New Canaan Football Tops Ludlowe 42-7, Clinches Berths in FCIAC Championship Game and Class L Playoffs

New Canaan Football vs. Fairfield Ludlowe Nov. 13, 2015
New Canaan Football vs. Fairfield Ludlowe Nov. 13, 2015
Scenes from New Canaan’s 42-7 win over Fairfield Ludlowe, November 13, 2015. Credit: Terry Dinan
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The New Canaan Rams scored six touchdowns in the first quarter and cruised the rest of the way en route to a 42-7 victory over the Fairfield Ludlowe Falcons Friday night at Dunning Field. With the win, the Rams (8-0) punched their ticket to the FCIAC Championship game for the third consecutive year, also earning a spot in the Class L State playoffs.

“This has been our goal from the beginning of the year,” New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli told “To get back to the FCIAC championship game and put ourselves in a position to play for a State, so we’re right where we want to be.”

The Rams were led once again by quarterback Michael Collins, who followed up last week’s record-setting performance against Trumbull by completing 12 of 19 passes for 220 yards and five touchdowns against the Falcons (2-6), all in just one quarter of action. New Canaan senior running back Matt Cognetta also had a big night, scoring the game’s first touchdown with a 53-yard run. Cognetta (7-74 rushing, 5-71 receiving) was also on the receiving end of two of Collins’ touchdown passes.

“It really seemed like everything worked well for us,” Collins said. “The line was fantastic, Matt Cognetta was fantastic breaking off that huge run and the receivers—I don’t think we had a dropped ball all game.”

Collins also set a new school record for touchdown passes in a single season, eclipsing former Rams, and current Middlebury College QB Matt Milano’s mark of 42 set back in 2010. Collins now has 46 TD passes this season, the third-highest total in state history and just five away from the state record of 51 set by Woodland’s Tanner Kingsley in 2012.

“We’ve had a number of good ones, but he’s kind of stepped out,” Marinelli said. “42 points in the first quarter…wow. He’s a special kid and he’s worked hard to get where he is. It’s not like he just showed up and started throwing the ball.”

After Cognetta’s run put the Rams up 7-0, Collins went to work on the Falcon’s defense, hitting senior receiver Kyle Smith for a 25-yard scoring strike to extend New Canaan’s lead to 14-0 with 6:29 to go in the opening quarter.

After Ludlowe fumbled the ensuing kickoff, New Canaan wasted little time scoring again, as Collins found senior Andrew DeFranco for a the record-setting 19-yard touchdown and a 21-0 Rams lead with 5:46 left in the first.

Just over a minute later New Canaan scored again, following the first of two Rams interceptions on the night. Collins hit Cognetta on a swing pass for an 11-yard score making it 28-0 Rams with 4:45 left in the quarter.

New Canaan’s scoring onslaught continued after the Rams defense forced Ludlowe to a three-and-out, as Collins found senior Peter Swindell on a quick slant that went for a 53-yard catch-and-run and a 35-0 lead.

New Canaan made it 42-0 as on the last play of the first quarter, Cognetta hauled in a 14-yard TD pass, capping off the Rams’ scoring on the night. Ludlowe would eventually get on the scoreboard in the third quarter as Everett Metchick hit Sean Close on a 19-yard fade in the corner of the end zone, closing out the game’s scoring at 42-7.

New Canaan’s opponent in the conference title game will be determined tomorrow as Darien (7-0) hosts Staples (6-1), with the winner advancing to the championship. If Darien wins, it sets up a classic Turkey Bowl for the second straight year and give the Rams a chance to avenge last season’s heartbreaking loss at Boyle Stadium and three consecutive Thanksgiving Day losses. If Staples pulls off an upset win, New Canaan would take on the Wreckers next week.

“We’ll be watching the game,” Marinelli said. “We don’t know who we’re going to play, but we’re just glad to be there right now.”

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*NC – Matt Cognetta 53-yd. run (Peter Swindell kick)
*NC – Kyle Smith 25-yd. reception from Michael Collins (Swindell kick)
*NC – Andrew DeFranco 19-yd. reception from Collins (Swindell kick)
*NC – Cognetta 11-yd. reception from Collins (Swindell kick)
*NC – Swindell 53-yd. reception from Collins (Swindell kick)
*NC – Cognetta 7-yd. reception from Collins (Swindell kick)
*L – Sean Close 19-yd. reception from Everett Metchick (Evan Petterson kick)

Key Stats:

*Michael Collins: 12-19, 220 yds., 5 TD's passing, sets NCHS record for TD passes in a single season (46)
*Matt Cognetta: 7-74, TD rushing; 5-71, 2 TD's receiving
*Peter Swindell: 3-74, TD receiving; 6-6 PAT's
*Total Offense: NC - 358; Ludlowe - 106
*Turnovers: NC - 2; Ludlowe - 4
*First Downs: NC - 13; Ludlowe - 6 (no first downs in 1st half)

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