Special to CIACsports.com
North Haven football coach Anthony Sagnella is looking forward to seeing which uniforms New Canaan will wear Saturday in the Class L state final.
“They are very impressive and they have a lot of nice uniforms,” Sagnella said. “I’m interested to see which one they will come out with.”
But perhaps the most compelling question for Saturday’s championship (2:30 p.m., West Haven High) is how two prolific, yet contrasting, offenses will match up.
One on hand, there is No.6 New Canaan. The Rams simply like to air it out. Standout quarterback Michael Collins lit up Notre Dame-West Haven, completing 32-of-44 passes for 440 yards and five touchdowns in Monday’s 51-27 semifinal victory. It’s also worth noting, Collins set the state’s single-season record Monday with his 52nd passing touchdown.
And Collins has a ton of weapons at his disposal in an offense that is averaging 43.7 points per game.
“They are so precise in everything they do,” Sagnella said. “Routes, blocking schemes, quarterback footwork. They stress you vertically and horizontally. They give you an illusion that they’re very finesse, but they have the physical capability to punch you in the mouth.”
On the other side, is top-seeded North Haven. The Indians run a throwback single wing offense that is very effective. It’s a rushing attack that has produced 556 points this season.
North Haven wasted no time showing just how good this offense really is, scoring on its first two offensive plays, a 68-yard run by Michael Montana and a 93-yard run by Conner Suraci, in a 21-14 win over Wethersfield in the semifinals.
It’s a fundamentally driven offense that can feature any type of athlete, ranging from the power runner to one with elusiveness and speed. And it’s one implemented at the town’s youth football level.
“They have toughness,” New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “They find angles and they beat you with leverage if they can. We certainly spend a lot of time preparing. No one in the state runs it and they run it so well. Anthony is like a surgeon. It’s like a chess game and he’s the chess master.”
North Haven will be making its first trip to a state title game. New Canaan has won 10 state championships.
“We hope to slow them down a little,” Marinelli said. “It’ll be exciting. It’s two different worlds colliding.”