GREEN­WICH vs. NEW CANAAN

Stamford Advocate - - Sports - Matthew Brown / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia — By Sean Pa­trick Bow­ley and Pete Paguaga

⏩ WHERE/WHEN: Boyle Sta­dium, Stam­ford, Satur­day, 10 a.m.

⏩ TICK­ETS: $10 ev­ery­one

⏩ ON THE AIR/WEB: NFHS Net­work (Sub­scrip­tion re­quired) | WGCH 1490-AM

⏩ SEEDS/RECORDS: No. 8 New Canaan 10-2, No. 2 Green­wich 12-0

⏩ COACHES: New Canaan: Lou Marinelli, 38th sea­son (33198-6); Green­wich: John Marinelli, 4th year (35-10).

CHAM­PI­ONSHIP HIS­TORY

⏩ New Canaan: 17th ap­pear­ance (12-4) ⏩ Green­wich: 16th ap­pear­ance (7-8)

PLAY­ERS TO WATCH

⏩ New Canaan: Jr. QB Drew Pyne; Sr. OL/DL Jack Ste­wart; Sr. OL/DL Jack Con­ley; Sr. LB/DL Gar­rett Braden; Sr. WR Quintin O’Connell; Sr. WR Wy­att Wil­son; Jr. DB Drew Guida; Sr. RB J.R. Moore.

⏩ Green­wich: Sr. QB Gavin Muir; Sr. RB Ty­sen Comizio; Sr. LB Jack Feda; Sr. DE Mozi Bici; Jr. DT Eddy Iu­teri; Sr. DT Joe Kraninger; Sr. DE Emilio Camou; Sr. WR Lance Large; Sr. CB Ryan Ray­buck.

STO­RY­LINES

Both highly touted be­fore the sea­son, old FCIAC ri­vals clash for the sec­ond time this sea­son in a book­end mega state cham­pi­onship matchup.

New Canaan was the pre­sea­son No. 1, but promptly lost its first game vs. St. Joseph, 28-0, the first time a New Canaan team had been shut out in 12 years. Four weeks later, the Rams played host to the then-No. 2 Car­di­nals at Dun­ning Field. QB Gavin Muir threw for 261 yards and three touch­downs and ran for two more as Green­wich smoked New Canaan 42-14.

While Green­wich went on to post its sec­ond-con­sec­u­tive un­beaten reg­u­lar sea­son, New Canaan de­feated then-No. 1 Darien, 17-14, on Thanks­giv­ing Day to qual­ify for its 13th-con­sec­u­tive post­sea­son, but first in Class LL. Their vic­tory el­e­vated Green­wich to No. 1 head­ing into the play­offs.

The Rams, seeded No. 8, then knocked off top-seeded Shel­ton, 42-34, and then Fair­field Prep 38-7 to reach the cham­pi­onship game. Green­wich, mean­while, rolled past New Bri­tain 49-13 and then New­town, 50-0, to earn its sec­ond-con­sec­u­tive Class LL cham­pi­onship berth.

The game is a show­down be­tween fa­ther and son coaches. New Canaan’s Lou Marinelli is Con­necti­cut’s all-time win­ningest coach with a record 331 vic­to­ries against 98 losses and 6 ties in 38 sea­sons at New Canaan. He also owns the most state cham­pi­onships as a coach in state his­tory with 12, in­clud­ing four straight twice: from 2006-2009 and then 20132016.

On the other side is Marinelli’s son, John, who was an all-state de­fen­sive back and quar­ter­back for his fa­ther from 20002003 and went on to have a suc­cess­ful play­ing ca­reer at Ford­ham and Trin­ity.

THE GREEN­WICH CAR­DI­NALS

The Car­di­nals are on the cusp of com­plet­ing, sta­tis­ti­cally, the best sea­son in school his­tory. They’re led, of­fen­sively, by se­nior two-year starter Gavin Muir, who has thrown for 2,215 yards and 28 touch­downs against just six in­ter­cep­tions this year, while also rush­ing for 238 yards and 7 TDs.

Se­nior back Ty­sen Comizio is one of Green­wich’s top weapons with 890 yards of to­tal of­fense and a team-lead­ing 15 TDs. Re­ceivers Lance Large, Stephen Ben­nett and A.J. Bar­ber, the son of New York Gi­ants great Tiki Bar­ber, have each caught 7 TD passes.

De­fen­sively, Green­wich has al­lowed a mere 54 points this year, in­clud­ing five shutouts. Se­nior de­fen­sive end Mozi Bici is one of the state’s lead­ers with 16 1⁄ sacks, eight of which 2 came in a 33-3 vic­tory over Ridge­field.

THE NEW CANAAN RAMS

They face a New Canaan of­fense that av­er­ages 350 yards per game. QB Drew Pyne, a Notre Dame com­mit, has thrown for 2,486 yards and 30 touch­downs against just 4 in­ter­cep­tions. His top tar­get is Quintin O’Connell, who has caught 84 passes for 1,117 yards and 14 touch­downs, be­com­ing the school’s all-time lead­ing re­ceiver in the process.

New Canaan has also found a run game, ab­sent in the first meet­ing. J.R. Moore has run for 364 yards and two touch­downs the last three games. New Canaan is also noted for hav­ing two NCAA FBS com­mits at tackle in Jack Con­ley (6foot-8, 290, Bos­ton Col­lege) and Jack Ste­wart (6-5, 275, Michi­gan).

De­fen­sively, Gar­rett Braden, a 6-2, 230-pound LB/DE com­mit­ted to play at Rice, is a team leader in tack­les (55) and sacks (6 1/2) along­side Ste­wart (49 tack­les) and se­nior Ki­ran Buck (52 tack­les).

New Canaan quar­ter­back Drew Pyne (10) faces stiff com­pe­ti­tion against Gavin Muir and Green­wich in the Class LL cham­pi­onship.

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