New Canaan beats Warde to stay undefeated
FAIRFIELD -- No matter the ugliness, coaches will always tell you a win's a win. But New Canaan football's victory over Fairfield Warde may need an entirely different category.
Through four quarters Thursday night, the Rams (4-0) amassed over 200 penalty yards and 10 infractions of either personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct in nature. Ahead two touchdowns in the third quarter, offensive coordinator John Marinelli was ejected after drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct call and needed to be escorted from the field.
As a result of his penalty, New Canaan was pushed back 15 yards from the Mustangs' two-yardline and missed a 34-yard field goal attempt, which would've extended its lead to three scores. However, senior Zach Allen picked off Warde quarterback Brandon Bisack on the ensuing drive and raced back 88 yards to set up Frank Cognetta's third touchdown of the night for an eventual 35-14 win.
"They had that three-step passing game all day, so coach told us to stay underneath everything," Allen said. "I just looked him up and turned around and the ball was there."
As for the penalties, Allen said fixing the Rams' self-inflicted tendency starts with him and his fellow captains.
"That's something we've got to completely fix. We get excited, but we've definitely got to tone it down," Allen said. "We just have to work on discipline. That's the senior leadership, especially the talking back and all those unsportsmanlike conduct (penalties)."
New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli wasn't so sure.
"I don't know. The official wouldn't talk to me," Marinelli said. "I think our kids overcame the adults tonight. They kept on fighting. It seemed like every play they got moved back further and further. But our kids kept coming back. I think we take away from that we have a lot of work to do. But our kids could've turned that into a very ugly situation. But they didn't."
The Mustangs opened the game with the ball and moved swiftly to midfield until Rams senior Michael Kraus picked off a Bisack pass and returned it back to the Warde 4-yardline. Cognetta then cashed in his first hand-off of the game for a 7-0 lead.
The teams then traded punts over the next five drives, when Cognetta struck again to close the opening quarter. New Canaan bookended the second quarter with scores from his younger brother, Matt, the latter which negated a Warde touchdown with under two minutes remaining.
Trailing 28-7, the Mustangs forced a three-and-out to start the new half and scored on a fourth-down touchdown pass from Bisack to captain Ryan Brown. Brown fought against tight coverage and tapped one foot in the corner of the endzone to effectively keep his team in the game.
From there, the penalties began to rack up and Warde's hopes were thwarted by Allen's interception.
Of all the flag-flying, Mustangs coach Duncan DellaVolpe had this to say:
"I'm probably best to say no comment ¦ all I can say is I'm glad my kids played hard and played with class and didn't get involved in any of the talking match."
Warde senior T.J. Gallagher suffered a severe concussion in the first quarter and was carted off the field on a stretcher after a 16-minute delay.
New Canaan 35, Fairfield Warde 14
NEW CANAAN 13 15 0 7--35
WARDE 0 7 7 0--14
NC-- Frank Cognetta 4-yard run (Jack Hoelzer kick)
NC--Frank Cognetta 2-yard run (Kick fail)
NC-- Matt Cognetta 26-yard run (Mike Collins pass)
NC--Mike Collins 10-yard pass to Matt Cognetta (Jack Hoelzer kick)
FW--Brandon Bisack 5-yard pass to Joey Potenza (Kick fail)
FW--Brandon Bisack 15-yard pass to Ryan Brown (Chris Jones kick)
NC-- Frank Cognetta 2-yard run (Jack Hoelzer kick)
Records: NC"3-0, W" 2-1