New Canaan routs Staples to remain undefeated
NEW CANAAN -- A rare bye week wasn't enough to slow down the high-powered New Canaan offense. Quarterback Michael Collins and company didn't get too many chances to strike with visiting Staples determined to play keep away early, but when the Rams got on the field, they made the Wreckers pay.
Frank Cognetta and Alex LaPolice each scored two touchdowns as New Canaan pulled away for a 35-2 win over Staples on Friday night to remain undefeated.
The Rams (6-0) defense pitched a shutout led by the efforts of Zach Allen, who blocked a field goal and recorded a sack. Staples ran 40 plays in the first half in an attempt to keep the Rams on the sideline.
"(Staples does) that option and it comes down to assignment football," Allen said. "A little lapse and they break one; you have to stay smart. The coaches really trained us; the bye week helped us a lot with the assignments and everything."
Leading 14-2 late in the third quarter, LaPolice scored on a 16-yard touchdown run. After forcing a three-and-out, New Canaan scored again when quarterback Michael Collins found Kyle Smith for a 53-yard score to seal the win. The two touchdowns came 3:09 apart and gave New Canaan some breathing room.
"It was a little bit of a relief because we didn't do anything the first series (in the second half), and they took the ball right down," Rams coach Lou Marinelli said. "But we were able to hold them."
The Rams forced another three-and-out and two plays later Cognetta scored on a 28-yard touchdown run to complete the scoring.
The Wreckers had chances to stay afloat early but squandered most of them. Trailing 14-0 midway through the second quarter, a snap on first-and-goal from the New Canaan 3-yard line was fumbled backwards, which led to a missed field goal. The Wreckers -- who turned the ball over at midfield on the opening drive -- had drives of 12 and 16 plays that came up empty.
"This has been a microcosm of our entire season," Wreckers coach Marce Petroccio said. "We just make too many mistakes to beat a football team like that. "They're an excellent team, well coached. If it's not a big play, it's a fumble or a drop. It's too bad because I thought our kids fought hard tonight."
Collins was 10 of 16 passing for 276 yards and two touchdowns as the Rams outgained the visitors 431-170. After recovering the early Staples fumble, New Canaan took the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Cognetta that was set up by 48-yard pass play to Michael Cognetta. LaPolice had a 76-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
Wreckers sophomore Ethan Burger had 22 carries for 107 yards. The lone Wreckers points came on a safety when Collins was sacked by Will Newman for a nine-yard loss in the end zone.
The win keeps New Canaan's hopes of an undefeated season alive ahead of a showdown with fellow contender St. Joseph.
"You're always happy with 6-0, but there have been some sloppy games," Allen said. "We haven't played our best game yet. Coach Marinelli tells us we have to improve; hopefully we just have great practices and build off that."
New Canaan 35, Staples 2
STAPLES 0 2 0 0--2
NEW CANAAN 6 8 14 7--35
NC--Frank Cognetta 1 run (kick missed)
NC--Alex LaPolice 76 pass Michael Collins (Collins pass Matt Cognetta)
NC--LaPolice 16 run (Peter Swindell kick)
NC--Kyle Smith 53 pass Collins (Swindell kick)
NC--Cognetta 28 run (Swindell kick)
Records: Staples 3-4, New Canaan 6-0.