The Wave’s standings-crushing double-OT loss to the Cadets on Saturday had to be equally crushing to its spirit.
Except, maybe that spirit’s already rising.
“I mean as far as the emotional aspect of it (goes), I think it’s a good thing,” said Darien football coach Rob Trifone. “Because, you know as they say, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.”
Both teams left the early season showdown with one record, on the face of it, strong as the next, each at 2-1.
Only the points system of weighting victories and losses for the FCIAC standings shot St. Joseph up to fourth place and pushed the Wave down to ninth going into week four of the season.
Nobody likes that feeling, OK? And the next time, we’re in a situation — they’ll remember that. And hopefully, they’ll gain from it.
— Rob Trifone
Making DHS it’s own worst enemy, with the Cadets now primed to reap what the Wave sows the rest of the way (go to FCIAC.net football standings for details on the points system).
“So we, from the top down, were all hurting emotionally,” said Trifone. “We’re angry… But, I’ve learned through my long career that you have to bundle that, and funnel it, and use it to get better.”
Everyone in blue could have felt better, even if they had all left the field walking cleat-less over lit coals, had they not fallen to St. Joe’s Saturday.
“Nobody likes that feeling, OK?” said Trifone. “And the next time, we’re in a situation — they’ll remember that. And hopefully, they’ll gain from it.”
This guy did.
“Michael Jordan — I used (his) phrase — with the boys,” said Trifone. “The great Michael Jordan, who won, what ever it was; six championships? Don’t forget, that the Bulls lost three in a row.
“And he was the one that came out after the first of the six, that they won, and said, ‘sometimes you have to lose the big game, to understand, what it’s like to win it.’”
The Wave understands.
“And so, we’re taking all that in. And obviously we would have liked to be on the other end of it.”
Darien’s biggest threat, air and land, senior Peter Gesualdi, with a twice injured ankle, is expected back, soon.
And add him to the mix, and not subtract any others with injury, and Darien could be on track, still, for what could be the type of momentous contest St. Joe’s was, times about 10.
And the Wave could find itself in that type of situation back-to-back down the stretch with its home date vs. FCIAC first place Staples followed by a trip to No. 2 Trinity, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 respectively.
“No question, no question,” said Trifone. “There are plenty of big games yet to be played.
“I was the one that at the beginning said, it’s going to be hard to go through this season, for anybody, and go undefeated.
“And Staples is kind of in a class by itself, almost. But below them, the five or six good teams, and you know who they are, are going to beat each other up. Like St. Joe’s and we did.”
If Darien stays on the up and up through the rest of this month, there’ll be plenty of incentive for a beat down on Nov. 3.
“So I think you are going to see a lot of teams with one loss/two losses. And the chips, let’s see where they fall,” Trifone said.
Not having a rough rode, made meeting St. Joe all the rougher.
“And here we are, 2-0, and, our starters haven’t played much more than a half of football,” said Trifone. “Because we were blowing people out. And you want to be kind and you don’t want to run the score up. You walk that thin line.
“And now all of a sudden, you have to play a whole game, plus.
“And I’m not making excuses, I’m just telling you how it is.”
The Cadets loss to Staples in the season opener stood them well, in the what-doesn’t-kill-you stakes.
“Forget winning,” Trifone said. “Come out and play four quarters of quality football. That’s the remedy.”
Guessing on Gesualdi
Said Trifone: “He (Gesualdi) is probably going to be ready for this weekend. But we’re questioning whether or not we should play him. You just hesitate — if this was the last game of the year? He’s playing.”