Football easily earns spot in FCIAC title game
Still without a scratch for the season.
Nine games down and one to go for a title.
Darien High's football team overcame a slow start, and an early deficit, for a 38-14 home win over Norwalk Saturday afternoon, improving the Blue Wave to 9-0 earning them a berth in the FCIAC championship game.
The tilt for the title with Trumbull will go down in Trumbull Friday night at 7 p.m.
Norwalk fell to 3-6 despite taking the early lead and trailing by just a point, 7-6, at halftime. The Blue Wave seized control with three third-quarter touchdowns, all on third-down plays, to take a 28-6 lead. Darien head coach Rob Trifone said he had a few choice words for his players at halftime as the Wave tried to avoid being upset and denied their championship-game bid.
"It's awesome. It's a dream come true to be honest with you," Allam said of going to the title game.
After a scoreless first quarter, the visiting Bears took advantage of a fortuitous bounce when Joey Dellarippa caught a deflected pass from quarterback Anthony Ferraro for a 6-0 lead. The Bears failed on a two-point conversion try. Darien finally got in the scoreboard with 8 seconds remaining in the half when Allam connected with Barker on a 1 yard TD pass, set up by a reception by Scotty Waters for a first down.
"This is what we've been talking about since the summer. We're really psyched that we're actually going to be playing in it," Barker said.
In the second half, Darien kicked off and the ball didn't get out of Norwalk's side of the field for the almost the entire third quarter. After the DHS defense forced a three-and-out, the Wave took advantage of great field position off the punt, returning it to the Bears' 29-yard line. Just when it looked as if the Bears would get the ball back, the Wave struck for a score on a third-and-13 at the 32.
Allam stepped up and completed a pass to Barker before being hit, and Barker finished off the play with a touchdown.
"Usually, when Chris is under pressure, be can throw the ball really well," Barker said.
After another change of possession following a Norwalk punt, Allam helped the Wave score on another third down. He scrambled, avoided several would-be tacklers, stepped up and completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Peter Gesualdi for a 21-6 advantage.
On Norwalk's next possession, Darien's James Shanley sacked Ferraro and Will Weinstock followed with an interception to give the home team the ball at the Norwalk 20.
On third down, Allam scored on an 18-yard dash into the end zone to pad the lead.
"It's been like that the last three weeks. That's the frustrating part. Third and fourth down has been killing us," Norwalk coach Pete Tucci said.
The Bears got finally got past midfield on their second to last play of the third and made a little noise when Derek Edwards scored on a 24 yard pass from Ferraro. The Blue Wave put the game away when Raia kicked a 29-yard field goal and Sam Gesualdi scored on a 4 yard run.
Trifone wasn't sure why his team let Norwalk hang around for as long as it did. "
We were flat as a pancake -- there's no other way to describe it," said Trifone, adding that his team was not good on offense, defense or special teams, especially in the early going. "There wasn't one phase where we weren't flat so I'll give them credit for that," he joked.
Trifone can only do so much to bring the collective psyche of his players up for a game against a weaker opponent.
"No matter what I do -- and I try different angles with them -- they have a sense of who their opponent is and are satisfied with playing to their level," Trifone added. "We don't have any weak games left. Thank God for that."
Darien did not face Trumbull in the regular season, but Trifone expects a tough game.
So what will it take to win the first FCIAC title in ages for this group?
"We've got to mix run and pass and, obviously, we've got to play great defense," he said. "We're going to have to play, honestly, an `A' game. And I say that because we've played a lot of `B-minus' games this year."
Trifone knows his team can't afford to come out flat and make mistakes in a title game.
"I'm looking forward to it. Obviously, it's going to be a challenge," Trifone said.
The title game will kick off at 7 p.m. tonight at Trumbull High. Those going should plan on leaving Darien around 5, as northbound traffic on the Merritt Parkway and Interstate 95 is notoriously slow-moving in the afternoon, especially on a Friday.