High school football notebook: New Canaan-Darien staying at Dunning Stadium
New Canaan will be home for the holiday — literally.
While the large crowd that’s expected to turn out to see the state’s top two teams square off on Thanksgiving prompted talk of moving the Turkey Bowl up a night to a different venue, the schedule will remain unchanged. In other words, Dunning Stadium will remain the site of the Rams’ Thanksgiving morning mega-matchup with Darien.
“New Canaan was concerned about the size of the crowd they would have. Due to the facility, there was concern about it,” FCIAC commissioner Dave Schulz said Monday.
While Rams athletic director Jay Egan said there were never any discussions about moving this year’s game, Schulz confirmed that the school explored playing it the night before Thanksgiving at Boyle Stadium in Stamford.
New Canaan and Darien last played at Boyle Stadium two years ago, when roughly 8,000 fans watched the Blue Wave pull out a 28-21 victory in the FCIAC final. Although the league no longer hosts a championship game, the latest edition of the rivalry is still expected to be a hot ticket.
“It was never going to be the FCIAC championship game,” Schulz said, “it was just to find a bigger venue. It’s staying at New Canaan.”
While Dunning Stadium can safely hold close to 3,000 spectators, Egan said, the school is exploring ways to get more fans through the gates “safely within the footprint of the stadium.” One of the ideas they’ve discussed is bringing in portable bleachers.
“It’s not Boyle Stadium, so we can’t accommodate 8,000 people,” Egan said. “But we are doing some things to increase the number.”
Tickets have yet to go on sale, but there’s no doubt this year’s game will be a big draw. Darien is currently 9-0 and ranked first in the state media poll, while New Canaan has the same record and is ranked second.
“We hosted an FCIAC championship game in (2004) between Central and Greenwich and I think we got close to 4,000,” Egan said. “We have an idea how much the stadium can accommodate.”
COACHING CHANGE IN THE SWC: Chris Pace won’t make it through the season at Weston. The Trojans coach resigned Monday with two games left in his third year at the helm.
“What I can tell you right now is that we have just received and accepted Chris Pace’s letter of resignation,” athletic director Mark Berkowitz said in an email. “This is effective immediately.”
No reason was given for Pace’s departure, which came just three days after he missed the Trojans’ 48-26 loss to Masuk. Dan Hassett filled in for Pace, who was away on “personal leave.”
The Trojans will take a 3-5 record and a four-game losing streak into Friday’s home finale with New Fairfield. Pace, who took over after Joe Lato jumped to Masuk prior to the 2014 season, amassed a 9-12 record in his first two seasons.
Pace did not return a call for comment.