New Canaan Football Places Eight Players, One Coach on All-FCIAC First Team

As the FCIAC regular season came to a close last weekend, the New Canaan Rams stood atop the league with a perfect 9-0 record heading into Thursday’s conference championship against Darien. So it comes as no surprise that the Rams lead all schools by having eight players named to the 2014 All-FCIAC first team. QB Michael Collins, WR Alex LaPolice and offensive linemen Jim Keneally and Lucas Niang were named to the first team on offense. The defensive first team honorees were linebacker Zach Allen, defensive backs Michael Kraus and Sterling O’Hara and lineman Malaki Holan. Also receiving a postseason honor was defensive coordinator Chris Silvestri who was named FCIAC Assistant Coach of the Year.

FCIAC Final vs. Darien Looms as New Canaan Football Finishes Unbeaten Regular Season with 47-16 Win vs. Trinity

Though his team’s 47-16 win over the Trinity Catholic Crusaders on Saturday capped an undefeated regular season, the first thing New Canaan Football head coach Lou Marinelli said afterwards was that the final score belied a mistake-laden effort that the Rams must address before taking to the gridiron for the FCIAC final and states. The second thing he said was that Trinity head coach Don Panapada and his players—notably standout seniors Randy Polonia and Thomas Costigan, a captain, both of whom Marinelli said gave him “agita” all game—“made a tremendous effort and really played their hearts out.”

“I have all respect for Donnie and these kids—just a heartfelt, tremendous job by them,” Marinelli said. The Rams overcame an early deficit and five penalties for 47 yards, including a fourth-down off-sides call at the end of the first quarter, up just 14-7 at the time, that gave new life to a gutsy Crusaders team led by quarterback Anthony Lombardi, in perhaps the best QB performance against New Canaan all season. New Canaan also would fumble three times in the game—including once at Trinity’s 1-yard-line, with about one minute left in the first half, and just a 21-10 edge at the time. Yet another tremendous game from senior co-captain Alex LaPolice (three touchdowns, two interceptions), huge contributions from senior Michael Kraus (two touchdowns, interception) and a 13-23, 350-yard performance from QB Mike Collins—protected by an offensive line led by senior co-captain Jim Keneally—proved too much for Trinity to overcome. Athletes of the Week: Gracie Castle and Michael Kraus

The Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Baskin-Robbins, Connecticut Sandwich Co., Joe’s Pizza and Mackenzie’s. Congratulations to Grace Castle and Michael Kraus for being named Athletes of the Week. After finishing last season at 6-12, the New Canaan Rams Girls Volleyball team clinched a bid in the state playoffs earlier this week and currently sit in seventh place in the FCIAC at 9-6. A major reason for the turnaround has been the play of senior setter Gracie Castle. Castle led the Rams to a 3-0 win against Trinity Catholic on Tuesday, tallying 12 assists, seven kills and five aces.

New Canaan Tops Hatters 42-14, Improves to 5-0

After a penalty-laden win over Warde, the focus at practice this past week for the New Canaan Rams was to play a cleaner, more disciplined brand of football for their Friday night game against 3-1 Danbury. Mission accomplished. Led by an all-around star turn from senior co-captain Alex LaPolice (three TDs—two rushing, one receiving) and a solid overall defensive performance coupled with great special teams play, the Rams dominated the Hatters—all while drawing just four flags on their way to a 42-14 road win at Danbury High School. “We just wanted to maintain control, and I think we did that,” Marinelli told “Hopefully we can learn from the mistakes of the past and move on.”

There weren’t many gaffes for the Rams this week as they played perhaps their most complete overall game of the season.