Monday, December 18, 2006

Top Football Games

Time to take a trip into the old Wayback Machine. I promised I would eventually do a Top 10 football game list, and the time has come. Thanks to for hosting the audio that you will hear from these games..

To be clear, these are the top games that I have broadcast. That means, beginning with Horace Greeley at Fox Lane on September 18, 1999 on WVIP through Greenwich against Southington on December 2, 2006 on WGCH. There are a few honorable mentions as well. Without any further ado, let’s get started.

Initially, this was going to be a plain and simple top 10. It’s evolved into a top 20, with 15 of the games having audio samples. First, about the non-audio portion: I don’t have any audio for you from these games because I’m either too lazy, or some technical problem caused us to not have the game recorded. Or the audio has been thrown out. Any of those three options are possible. So, away we go:

#21 (Yes, I said it was a top 20, but I have an honorable mention). – Southington vs. Greenwich (Class LL Championship – December 2, 206 at New Haven) – I’ve said way too much about this game. If you haven’t read about it or heard the audio, then go here or here. Ricky Fritsch, Nick Angotto, and Zach Fisher joined me on the call.

#20 – Greenwich at Danbury (November 25, 2004) – One lone touchdown gave the Cardinals a 7-0 win on a snowy field at frigid Danbury High School. There were complaints that the field conditions were unsafe for the Thanksgiving morning matchup. This game, to me, is a composite of the many close regular season games that Greenwich played (against Brien McMahon in 2003, Danbury in 2006, and others). Tom Kane and Matt Hamilton were alongside for the call on WGCH.

#19 – Greenwich vs. New Canaan (FCIAC Championship – November 17, 2006 at Stamford) – It had the makings of a classic, especially if the Rams get a tying touchdown right before halftime. They didn’t and the Cardinals never looked back. The final was 28-0, and Ricky, Zach and Nick were with me.

#18 – Brunswick vs. Belmont Hill (NEPSAC Championship – November 18, 2006 at Windsor) – If Kevin Decker and company pull off the fourth quarter miracle, this game would have shot up to a lofty spot within the top 10. The fact that they got it to 26-20 made me appreciate the game even more. A night after the Greenwich-New Canaan FCIAC game (#19), we felt like we were in the middle of a great weekend.

#17 - Nyack vs. Harrison (Section 1, Class A Championship – November 6, 2004 at Mahopac) – A wild affair that saw the Huskies of Harrison get the score to 20-19. The Huskies went for the on-side kick and initially, the officials awarded the ball to Harrison. Seconds later, they reversed their call to Nyack ball. People in the press box were getting nasty, and the officials really couldn’t feel all that good about themselves. Basically, the official pointed the wrong way at first! For me, this was the second game of a doubleheader that I called (with Tom Kane and Matt Hamilton) at my alma mater. Unfortunately, no audio exists of that day.

#16 – Greenwich vs. Shelton (Class LL Championship – December 2, 2000 at West Haven) – The 2000 Greenwich team had a huge heart. I suppose in some ways they shouldn’t have even been there. The problem was, until late in the third quarter, nobody told them that. They and the Gaels were scoreless at halftime, and after Shelton took a third quarter lead, the Cards raced right back with a long Justin Bledsoe touchdown run. A fake point after try led to a two-point conversion and the Cardinals led 8-7. But future U Conn star and NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky threw two touchdowns and the Gaels won 22-8. Sean Kilkelly and I called the game from the top of the press box on a cold day at Ken Strong Stadium. Sean and I aren’t big on heights, and that climb wasn’t fun (though maybe not as bad as where we were in our #18 game).

#15 – Rye vs. Chenango Forks (Class B Championship – November 29, 2003 at Syracuse) – The Garnets and Blue Devils played scoreless football deep into the third quarter. Chenango Forks took a 3-0 lead on a Tim Batty field goal, and that’s how things stayed into the fourth quarter. Batty found Zach Vredenburgh over the middle from 23 yards out and the Blue Devils were on their way to a 16-0 win. For Chenango Forks, after two straight losses in the title game, the victory was sweet. I got to call three Forks title games (2002-2004) and came away impressed with how they conduct themselves. If you ever want to see a comprehensive site, check out his Forks Football website. Mike, the webmaster, is a great guy and his websites (also check out his Section 4 site) are full of information. Mark Rosen and I called this game on WGCH.

Audio highlight – Vredenburgh’s touchdown catch and run

#14 – Greenwich vs. New Canaan (FCIAC Championship – November 22, 2002 at Stamford) – What a night! I remember that we forgot a piece of equipment before the game, so Sean Kilkelly and Mark Rosen went all the way back to Greenwich to get it. As the teams were warming up, one of the Cardinals cheerleading captains came to the booth with balloons for me. The cheerleaders then serenaded me with “Happy Birthday.” One of the most embarrassing, sweet, and humbling moments of my life. The game was Rich Albonizio’s big night, as Coach Al finally beat his friend Lou Marinelli, 24-14. Jim Cabrera won the game’s MVP award. Tommy Dee walked the sideline while Sean, Mark and I called the action.

Audio highlight – Cabrera throws a touchdown to Nick Bastis

#13 – Staples @ Greenwich (October 21, 2000) – The defending state champions (in Class LL) got upset on their home turf by the upstart Wreckers, who needed to this win to solidify their program’s dominance. It wasn’t easy, as the Cardinals nearly tied it up on the game’s last play. Sean Kilkelly and I had the call.

Audio highlight – the last play

#12 – Greenwich at New Canaan (November 7, 2003) – Doesn’t matter if these two teams play Tiddlywinks. These two teams play good games (if not great games) virtually every time out. This regular season matchup was no different. Greenwich needed a late Tyler Stewart touchdown, and then held on for a wild finish. When it was all over, the Cards had a 13-10 win. They have not lost to the Rams since 2000 (however, they haven’t won all those games either…)

Audio highlight – Stewart’s touchdown and the ensuing point after.

#11 – John Jay at Fox Lane (September 25, 1999) – In only my second game, I had a small classic on my hands. The Foxes held a 7-6 lead late in the fourth quarter, but the Indians drove to get in range for a late field goal. Here I was, faced with my first potential game-winning field goal call. I prepped myself to stay nice and clam (and with no tangible interest in either team, I was able to do that). George Nicholson’s field goal was good for both of us, and the Indians had a 9-7 win. Ron Lyons and I called that game on WVIP-AM (now, sadly, broadcasting religious radio in Spanish.)

Audio highlight – the game winner.

You know what? I’ve been told too many times lately that I don’t update enough. So with that in mind, we’re going to stop the countdown right here. When we next visit, I’ll bring you games 10 through one. Please don’t hold you breath, OK?

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