NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- State titles have become commonplace for the New Canaan High School football team since the turn of the century. The Rams have a chance to win another one on Saturday as they face their fiercest rival for the championship.
New Canaan advanced to the Class L Large Division title game with a 27-14 win over Wethersfield last Saturday. The Rams (10-1) meet Darien (12-0) for the state crown at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at West Haven High School. Tickets are available on the CIAC website .
New Canaan led 21-0 at halftime in the win over Wethersfield, before the Eagles stormed back in the third quarter to get within 21-14. Alex LaPolice turned the momentum around with a 95-yard touchdown run, the longest in school history, and the Rams’ defense controlled Wethersfield thereafter.
Quarterback Mike Collins passed for 130 yards and a touchdown, while LaPolice (141 yards) and Frank Cognetta (121 yards) led the ground attack. LaPolice had two touchdowns, while Michael Kraus and Kyle Smith also reached the end zone.
Zach Allen, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, had 10 tackles and one sack. Cass Knox had 1.5 sacks and Malaki Holan had an interception.
New Canaan now meets Darien for the title. The teams have been down this road twice before in the last six years. And New Canaan has come out on top each time.
New Canaan beat Darien, 44-12, in last year’s Class L final. In 2008, the Rams won 26-7.
Darien did beat New Canaan in the regular-season final on Thanksgiving, 28-21, in overtime. That win also gave the Blue Wave the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference title. Darien has won three of the last four meetings against New Canaan.
The Rams, however, have won seven state titles since 2000. New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli has won nine state titles in his 34-year tenure, and his 307 career victories leads active coaches.
West Haven’s Ed McCarthy, who stepped down this year, has 333 career victories. Bill Mignault, who coached at Ledyard and Waterford, has 321 career wins. Mignault retired in 2007.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.