The Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference has four teams ranked among the top five in the 2019 GameTimeCT Preseason Top 10 Football Poll which was released Sept. 10.
Daniel Hand received 22 first-place votes from the 25 voting members of the media and is ranked No. 1. Hand is followed by those four FCIAC teams – St. Joseph, New Canaan, Greenwich and Darien.
St. Joseph received the other three first-place votes to earn the No. 2 ranking. Daniel Hand received 724 total points and St. Joseph had 668 in the voting in which the pollsters pick their respective top 15 teams in order and points are tabulated on a 30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis.
New Canaan, which received 642 points, is ranked third while Greenwich (584 points) and Darien (530) are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.
The respective teams ranked 6-10 in this year’s initial poll are Shelton, Bloomfield, Newtown, Southington and Windsor.
A total of 33 teams statewide received votes and the FCIAC has three of the 23 teams in the “Others receiving votes” category. Ridgefield received the 19th most polling points, Staples had the 26th most points and Danbury the 29th most.
Last year coach John Marinelli’s Greenwich Cardinals finished 13-0 when they won the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL state championship with a 34-0 victory over New Canaan and finished No. 1 in the Final 2018 GameTimeCT Top 10 Football Poll.
Greenwich received 24 first-place votes and Class L state champion Daniel Hand (13-0) got the other four first-place votes to finish No. 2 in last year’s final top 10. Those two teams were followed by Class M state champion St. Joseph (12-1), fourth-ranked New Canaan (10-3), Bloomfield (12-1), Newtown (11-1), Shelton (10-1), eighth-ranked Darien (9-2), Fairfield Prep (10-2) and Berlin (11-2).
A slew of Cardinals who played on offense and defense graduated from that 2018 Greenwich squad and Anthony Morello is the new head coach.
John Marinelli, the son of longtime successful New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli, stepped away from Greenwich and took the next step of his ascending coaching career when he accepted a position to be an offensive analyst at the University of Arizona for second-year head coach Kevin Sumlin.
St. Joseph earned this year’s lofty preseason No. 2 ranking because coach Joe DellaVecchia’s Cadets did roll to a 70-18 victory over Berlin nine months ago in Class M state championship game and DellaVecchia does have a handful of excellent returnees.
In the recent GameTimeCT “25 CIAC football players to watch” feature there are four St. Joseph seniors listed. They include four-year starting running back Jaden Shirden (60 rushing touchdowns and close to 3,500 career rushing yards), defensive lineman Jermaine Williams (one of only three juniors on GameTimeCT’s 26-player all-state first team last year), Will Diamantis and Mike Morrissey.
New Canaan’s senior quarterback and Notre Dame commit Drew Pyne, Greenwich senior A.J. Barber and Wilton’s senior 6-foot-4, 290-pound two-way lineman Matt Gulbin are the other FCIAC players on that 25 players to watch acknowledgment.
The 2019 season commences Friday night with nine games involving FCIAC teams.
Trinity Catholic High School has experienced declining enrollment in recent years so it is now part of the Trinity/Wright Tech cooperative program as players who attend J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford are now also integrated into the co-op program.
New Canaan travels to New London and Westhill also has a long trip to East Lyme for a pair of Friday night games that begin at 6:30 p.m.
The seven games involving FCIAC teams which have 7 o’clock kickoff times are: Fitch at Wilton, Fairfield Ludlowe at Darien, Trinity/Wright Tech at Norwalk, St. Joseph at Brien McMahon, Fairfield Warde at Ridgefield, Staples at Stamford, and Bridgeport Central at Trumbull.
Danbury visits Greenwich in Saturday’s lone FCIAC game for a 4 o’clock kickoff.
Football Week One
Friday, Sept. 13
- New Canaan at New London, 6:30 p.m.
- Fitch at Wilton, 7
- Ludlowe at Darien, 7
- Trinity/Wright Tech at Norwalk, 7
- St. Joseph at Brien McMahon, 7
- Warde at Ridgefield, 7
- Staples at Stamford, 7
- Bridgeport Central at Trumbull, 7
Saturday, Sept. 14
- New Canaan at New London, noon
- Danbury at Greenwich, 4