Darien overpowers North Haven
DARIEN -- After practice Thursday evening, Darien defensive end George Reed asked coach Rob Trifone why the Blue Wave were preparing for so many pass plays with a Wing-T running team in North Haven coming to town.
Trifone knew stopping North Haven from running was priority No. 1, but also realiezed the most important plays may come in the defensive backfield if his defense forced passing situations.
Turns out, Trifone was spot on. The Blue Wave made defense made two critical interceptions, one to stop a deep North Haven drive in the second quarter and one to put the game on ice in the fourth as the No. 3 Blue Wave crushed North Haven 31-0 at home Saturday.
"I thought we'd match up well up front and they would be forced to pass," Trifone said. "Thursday after practice George Reed says `Coach they haven't thrown that many passes all year long that we threw in practice.' I said `We are getting ready for what they might do.' And even with that they executed a couple of passes really well but we defended some and Bobby (Trifone) had that big pick and that was a big pick by Hudson (Hamill)."
The win unofficially clinches a spot in the Class L playoffs for Darien, who will also play in the FCIAC championship game against No. 2 New Canaan Thanksgiving morning at Boyle Stadium.
Already up 14-0 late in the second quarter, Darien's Hamill picked off a North Haven pass near the 20-yard line, stopping North Haven's best drive.
Hamill, a cornerback, said Darien's plan was pack nine in the box and stop the run, leaving him and fellow corner Trifone alone patrolling the defensive backfield.
"Me and Bobby Trifone would play pass first and not let anyone beat us and we both ended up with interceptions, which is funny because they don't really throw the ball," Hamill said. "They have been hurting other teams by releasing that tight end with everyone looking in the backfield and that guy gets behind the defense and we were determined not to let that happen."
Trifone's interception came late in the fourth quarter with North Haven again driving in Darien territory. Trifone stepped in front of the wide receiver on a wheel route, taking the ball back 70 yards for a touchdown, sealing the win.
North Haven coach Anthony Sagnella said it is difficult for his team to chase a large lead, especially against a defense like Darien's.
"My biggest concern was the play of their line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball," Sagnella said. "They asserted themselves early on and made it difficult for us to get some of our base plays and do things we are comfortable doing."
Darien got on the board right away with Shelby Grant busting a 78-yard touchdown run on the second series.
On the next possession, Darien went up 14-0 with Tim Graham hitting Hamill on a 10-yard pass and took a 21-0 lead into halftime after a 2-yard run by Tim Lochtefeld in the second quarter.
Darien 31, North Haven 0
DARIEN 14 7 0 10 -- 31
NORTH HAVEN 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Records: D 10-0; NH 8-2
D--Shelby Grant 78 run (Stephen Walker kick)
D--Hudson Hamill 10 pass Tim Graham (Walker kick)
D -- Tim Lochtefeld 2 run (Walker kick)
D -- Bobby Trifone 70 interception return (Walker kick)
D -- Walker 30 field goal