NEW CANAAN, Conn. Good quarterbacks like to have receivers like New Canaans Patrick Newton. The senior is one of the favorite targets for Matt Milano, and has been one of the key players in helping the Rams advance to the semifinals of the Class L football tournament.
The fifth-seeded Rams (10-1) meet top-seeded Windsor (11-0) Saturday at 2 p.m. at East Haven High School. Newton, with 49 catches and nine touchdowns, has played a key part in helping them get there.
New Canaan has had a history of top-flight receivers in recent years, including Curt Ondash and Kevin Macari. Newton, at 5-feet-10 and 180 pounds, might not be as big or as fast. He is a classic possession receiver, knows how to find holes in the secondary and is always where Milano expects him to be.
He runs as disciplined patterns as anyone Ive ever had, coach Lou Marinelli said. Hes very quick, and he has the fastest time in our pro agility tests. Hes very shifty and he catches almost everything.
Marinelli said Newton has caught the attention of teammates at practice with some of his grabs. You know when you can tell great players, Marinelli said. Its after practices and the coaches are in the locker room and you listen to the kids. Theyll say, Did you see that catch he made? It was the same thing with Macari and Ondash. You come to expect that hell catch everything. When he drops one, you figure there must be something wrong with the ball.
Newton has 49 receptions and nine touchdowns for the Rams and is averaging 14.2 yards per completion. Connor Kilbane has 51 catches and Peter Kraus has 10 touchdowns. Because Newton has drawn the focus of defenses, it has left Milano with other options when Newton is double-teamed. Teams try to take Patrick away, and Matts so good about going through his progressions that hes able to check down and complete the pass, Marinelli said.
Newtowns best game came in a 43-14 rout of St. Joseph, where he caught eight balls, five for touchdowns. He had four catches and two touchdowns against Darien . He was held to one catch in Tuesdays 27-26 win over New London.
The young receiver is following the footsteps of his older brother, Cody, who had 72 catches for the Rams in 2009. Cody was also a high school lacrosse standout and is playing in college at Lehigh.
The other sport in which Patrick excels is tennis. He and teammate Jacob Reiss reached the semifinals of the Class L doubles tournament last spring before getting eliminated.
Before Newton can pick up his racket again, however, the Rams have the tough task of winning over the No. 1 seed on Saturday. Windsor has allowed more than two touchdowns in only one game this season, and surrendered just 86 points. Newton, Milano and the Rams will have to solve the Warriors defense to make it back to the state championship for the sixth straight year.
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