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A look at high school football throughout the state

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CIAC Finals Luncheon

The eight teams that advanced to the state championship games were honored at a luncheon Tuesday in the Club Room at Rentschler Field.

Among the highlights:

Ledyard coach Jim Buonocore on how to stop Ansonia, which the Colonels will face for the Class M title (Saturday, 10:30 a.m.):

"First thing we have to do is have someone take out the Ansonia bus on the way to the Rent, or at least make sure Arkeel (Newsome) doesn't make the bus."

Ansonia sophomore running back Arkeel Newsome has rushed for 3,399 yards and 55 touchdowns.

New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli on how the Rams were able to defeat Hand, which New Canaan will compete with for the Class L title (Saturday, 2 p.m.), three straight times:

"We were lucky".

Xavier senior WR/DB Ryan Jacobucci and the rest of the Falcons are well-aware there's a target on their backs by being the state's No. 1 team. Xavier (12-0) has won 25 straight games and is the defending Class LL champion. The Falcons will face Staples (11-0) on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

"At Xavier, we're from all over," Jacobucci said. "A lot of the kids have friends back on the schools that we play, and we hear all the time that the teams that we play go so much harder, and they take it much more personally when they play Xavier. Not only do we have to play our 'A' game, but we have to practice so much harder. That keeps us on edge, and that's what keeps the whole team going. We have to keep the train going and keep getting the 'W'."

Class S finalist Cromwell will take on Holy Cross on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Cromwell coach Chris Eckert, in his first year with the Panthers, knew Cromwell had plenty of talent returning, including senior quarterback Anthony Morales and senior receivers Mike Antonio and Brett Director.

"Hearing from other coaches from around the league," Eckert said, "they let me know that we had a great group of seniors coming back and a great group of juniors coming up. The thing we needed to do as a staff was make sure they bought into our style of coaching and bought into our scheme early enough to make sure we were successful on the field. If they didn't buy into it, we had no shot. That was our major focus coming into spring camp and into the fall season."

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