football Cardinals conquer Xavier
GREENWICH — Kobe Comizio returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and Greenwich never looked back on its way to a 38-7 win over Xavier Wednesday night at Cardinal Stadium.
The win clinched a Class LL playoff berth for Greenwich (9-0) and took some pressure off its Thanksgiving matchup with Staples (7-2), which needs a win to have a chance to qualify.
“The mindset is we want to play another game on this field,” Greenwich coach John Marinelli said. “We can’t control where our seeding is or anything like that. I gotta look at the math, but I think even if we win there’s a possibility we’re on the road. We’re going to go into it saying we win, we get to play another game here.”
Greenwich, ranked No. 2 in the latest GameTimeCT poll, dominated from start to finish against a Xavier team that finished the season 2-8. Xavier won state championships in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 but has gone 18-22 since.
Greenwich forced a three-and-out on Xavier’s first possession and scored four plays later on a Lance Large touchdown from Gavin Muir. Ryan Raybuck recorded an interception on Xaiver’s next drive and Muir ran in for touchdown shortly after to make it 21-0 just seven and a half minutes into the game. That was all for Muir, who got to bundle up and watch the final three quarters from the sideline.
“I wanted to get some of our younger kids reps and get our two other quarterbacks in with our varsity line and receivers, just to see what they could do,” Marinelli said. “Last year in the Thanksgiving Day game, Gavin came out with a high-ankle sprain and our backup who was a senior came in and did a great job. So we’ve got to be ready for anything that’s possible. So just to get some reps underneath these guys’ belt, the running backs, getting some different O-line combinations in was kind of our goal, if we could.”
But Greenwich didn’t miss a beat with James Rinello under center, pushing the lead to 38-0 at halftime on touchdown passes to AJ Barber and Chris Wint and a Ben Howarth 22-yard field goal. Cage Lasley also saw time at quarterback in the second half.
“James Rinallo, he had a great game today,” Muir said. “It really seems like he understands the offense. Coach doesn’t really have to change his play-calling when he’s out there, just because he’s able to make all the throws, he’s able to make all the reads. So I thought he had a really good game, along with the other backup running backs and wide receivers.”
Xavier broke the shutout when quarterback Andrew Kron ran in from 5 yards out with 5:19 to play.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
The entire Greenwich special teams unit. They set the offense up with tremendous field position in the first half, as all six scoring drives started in Xavier territory. Large was solid on punt returns and Comizio’s kickoff return gave got the special teams unit into the end zone for the third game in a row.
This game was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was changed to Wednesday due to inclement weather expected in the area Thursday. The change threw a wrench into both teams’ schedules on what was already a short week.
“Coach tells us, ‘adjust and conquer,’” Muir said. “That’s really his mantra when stuff happens.”
Greenwich hosts Staples at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. Xavier’s next game will be its 2019 season opener.
GREENWICH 38, XAVIER 7
XAVIER 0 0 0 7 — 7
GREENWICH 28 10 0 0 — 38
G — Kobe Comizio 75 kickoff return (Ben Howarth kick)
G — Lance Large 14 pass from Gavin Muir (Howarth kick)
G — Muir 8 run (Howarth kick)
G — AJ Barber 10 pass from James Rinello (Howarth kick)
G — Howarth 22 FG
G — Chris Wint 5 pass from Rinello (Howarth kick)
X — Andrew Kron 5 run (Sam Norris kick)
Records: Greenwich 9-0, Xavier 2-8