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New Canaan Slips Past McMahon With Late TD

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – For the third straight week, the New Canaan High School football team rallied in the second half to pull out a victory. Thursday’s 36-33 victory over Brien McMahon in Norwalk was its most improbable.

Quarterback Matt Milano hit Patrick Newtown with a 3-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds remaining to lift the Rams (4-0). McMahon led 33-21 late in the third quarter before Milano directed two fourth quarter scoring drives, including the game-winner when New Canaan got the ball back with just 1:16 remaining.

“I told them they just have to keep playing,’’ New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “It was an unbelievable effort by both teams.”

Milano, a senior, made the difference. He completed 28-of-38 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for one and was New Canaan’s leading rusher with 46 yards. “He’s the reason we won,’’ Marinelli said. “We have a lot of confidence in him and he was the difference tonight.”

New Canaan looked to be in trouble after Milano’s pass on fourth-and-two from the McMahon 8-yard line fell incomplete with less than three minutes to play. New Canaan’s defense, which forced three 3-and-out possessions by the Senators in the fourth quarter, got the ball back for Milano.

Starting at the McMahon 38, he hit Newton twice to bring the Rams to the 22-yard line. Two more completions put the Rams on the 3-yard line. On the winning touchdown, he rolled left and fired to Newton, who bulled his way into the end zone. “He was able to get just enough separation,’’ Milano said.

New Canaan faced an uphill battle the entire game. Kevin McDonough scored the Rams’ first touchdown on a 3-yard run to tie the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter. McMahon regained a 14-7 lead, but Milano’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Peter Kraus tied it at 14-14 midway through the second quarter. The Senators built a 27-14 halftime lead but missed a chance for more when the Rams held inside the 10-yard line late in the first half.

McDonough’s second touchdown on a 2-yard run got the Rams within 27-21. McMahon answered with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Damien Vega to Chris Jerome. The Rams countered with a 58-yard scoring drive that Milano finished off with an 8-yard touchdown run.

That set the stage for a wild final 10 minutes, capped by Milano’s game-winning pass to Newton. The Rams had fought back the past two weeks to beat Trinity Catholic and Fairfield Warde, but this one was much harder. “Brien McMahon deserves a lot of credit for how hard they played,’’ Marinelli said. “To lose like this two weeks in a row for them is devastating. They’re right there.”

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