TRUMBULL — The New Canaan football team, despite all its success, hadn’t had much luck against St. Joseph in recent years.
Five straight losses and a nine-year drought without a win against the Hogs, to be exact.
That streak ended loudly.
No. 7 New Canaan scored twice in the first four minutes, led by six touchdowns at halftime, and steamrolled St. Joseph 45-7 Saturday at Dalling Field in Trumbull. It was the Rams first win over St. Joe’s since Nov. 1, 2014, and it was a no-doubter.
“We’ve taken our lumps against them,” New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “So it’s really good for our kids to be able to come up here and do what they did today.”
St. Joseph had beaten New Canaan five consecutive times dating back to the start of the 2017 season. During that span, the Rams had lost just 13 games overall, meaning St. Joe’s accounted for more than one-third of their losses. The two teams did not play in the 2015 or 2016 seasons.
Those numbers were in the Rams’ minds during practice this week according to junior quarterback Luke Robinson, who threw four touchdown passes and ran for another.
“We definitely used that as motivation,” Robinson said. “We haven’t beaten them in a very long time, so that was our mindset all week. We’ve got to get payback and that’s what we did today.”
Both teams had won three straight games since narrow losses in Connecticut Football Alliance games in Week 1. New Canaan fell to Shelton 26-23, while St. Joseph lost to Newtown 25-23.
While the Rams’ winning continued, the Hogs were left to lick their wounds.
“We had some things that we thought were there but their line just beat us up on both sides of the ball,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “HT (Jones) had no time to do anything. And on defense, they just ran us over. There was no fight.”
New Canaan’s defense was in shut down mode, allowing St. Joseph just 50 yards and three first downs in the first half. The Hogs finished with 133 total yards, 79 of which came on its final drive when backups were in the game.
Senior Alex Benevento had an early interception to set up the Rams first TD, a 13-yard pass from Robinson to Will Langford 1:11 into the game.
On New Canaan’s second possession, Robinson connected on a third-and-18 pass to Andrew Esposito, who went 63 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
The Rams had four more touchdowns in the second quarter and Tucker Stevens kicked a 46-yard field goal in the second half.
“We wanted to come out firing and show that we could throw the ball,” Robinson said. “I’ve got to give credit to my O-line, they’re some dogs, and to everyone. It was a great team effort.”
Robinson’s performance was one of the highlights, especially after the Rams had been running the ball with abandon in the first four games.
“Luke Robinson is coming,” Marinelli said. “He’s learning and every week he gets a little bit better and you could see it coming in practice. He’s done well and if he falters, we always have Alex Russey right there, so it’s a great situation for us.”
For St. Joseph, next week’s bye comes at an opportune time and they’ll have two weeks to get ready for Ridgefield.
“Somebody’s got to step up and be a leader,” Della Vecchia said. “You need leadership on a day like today and we didn’t get that. You’ve got to dig down deep in the FCIAC. Every week’s going to be like this for the rest of the year. Every team’s coming after you.”
Player of the game
Luke Robinson, New Canaan: The junior quarterback passed for four touchdown passes, including a 63-yard strike to Andrew Esposito in the first quarter, and ran for another score to lead the romp.
“Very seldom do you come here and not only win, but win like that especially. We just happened to take advantage of great field position today and we were able to capitalize early. That never happens to us up here.” – New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli
New Canaan 45
St. Joseph 7
NEW CANAAN 14 28 3 0 – 45
ST. JOSEPH 0 0 0 7 – 7
NC – Will Langford 12 pass from Luke Robinson (Tucker Stevens kick)
NC – Andrew Esposito 63 pass from Robinson (Stevens kick)
NC – Robinson 3 run (Stevens kick)
NC – Dylan Prior 12 pass from Robinson (Stevens kick)
NC – Cooper Smith 15 run (Stevens kick)
NC – Esposito 8 pass from Robinson (Stevens kick)
NC – Stevens 46 field goal
SJ – Sean Christy 30 pass from Martin Broz (Logan Spoelstra kick)
Records: New Canaan 4-1
St. Joseph 3-2