What started as a prank quickly escalated to criminal charges and the arrest of five football players the day before the biggest game between Darien and New Canaan.

Police responded to New Canaan High School at 6:37 a.m. on Nov. 24 on a report of vandalism. Several areas on the exterior of the high school building were painted with blue spray paint. The building at the entrance to Dunning Field was also spraypainted. The NC symbol on the outside clock was painted blue and "Wave" was painted above the clock.

Darien Athletic Director John Keleher told the Darien News that the five individuals would not be allowed to play in Thursday's game or any games for the rest of the year.

The police worked with Darien and New Canaan officials to identify the suspects. As a result of the vandalism, police said they would be issuing arrest warrants for those who were responsible.

NCHS Athletic Director Jay Egan and Principal Tony Pavia both expressed their pleasure with how quickly the issue was resolved.

"Darien High School officials did extraordinary work in identifying the five students responsible for all the painting," Egan said. "They will find appropriate disciplinary actions for the boys. New Canaan and Darien are great rivals. It is as good a rivalry as you can find but we also have a great mutual respect for each other."

All five suspects were arrested on Dec. 9 after they learned that arrest warrants had been issued. The four students are 17 years old and were charged with youthful offender status by way of first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and loitering in or about school grounds. One of the students was also charged with violation of passenger restriction and violation of curfew restriction since he drove the other youths to the high school.

The 15-year-old turned himself in accompanied by his attorney after an arrest warrant was obtained from Stamford Juvenile Court earlier in the day on Dec. 9. He was charged with first-degree criminal mischief, first degree conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and loitering in or about school grounds.

The four teens were released on promises to appear in Norwalk Superior Court. Two were scheduled to appear on Dec. 15, and two on Dec. 22. The 15-year-old was scheduled to appear in juvenile court on Dec. 21.

Attorney Mark Sherman who is representing two of the suspects, a 17-year-old student and the 15-year-old student, said both of his clients were looking forward to moving through the court process and putting the incident behind them. However, Sherman was unable to go into any detail about the court proceedings which began on Dec. 21 due to confidentiality issues.

"The process has just begun and the boys are preparing to make restitutions," Sherman said.