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Dave Ruden offers news, commentary and analysis on the FCIAC and local sports

FCIAC Football Rewind: Trinity’s goal is December football

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Celebrations, like this one between quarterback Danny O'Leary (left) and running back Sean Brown, have become common at Trinity Catholic this fall.

If Trinity Catholic defeats Stamford on Saturday afternoon, it will maintain its position as the overall points leader in the conference standings.

That would make the Crusaders the surprise story of the FCIAC this fall sports season.

To everyone but themselves, that is.

“That’s the goal,” Trinity coach Pete Stokes said of reaching the championship game. “Even with the season ending when it does. We preach this and we have a good group of kids. We are riding a wave, and this is a good football team.”

There is a long way to go, and the Crusaders have to get past, despite two straight losses, a talented Stamford team at home. Then comes a two-game stretch against Darien and St. Joseph in weeks 8 and 9.

The overtime win over New Canaan in the second game of the season may have turned some eyes at the time, but it gave the Crusaders the confidence boost that has made them believe, rather than hope, they will win games.

There are a number of reasons for the Crusaders’ 4-0 start. There is a lot of talent, headlined by a strong 1-2 punch of Shaquan Howsie and Sean Brown at running back. The defense has been aggressive, their is strong senior leadership and, perhaps most importantly, the team, without an abundance of depth, has remained healthy.

But Stokes also pointed to another commodity: defensive coordinator Donny Panapada, who returned to his alma mater last year after a long stint as an assistant coach to Rich Albonizio at Greenwich.

“Donny’s heart is green and gold,” Stokes said. “He has a lot of knowledge. What he has really done is come over and influenced us about December football.”

Stokes was referring to playing in the playoffs, which the Crusaders last did in 1993, when they beat Putnam for the Class S state title.

A win over Stamford will put Trinity one step closer toward returning to December football.

Game of the Week

Stamford (2-2) at Trinity Catholic (4-0), Saturday, 1 p.m. This is the only game this week between league teams with .500 or better records. If the season ended today, the Crusaders would be in the FCIAC championship game. This is a good test for Trinity against a talented but suddenly mistake-prone Stamford team.

The Fab 5

1. STAPLES (3-0): Danbury is hoping the Wreckers will be sluggish rather than well-rested coming off a bye. In the end, it won’t matter.

2. GREENWICH (3-0): The Cardinals took a mid-game nap before applying the jet burners against Trumbull.

3. RIDGEFIELD (3-1): Rites of fall: pumpkins, falling leaves and Ridgefield wins over Wilton.

4. ST. JOSEPH (3-1): Even with a slow start, the Cadets were extremely impressive against Stamford.

5. DARIEN (3-1): The Blue Wave rebounded nicely from their loss to St. Joseph.

Categories: General

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12 Responses

  1. HS Sports says:

    BTW saw the 2nd half of TC vs. NC – TC won the game when they needed a play they got it. Rams stop making excuses for the team – they lost based on the playing on the field. Was this the never beaten youth football team that NC has been crowing about? Give TC credit and work on your game instead of working on a longer list of excuses. As for dominant, check the stat line for McMahon in terms of overall yardage and if you are not dominant against a Norwalk team that has really dropped off than you should be thinking 2013.

  2. whs student says:

    btw howsie is not the best RB in the fciac. davell cotterell is. and i have been watching cotterell dominate howsie since their middle school days

  3. Dave Ruden says:

    Not sure “chokes” is the word I would use.

  4. Easy says:

    Gentleman, Dan has a point about the penalty. Overall, I would say TC won the actual game. Regarding overtime, I was at the game @thecrusade there was nothing said about every game ever, but I will say it is luck when the opposing kicker chokes and misses an unblocked, wide open kick. Who knows what would happen if it went through the uprights

  5. Thecrusade says:

    @rams so every team in the history of sports that has won in OT is just lucky you’re saying? Because that is how your argument sounds

  6. Dan says:

    @rams-Lets not forget the 45 yards NC gained on penalties after one play that led to a touchdown. Without that this game may have never went in ot. Just saying.

  7. rams says:

    @thecrusade- the rams kicker did shank a 20 yard field goal in overtime…not saying he lost the game but…

  8. rams says:

    Now i wouldn’t say that the TC vs NC game was a fluke, but I know the rams did not have their best game. Shaq Howsie was on fire that game, and carried it through for the crusaders. NC has been dominant since then, and will most likely crush Norwalk this weekend (0-4). Dont count the rams out just yet, they’re about to hit their stride

  9. Thecrusade says:

    @Fciac. I’d love for you to explain this one lucky win

  10. Fciac says:

    One lucky win does not make a season..they will fold

  11. Dave Ruden says:

    I omitted the word FCIAC. Thanks for the correction!

  12. john says:

    This is not the only game with teams with records of ..500 or better. Westhill at 3 and 1 plays Franklin Mass which is 4 and 1.