Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cardinals, Rams, and More Football (Sports and Football)

First off, congratulations on a fine season to two New York teams. New Rochelle couldn’t find a way to beat Monroe-Woodury, while Harrison lost 13-10 to Corwall. Both of these losses were playoff season-enders, and from what I was told, were both really good games. Sorry to see both of these top-flight programs out of the playoffs, but they’ll reload for 2007.

In Connecticut, what can you say about the two programs in Greewnwich? Would you like to see Greenwich and Brunswick play for real? At this point, I think I would. The Bruins finished off a perfect regular season with a 49-7 trouncing of Rye Country Day School. The B’s are 9-0 and will play in the NEPSAC Championship Game on Saturday. I’ll post a note when I know who the opponent is and where the game will take place. Two things that I do know: the game will be played at 1:00, and it will be heard live on WGCH. Of course, I’m not guaranteeing either of those things.

(10:36 AM - Monday, 11/13 - I told you I wasn't guaranteeing anything. The Brunswick website is reporting that they will play Belmont Hill at 11:00 on Saturday. The game will be played at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT. I'll update things further if there is more to report)

The Greenwich Cardinals beat Darien on Saturday to clinch their fifth FCIAC Championship Game appearance in this decade, and sixth in the last eight years on Saturday. The Cards won 44-20, behind three Jonathan Myers touchdowns. A Sean Bannon interception return for a score capped off the day. Bannon is the kind of player who will, frankly, piss a lot of opponents off with his constant energy and total confidence in his ability. I first met Sean as a player in Greenwich’s youth football program (GYFL), and instantly liked him. He’s fun to watch, and anyone would love to have him on their team.

During our game broadcast on Saturday, we encountered the usual amount of technical problems. For one thing, cellular phone service in Darien is a joke. WGCH’s Cingular phone didn’t even get service, but my Verizon phone was good enough to use. But we still encountered problems with an overzealous public address system bleeding into our crowd microphone. With such an inauspicious start, I was ready to pack it in. Later on, a dead cell phone battery, and other problems led to us struggling though the end of the broadcast, and not airing an interview that Nick Angotto did with Cardinal coach Rich Albonizio. That especially infuriated me.

Midway during the broadcast, we discussed the kindness of Sue Clarke, the mother of Cardinal defensive back Jake Clarke. I first met Jake when he won a championship in the senior division of the GYFL with the Cos Cob Crushers. I have a soft spot for quarterbacks, and he seemed like a really likable kid. That’s carried over to his high school career. Mrs. Clarke sent brownies to the booth for our broadcast against Stamford to say thanks for saying good things about her son. So we laughed about how nice it would be to have those brownies, especially considering our frustrating day. During the post-game, a young woman appeared at the door o the booth and said, “Here are you damn brownies.” Indeed, Mrs. Clarke made brownies for us and got them to the booth. That effort was quite humbling to all of us. We’re quite grateful.

One more thing before we get to the Super Six. I had a chance to visit with Coach Albonizio before the Darien game. Our conversation reminded me why I like him personally and professionally. Saturday was his 100th win at Greenwich High School. If he can beat his old friend Lou Marinelli and the New Canaan Rams on Friday night for the FCIAC Championship, he will win his 200th career game. It would also be his fourth FCIAC title. Barring any conflicts, we will start our coverage at 7:20 on Friday night.

The Super Six is:

1) Greenwich (9-0, Last Week – 1) – They will start the FCIAC Championship Game as the favorite, but do not be fooled. I’m still worried about the Cardinals’ secondary. It’s not that they’re not good, but when you play five linebackers, other parts of your defense might suffer. Ram quarterback Curt Casali will be the best opposing QB that the Cards have faced. One last thing – Lou Marinelli is a brilliant coach, and one thing he knows how to do is match wits with Rich Albonizio. That will be great to watch again.
2) New Canaan (8-1, 2) – The Rams went to the FCIAC Championship in 1999, 2000, and 2002. Guess who they played? That’s right – the Greenwich Cardinals. The Rams won 14-9 in ’99 and 21-20 in 2000 before Coach Al got the “can’t beat Marinelli” tag off his back in ’02, 24-14. How close have these two teams played? How about a 0-0 tie in a regular-season matchup in 2002? Obviously, I want you all to listen to us on Friday night, but why not come to the game and bring a little radio with you? Boyle Stadium is a great place to watch a game (and call a game), and it will be loud on Friday.
3) Staples (8-1, 3) – Just because they won’t be in the title game doesn’t mean anybody should take the Wreckers lightly. I can’t figure them out though. Bridgeport Central and Ridgefield gave them all they could handle and they still won. New Canaan was able to get past them. What will we see on Thanksgiving morning on Cardinal Stadium?
4) Wilton (7-2, 4) – Before the season, it would have been really easy to assume that the only Thanksgiving Day game of any consequence would have been Greenwich-Staples. I’ve got news for you – the Warriors have won five in a row and will play a revitalized Trinity Catholic team that morning. While every turkey day game has some level of appeal, Wilton-TC has joined the upper echelon.
5) Bridgeport Central (7-2, 5) – When you got right down to it, the Hilltoppers have done just one thing wrong. Nah – let me rephrase that – they’ve done TWO things wrong. They’ve lost to Staples and Greenwich. That’s all that has kept them from a very special year.
6) Trinity Catholic (6-3, NR) – Welcome back (John Sebastian, 1975). The Crusaders won the Stamford City Championship with a resounding win against Stamford High, and head into the showdown at Wilton with a chance to finish 7-3. Considering some of the Crusaders teams that I have seen since 2000, this is an amazing accomplishment.

There will be plenty of sports to be found on WGCH over the next week. Fairfield University has a few games coming up, while we have five games to call. The FCIAC Championship game is the first item, followed by the NEPSAC Championship on Saturday. Then we go wall-to-wall on Sunday with the three championship games in the GYFL, beginning at 11:00. Check the website or listen to our NewsCenter for all of the details. Listen to us all weekend to see how coherent we are!

No comments: