An op­por­tunis­tic bunch

Rams take ad­van­tage of Vik­ings’ is­sues with long snaps

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Sports - By An­thony E. Parelli

NEW CANAAN — Stop­ping the high-fly­ing New Canaan of­fense is a tall enough task.

But when you give the Rams the ball in plus-field po­si­tion four times in the open­ing quar­ter, it’s down­right im­pos­si­ble.

New Canaan turned sev­eral Westhill spe­cial teams gaffs into four quick scores en route to a 38-14 vic­tory in its home­com­ing game Satur­day af­ter­noon.

“To our kids’ credit, they took ad­van­tage of their op­por­tu­ni­ties and they were able to cap­i­tal­ize and get an early lead,” New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “So, that’s al­ways good when you can do that.”

Westhill’s long-snap­per left the pro­gram this week and that set­back was ev­i­dent Satur­day.

A high snap on a punt at­tempt fol­low­ing the Vik­ings’ first se­ries gave New Canaan the ball at the Westhill 31.

Four plays later, Drew Pyne found Wy­att Wil­son from 6 yards out for the game’s open­ing score.

On Westhill’s next punt at­tempt, the snap forced a des­per­ate, run­ning kick that New Canaan’s Chris­tian Sib­bet caught at the Vik­ings 15 and re­turned for the score.

“I know it was a few snaps, but they con­tained the punter and they played great,” Pyne said of the Rams spe­cial teams. “So, we were just lucky to be in­side the 20 and ex­e­cute be­cause ob­vi­ously that’s a big part of the game.”

Af­ter a Westhill turnover on downs, New Canaan (3-1, 3-1 FCIAC) struck again, this time with Chris­tian Sweeney punch­ing it in from the 1.

An­other snap is­sue gave the Rams the ball at the Westhill 12, and on first down Pyne (8-12, 129 yards, three touch­downs) found Zach LaPo­lice for New Canaan’s fourth touch­down of the first quar­ter.

“It’s go­ing through the grow­ing pains of what we’re try­ing to do,” Westhill coach Joe DeVel­lis said. “We’ve lost some guys — our long-snap­per quits on Mon­day — so we’re scram­bling to try to find a longsnap­per. So, the first four touch­downs they get, we snap the ball and they get in­side the 20 three times. Against th­ese guys es­pe­cially, you can’t do that.”

Pyne added a 35-yard touch­down pass on a swing to Sweeney, and Nicholas Rad­man hit a 27-yard field goal to bring the half­time score to 38-0.

Westhill (0-4, 0-4) got on the board on the first drive of the third af­ter a screen­pass fell in­com­plete be­hind the line of scrim­mage and Isan Spruill scooped it up and went 62 yards for the score.

The Vik­ings tacked on their sec­ond score late in the fourth on a 3-yard run from Richard Felius.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Sweeney, New Canaan. The sopho­more run­ning back had two touch­downs in his first start at run­ning back with ju­nior Drew Guida in­jured.

“He’s a re­ceiver, he can throw the ball, he can run the ball, so we fi­nally found a spot for him at run­ning back,” Pyne said. “He was ob­vi­ously great for us to­day, so I’m re­ally happy for him and he works hard in prac­tice and it re­ally trans­ferred over in the game.”

QUOTABLE

“We knew we were go­ing to be up against it go­ing into it, but that’s no rea­son to lay down,” DeVel­lis said. “You just have to fight no mat­ter who it is. If we had given that kind of ef­fort tin the first three weeks, I think some scores would have looked dif­fer­ent. We set the tone for the rest of the sea­son with the way they played (in the sec­ond half ) and I’m ex­cited for the next five.”

Scott Mullin / For Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

New Canaan’s Luke Mor­ton looks for an open­ing in Satur­day’s 38-14 vic­tory over Westhill in New Canaan.

Scott Mullin / For Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Westhill’s Ja’Kai Young looks for an open­ing dur­ing the Vik­ings’ 38-14 loss to New Canaan on Satur­day.

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