CIAC 2015 Football Class L Championship

New Canaan celebrates a third-straight CIAC title. Kevin Pataky - MaxPreps.

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WEST HAVEN – Ryan O’Connell scored from 1 yard out with 3:34 left to lift No. 6 seed New Canaan to the Class L state championship 42-35 over top-seeded North Haven Saturday night before 6,500 at Ken Strong Stadium.

Matt Cognetta rushed for a game-high 224 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns for the Rams (11-1), who won their 11th state title overall in 14 attempts. Michael Collins, who threw for 440 yards in the semifinal-round win over Notre Dame-West Haven, threw for 180 and a touchdown to Kyle Smith to finish his season with a state-record 54 touchdown passes.

“I think those kids (North Haven) played their hearts out. It was a great football game,” New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “I’m proud of our kids the way they never gave up. They kept fighting back, they kept fighting back, they kept fighting back. It was a shame anybody had to lose this game.”

It was Marinelli’s 300th win at New Canaan and 319th overall. He is third all-time in CIAC history behind Ed McCarthy (331) and Bill Mignault (321).

Andrew DeFranco intercepted North Haven quarterback Jake Steinman (10 of 21, 146 yards) on 4th down with just over a minute remaining to end the chances for the Indians (12-1), who were playing in their first state championship game.

Mike Montano powered the North Haven offense. Kevin Pataky - MaxPreps.

“We were very thrilled we would get a chance to measure ourselves and it looks we did OK,” North Haven coach Anthony Sagnella said. “We didn’t win, but we certainly measured up. I wasn’t sure coming in how it was going to end up

Mike Montano rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another for North Haven.

“They are a great team and deserved to win,” Montano said about New Canaan “I can’t thank my coaches and my teammates for such a great year. I love them all, I will miss them dearly, but hats off to New Canaan.”

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