Third quarter explosion propels No. 1 Darien past Norwalk

DARIEN — The Norwalk football team delivered the “first punch,” as Darien’s David Evanchick described it.

But it didn’t take long for the Blue Wave to take over the fight.

No. 1 Darien exploded for 22 points in a span of 5:41 of the third quarter and steamrolled past Norwalk 49-21 while improving to 8-0 Friday night in Darien.

The Bears led 21-20 at halftime but were kept off the scoreboard in the second half.

So what changed for the Blue Wave in the third quarter?

“I think I became a 10-headed monster and got after them,” Darien coach Mike Forget said. “We made some adjustments, I yelled a little bit, then I calmed down and we got back at it.”

“We’re very calm,” said Evanchick, who had two sacks and recovered a fumble in the second half. “They came at us and they were up going into the second half, but we just calmed ourselves down and made some plays.”

Norwalk (5-3) played well in the first half and struck for three touchdowns, including two of 50-plus yards.

Quarterback Shawn Brown scored on a 53-yard run for the game’s first points, and later connected on a 58-yard TD pass to Cam Edwards. That latter play put the Bears ahead 21-14 at the time.

In the second half, however, Darien simply took over.

“That’s just a team that will lean on you with their depth,” Norwalk coach Pat Miller said. “(Tighe) Cummiskey is a helluva back and (Matt Minicus) is a helluva a receiver and you just know that eventually those kids are going to make plays. They keep coming at you and they can get on you in a hurry.”

The biggest positive for Norwalk was the play of Brown, who passed for 117 yards and two touchdowns, including a 10-yard strike to Jack Cahill, and rushed for 79 yards and a TD.

“I think that’s the best version of Shawn that we’ve seen,” Miller said. “What it was was he wasn’t afraid to make mistakes. He went out there and let it rip and let guys like Mysonne (Pollard) and Justin Oliver and even Cam in the passing game make plays.”

The Wave turned the tables in a hurry in the second half.

Cummiskey, who rushed for 156 yards and three TDs, scored on a 51-yard run on a fourth-and-two play to put Darien in front at 27-21.

After the defense shut down the Bears, the Wave needed just five plays to score again, this time on a 15-yard pass from QB Miles Drake to Minicus. For Minicus, it was his 14th touchdown reception of the season and he has scored in every game.

Cummiskey then rushed for two points and a 35-21 lead.

On Norwalk’s next play from scrimmage, Joe Cesare came down with an interception and, five plays later, Cunmmiskey scored on a 1-yard run and a 42-21 lead.

“We took the first punch,” Evanchick said. “Norwalk’s a great team — Cam Edwards and Shawn Brown are great players — and they had us. So we made some coaching adjustments and they put us in the right place to make plays.”

“We felt we came in with a good plan,” Miller said. “We were going to try and kill as much time as we could in the first half and then come out with some new stuff that they haven’t seen. But they’re just so disciplined and you can’t fool them. Coach Forget does an unbelievable job with those guys.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Tighe Cummiskey, Darien: The Wave running back scored three touchdowns to lead the scoring and had 156 yards on the ground. His 51-yard TD run on fourth-and-2 early in the third quarter also put Darien ahead for good.

QUOTABLE

“Norwalk is a very, very good team and Pat does a great job coaching that team. It’s just we come out flat against teams we think are inferior, and these teams are not inferior. The Wiltons, the Ludlowes, the Norwalks — they’re very good teams and we come out flat. The conversation we had at the end there was if we’re going to win a state championship, we’ve got to start in the first half.” — Darien coach Mike Forget

david.stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports

No. 1 DARIEN 49, NORWALK 21

NORWALK 7 14 0 0 — 21

DARIEN 14 6 22 7 — 49

First quarter

N - Shawn Brown, 53-yard run (Andrew Hernandez kick), 9:17

D - Jeremiah Stafford, 4-yard run (Isaac McMullen kick), 6:35

D - Jaylen Lesperance, 60-yard punt return (McMullen kick), 3:26

Second quarter

N - Jack Cahill, 10-yard pass from Brown (Hernandez kick), 10:11

N - Cam Edwards, 58-yard pass from Brown (Hernandez kick), 6:47

D - Miles Drake, 3-yard run (kick blocked), 2:23

Third quarter

D - Tighe Cummiskey, 51-yard run (McMullen kick), 10:54

D - Matt Minicus, 15-yard pass from Drake (Cummiskey run), 7:16

D - Cummiskey, one-yard run (McMullen kick), 5:13

Fourth quarter

D - Cummiskey, 32-yard run (McMullen kick), 9:58

Records: Norwalk 5-3, Darien 8-0