NEW CANAAN, Conn. – New Canaan’s football team fought to the final snap Sunday before its run of five straight appearances in state championship games ended with a 27-21 loss to Windsor in the Class L semifinals at Bunnell High School.
The sixth-seeded Rams (8-3) trailed from the first quarter against No. 2 Windsor, a team they defeated in last year’s semifinals. Windsor (11-0) led 27-14 late in the fourth quarter when Michael DiCosmo raced 79 yards with a Windsor fumble with 47.3 seconds left.
New Canaan could not recover the onsides kick and Windsor ran out the clock. Windsor will play in the state championship game on Friday or Saturday against Hand.
“We lost to a better team,’’ New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “They’re a team that deserves to go and play for the state championship. We did not play well enough to go play for a state championship.”
New Canaan was hurt by offensive inconsistency, including four turnovers. A fumbled punt and an interception gave Windsor short field on two of the Warriors’ touchdowns. Another came on a 45-yard pass from Robert Fleeting to Ryheime Moore.
Still, the Rams had a chance after DiCosmo’s fumble return if they could have recovered the onsides kick. The ball bounced for an eternity before Windsor finally recovered on its own 19-yard line.
“Had we gotten that we would’ve had a chance, but it just wasn’t meant to be,’’ Marinelli said. “We were telling them keep playing, keep playing, and we called our last time out and we told them we could do it. Then we got that touchdown and had a chance.”
Windsor scored on Fleeting’s 1-yard run in the first quarter and the long touchdown to Moore in the second. The Warriors led 14-0 at halftime.
Devonte Dillion scored on a 7-yard run with 7:37 left in the third quarter, but the Rams answered with two minutes left in the third quarter on a 45-yard pass from Teddy Bossidy to Cole Turpin. Windsor marched 65 yards for Dillion’s second touchdown, an 8-yard run with 7:38 left. Dillion rushed for 78 yards for Windsor, 71 coming in the second half.
The Rams managed to make it close, but could not get the ball back to take a shot at the upset.
“I can’t ask for anything more,’’ Marinelli said. “I’m very proud of the seniors and how hard they worked. It’s just a gutsy group of kids that doesn’t give up.”