Replacing a legend
They’re impossible shoes to fill.
With Mark Evanchick, Connecticut’s All-Time sack leader, gone it’s up to a mix of veterans to step and fill that void the best they can.
Headlining that group are Cord Fox and Quinn Fay.
Both Fox and Fay played heavily last year and both with success. Fox plays inside at the three-technique and Fay at one defensive end was Evanchick’s understudy and counterpart a season ago.
Neither player is looking to be Mark Evanchick, both just want to be the best versions of themselves they can while using his lessons off the field and on.
“Of course it’s hard to fill someone’s shoes like Mark, he’s the greatest defensive end to ever come through the state,” Fay said. “But I think all of us on the d-line and the whole team has really dedicated themselves to stepping up and filling the shoes of the person above. I’m going to try to establish the same level of dominance as he did, he taught me a lot; he was a huge mentor to me and hopefully some of what he taught me can translate onto the field this year.”
That act of mentoring the player below you is what coach Rob Trifone makes the Darien program so special, and in his mind what will enable the players of 2016 to step into their roles easily.
“What they learned from Mark Evanchick is invaluable,” Trifone said. “I remember watching him last year taking guys aside explain angles to get around offensive lineman, so now not only do they have all that knowledge but you can see them doing the same with our younger kids. When you teach a skill you learn it twice as well, they had that tutelage of Mark and they’re paying it forward to younger kids and in turn making themselves better.”
Those two leaders have taken that message to heart and have transformed themselves into the kind of leaders that the seniors before them were.
“It’s all about leaving an imprint on how to work and handle yourself,” Fay said. “Being a senior I’m much more aware of how I act in front of younger players and I credit that to the seniors last year who did a great job being role models and setting that example for us.”
It won’t just be those Fay and Fox that need to get the job done, other veterans like Andrew Stueber and Justin Plank will also be heavily relied upon as well as a host of underclassman looking for their shot.
“What we lose in talent we’re gaining in consistency,” Fox said. “We have three returners in me, Quinn and Andrew Stueber and a couple new guys trying out the defensive end spot—Mark made big plays but I think we can consistently play well and not have a huge problem.”
While another player may not reach the sack total that Evanchick consistently did Fay, Fox and Trifone all believe that the combination of linemen Darien can put out there will be enough to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares.
“I think you’re going to see everyone getting a piece of the quarterback during the game,” Fay said.