Sunday, October 01, 2006

Football Thoughts (Sports and Football)

It was a busy weekend for the WGCH broadcast team. We started by visiting Danbury High School on Friday night for Greenwich and Danbury. The Cardinals found themselves in an early battle with their longtime rivals, the Hatters. Joe Poletsky hit Steve Strazza with a beautiful touchdown pass, but that was immediately forgotten when Jeff Jordan ran the ensuing kickoff back for 81 yards and a touchdown. So the teams went to the half tied at seven in what I would call a surprise. The Cards, though sloppy, righted the ship in the third quarter and pulled away, winning 28-14. WGCH Newscenter anchor Tony Savino joined us in the booth for the third quarter.

Saturday was crazy day. Game one had Ricky, Zach and I at Port Chester High School as the Rams hosted the Nyack Indians. It almost looked like Nyack, a far-superior team, allowed the Rams to keep things close in the first half. The Rams held the Indians close, as it was 7-3 until late in the second quarter. A costly interception and a touchdown later, it was 14-3 Nyack. The game had changed. The Indians ran wild from there, and won 35-9. For the Rams, there were good things. They played hard, and scored their first points of the year. I hope they continue to build, as they once had a very proud football program there. Current Greenwich head coach Rich Albonizio is part of the Rams storied past.

The final game of the weekend took us to Brunswick’s’ Cosby Field, as the Bruins hosted rival Hopkins. The buzz was that this would be the best game of the weekend, but like all the others, it had little drama. The Bruins rolled behind the phenomenal Kevin Decker, who threw three touchdown passes in a 31-6 rout. The Hilltoppers never had a chance. The best part, for me, was an appearance by my friend and old broadcast partner Mark Rosen. Mark joined us for the sencond half.

I’ve been asked to join Tim Parry’s FCIAC Football Blog Media Poll – known as the FCIAC Football Five. First of all, after years of calling games, I’m honored to be part of such a thing. We so often toil in obscurity, and there is an inherent tension that exists between scribes and “voices.” I like the writers I come in contact with, but many writers resent us because all we do is swoop in, plug in some equipment, and call the game. We don’t have the ink on our hands. It’s a valid point, but if you listen to enough of my broadcasts, you will hear me often praising the work of the many fine writers in the area (Kevin Devaney Jr., Jesse Quinlan, Sean Patrick Bowley, and Tim, among many others). If they write it, and I use it, I mention them – plain and simple. I’d welcome them and many others in the booth as a guest anytime. Still, I can remember a hectic night at Greenwich’s Dorothy Hamill Rink for the Greenwich-Brunswick hockey Town Crown. I neglected to get the votes of a few writers for the MVP award (it was insane that night, but I guess that’s no excuse). We honestly goofed and gave the MVP to a kid who was misidentified as a goal-scorer. It was one of the darkest events of my broadcasting career, and I was humiliated by the whole thing. The Greenwich Time called us out the next day. They didn’t call me out by name, but they did mention WGCH. The fact that I’m relaying this story four years later indicates that it still bothers me. I also thought it made the Time look very shallow, truth be told. Have the courage to pull me aside and talk about it. Don’t just throw it in your paper in a “look at me, I’m a big shot sports editor” move. Believe it or not, I don’t hold a grudge. I just NEVER forget.

OK, let’s get onto my Super Six (I have to vote for six teams and Tim takes the top five). I thought long and hard about things, and thought it would be too easy to put Greenwich at number one, since I’m their so-called “voice.” I’d be viewed as a shill. I even said so during last night’s Wick-Hopkins tilt. I was all set to go with Central, who has been rolling over people. But as the dark of day hit (and what a god-awful day today is, weather-wise), I saw things differently. So…

1) Greenwich. There, I said it. Sometimes you need to take a few lumps to wake up. Danbury gave the Cards a solid punch, and Big Red responded. Jim Dunster and Jon Myers ran for over 100 yards each, and Nick Edwards will help that backfield, despite the absence of TJ Cameron. I’m concerned about the penalties, and the pass defense opened my eyes, but right now, I’m not sure who beats them in the FCIAC.
2) Bridgeport Central. They’ve beaten up on two OK teams (Trumbull and Norwalk), and demolished Bassick 56-0, making a cause célèbre of head coach Dave Cadelina, who was the first to challenge the CIAC’s “Jack Cochran” rule, with was supposed to control scoring and blowout games. (CIAC is Connecticut’s high school sports governing body – they can also be described as “clueless”, but I digress) Central’s 31-24 win over Norwalk convinced me that they’re not quite ready to be number one. Yet.
3) Staples. I can’t, in my right mind, put the perennial powerhouse any lower. Yes, they’re a different team than last year, and their schedule has been less than challenging, but they’re still a top-three team to me. I wish I could find a way to be at Kennedy Stadium for their October 14th tilt against Central. That’s when the big boys will start to beat each other up for a chance to play in the FCIAC Championship. (NOTE - I goofed. Staples and Central play at Staples on 10/14. Thanks to the anonymous poster who corrected me. --Rob 10/2)
4) Ridgefield. Something about a win against New Canaan catches my attention, and their 31-28 road win (their first in 24 years at NC) was special. I’ve read two accounts of Tigers’ QB Matt White’s game. In one, he passed for 262 yards. In another, he threw for 338. Either way, he threw for three scores and ran for a fourth. Wow – I’m impressed.
5) Trinity Catholic. Yes, I’m on the Crusaders’ bandwagon. After a team has been down for so long, it’s great to see them back. Despite a tough loss against Darien (who probably can make a big stink about not being ranked higher), the Crusaders whipped Westhill 46-20.
6) Darien. I could have taken New Canaan, but I need to see their response to the Ridgefield loss. They play Wilton next – a decent matchup. The Blue Wave’s schedule (despite Trinity) hasn’t impressed me yet.

There you have it. One last thing – one of the failures of the FCIAC Championship game is that it’s played on the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving. The problem? The risk is games that would have an impact on the championship participants might be played on Thanksgiving Day. Obviously, it’s too late at that point. Who plays on Turkey Day? Greenwich and Staples, that’s who. Possibly the two best teams (not according to me, right now) and they don’t get a chance to duke it out properly. Oh well – we can’t have everything.

Tune your radio’s, folks (or go to! Ricky, Nick and I will be at Cosby Field Friday night for Poly Prep and Brunswick. The pregame show starts at 6:50. Then we have Greenwich and Harding on Saturday from Bridgeport. Pregame show 1:20. ‘Nuff said.


Anonymous said...

I dont no how you can not have staples not as one or at least two. They killed, and I mean killed Danbury who almost took it to the "god like" Greenwhich. It makes no sense to me.

Anonymous said...

i like the rankings, Ridgefield vs. Darien will say alot about how these two teams' seasons will go this year.

Anonymous said...

Central cannot play w/Staples or Greenwich. Anyone who "underestimates" Staples football in 2006 is not well informed!

Anonymous said...

If Staples and Greenwich are both 9-0 they will play for the FCIAC title and on Thanksgiving day. Would they play twice in 5 days or would they just play once on thanksgiving day and have it count for the title game as well as states?? Stamford and westhill play the night before so boyle stadium would be open but in not sure in greenwich would give up the home game to play at a neutral site.

cards said...

My top 5 would be the following:

TC (even losing to Darien they really dominated and should have won)

Rob Adams said...

Thanks for the comments so far. I know the Wreckers have a rabid fan base, as does Greenwich, so the reaction doesn't surprise me. As I said, there's no way I can put Staples any lower than third.

To answer that one question - regarding having GHS and Staples play twice - I don't see that as being likely. In 2001, Greenwich and Danbury were the divisional winners. They were also slated to play on Thanksgiving Day at Cardinal Stadium. The coaches and the FCIAC agreed to play the regular season game, and have that be the FCIAC Championship at the same time. That being said, I don't know if I can see Marce Petroccio agreeing to allow one game for everything to be played at Greenwich. It will be fun to watch it all play out.

Believe me when I say that I have the utmost respect for Staples, their players, and Coach Petroccio. It's a phenomenal program. The buzz created when they play each other is great. To put the Wreckers at number three right now is not a slight to them. Right now, it's just too early.

I really didn't want to put Greenwich at number one, especially since I broadcast their games. That being said, it's easier for me to have an impartial view of them since I watch every single play. I don't get a thing from Greenwich High - I only work the radio station in town.

Thanks again - Rob

Anonymous said...


First, the Bridgeport Central Staples game is at Staples where they have not lost in over four years.

Second, the good news is that we will see who is number one in the FCIAC because the top three all play each other. I like Staples, they have rushed for over 300 yards per game behind a massive o-line while averaging three quarters with the first team per game. The first team defense has given up zero points.

The other factor, if both Greenwich and Staples are undefeated at the end is that MSG is broadcasting the Thanksgiving Day game,live, as they did last year. I am sure that everyone will want this to happen.

Rob Adams said...

Thanks for the catch on Central-Staples. My schedule had it wrong. Duly noted - it's at Staples on the 14th.

You're also correct about the MSG factor. That's a big deal. I still don't see them playing twice in a row. My question is will they play that one game at Cardinal Stadium - if it comes to that?

I knew having Central so high would generate this kind of talk. As I said on the air the other night - Greenwich, Staples, and Central all play each other at some point. One last thing - do I see Central staying this high? I'll leave the one unanswered...

Anonymous said...

Central @ Staples
Staples last home loss October 2001 21-13 vs. Greenwich....5 years is a long time,Staples has also won 22 straight FCIAC regular season games...Last year in Bridgeport Staples 56 Central 12...

Anonymous said...

I think its hard to let staples stand any higher then 1 or 2 considering they are 48-4 over the last 4 years plus being undeafeated on there home field. Comparing that to any teams previous seasons may change your mind. i tihnk at this point its safe to say its more the program then individuals.

Anonymous said...

I think that it is difficult to rank Staples any lower that 1 or 2, considering the fact that they are 48-4 over the last four years (51-4 including this season), and undefeated on their own field. In addition they have won 3 state championships in the last 4 years and an FCIAC championship the year they did not win states. Staples may not have the big play, all state players, but they do not need individuals to win. They play well as a team, spreading the ball around to many different players. Staples averages almost 300 yards per game on the ground and 100 through the air. The offensive line is opening up holes for an array of backs who, combined, average more than 8 yards per carry. Also, the starting defense is unscored upon this season. This years team is similar to the state championship 2004 team. The 2004 team, similar to this year, lost almost every starter and were doubted coming into the season. They lost the opening game to Greenwich that year, and never lost again. By the end of the season the defense was ranked #1 in the state and they beat up on East Lyme in the state championship game. Staples is a program that does not work with one grade year to year, it is a four year project for every player, this is why Staples does not have off years, and are able to win for consecutive seasons.

Anonymous said...

Staples #3???? Tell me what program has had more success than Staples over the last 4 years in the FCIAC...3 State Championships in the last 4 years....and suddenly Central is mentioned in the same breath with Greenwich and Staples...C'mon, Central over Staples.....please

Anonymous said...

I think Central is overrated. They are undisciplined and easy to read. I'm surprised no one is talking about their performance vs. Norwalk last week. If they are so good they should've blown them out. Central will be demolished by Greenwich and Staples.

Watch out for Trumbull/Staples this week too. Too much pride in this game to overlook.

Anonymous said...

I play at another school but i def have to give ridgefield some props...they're a lot like staples in the way that everyone doubts them but they shouldn't...they're both good football teams...dont underestimate them or you'll end up like new cannan, a pre-season FCIAC favorite might I ad.

Anonymous said...

I think there's no question that Staples and Greenwich are the undisputed 1-2. Just below them is Central, and then I agree with having Darien at 4. The TC game may have been somewhat of a fluke, but they played well and beat a tough Ridgefield team (who beat NC on their home turf) and it comes down to the fact that they are 4-0. Their schedule only gets tougher from here and a lot will be determined in the next couple of weeks. As for where TC is, they have dropped off the map since losing to McMahon. They had a ton of turnovers and only hurt themselves; both Ridgefield and NC are better then Trinity.