Second Half Surge Propels New Canaan Football Over Greenwich 40-16


The first half of what was coined the “Marinelli Bowl II” seemed to follow the script of the first meeting between father and son head coaches last year. Lou Marinelli’s New Canaan Rams got out to an early lead, then John Marinelli’s Greenwich Cardinals came back to pull close. The Rams were on their heels, clinging to a 13-8 lead over the Cardinals at intermission.

But as the fog rolled across Dunning Field, so did the offense for the Rams as No. 2 New Canaan (6-0) put up 27 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters en route to a 40-16 win over the Cardinals (4-2) Friday night.

“We were reeling because we couldn’t block them up front,” Lou Marinelli told “It wasn’t until Drew Pyne finally settled down and he was able to do some things on his own that really helped us out.”

Pyne, New Canaan’s freshman quarterback, had perhaps the best game of his brief career, completing 11 of 21 passes for 181 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran nine times for 69 yards, showing an ability to make things happen with his feet just as much as he did with his arm.

“Game time experience is so vital,” Rams senior offensive lineman and co-captain Teddy Hood said. “As we play more games Drew gets more comfortable, makes more decisions and gets more comfortable making the plays he can make rushing and throwing. He’s been unbelievable.”

Also unbelievable was New Canaan’s defense, which held the high-powered Greenwich rushing attack to just 134 yards, 51 of which came on a long run by the Cardinals’ star running back Kevin Iobbi late in the fourth quarter and long after the game’s outcome had been determined. New Canaan caused five Greenwich turnovers, including two interceptions from senior co-captain Tom Root and one from Sean Knight. Senior defensive lineman Jack Kircher was also a force all night with two sacks and constant pressure on the Greenwich offensive backfield.

“Our secondary held up well,” Kircher said. “Our D-line performed well and our linebackers filled the holes perfectly, so it was just a great game defensively.”

“Chris Silvestri is one of the best-kept secrets,” Marinelli said of his defensive coordinator. “The staff with Jason Miska and Frank Arcamone and Harry Catanzaro—those guys work their rear ends off and I think it showed tonight. When the offense is sputtering like that early, I think (the defense) played 60 plays in the first half. But then we were able to give them a little bit of a break in the second half. We started making some plays and we made some decent adjustments at halftime.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Rams broke through in the second as touchdown passes from Pyne to senior Jack Hoelzer and senior co-captain Ryan O’Connell put New Canaan up 13-0.

Greenwich battled back as quarterback Connor Langan capped off an 11-play, 80-yard drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Harris with just 26 seconds left in the half. After the two-point conversion, Greenwich trailed 13-8.

New Canaan came out firing in the third quarter, scoring touchdowns on three consecutive offensive series. On the opening drive Pyne hit sophomore Quintin O’Connell for a 21-yard score, extending the Rams lead to 19-8.

After a strong defensive stand gave New Canaan the ball at the Greenwich 34, the Rams made it 26-8 on the ensuing drive as O’Connell ran it in from 10 yards out.

New Canaan then forced a Greenwich turnover on downs and quickly converted, marching 62 yards in five plays and 48 seconds. Pyne found Appelt on a fade route for a 15-yard touchdown and a 33-8 lead with 4:03 left in the third quarter.

The Rams scored once more on a 22-yard Quinton O’Connell run with 4:01 left in the fourth quarter, stretching the lead to 40-8 before surrending a late Greenwich touchdown with their backup defense on the field.

The win was a convincing, yet emotionally difficult one for Lou Marinelli, who has made no secret of his lack of enjoyment coaching against his son.

“I hate it,” Marinelli said. “I hate having to walk across the field. Then we’re trying to run out the clock and the kid scores and it’s 40 points. So I didn’t even want to turn around and look at my wife. It’s tough.”

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*NC - Jack Hoelzer 26-yd. pass from Drew Pyne (PAT failed)
*NC - Ryan O'Connell 20-yd. pass from Drew Pyne (Hoelzer kick)
*G - Jeremiah Harris 29-yd. pass from Connor Langan (2-pt. conversion good)
*NC - Quintin O'Connell 21-yd. pass from Pyne (PAT failed)
*NC - R. O'Connell 10-yd. run (Hoelzer kick)
*NC - Jackson Appelt 15-yd. pass from Pyne (Hoelzer kick)
*NC - Q. O'Connell 22-yd. run (Hoelzer kick)
*G - Kevin Iobbi 8-yd. run (2-pt. conversion good)

Key Stats:

*Ryan O'Connell: 16-83, TD rushing; 3-65 TD receiving
*Drew Pyne: 11-20, 184 yds., 4 TD passing; 9-69 rushing
*Quintin O'Connell: 3-34, TD rushing; 3-41, TD receiving
*Jackson Appelt: 1-15, TD receiving
*James Freyre: 18 tackles
*Tommy Root: 4 tackles, 2 INT's
*Grant Morse: 12 tackles
*Andrew Bauersfield: 11 tackles, sack
*Turnovers: NC - 0, G - 5
*Penalties NC - 13 for 132 yards; G - 10 for 110 yards

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