Connecticut High School Football

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The case for New Canaan

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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

9 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    There’s no reasonable argument to not vote Ansonia #1. They are the only undefeated team in the state, they faced the schedule given to them during the regular season and the post season. If NC didn’t LOSE to Darien, they would have been deserving of #1. They lost, period!

  2. FootballFandom says:

    Head to head, New Canaan would beat Ansonia.

  3. GHS Fan says:

    Following is a list comparing New Canaans schedule and Ansonia’s schedule, sorted by opponent’s state ranking. Ranking supplied by the objective statistics of MaxPreps.
    One of the reasons we vote a given team as “better” than another team is because we evaluate the cumulative impact of a season. That is, if Ansonia had New Canaan’s schedule, I do not think even the most die-hard Ansonia fan thinks that the Chargers would go 14-1. However, if the schedules were reversed, I think we can all agree New Canaan would easily go undefeated.

    New Canaan
    Opponent MaxPreps rank

    St Joseph 3
    St Joseph 3
    Darien 5
    Darien 5
    North Haven 10
    Hand 12
    Greenwich 17
    Staples 25
    Farmington 36
    Warde 49
    Wilton 50
    Danbury 75
    Bassick 105
    Trinity 118

    Average Rank of Team Played 36.64

    Average Rank of 5 Best Teams Played 5.2

    Ansonia
    Opponent MaxPreps rank

    Woodland 31
    Naugatuck 33
    Rock Hill 38
    Wolcott 47
    Holy Cross 51
    Masuk 56
    Seymour 64
    Derby 71
    Coginchaug 78
    Wilby 91
    Torrington 101
    Watertown 145
    Crosby 146
    Sacred Heart 150

    Average Rank of Team Played 78.71

    Average Rank of 5 Best Teams Played 40

  4. anotherfan says:

    Just one man’s opinion , Ansonia definitely deserves #1 ,may be the best team in Ansonia ever!NC had one let down as did ansonia, this year. diference is Ansonia won their game NC did not.

  5. Wild Bill says:

    To Bob and anotherFan:

    GHS has it right. When the 2 top teams aren’t going to play head-to-head, there are only two criteria to use in deciding who is No.1: record and strength of schedule. The records of Ansonia and New Canaan are obviously very close, but the strength of schedule is very lopsided in favor of New Canaan, therefore, New Canaan gets the nod. I’ve seen both teams play and my personal opinion is that the score would be somewhere in the 50-21 range in favor of New Canaan. It’s clear that Arkeel can’t be stopped for an entire game so I’ll give you three home runs, but there is no way Ansonia’s defense is holding down the New Canaan “O.” Plus, Ansonia would have to deal with the shock factor of being scored on at will. Just ask some talented kids from St. Joe’s. They did better the second time around but N.C. hung 62 on them in the first meeting.

  6. ValleyFalls1 says:

    I am putting this here, since we have yin and yang questions.

    Ansonia should be #1 this year. They were undefeated. When Seymour came after Ansonia, it was a tough hard fought game. Valley rivalary certainly added to the game. However, Ansonia met the challenge in the end and won the game. When Darien came after New Canaan, New Canaan did not rise up to the challenge and lost. I don’t care about schedule strength, at that moment in time they were number 1 and could not hold on to it. Yes they avenged their loss. So what. They lost in the first place. Ansonia did not have to avenge anything. The just rolled through every game through to the Championship game. No excuses no explainations.

    The morale of this story? DON’T LOSE TO ANYONE!!

  7. Number 23 says:

    New Canaan wins this hypothetical battle based on overall team strength, team depth, and success against a much tougher schedule. Ansonia’s “undefeated” status means very little if it’s “earned” against a pack of unranked teams. My opinion: NC is the top team in the state. St. Joe’s or Southington is #2.

  8. CTHSFBfan says:

    Let’s see…where do I start…

    New Canaan is like an Auburn Tigers team (SEC), whereas Ansonia is like an Northern Illinois Huskies team (MAC)…see where I’m getting at? It’s not just about how many wins a team has but who they have played during the season. Ansonia’s schedule and NVL conference isn’t up to par with NC’s FCIAC conference and schedule.

    It’s easy for Ansonia to look good and win all those games when there isn’t a real challenge in front of you. I’m not trying to fully downplay their wins because they have worked hard and earned it.

    I think Ansonia would give them all they have got if they ever played but would ultimately lose.

    And it doesn’t matter if NC loss one game…who has Ansonia really played?!

    Max Preps has the state rankings right on the money:
    New Canaan #1
    Ansonia #7

  9. Wild Bill says:

    And my 3rd grade black team was undefeated, so therefore, they’re better than N.C. Please.

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