NEW CANAAN — The way Lou Marinelli sees it, his players are unbeaten and looking forward to a strong playoff run.
This was Reboot Week for the New Canaan football team, the chance for a fresh start after finishing the first half of the season with a 3-2 mark, climaxed by a disheartening loss to Greenwich six days ago.
Penalized 16 times against the Cardinals and in a season-opening defeat to St. Joseph, the Rams were called for a block in the back on the first play tonight against Trinity Catholic. The next resulted in an interception.
But the Rams quickly cleaned up their play and came away with a 42-6 win against the undermanned Crusaders, an outcome they hope will be the stepping stone to a strong finish.
“I think we’re getting better,” Marinelli said. “I told them it’s a new season, we’re 1-0. We’re forgetting everything that happened and take it from here.”
Quarterback Drew Pyne completed 11 of 16 passes for 204 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for another.
“I thought Drew had a great game,” Marinelli said. “I thought he had a great game against Greenwich. We changed a few things and got him a little more settled down and he had some unbelievable throws tonight.”
Quintin O’Connell had a pair of scoring passes for the Rams, the first in the left corner of the end zone on a 28-yard play for a 7-0 lead and the second from 18 yards that made the score 35-0 at the half.
“This was about getting back on track and playing football the way we know how to play,” O’Connell said. “Not nearly as many penalties, we executed better, things you don’t see on the stats. Last week we didn’t run great routes, we didn’t block great. We limited our turnovers and cleaned up our routes.”
New Canaan opened the season ranked first in the state polls and then suffered a 38-35 loss to St. Joseph. Last week’s 36-21 defeat to Greenwich had words like “overrated” and “underachieving” tossed into the conversation.
The players heard them and agreed it was a time for self-reflection.
“I think from an outside perspective people saw, ooh, New Canaan is 3-2, and we didn’t go into Greenwich serious enough,” O’Connell said. “It’s like we went into the season with four straight state championships, it just sort of comes, but that’s not the case and St. Joe’s and Greenwich showed us that again. We had to change our mentality and stepped it up in practice and renewed our state of mind during this week.”
Pyne’s other scoring passes went to Patrick Metzger and Justin Greco, who led the team with 85 receiving yards. Zach Fishman replaced Pyne and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt Wilson.
Trinity (2-4) got a late score on Dwayne Liles’ 11-yard run.
“Those guys were outnumbered and right to the very end they kept playing their butts off,” Marinelli said about the Crusaders. “I admire them. We just had too many people. We just wore them down.”
The statistic that might have been most pleasing to Marinelli and his players: five penalties.
“The thing I was happy about is last week the mistakes brought us down and this week we let it roll off our back and kept on going,” Marinelli said. “The theme was to eliminate our mistakes.”