dinan supplied great double-team protection for Gentner and quarterback Gio “Money” Cascione, who moved Big Red into Fairfield territory.

On second-and-12 from the Fairfield 45, Cascione faked a handoff to Gentner and bootlegged to the right where he found wideout Trey “Spiderman” Hartnett in the flat at the 37-yard line. Hartnett threw two textbook stiff-arms and broke a tackle at the goal-line for a remarkable 45-yard catch-and-run touchdown and a 7-0 New Canaan lead.

New Canaan’s defense picked up right where it left off, stopping Fairfield in its tracks once again. Tommy “Whatever He Wants He” Goetz, Mack “The Knife” Seelert and Brendan “Consigliere” Hagan forced a second consecutive three-and-out punt as the opening quarter came to a close.

Both defenses controlled the game for the second quarter. New Canaan standouts included linemen Gustav “The Goose” Neubohn,Dominic “The Dominator” Rasso and George “The Market” Stewart who consistently penetrated the Wildcats’ offensive backfield.Sean “All Along the” Watchmaker and Declan “Doc” Ratnerprevented any Fairfield breakaways in the New Canaan secondary as the game headed to halftime with NC up 7-0.

Big Red looked to add to its lead on the opening drive of the third quarter, but a penalty wiped out a potential 60-yd. Cascione-to-Hartnett TD pass to keep Fairfield within striking distance. New Canaan was able to control a substantial amount of possession thanks to Richie “The Big Hurt” Whitcomb, Charlie “Double C” Chisholm andJake “The Snake” Ellis who came up from their receiver spots to deliver hard downfield blocks for Big Red.

Meanwhile New Canaan’s defense stymied Fairfield’s attempts at a comeback. Linebackers Bennett “Canuk” Corley, Seelert, Cascione and Bowling controlled the middle of the field. A Hagan interception at the NC 25 ended Fairfield’s best scoring threat of the game as the third quarter expired.

New Canaan set up its next score on the ensuing possession, moving upfield behind the blocks of Ned “Quoth the” Ravanesi, Teddy “Bear” Rosen, Reese “Don’t Call Me Terry” Hanrattie, Flynn “Mister” Coffey and Alex “The Great” Capelo. After Gentner picked up 12 to convert on third-and-4, and a spectacular 17-yard reception by Bowling on third-and-12 New Canaan had a first down at the Fairfield 20, setting up Gentner’s late-game heroics.

New Canaan ended the game in style as Hagan recovered a high snap on the last play of the contest, putting an exclamation point on the morning’s action and giving Big Red some breathing room atop the 6thGrade standings.

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*NC – Trey Hartnett 45-yd. pass from Giovanni Cascione (Cascione PAT)
*NC – Griffin Gentner 20-yd. run (Mack Seelert PAT)

Key stats:

*Griffin Gentner: 4-45, TD rushing
*Mack Seelert: 1-5 receiving; 5 tackles, 3 sacks
*Gunnar Watson - 4 tackles, sack
*Giovanni Cascione: 5-8, 92 yds., TD passing, 7-11 rushing; 7 tackles
*Brendan Hagan: 2-5 rushing, 5 tackles, INT, fumble recovery
*Trey Hartnett: 3-70, TD receiving
*Turnovers: NC - 0, F - 2

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