Greenwich reigns in final GameTimeCT football poll; New Canaan is No. 2

Greenwich had a very impressive state playoffs run to capture the Class LL state championship and, consequently, the Cardinals soared up six spots from the previous poll to be ranked No. 1 in the Final 2022 GameTimeCT Top 10 Football Poll.

Greenwich and state Class L champion New Canaan highlighted the strength of the FCIAC as they were ranked first and second, respectively, in that final state poll of this very entertaining and balanced year of high school football statewide.

The likes of Greenwich and New Canaan, fellow FCIAC teams St. Joseph, Staples, and Trumbull, and many more quality teams in the state were sliding up and down and in and out of the Top 10 polls throughout the season.

The FCIAC had four teams in the final Top 10 as St. Joseph was No. 8 and Staples completed the Top 10 at No. 10.

Coach Anthony Morello’s 11-2 Cardinals received 17 first-place votes from the 24 voting members of the media and 706 polling points. Greenwich became the first team with multiple losses in the 61-year history of this poll to be ranked No. 1 in the final poll.

Coach Lou Marinelli’s 12-1 New Canaan Rams were the recipients of five first-place votes and 670 polling points.

Greenwich and New Canaan were well ahead of the field in points as Class L runner-up Maloney (11-2) was ranked third with 540 polling points and Class LL runner-up Fairfield Prep (9-4) was No. 4 with 514 points.

The voters voted on their own top 15 teams, in order, and points were tabulated on a 30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis.

Fifth-ranked Ansonia won the Class S state championship with a 28-21 victory over Bloomfield. Ansonia’s undefeated Chargers (13-0) received the other two first-place votes and 440 polling points.

Greenwich was voted No. 2 by the seven voters who gave their No. 1 votes to either New Canaan or Ansonia.

Class M state champion Notre Dame-Fairfield (10-3) was ranked No. 6 and followed by Class MM state champion North Haven (11-2).

The Top 10 was completed by No. 8 St. Joseph, ninth-ranked Southington, and Staples at No. 10. Those three all finished with 9-2 records.

The three-round state playoffs had a few significant upsets so the final state poll, as compared to the previous poll released shortly after the Thanksgiving games on the eve of the state playoffs, was a microcosm of how topsy turvy the polls were all year.

Trumbull (8-4), which received the 15th most polling points in the final poll as the only FCIAC team among the 16 total in the “Others receiving votes” category, had the eighth and final seed in Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL Football Playoffs. Coach Marce Petroccio’s Trumbull Eagles then went and stunned a top-seeded Southington team which was also ranked No. 1 in the state poll, 34-25, in the first round.

The rollercoaster rides of Southington, St. Joseph, and Greenwich were examples of just how wild a ride it was up and down the polls throughout the season.

Southington was ranked 10th in the preseason poll, the Blue Knights were No. 1 with their 9-1 record after Thanksgiving, and that playoff loss to Trumbull sent them tumbling down to No. 9 and in that same area they began.

St. Joseph received the 15th most polling points in that preseason poll. Coach Joe DellaVecchia’s Cadets played so well that they took a 9-1 record, a No. 2 state poll ranking, and the top seed into the Class L playoffs. But then the Cadets were eliminated in the quarterfinals by eighth-seeded Cheshire, 24-14, so they finished up at No. 8 in the final poll.

And then there are those Greenwich Cardinals, who ended up exactly where they began – at No. 1.

Both of their losses were by one point to two very good teams. Southington was No. 6 in the state media poll at the time the Blue Knights rallied back for a 29-28 victory at No. 1 Greenwich on Sept. 24. The Cardinals fell back a bit in ensuing polls. They ascended back up to No. 3 with their six-game winning streak which was ended on Thanksgiving with a 39-38 loss at Staples. That loss dropped them back down to No. 7 going into the state Class LL playoffs.

The voting pollsters, other media members, coaches, players, and fans all knew that it was wide open and very much up in the air, and dependent on that final set of six state class championship games, as to which team would be No. 1 in the final state poll.

It wasn’t just that coach Morello’s Cardinals won the Class LL championship, but a big deciding factor was also how they won it. After Greenwich’s second-seeded Cardinals beat fifth-seeded Fairfield Prep, 37-17, in the championship game, they had outscored their three state playoffs opponents by a convincing 126-24 margin. The final was preceded by a 47-7 quarterfinal victory over Hamden and a 42-0 shutout against Glastonbury in the semifinals.

Fourth-seeded New Canaan won the Class L state title with a 16-13 victory over third-seeded Maloney in the final after advancing there with a 17-7 quarterfinal victory over Naugatuck and a 23-13 semifinal victory over Cheshire. Coach Marinelli’s 12-1 Rams ended the season with a six-game winning streak after their 27-14 loss at home to St. Joseph on Oct. 28.

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