DARIEN — The Darien football team hasn’t lost a game in two years.

Heading into this season, that pressure can be a lot to handle, but as far as the Blue Wave are concerned, there is no 26-game win streak.

“We don’t talk about a streak or anything like that, we just take it one game at a time,” Wave coach Rob Trifone said. “We have a tough opener in Ridgefield, so we’re prepping for that and I don’t want the kids to feel pressure.”

That opening week matchup at Ridgefield is enough of a distraction from any outside noise. Darien defeated the Tigers 28-7 in last year’s Class LL state final.

While both teams will be represented by a slew of new starters, both also know the importance of winning the week one matchup.

Nick Green returned an interception 61 yards in the state title game, and is one of Darien’s talented skill position players returning.

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Darien Blue Wave

COACH: Rob Trifone (11th season)

CONFERENCE, CLASS: FCIAC, LL

2016 RECORD: 13-0 (FCIAC champion, Class LL champion)

TOP RETURNEES: Sr. RB/SS Mitch Pryor (6-2, 208, 741 yards, 13 TDs); Sr. WR/LB Nick Green (6-2, 185, 556 yards, 11 total TDs, 4 interceptions); Sr. WR/LB Max Grant (6-2, 215, 662 yards, 8 TDs); Sr. WR/DB Brian Minicus (5-10, 165, 50 tackles 2 interceptions).

REASON TO SMILE: Darien returns most of its secondary and linebacking corps, and Mitch Pryor is a big, strong and fast running back. If all else fails, the Blue Wave should be able to rely on Pryor offensively.

REASON TO WORRY: Starting QB Jack Joyce dealt with an injury last year and got virtually no reps on varsity, attempting only three passes.

DID YOU KNOW? With the installations of lights at Darien High School, the Blue Wave will be able to play Friday night home games for the first time.

KEY GAME: At Ridgefield, Friday, 7 p.m. Darien dives right into the deep end with a road matchup against the Tigers. Darien defeated Ridgefield 28-7 in last year’s Class LL finals.

OUTLOOK: Unfortunately for the rest of the state, Darien once again looks like it will retool instead of rebuild. There’s question marks around the quarterback position and line, but the Blue Wave should have plenty in their skill players and at running back to allow the rest of the team to catch up.

Anthony E. Parelli

“We have a lot of new faces, but we also have a lot of returners, especially at receiver,” Green, one of four Darien captains, said. “Three out of four played a significant role last year. The new faces are good players and we’ve been playing with them for a while. Obviously, we lost coach Ross, but we got some new coaches in here that stepped up and it’s the same offense, so we’ll be fine.”

Passing game coordinator Mitch Ross left the program in the offseason after accepting the head coaching job at Fairfield Ludlowe. While Ross proved himself a master tactician in his time at Darien, Trifone does not expect the offense to stutter after the change.

“The system is the system, and the system hasn’t changed,” Trifone said. “Joe SantaLucia, who is a long-time assistant of mine going on 26 years of coaching, has stepped right into the role and has been doing a phenomenal job. Against Cheshire the other day you wouldn’t think we missed a beat — they were sharp — so I think things have been good.

“Mitch Ross is a great coach and I wish him luck, and he and I talk quite a bit. He’s going to do fine, but I have a good staff here.”

As far as players turnover from a season ago, there’s plenty of talent at the back-end of the defense, but the Blue Wave will have to make due with an inexperienced line.

“We return a lot on the second and third level,” Trifone said. “Upfront is where we graduated people. The only starter coming back is Mike Neary, but you’ve got good, young defensive linemen who are stepping up.”

Connor Tienken is going into his third year as a starter at defensive back. Now, however, his role has changed as he becomes a senior.

“It’s definitely different,” Tienken said. “Before, I’d be asking more questions and now I need to know all the answers, not only at my position, but what everyone else is doing, and be able to take more of a leadership role.”

The players stepping into important roles are itching to get the season started at Tiger Hollow on Friday night at 7.

“I couldn’t ask for a better first game,” Green said. “They obviously want us from what we did in the state championship, and we want another chance because we don’t think as a team we did that well that game. We got the win, but we want another chance and we got a new team and it’s a new opportunity to showcase what we can do.”

aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP