Scott Ericson: Darien’s defense locks Southington down
Published 4:45 pm, Tuesday, December 8, 2015
STAMFORD — The Darien defense is loaded with names we all know by now.
Defensive lineman Mark Evanchick, defensive backs Christian and Bobby Trifone and Hudson Hamill have been talked about all season. And they all put forth stellar efforts Monday night as the Blue Wave shut down the state’s No. 1 ranked team, Southington, all night Monday.
The Blue Wave allowed just one fourth-quarter touchdown with their starters on the sideline, beating the Blue Knights 49-7 at Boyle Stadium in the Class LL semifinals.
Grant worked with his fellow DBs, locking down Austin Morin and the talented Southington receivers while Fox aided Evanchick and the rest of the defensive line in chasing down athletic, UConn-bound quarterback Jasen Rose.
The defensive line, led by Evanchick and Fox, sacked Rose several times while forcing bad throws on nearly every other down.
In fact, had Rose not been the athlete he is, Darien would have registered over 10 sacks in the first half alone.
“We knew (Morin) was the best wide receiver we would ever cover,” Grant said. “We knew we could let up the short stuff but we just had to keep them from going deep. Our D line did a great job containing (Rose) and we shut them down. I have been playing with Hudson Hamill back there for two years and we have the best chemistry. Bobby and Christian lock it down on the left side and we get the other side.”
The Darien defense has allowed one passing touchdown all season and that came against maybe the state’s best quarterback in New Canaan’s Michael Collins.
Rose and the Blue Knights offense never stood a chance.
The work by the defensive backs was excellent Monday night, clamping down on every receiver, giving the defensive line time to chase Rose all over the field.
Fox said knowing the defensive backs could cover receivers for long periods of time gave the defensive line confidence as they chased, bounced off but eventually took down the elusive Rose
“We know we are going to have extra time to get to the quarterback the way those guys cover and we can get more sacks and apply more pressure,” Fox said. “It was very difficult to contain (Rose). He was scrambling all over the place. We were missing tackles but we all got to him and started gang-tackling him and that’s when we took him down.”
Southington came into the game averaging 49.9 points per game and riding a 30-game winning streak going back to 2013, but was quickly introduced to the Darien defense and had no answers for it.
In the first quarter, Darien forced two fumbles, turning both into scores and a 14-0 lead before most of the crowd was even in their seats.
Darien coach Rob Trifone said his team did not draw up anything special to stop Southington, they just kept doing what they do.
“It was honestly business as usual,” Trifone said. “We are not fancy on defense. We blitz a little bit, but not a lot, but we have good coverage and a solid box. The amazing part about (Rose) is how shifty he is. He is big and strong, we get that, but boy is he shifty. So, we slowed down our pass rush so we weren’t running by him but kind of corralling him.”
“They had tremendous coverage,” Trifone said of his defensive backs. “That’s Tyler Grant, Hudson Hamill and my sons Christian and Bobby Trifone. Tyler is the most underrated guy in the secondary and not one of the big names but he has done a tremendous job.”
The Blue Wave starting defense has yet to allow a touchdown in the Class LL state tournament and has one more game left, Saturday at 2:30 against Shelton, to potentially cap one of the truly great runs in state football history.