When we reported last week's vandalism at New Canaan High School, we weren't surprised that the culprits were Darien football players. The teams' rivalry is one for the ages, so a harmless prank just before the Turkey Bowl was almost a given.

But this wasn't a harmless prank. The vandalism cost New Canaan High School an estimated $4,000 -- perhaps even more -- in damages. Destroying property is hardly considered funny; defacing memorials, such as the bricks outside Hawes Plaza, is extremely over the line.

If the players wanted to make a statement, we can think of a number of more creative ways to stick it to their rivals. But they chose criminal activity.

It's been said before, and we'll reiterate the point -- the five players who took to Dunning Field and Hawes Plaza in the dark of night do not exemplify the Darien student body, or the rest of the football team.

We have to wonder what the players were thinking when they conjured up their little scheme. Obviously, they thought they wouldn't get caught, but when you have five teens involved in something "top secret," it never actually remains top secret.

And even if they were able to get away with it, all they really did was fire up their opponent even more. The Rams had to win the game to keep their season alive and play in the state playoffs. And that's exactly what happened

We also have to wonder whether they thought about the consequences. Did they think that because they play football, they'd get off with a slap on the wrist?

Whatever they were thinking, they managed to let a lot of people down: their classmates, their teammates and the entire community.

The Turkey Bowl has deep roots; it's a community tradition where residents from both towns come out to the see the best of the best in high school football -- and with Darien down two starters, they were robbed of that opportunity this year.

But that's the least of their worries. Now they're facing criminal charges courtesy of the New Canaan Police Department.

In last's week online story, we reported that the attorney representing two of the kids called the event "a harmless prank that went too far."

There was nothing harmless about it.