The case for New Canaan

New Canaan LB Michael Root. Just as his jersey says, the Rams are No. 1. (Bob Luckey/Staff photographer)

New Canaan LB Michael Root. Just as his jersey says, the Rams are No. 1.
(Bob Luckey/Staff photographer)

The Class L champion New Canaan Rams are the best football team in Connecticut.

It’s been the great debate all season long: New Canaan vs. Ansonia. Ansonia vs. New Canaan. Who is more deserving of being No. 1?

When the Rams beat St. Joseph on Nov. 1, they leapfrogged Ansonia into the top spot in the Elite 8 and appeared destined to stay there until Darien upset New Canaan 28-24 on Thanksgiving morning in an instant classic, ending the Rams bid at an undefeated season and a chance to join the Chargers as the only 15-win teams in state history.


At 15-0, Class S and NVL champion Ansonia is the clear cut No. 1 team in many peoples’ minds. In the words of Lee Corso, “No so fast my friend.”

QB Nick Cascione leads New Canaan's balanced attack.

QB Nick Cascione leads New Canaan’s balanced attack.

Before I go any further, I want to be crystal clear about one thing: I am not anti Ansonia. This is a vote for New Canaan not against Ansonia.

Now, why do I like New Canaan. Well, first and most importantly, I just think they’re the better team. I think if we got our wish and all went to the Yale Bowl on Saturday afternoon and saw the dream match up of Ansonia vs. New Canaan, champion vs. champion, I think the Rams would win. I think New Canaan’s balanced offense would score with regularity on Ansonia just like it has on everyone else.

Most importantly, I think New Canaan’s defense is nasty. They’re relentless. They’re aggressive, quick, big up front and they put hats on people. I think in the end, the Rams would slow down Arkeel Newsome and company enough to come out winners.

That’s just my opinion. The real argument for New Canaan lies in the level of competition it faced to become FCIAC and Class L champion.

  • FACT: New Canaan is the only team to beat a fellow state champion in 2013, defeating Class M winner St. Joseph twice. The Cadets, who scored a ridiculous 200 points in three playoff games and 350  in their final six regular-season and Class M playoffs games combined (58 ppg), where held to 20 and 21 points by NC. They’re the only two games St. Joseph has been held to less than 28 points.
  • FACT:  New Canaan allowed 12 points in three playoff games, starting off the tournament with 10 shutout quarters. That is impressive.
  • FACT: New Canaan won the FCIAC and went undefeated against the SCC (wins over Hand and North Haven, both state tournament teams). Widely considered the two strongest conferences in Connecticut, New Canaan had success against both.
  • FACT: New Canaan went 2-1 against teams that made the playoffs during the regular season. Ansonia faced no playoff teams during the regular season.
  • FACT: New Canaan posted four wins during the regular season over teams that won at least eight games: Daniel Hand (8-3), Greenwich (8-3), Staples (8-3) and St. Joseph (13-2). Ansonia beat two team with at least eight wins during the regular season – Holy Cross (8-3) and Naugatuck (9-2). Both squads went 5-0 against teams with winning records, but clearly, the Rams faced a tougher schedule.


Ansonia has done all it possibly can. The Chargers line up every week and they win, winning 43 straight games.

And 15-0 is a historic accomplishment, but it doesn’t mean we should ignore what New Canaan has done this year, winning the FCIAC and a Class L. It’s a significant accomplishment.

Ansonia might be 15-0, but New Canaan is No. 1.

Chris McNamee