Trumbull Eagles grounded by New Canaan football, 61-14

With a decidedly young roster and some tough opponents on the September schedule, the Trumbull Eagles football team was bound to face some big challenges early in the season.

Facing a group of New Canaan Rams which are still angered by a season-opening loss to the St. Joseph Cadets two weeks ago didn’t help matters.

The Rams broke open a 7-7 tie with 48 unanswered points through the third quarter, dominating on both sides of the ball en route to a 61-14 victory over Trumbull on Friday night at Dunning Field in New Canaan.

The Eagles fell to 1-2 with the loss, but head coach Bob Maffei accentuated the positives.

“We’re having growing pains,” Maffei said. “We played Markeese (Woods) in his first game back and Patrick (Daley) played a little bit. We basically had two seniors on offense out there. We had routes open, we’ve just got to get our stuff together offensive-line wise.”

“The kids from Trumbull did a great job, they never gave up, and they fought right to the very end,” New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli said. “I give credit to Bobby. It’s not easy sometimes but they hung in there.”

New Canaan (2-1) racked up 453 yards of total offense, with quarterback Drew Pyne completing 16-of-22 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns — two each to Justin Greco and Quintin O’Connell. Greco had three catches for 70 yards and TDs of 28 and 34 yards; while O’Connell had four catches for 47 yards and TDs of 16 and six yards.

For Trumbull, receiver Peter Schmitz was the offensive star with six catches for 120 yards.

Quarterback Colton Nicholas was 14-of-29 passing for 186 yards, and threw two picks.

As a whole, New Canaan’s defense really clamped down on the Eagles. Trumbull had 248 yards on offense, but nearly half of that was on two long pass plays, one of which came when the reserves were in the game during the fourth quarter.

The Eagles scored with 3:44 remaining in the first quarter and did not find the end zone again until there was 5:50 left in the game.

“It seems like they’ve regained their composure and they’re getting down to business,” Marinelli said of his Rams. “They played the way we practiced and that’s all I ask. I was pleased with the way they came out. They wanted to play and they were anxious to play.”

New Canaan scored on its first possession, going 68 yards on the opening drive and scoring when O’Connell caught a 16-yard TD pass from Pyne.

Trumbull answered later in the first quarter, after Nicholas and Schmitz hooked up for a 61-yard play to the New Canaan nine-yard line. A one-yard touchdown run by Nicholas capped the possession as the Eagles tied the score at 7-7.

The Rams, however, scored on four of their next five possessions to take control. A 28-yard pass from Pyne to Greco put New Canaan up 13-0, and two more TDs in the final 1:39 of the second quarter made it 34-7 at halftime.

New Canaan added 21 points in the third, as the game moved to running time.

Trumbull scored its second touchdown in the fourth quarter, when backup Hunter FitzGibbons hit receiver Kyle Atherton with a pass and Atherton went 60 yards to the end zone. With 10:25 remaining.

The Eagles have a short week ahead, as they’ll take on the Trinity Catholic Crusaders (1-1) on Thursday. It’ll be their first game at Trumbull High this year, as they’ve played Greenwicg at Sacred Heart University, and then at Ludlowe and New Canaan in the first three games.

“We’ve got another game next Thursday and we’ve got to get ready for that,” Maffei said. “They usually run the ball pretty good and their rugged, tough kids. We finally get a home game, which is nice. It feels like we’ve been on the road more than Bing Crosby.”

New Canaan 61, Trumbull 14

Trumbull 7-0-0-7 14

New Canaan 13-21-21-6 61

First Quarter

NC - Quintin O’Connell, 16-yard pass from Drew Pyne (Grant Morse PAT), 9:20

T - Colton Nicholas, 1-yard run (Ryan Cranston PAT), 3:44

NC - Justin Greco, 28-yard pass from Pyne (PAT failed), 1:35

Second Quarter

NC - Garrett Braden, 1-yard run (Morse PAT), 7:12

NC - Pyne, 15-yard run (Morse PAT), 1:39

NC - O’Connell, 6-yard pass from Pyne (Morse PAT), 0:15

Third Quarter

NC - Greco, 34-yard pass from Pyne (Morse PAT), 6:01

NC - Nico Savini, 21-yard interception return (Morse PAT), 5:50

NC - J.R. Moore, 2-yard run (Morse PAT), 0:16

Fourth Quarter

T - Kyle Atherton, 60-yard pass from Hunter FitzGibbons (Nolan Shay PAT), 10:25

NC - Thomas Russo, 13-yard run (PAT Failed), 5:25