Darien routs Southington
STAMFORD — They rarely get the headlines, they don’t show up in the box score, but football games often come down to a small group of large men.
Darien moves on to Saturday’s finals, where it will face Ridgefield at 2:30 p.m. at West Haven with a chance to win a second-straight state crown.
“The O-line does a great job every week,” Michigan commit and left tackle/defensive tackle Andrew Stueber said. “….this year I think our offense has been led by our line and we just rolled today.”
The offensive line was most noticeable in the third quarter, where Brian Peters threw both of his touchdown passes in the game.
Peters stood in the pocket, patted the ball and went through all of his progressions, eventually finding Tim Herget for a 37 yard score. Eight minutes later, he hit Riley Stewart with a strike from 12 out.
“That was our hope,” Darien coach Rob Trifone of his team’s ability to win in the trenches. “Skill-wise (Southington is) hard to match, they’re as good as anybody but we thought we might gain the advantage up front—and we did.”
Southington, which fell for the second year in a row to Darien in the LL semis, tried to prepare to match the Blue Wave’s physicality but couldn’t on either side of the ball.
Darien recorded seven sacks to the Blue Knights’ one.
“They played well up front on us,” Southington coach Mike Drury said. “They’re very tough there. Obviously, they have Stueber but they have other guys, to,o and they’re all tough up front.”
Darien scored the first 17 points of the game.
Finlay Collins scored on plunges of one and two yards in the first quarter and Stewart added a 34 yard field goal mid-way through the second.
On the ensuing drive, Southington found a little momentum. Star running back Vance Upham ripped off a 58 yard run to set up a 12 yard touchdown from William Barmore to Richard Rivera.
That burst was short-lived as Darien responded by driving down the field, where Nick Green would go around left-end from two yards out to put Darien up 24-7 with less than a minute to go in the first half.
“That was big,” Drury said of getting on the board against Darien. “But they answered with a score so it changes your play calling a little bit, you have to throw the ball more. You can’t play a team like this from behind, and that’s unfortunately what we had to do.”
Heading into Saturday, Trifone has found new ammo for his Darien squad — gaining an advantage over their 2015 predecessors.
“The carrot that I’ve dangled in front of them is that last year’s team, at 12-0, was statistically the best team in Darien history,” Trifone said. “And now they can go 13-0. So as great as that team was and always will be, they can one-up them and they like that, and they’re going after it and they’re not satisfied.”
DARIEN 38, SOUTHINGTON 7
SOUTHINGTON 0 7 0 0—7
DARIEN 14 10 14 0—38
D—Finlay Collins 1 yard run (Riley Stewart kick)
D—Collins 2 run (Stewart kick)
D—Stewart 34 field goal
S—Richard Rivera 12 pass from William Barmore (Nicholas Daddona kick)
D—Nick Green 2 run (Stewart kick)
D—Tim Herget 37 pass Brian Peters (Stewart kick)
D—Stewart 12 pass Peters (Stewart kick)