FCIAC Football 2021: DARIEN preview

Darien's David Evanchick (33) catches New Canaan quarterback Drew Pyne (10) during the annual Turkey Bowl football game between Darien and New Canaan at Darien High School on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019.

Darien's David Evanchick (33) catches New Canaan quarterback Drew Pyne (10) during the annual Turkey Bowl football game between Darien and New Canaan at Darien High School on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019.

[Vitals]

[Top Players]

  • DAVID EVANCHICK, Sr., DL (5-9, 225)
  • MILES DRAKE, Sr., QB (6-2, 180)
  • MATTHEW MINICUS, Sr., WR (5-10, 170)
  • JEREMIAH STAFFORD, Sr., Slot (5-11, 175)
  • CHRISTIAN ALLIEGRO, Sr., S (6-4, 210)
  • KARSON DRAKE, Sr., OT/OG (6-2, 225)
  • ALEC MEDWAR, Sr., CB (5-11, 175)

[Outlook]

Every preseason, Darien’s football players are asked a question: “Heroes live forever. How do you want to be remembered?”

It’s a way to challenge the current team while alluding to the success of past Blue Wave teams, which have reached the state finals in six of the past seven seasons.

It’s a challenge the current Darien players welcome. As senior co-captain Miles Drake said earlier this summer: “We just love playing football.”

The Wave are heading into their first full football season with Mike Forget as their head coach, after Rob Trifone stepped down following the 2019 season.

Forget had been Darien’s defensive coordinator for eight years following a previous stint as head coach at Fairfield. Forget also coached the Darien players during a four-game private league last fall.

“Our expectation is always to win as many games as we can, get into the playoffs, and hopefully make a push at a state championship,” Forget said.

The Wave will feature senior co-captains David Evanchick, Christian Alliegro and Miles and Karson Drake.

Evanchick (whose older brother, Mark, was the Register Player of the Year in 2015) started at defensive end as a sophomore and led the team in tackles for a loss with 19, and sacks with seven. He’ll anchor the D-line this year.

“It certainly alleviates a lot of pressure,” Forget said of Evanchick's talent. “That’s a spot that we don’t have to worry about as much with him there.”

Taking over at quarterback is Miles Drake, who Forget called “the quintessential leader.”

“He’s always looking to make sure everybody knows what’s going on and that everybody’s on the same page,” Forget said. “He makes sure that happens.”

Drake has plenty of targets with the Wave again featuring depth at wide receiver. That group includes senior Matt Minicus, who had 21 receptions for 505 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2019. He, too, comes from a long line of family standouts to have played for the program.

Senior Jeremiah Stafford and junior Jake Wilson will also start, with senior Jaylen Lesperance and junior Liam McBride in the mix for time.

“They’re phenomenal,” Forget said of the receivers. “A lot of good hands and good route-running.”

At running back is senior Tighe Cummiskey, who is coming off a stellar season taking faceoffs for the Blue Wave’s boys lacrosse team.

The o-line will feature Karson Drake, along with seniors Beau Hancock and Connor Sini.

Defensively, the Wave has six starters back from the private league season. They include Evanchick and safety Alliegro, along with senior cornerback Alec Medwar and lineman Karson Drake.

Darien kicks off its season with a home game against Warde on Sept. 11, and will play in a marquee CT Football Alliance game when

Newtown visits the Blue Wave for an anticipated CT HS Football Alliance crossover game in week three. The Nighthawks defeated the Blue Wave in back-to-back state tournaments, including a dramatic 13-7 victory in the 2019 Class LL final.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, so we’re taking it game by game,” Forget said. “But certainly, Newtown has been a monkey on our back and the guys would really like to get that one.”

[2021 Schedule]

  • Sept. 11 — WARDE, 2 p.m. **
  • Sept. 17 — at Bridgeport Central, 7 p.m. **
  • Sept. 24 — NEWTOWN, 7 p.m. #
  • Oct. 1 — at Norwich Free Academy, 6:30 p.m.#
  • Oct. 16 — WILTON, 1:30 p.m. **
  • Oct. 22 — at Ludlowe, 6 p.m. #
  • Oct. 30 — at St. Joseph, 1:30 p.m. *
  • Nov. 5 — NORWALK, 7 p.m. **
  • Nov. 13 — BRIEN MCMAHON, 1:30 p.m. **
  • Nov. 25 — at New Canaan, 10 a.m. **

Home games in CAPS 
**Division game  
*Conference game 
#CT Alliance game