WILTON -- A strong second half and a well-balanced offensive attack that saw five Blue Wave players find the end zone was all it took for Darien to get back on the winning track, cruising to a lopsided 34-7 victory at Wilton High School's Fujitani Field on Friday night.
Senior fullback Christian Bognar was once again the workhouse for Darien, which was preparing for a bad weather game. The rain never came, but the Darien ground game certainly did, and Bognar led the way with 20 carries for 153 yards, including a five-yard touchdown.
"Bognar is what makes the offense hum because obviously he keeps everyone honest in the middle. Then we're able to bang some perimeter plays and obviously throw the ball," Darien coach Rob Trifone said. "We planned on bad weather and came in with a big run game and for the most part stuck with it."
Ian Vanderhorn got things rolling with a 57-yard return to the Wilton 40 on the opening kickoff. From there, Darien (4-2) went 40 yards in six plays, highlighted by a 22-yard Bognar run to the one. Peter Gesualdi, who returned from injury, scored on a one-yard dive and also notched the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
Darien's Brian Wiegand increased his team's lead by picking off Wilton quarterback Brett Phillips and racing 42 yards untouched to make the score 14-0 after an unsuccessful two-point attempt with 3:19 left in the half.
"I really had a feeling they were coming in here running the ball," Wilton coach Bruce Cunningham said. "I thought we hung in there against their good backs. We're sitting here with a chance and we just kind of self-destructed."
Wilton (3-3) moved the ball 50 yards in five plays with some help from consecutive late hit penalties against Darien. With 42 seconds remaining in the half, Phillips hit running Mike Burns on a four-yard strike to close to within 14-7.
"You make a mistake and they capitalize and you know what? We're (ticked)," Trifone said. "We came in here (ticked) and that really got us."
Wilton got the ball first to start the second half, but a swarming Darien defense pushed the Warriors from their own 20 to their own 5 for a three-and-out.
As a result, Darien had great field position at the Wilton 30 and required only four plays to capitalize. The final two plays of the drive were a 16-yard connection from Henry Baldwin to Gesualdi, and a nine-yard touchdown run off right tackle by Vanderhorn.
Darien scored touchdowns on its next two possessions -- a 57-yard bomb from Baldwin to Gregory Lesko, and a five-yard carry by Bognar.
"We gave them everything we've got. We knew that this was our season and if we lost it was almost over," Darien lineman Matt D'Andrea said.
Darien 34, wilton 7
DARIEN 8 6 13 7--34
WILTON 0 7 0 0--7
D--Peter Gesualdi, 1 run (Gesualdi run)
D--Brian Wiegand, 42 interception return (run failed)
W--Mike Burns, 4 pass from Brett Phillips (Ben Rappaport kick)
D--Ian Vanderhorn, 9 run (C.J. Raia kick)
D--Gregory Lesko, 57 pass from Henry Baldwin (kick blocked)
D--Christian Bognar, 5 run (Raia kick)
Records: Darien 4-2; Wilton 3-3