An opportunistic bunch
Rams take advantage of Vikings’ issues with long snaps
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.”
“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.”
New Canaan’s Luke Morton looks for an opening in Saturday’s 38-14 victory over Westhill in New Canaan.
Westhill’s Ja’Kai Young looks for an opening during the Vikings’ 38-14 loss to New Canaan on Saturday.