While you were all busy voting on our players of the week on the main site (what? you haven’t done it? Well get busy: http://connpost.com/highschoolfootball) I finally got a chance to cut together highlights from Saturday’s big performance from — yes, I’ll say it — the state’s No. 1 football team.
New Canaan and quarterback Turner Baty sliced and diced St. Joseph, 35-25, on a soggy day at Dunning Stadium. Baty, the California transplant, threw for over 300 yards for the second consecutive week as the starter. He hit seven different receivers, three for touchdowns. No matter what St. Joseph threw at them, the Rams stayed poised. They had an answer for everything.
Fourth and long? No problem. Penalty backed them up to the 9-yard line? Zip, zip, zip right back down the field for a score. Cody Newton caught six balls for 160 yards. Kevin Macari caught a bunch of passes, too — including a 43-yard touchdown — with a cast on his hand.
While the New Canaan defense had its hands full with big fullback Tyler Matakevich, its defense were able to largely contain QB Joe Della Vecchia and his receiving corps enough to where Matakevich’s big gains were the only real offense of the afternoon. New Canaan returned an early fumble for a score and, in the second half, picked off a pair of passes, which turned into quick strikes from Baty and a 35-12 lead after three quarters.
The Cadets appeared to get burned by a couple non-calls. One was what one reporter called an obvious fumble in the second quarter (impossible to tell in this video), and the other was a called incomplete pass that most on the sidelines believed should have been ruled intentional grounding. I look at it again and it’s clearly a fumble.
While New Canaan quickly took advantage of their good karma with touchdowns. St. Joseph couldn’t create its own fortune on this afternoon. New Canaan showed it’s a worthy No. 1 pick right now. They travel to Greenwich in two weeks, then Central before the FCIAC championship game.
Quick mea culpa here: I had a tough time getting to New Canaan from New Haven in time for kickoff. I took too much time leaving home and the rain turned the Merritt Parkway into a messin spots. I missed most of the first quarter scoring. Because of camera issues and the buckets of water that soaked my bones, I also missed half of St. Joseph’s brief fourth-quarter comeback attempt — particularly Pat Mulligan’s awesome 60-yard fumble recovery return for a touchdown.
Also included is the climax of the touching Pete Demmerle jersey retirement ceremony at halftime. Demmerle, an all-state player at New Canaan and later an All-American at Notre Dame, died in 2007 at age 53 from an awful, awful disease called ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The memory of his great days at New Canaan, and the rest of his life are ensured to live forever.