Darien football blanks Trumbull, improves to 5-0

The rematch of last year's FCIAC championship game was a close copy of 10 months ago, when Darien High School won its first title in 12 years.

This time the Blue Wave overcame four turnovers and, behind three touchdown passes by Henry Baldwin, shut out Trumbull 21-0 Saturday, improving to 5-0.

"We thought our receivers could handle their corners so we could go over the top," said Baldwin, whose first two scores came in the second quarter, to Matt Forelli in the right corner of the end zone.

Probably because they lost nearly all of their starters from a year ago to graduation, the Blue Wave have been almost a secondary thought in the discussion of league favorites, but Saturday's win further validated them as viable contenders.

"I don't mind that we are not being singled out," Darien coach Rob Trifone said. "I like to be the dark horse."

The loss climaxed a difficult week for Trumbull (2-2) and its coach, Rob Maffei, who have had to contend with the death of the Eagles' legendary former leader, Jerry McDougall.

Maffei succeeded his long-time mentor and said that the past few days have been difficult.

"For me personally it has been very emotional," Maffei said. "I'm sorry we disappointed him today, but whenever Coach McDougall was coaching, he had the right words to say. I have to find the right words to say to my kids."

Saturday's game started out similar to last November's title game, a defensive struggle the Blue Wave won 17-7.

Punts and interceptions were traded until midway through the second quarter, when Baldwin led the Blue Wave on an eight-play, 82-yard drive. It started with a 32-yard pass to Harlan Smith and ended with Forelli extending himself for a diving catch on a play that covered 16 yards and made the score 7-0 with 7:01 left in the half.

"He's a wonderful kid," Trifone said of his junior quarterback. "Last year we saw potential in him. We thought he was a year away. He's so poised. He runs the offense flawlessly. He's a big reason why we are 5-0."

Andrew Maley's interception and return to the Trumbull 34 set up Baldwin's second scoring strike to Forelli, this one from 19 yards, for a 14-0 halftime lead.

Trumbull's offense is still struggling without injured quarterback Brendan Moore. Nick Roberts, a promising sophomore, has stepped in, but his inexperience is still apparent. He completed just 9 of 31 passes for 97 yards and a pair of interceptions.

"We are operating without a loaded pistol," Maffei said. "(Roberts) is obviously going to be fine, but he does make sophomore mistakes. He just needs some experience."

Darien's defense did a good job containing the Eagles' top weapon, star running back Don Cherry, who still finished with 119 yards on 24 carries.

"We didn't know what to expect coming in to today," Trifone said. "They are a big, physical football team. They are massive, and Don Cherry is Don Cherry."

Baldwin's third touchdown pass came with 9:33 left in the game, from 25 yards to Peter Gesualdi, who was all alone in the end zone.

Like the rest of the league, Baldwin said the Blue Wave are becoming bigger believers in themselves as the season develops.

"Every week it feels like our whole team is getting more experience and more confident," Baldwin said. "Our defense is playing lights-out."

Dave Ruden can be reached at dave.ruden@scni.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveRuden.


TRUMBULL0 0 0 0--0

DARIEN0 14 0 7--21

D--Matt Forelli, 16 pass from Henry Baldwin (Chris Smith kick)

D--Forelli, 19 pass from Baldwin (Smith kick)

D--Peter Gesualdi, 25 pass from Baldwin (Smith kick)

Records: Trumbull 2-2; Darien 5-0