The New Canaan Rams and Greenwich Cardinals have had many memorable clashes on the football field over the years. This season, it’ll be a family affair.
Father and son will be on opposite sidelines in the unique meeting, as Lou Marinelli leads New Canaan against the Cardinals and first-year head coach John Marinelli on Saturday at Cardinal Stadium.
An assistant with the Rams for six years, John Marinelli was one of the architects of New Canaan’s recent run of success, earning the FCIAC Offensive Coach of the Year award two seasons ago.
Saturday’s 3 p.m. game, which is also Greenwich’s Homecoming contest, will be broadcast live on the HAN Network, at live.HAN.Network and its affiliate websites — including NCAdvertiser.com, Greenwich-Post.com and FCIAC.net. All regular-season Connecticut sports contests on HAN Network are broadcast for free. You can see the broadcast schedule here. HAN’s FCIAC postseason coverage, which includes boys and girls soccer, field hockey, cross country, volleyball and football is available for a nominal subscription cost, detailed here.
Highlights from last week’s FCIAC Game of the Week:
The HAN Network broadcast begins Saturday, Oct. 24, at noon with FCIAC Tailgate, which includes a look at other FCIAC sports in addition to interviews with various guests from the schools involved and others from the local community. Tailgate is followed by FCIAC Gameday, which features football interviews, a look at the FCIAC and state football scenes, and a preview of the New Canaan-Greenwich game.
The Cardinals will be looking to rebound from a tough 28-23 loss to Trumbull last week.
Greenwich is 2-2, having flip-flopped wins and losses. The Cards claimed their opener 42-38 against Trinity Catholic, but lost to Darien 51-28 the following week. They then pounded Central 42-0 before falling to Trumbull. The Darien game was carried live on the HAN Network. You can watch the entire on-demand broadcast below:
New Canaan, on the other hand, has been on an absolute tear, winning their first four games by a combined score of 201-44. None of their opponents, Ridgefield (2-2), Central (0-4), Westhill (1-3), and Danbury (1-3), sport winning records, but the Rams and especially quarterback Michael Collins, have been on point since day one this fall. The Rams’ season opener against Ridgefield was also carried live on HAN. You can watch the entire on-demand broadcast below:
The 6-5 Collins is setting a blistering pace in the passing attack, throwing for 23 touchdowns while playing only the first half of all four Ram games. He is 55-of-83 for 1,052 yards with just one interception.
He has several strong targets to work with, including senior Kyle Smith 11 catches, 241 yards, 5 TDs), Andrew DeFranco (10 catches, 196 yards, 5 TDs), and Peter Swindell (9 catches, 189 yards, 8 TDs).
The ground game features brothers Matt and Michael Cognetta. Matt Cognetta did the bulk of the running in the first three games, rushing 30 times for 140 yards and two TDs, and MIchael was fantastic as the starter against Danbury on Saturday, rushing nine times for 129 yards and a touchdown.
New Canaan also features a big and experienced offensive line, led by Lucas Niang (6-7, 305), Will Conley (5-10, 280), and center Gardner Read (5-10, 280).
On the defensive side, New Canaan stars OLB David Strupp, SS Michael Cognetta, SS DeFranco, DL Teddy Hood, DL Sam Larson, DT Andrew Chalon, OLB Sean Jensen, and CB Thomas Root among others.
Greenwich’s offense includes a pair of quarterbacks in the 6-5, 215-pound Nick Smoller, and 6-1, 184-pound Frank Alfano.
Alfano has the better numbers, completing 30-of-57 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. Smoller is 9-of-18 for 92 yards and two TDs.
The Cards also feature three-year starter Scooter Harrington, a 6-6, 242-pound athlete who plays both sides of the ball at tight end and defensive end.
The ground game has two big threats in backs Luke Bienstock and Kevin Iobbi. The pair has paced the offensive attack — Iobbi has 33 carries for 223 yards and four TDs, while Bienstock has 26 carries for 222 yards and four TDs.
Joseph Longo is the leading receiver with 11 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
In addition to Harrington, the defense stars DL Kevin Woodring (6-3, 260), DL Ian Bannon (6-2, 240), DE Jake Herman (6-3, 225), OLB Michael Giansello (6-1, 192) and DT Peter Santry (6-3, 245).
The HAN Network, formerly known as Hersam Acorn Newspapers, is the exclusive FCIAC broadcast partner through the spring of 2018. HAN Network’s broadcasting division replaced HANRadio.com with a new focus on live video streams of high school athletics along with the Network’s news and lifestyle programming.
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