The Ruden Report Is Going On A Brief Hiatus

Darien and New Canaan II. For the state football championship.

It doesn’t get much bigger in these parts.

And lets not forget St. Joseph-Ledyard, one of the most intriguing final matchups.

This weekend is like dessert for anyone that likes high school football. Including the media.

I guess it is safe to say I am being sent to bed without my dessert. Quite literally.


The Ruden Report All-FCIAC Football Team

The media likes to kill the FCIAC for putting too many players on its All-Conference team. This year 40 were honored.

In trying to select my own Ruden Report team, the large number is understanding. There are tough cuts to be made. The league does not want to slight any deserving players.

Still, I decided to put together a team of just 25 players, including a utility player, kicker and punter. Just one player on my team was not voted All-FCIAC, and that was one of the most difficult choices.

Some caveats: I added a dozen players worthy of recognition, and even that was not enough, but at some point you have to draw a line. Some very good players were left on the cutting room floor. The NCAA Tournament has a 68-team field, and there are still arguments on some omissions.


Girls Basketball 2014-15: A Tight Pack, Led By Wilton, Looks To End Danbury’s Reign

As Wilton and Greenwich battled through an FCIAC Tournament semifinal game last February, more than one opposing coach in attendance expressed the same sentiment: this is going to be the championship next year.

With so many returning players on both sides, it would be hardly surprising if that turns into reality. Both teams are loaded and coming off of good seasons. Plus, the Gartner twins, who ended storied careers at Danbury that only seemed to last seven years because of their sustained level of excellence, have moved on after leading the Hatters to three straight championships.

But it would be most premature to ink in a Wilton-Greenwich rematch in the final. Both teams will have a maze of difficult opponents to get through.

In fact, the top of the league could be as tough as at any time in recent memory, with a number of teams capable of making title runs.


Vote For The BlueStreak-Ruden Report Football Player Of The Year

After a long list of memorable accomplishments over the past three months, it is time for you to decide who was the very best of the best. We have selected three outstanding finalists for the BlueStreak-Ruden Report FCIAC Football Player of the Year award presented by BlueStreak Sports Training and Rhone Apparel.

The finalists are: New Canaan’s Zach Allen, Darien’s Mark Evanchick and St. Joseph’s Lars Pedersen

The winner will receive a trophy from BlueStreak and a prize package from Rhone that includes the Durden 2.0 and Rail Splitter Henley shirts, and the Mahogany pants.


Analysis: New Canaan Football Team Situated At Rare December Crossroad

Just how painful New Canaan’s 28-21 overtime loss to Darien on Thanksgiving morning was to the entire program perhaps was best measured on the face and by the tone of its patriarch.

Talking to Lou Marinelli several times over the past few days, and seeing him Monday at the Stamford Old Timers dinner, there was something in his manner unlike anything I’ve previously seen in the three decades covering FCIAC football.

Few can match Marinelli in the upbeat department. How many coaches share his charisma, sense of humor and ability to captivate a room?

Those qualities were absent in the aftermath of a crushing defeat in which the Rams had a 21-0 lead three plays into the second quarter.


New Canaan’s Zach Allen Named Gatorade Connecticut Football Player Of The Year

New Canaan football coach Lou Marinelli probably should have known that in the age of social media, it is hard to keep any big news a surprise.

Then again, that Zach Allen, the Rams’ dominant outside linebacker, would be named the Gatorade Connecticut Football Player of the Year came as hardly a surprise.

Allen on Thursday became the second player in team history to receive the honor. The first, ironically, was Chris Silvestri in 1993. The former running back is currently New Canaan’s first-year defensive coordinator.

“I think the town, the school and the football program are proud to have one of our kids honored when only one from the state is selected,” said Marinelli, who learned of the news Wednesday night and had hoped to surprise Allen with a video on the school stadium’s scoreboard during practice on Thursday.


A Dozen Grizzlies Lacrosse Players Sign National Letters of Intent

NORWALK — As high schools across the area held events last month celebrating their students signing National Letters of Intents, a dozen girls sat around a table at the SoNo Field House and, prompted like the opening whistle to start a game, together penned commitments to colleges across the country, big and small.

The 12 are members of the Connecticut Grizzlies Women’s Lacrosse Club, one of the sport’s premier programs in the area, which is run and was co-founded by Darien High School coach Lisa Lindley.

“It’s thrilling and if anything it shows everyone we want to be inclusive of all teams in the FCIAC,” Lindley said. “We don’t want to be just a Darien program, or a New Canaan program, or a Wilton program. Kids from all the schools play for us.”


The Blitz: Random Thoughts On A Wild Final Week To The Regular Season

It was a pretty wild final week of the FCIAC regular season, headlined, of course, by Darien’s surprising rally from a 21-0 deficit to stun New Canaan, 28-21, in overtime for the conference championship.

Two schools that needed wins to give the conference five teams in the state playoffs were both defeated.

Overall, nine of 19 schools finished with seven or more wins. How many had Stamford, Trinity Catholic, Danbury and even McMahon in that group back in September?

Here are some random thoughts as we prep up for the state playoffs, with a possible Darien-New Canaan rematch looming and St. Joseph looking to win its second straight title.