Darien has tough decision to make this summer
Since I started covering the Darien program in 2014, the quarterback position has been set in stone.
The first two years were led by Timmy Graham, then after his graduation long-time backup Brian Peters picked up the slack.
Last year, Jack Joyce may have been a question mark in terms of what his production would be, but there was never a doubt he would be the starter.
This season however, is more of a mystery.
One thing we know is that it’s a two-man race.
We really know little else.
Rising-junior Peter Graham—Timmy’s younger brother—and rising-senior Cooper Hancock will battle it out all summer, each with an equal chance to earn the job.
“I’ve been very up front and honest with both of those candidates,” Darien coach Rob Trifone said. “The good news is we’ve got two very good quarterbacks and I know no one really like a quarterback battle, myself included, but it’s been good in terms of the actual competitive nature of it and they both look solid.”
Graham and Peters were similar in terms of their ability—both as pocket-passers. Joyce was a wildcard as he was an even better runner than he was a thrower, but the Darien attack doesn’t just rely on scheme, it caters to the skills of the individual.
That’s one of the reasons the Blue Wave have been so successful in Trifone’s tenure, but also creates another hurdle in terms of this particular battle.
Graham profiles as more of a pocket passer like his brother. He’s tall, and has a good frame, although he still needs to add some weight, but has enough of an arm to make all the throws at the high school level.
Hancock’s style more resembles that of Joyce, being able to use his legs to create space or run with the football.
“I can’t really say that one is better than the other, they’re both very capable,” Trifone said. “I told them 7-on-7 and going with just uppers like we do in the spring tells you something, but until you go live and we scrimmage some of the teams were going to, how do you really know?”
Neither really has much experience at the varsity level.
With Jack Joyce suspended for the Turkey Bowl last season, Graham started and Hancock saw time, but both looked understandably overwhelmed going against New Canaan on Thanksgiving morning in front of 10,000 fans at Boyle Stadium in Stamford.
That game aside, Darien finds itself with two talented options that are both virtual question marks.
The duo will have 7-on-7 leagues to get more familiar with their receivers in the summer, but Trifone will rely on the scrimmages to make his decision.
After all, it worked out a season ago.
“It’s the same with Joyce last year, there were a lot of questions around him until the first scrimmage,” Trifone said. “And all I had to do was look over my shoulder and wink and my assistants were like, ‘oh, I guess you were right coach.’”
Trifone usually is.