The FCIAC held its initial football championship game in 1966 at Boyle Stadium. Rick Robustelli was the quarterback for Stamford Catholic, which upset Rippowam, 32-6, a team led by a star running back whose first professional baseball contract was negotiated with advice from Robustelli’s NFL Hall of Fame father Andy. The player was Bobby Valentine.
It remains the most attended final and still one of the most talked-about events in Stamford sports lore.
“I will always remember the first one,” said John Kuczo, the league’s executive secretary. “I was there. “We had a paid attendance of 11,000 people, but there were 3,000 people in the stadium before we even set up to sell tickets. It was an exciting game.”
This Thanksgiving morning, after six years housed elsewhere, the FCIAC championship returns to the venerable stadium on the Stamford High School campus. The game features the league’s top current rivalry in the sport, the teams from the neighboring towns of Darien and New Canaan.
After a long list of memorable accomplishments over the past two months, starting on Sunday morning it is time for you to decide who was the very best of the best. We have selected four outstanding male and seven female finalists for the BlueStreak-Ruden Report FCIAC Fall Male and Female Player of the Year award.
The winners will receive a trophy from BlueStreak Sports Training and The Ruden Report.
The final fields were compiled after talking to and getting recommendations from a number of league coaches in each sport, as well as personal observations.
There will be a separate vote for a Football Player of the Year at the end of the season.
It was just seven weeks ago, and Rich Albonizio was admittedly frustrated and distraught. The Greenwich High School football team, a preseason favorite, was sitting with an 0-3 record and already falling under the “playing for pride” category with nearly 75 percent of its schedule remaining.
The Cardinals turned the ball over four times in a season-opening 35-22 loss to West Haven, then were defeated in back to back games against Darien and New Canaan, when the scores were close in the final quarter both times.
“The first three games we had an awful lot of turnovers, a lot of penalties in critical situations,” Albonizio, the Cardinals’ coach, said. “Everything just seemed to happen at an inopportune time.”