New Canaan pulls away to beat New London 32-6

New London — The last hands had been shaken in the middle of Cannamela Field, the game over Saturday afternoon. Lou Marinelli could have gone to be with his team for a state of the union.

He chose to deliver one to the opponent instead.

This was Lou Marinelli, the 12-time state championship coach at New Canaan, opting to say a few words to the Whalers instead.

He told them, among other things, they have the "makings of a great season" at New London.

This came after No. 3 New Canaan's 32-6 win that didn't come as easily as the score suggests. New London trailed 15-6 late into the third period, victimizing itself with bad snaps and other errors that are correctible, but contributed mightily to the loss.

"I think (New London) coach (Johnny) Burns is doing a heck of a job," Marinelli said. "Everyone talks about Fairfield County and how good they are. I'll tell you what. (New London) would do well in the FCIAC. Their kids play hard, they hit and they run to the ball. I was very impressed."

New Canaan quarterback Drew Pyne, headed to Notre Dame, threw three touchdown passes to Zach LaPolice, finishing 12-24 for 202 yards.

Chris Canet returned the opening kickoff to the New London 7, allowing New Canaan a quick score to lead 7-0. But the Whalers responded quickly, using Germiah Ballinger and Jalen Callender on the ground to set up quarterback Frankie Pratts' 17-yard scoring pass to Josiah Williams. It was 7-6.

But that's when the Whalers began to implode, beginning with two straight snaps that sailed over Pratts' head, the second of which resulted in a safety.

"I'll have to watch film to figure out what adjustments they made because I'm more stuck on the errors we made," Burns said. "We made too many of them. In the first half, we had a couple of high snaps. We started the game (without) good kick coverage and they had to go (seven) yards for a touchdown. We kept giving them points but we were still in it."

New London has a bye week before it plays Xavier on Sept. 27 at Cannamela Field.

"We played a really great team," Burns said. "It was good to see our guys match up in the ways we thought we could. The mistakes caused things to slip away from us. I've been able to get some good looks at some top 10 ranked teams and they look as ranked as anybody. I feel good knowing we belong on the field."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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