New Canaan Football Blanks Norwalk 43-0

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It was one heck of a way to start a football game.

Ryan O’Connell had a season’s worth of highlights in the game’s early moments, scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter and adding three interceptions in the first half—including a pick-six on the game’s first play from scrimmage—to lead New Canaan to a 43-0 win over the Norwalk Bears Friday night at Dunning Field.

“He’s been everything,” New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli said of his senior co-captain. “He’s the best around on both sides of the ball since [current New Canaan defensive coordinator and former star player] Chris Silvestri’s been here.”

High praise indeed.

New Canaan (7-0) completely dominated Norwalk (3-4) throughout the game, outgaining the Bears 513 to 34 in total offense with O’Connell accounting for 108 of those yards (66 receiving and 42 rushing, with a touchdown in both categories). Younger brother—sophomore Quintin O’Connell—also had a monster game, hauling in seven receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown and freshman quarterback Drew Pyne impressed, completing 16 0f 22 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns while leading New Canaan with 57 yards rushing.

After taking a 6-0 lead on O’Connell interception return just 16 seconds into the game, New Canaan wasted little time adding to its advantage. A second O’Connell interception set the Rams up at the Norwalk 26-yard line. Five plays later O’Connell ran it in from four yards out for a touchdown and a 13-0 Rams lead with 4:51 to go in the first quarter.

After New Canaan’s defense forced a three-and-out on the next Norwalk drive, a bad snap on the resulting punt sailed out of the back of the end zone for a safety, extending the Rams’ lead to 15-0. New Canaan received possession on the ensuing free kick and scored immediately on a 54 Pyne-to-O’Connell catch-and-run to go up 22-0 with 1:55 still to play in the opening quarter.

New Canaan scored again on its second possession in the second quarter, driving 79 yards in just five plays. Pyne capped off the drive with a 12-yard strike to Quintin O’Connell, putting the Rams up 29-0 with 7:20 left in the half.

“It’s been so much fun,” Ryan O’Connell said of playing alongside his younger brother. “We’ve been looking forward to this since we were five and seven-years-old. We’d show up to these games and say, ‘Hey, can’t wait for it to be our turn.’ This has been a dream-come-true playing with my brother this year.”

The Rams scored twice in the third quarter to put the game completely out of reach. Pyne found junior Patrick Metzger with an eight-yard touchdown pass, followed by a 10-yard touchdown run by Owen Shin.

Meanwhile, the New Canaan defense—led by senior co-captains Tommy Root and James Freyre and defensive lineman Jack Kircher—held a beat-up Norwalk offense completely in check, forcing the Bears to punt on every offensive possession of the second half and allowing just two first downs the entire game.

The No. 2 Rams travel to Trumbull then Fairfield Ludlowe over the next two weeks, setting up another potentially epic showdown against Darien, currently ranked No. 1 in the state. That said, Ryan O’Connell and the Rams aren’t looking past next week.

“We can’t get complacent,” O’Connell said. “We have a great Trumbull team that we have to play next week. We can’t sleep on anybody.”

New Canaan22714043

*NC - Ryan O'Connell 35-yd. INT return (PAT failed)
*NC - R. O'Connell 4-yd. run (Grant Morse kick)
*NC - Safety (Ball snapped out of end zone)
*NC - R. O'Connell 54-yd. pass from Drew Pyne (Morse kick)
*NC - Quintin O'Connell 11-yd. pass from Pyne (Morse kick)
*NC - Patrick Metzger 21-yd. pass from Pyne (Morse kick)
*NC - Owen Shin 10-yd. run (Morse kick)

Key Stats:

*Ryan O'Connell: 10-42, TD rushing; 3-66 TD receiving, 3 INT's, pick-six
*Drew Pyne: 16-22, 237 yds., 3 TD passing; 9-57 rushing
*Quintin O'Connell: 7-146, TD receiving
*Charlie Hane: 7 tackles, sacks
*Seamus O'Hora: 6 tackles, 2 sacks
*Total Offense: NC - 513, N - 34
*First downs: NC - 23, N - 2
*Turnovers: NC - 1, N - 3

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