Looking Back by George Albano

10 years ago

Norwalk High was doing plenty of celebrating after the Bears swept city rival Brien McMahon in three sports on the same day. In the afternoon, the NHS boys and girls cross country teams beat the Senators by identical 20-41scores as part of a five-team meet at New Canaan’s Waveny Park. McMahon senior Chris Madaffari finished first overall among the five schools in the boys meet, covering the 3.1-mile course in a personal-best 16:39. But NHS had the next five finishers in the head-to-head intracity matchup, led by Edwin Rosales, who finished seventh overall ... In the girls meet, NHS sophomore Claire Turner finished fourth overall and first in the Norwalk-McMahon matchup.

A few hours later, the Bears beat the Senators in boys soccer 3-1 under the lights at Jack Casagrande Field. Mike Broncati snapped a 1-1 tie with 19 minutes remaining while Kevin Joslyn added an insurance goal with 5:46 left as Norwalk improved to 7-1-1. Erick Romero gave NHS a 1-0 lead just 2:26 into the contest on a long direct kick, but Christian Echeverri tied it for McMahon with only 2.2 seconds left in the first half.

After back-to-back heartbreaking losses in the closing seconds to perennial powers Staples and New Canaan, the Brien McMahon football team played another down-to-the-wire thriller, but this time came out on top as the Senators outlasted Wilton 42-35. QB Damien Vega fired three touchdown passes, including the game winner to Zack O’Connor with 6.2 seconds left. Kyle Jordan ran for two TDs as McMahon built a 28-8 lead before the Warriors rallied to tie it 35-35 with 3:43 to go.

Meanwhile, Norwalk High, which won its first four games, lost for the time as the Bears fell 28-14 to No. 4-ranked New Canaan, which was also 4-0 coming in. Kenny Francois scored on a 3-yard run while Delshawn Wilson threw a 6-yard TD pass to Derick Edwards to account for the NHS points.

25 years ago

It was a notable week for several local youth league teams and players. Nobody had a bigger week than Cathy Dash, who set a new single-game scoring record in the Norwalk Girls Basketball Association with 41 points to lead the Running Rebels to a 47-45 overtime win against the Eagles. Kati Cavanagh of the Eagles sent the game into OT when she hit a driving layup with two seconds left in regulation.

The Norwalk Bucs Pee Wee Division football team registered its third shutout of the season by blanking Seymour 26-0. John Bellantoni rushed for 177 yards and three touchdowns while also recording six tackles on defense.

In soccer, the Norwalk Jr. Mariners defeated Shelton 3-0 on goals by Steve Cenatiempo, Pat Scully and Ryan Mitchell. Scully and Mitchell also shared the goaltending duties and combined for nine saves in the shutout.

50 years ago

A large Friday afternoon crowd gathered at Veterans’ Memorial Park to watch the Brien McMahon and Norwalk High soccer teams do battle as the Senators came from behind to nip their city rivals 2-1. Jim Marmanides gave the Bears an early 1-0 lead, but Rick Risteen tied it for McMahon before Armando Pantalone scored what proved to be the game winner with 50 seconds left in the first half. After a 0-1-1 start, the Senators have gone 4-0-2 to move into second place in the West Division ... Norwalk, now 3-4-0, was coming off its biggest win of the season, knocking off unbeaten Stamford 4-1 as Peter Theoderides scored two goals.

The backfield duo of Larry Anastasia and Wayne LeBlanc had another big game for the Central Catholic football team, not only on the ground but also in the air as they each threw a halfback-option touchdown pass to help the Cavaliers defeat Immaculate 20-6 in Danbury. Anastasia fired a 25-yard scoring pass to Tom Trainor for the game’s first TD, while LeBlanc connected with Steve ‘Spider’ Porricelli on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 1:58 left to play to seal the victory as Central improved to 3-1-1. LeBlanc keyed the scoring drive with a 59-yard run. In between the two option passes, Anastasia scored the Cavs’ second touchdown on a 27-yard run.

After its season opener was postponed, the Norwalk Community College club football team finally kicked off its 1971 campaign with a 28-7 win over Concordia College. The Cougars’ defense sparked the victory by scoring two of the four touchdowns and setting up another. In the first quarter, Phil Tegano, a former standout player at Norwalk High, blocked a punt and Dick Parkington, another ex-NHS player, returned it to the Concordia 39. Seven plays later, Dick Winslow scored on a 5-yard run and former Brien McMahon soccer player Wayne Mones booted the first of his four extra points. Winslow’s second TD, another 5-yard run, made it 14-0, and after Concordia cut it to 14-7, Pat McGrath, an all-state lineman at Central Catholic, blocked a punt that Tegano scooped up and returned 38 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-7. The NCC defense struck again when Tom Swift returned an interception 75 yards for the final TD.