NEW CANAAN — Admittedly still overcoming the daze of a season-opening loss to St. Joseph, the New Canaan football team returned tonight to Dunning Field for the first time since, looking to overcome the early sluggishness in their first two games.
After Trumbull answered an opening-drive touchdown, the Rams scored on four of their next five possessions to take a 34-7 halftime lead and rolled to a 61-14 win and improved to 2-1.
While there are still areas that could be more fluid, New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli and his players admitted the ship was in the process of being righted.
“It kind of took us by surprise,” said Garrett Braden of losing the No. 1 ranking in the state so soon. “We weren’t ready for it and it took us a couple days to kind of realize what happened. The team got together and we met and said this is not who we are. We’ve got to get together and show what we can do. Last week and this week we started to show what we can do.”
One player who has already developed a strong early resume is sophomore quarterback Drew Pyne, and tonight was a showcase of his many talents. Pyne completed 17 of 23 passes for 237 yards and four scores. He also rushed for 73 yards, 15 coming on a touchdown run with 1:39 left in the first half.
New Canaan quickly got the ball back and Pyne hit Quintin O’Connell for his second touchdown with 15 seconds remaining to break open the game.
Pyne flourished with his ability to keep plays alive, scrambling for time, going through his progressions and running when that was the superior option.
“Great players do that,” Marinelli said of his still-developing quarterback. “He makes us look good a lot. And he’s starting to develop as a leader.”
Pyne was hardly the only offensive star. Five different players had at least two receptions. Owen Shin had 134 total yards, while two of Justin Greco’s three catches resulted in long scores.
“Last week we were ready to play, it just didn’t click for a couple of drives,” Braden, one of the team’s defensive leaders, said about a win over Danbury. “Today I think we showed what we have. A much better start. It was big the offense got off to a good start. We could do our thing, get everything going and show what we can do. It’s back to New Canaan football again.”
Trumbull coach Bob Maffei fortunately doesn’t have to coach against another Marinelli this season. The Eagles gave up 70 points in the opener against Greenwich, which is coached by Lou Marinelli’s son, John.
Maffei remained upbeat, pointing to the youth of an offense that often had just two seniors on the field.
“We’re playing a lot of young kids,” Maffei said. “It is going to be beneficial for us down the road. We’ve got our growing pains. We just have to get our stuff together, keep improving, we’ll be fine.”
The Rams got scores in the second half on an interception return by Nico Savini and runs from J.R. Moore and Thomas Russo.
Trumbull quarterback Colton Nicholas ran for one of the team’s touchdowns and the other came on a 60-yard pass from Hunter FitzGibbons to Kyle Atheron.
“I think those guys are starting to get better and better,” Marinelli said. “Hopefully we can get into a groove. It seems like they regained their composure and they started playing and just got down to business. They played the way we practice and that’s all I ask. I was pleased with the way it came out.”
Marinelli made it sound like tonight’s game was some sort of exorcism.
“Based on the way we started the season, it’s not easy to come in here and beat us after what happened,” he said. “I think it was good for our kids to win here.”