The jerseys of the opposing quarterbacks told the tale as New Canaan High met Naugatuck in the opening round of the Class L playoffs Tuesday night. The Greyhound quarterback, Erich Broadrick, was covered in mud from head to toe on a wet, sloppy field. New Canaan's Matt Milano looked like he had just picked up his jersey from the dry cleaners.
The difficult field conditions made for an old-school, smash-mouth contest, but star wide receiver Kevin Macari proved the difference, as the Rams came away with a 21-12 victory at Naugatuck. It was the Rams' lowest point total this season.
"It was ugly, but we'll take the win," New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli said. "Thank God we have Kevin Macari."
New Canaan's dominant offense was shut down for the most part. That cleared the way for the Rams' unsung defense to shine, racking up eight sacks on Broadrick. Ryan Shullman did the honors three times. Milano, meanwhile, was barely touched the entire game.
That did not mean Milano had an easy time. Naugatuck's secondary was "the best we've seen all year," Macari said. Milano did not put up his usual superhuman numbers but connected with Macari when it counted. Macari collected touchdown receptions of 11, 47, and 62 yards to bring his total on the year to 19 scores. Milano threw his 34th touchdown of the year, breaking a 39-year-old school record.
"The mud definitely played a factor, but we adjusted and played through it," Macari said. "It was tough finding my footing at first, but once I got it going it definitely came easier."
Naugatuck threatened twice, but a forced fumble by Joe Costigan and an interception by Cameron Armstrong on consecutive possessions sealed the win for the Rams. New Canaan was also the beneficiary of 11 penalties against the Greyhounds.
New Canaan will take on second-ranked Daniel Hand High in the Class L semifinals on Saturday. The site and time of the game have yet to be determined.
Were you at Tuesday's quarterfinal game? Tell us what you thought about New Canaan's victory!