Top-ranked Darien pounds St. Joseph

TRUMBULL — The top-ranked high school football team in the state looked true to form to kick off the season.

Although plenty of faces have changed from last year’s juggernaut, which went 12-0 and captured FCIAC and Class LL championships, Darien looked like its dominant self in a 48-14 shellacking of St. Joseph on Saturday at brand new Dalling Field.

“St. Joe’s is always tough,” Darien coach Rob Trifone said. “They’ve got the new field that they christened today. I warned my kids about that.”

None of that mattered to the Blue Wave, which scored touchdowns on five of its six drives in the first half and rolled over a new-look St. Joseph squad.

“We’re not ready for that level yet,” Cadets coach Joe Della Vecchia remarked after the season-opening beatdown. “They executed, and we certainly didn’t. We had a couple chances and we made a couple plays, and then we’d do something really bad.

“If you can’t tackle you’ve got problems. That’s probably the biggest thing of the day — we couldn’t tackle.”

The Blue Wave didn’t miss a beat on offense behind senior Brian Peters, who was starting his first game at quarterback in place of the graduated Timmy Graham. Peters completed 15 of his 25 attempts for 226 and three touchdowns. He did make one mistake, throwing an interception to Nick Osborne on the first play of the second half, but still gave the Blue Wave every reason to believe that this year’s offense can be every bit as potent as last year’s.

“He’s been backing up Timmy Graham for two years and learning from Timmy. He was a very good backup,” Trifone said. “In other words, if we ever had to go to him if Timmy got hurt — which we didn’t — we were ready. … He played a lot last year because we were winning (by a wide margin) at the end of first half, so he’d play the whole second half. He would then play a JV game on Monday, so he was playing six quarters and getting a lot of experience.”

Darien got on the board less than 90 seconds in thanks to a three-play, 14-yard drive, which was set up by a blocked punt. A 9-yard run by Finlay Collins put the Blue Wave up 6-0, and Peters’ first touchdown pass, a 28-yard floater to Spencer Jarecke, increased the lead to 13.

Jared Mallozzi’s 25-yard touchdown grab pulled St. Joseph within 13-7, but Peters connected with Collins from 47 yards out to answer. The Blue Wave’s lead ballooned to 34-7 at halftime.

Another upperclassmen who’s in line for a much bigger role on offense, junior running back Mitchell Pryor, added 11 rushes for 158 yards and one touchdown.

“Kids always graduate, but you’ve got to replace them. We miss those kids from last year,” Trifone said, “but we certainly have some capable athletes who have stepped in.”

Added Pryor: “We got a lot of practice and a lot of reps. I totally felt ready for it.”; @DougBonjour


DARIEN 13 21 7 7 — 48

ST. JOSEPH 0 7 7 0 — 14

D — Finlay Collins 9 run (Kick failed)

D — Spencer Jarecke 28 pass Brian Peters (Riley Stewart kick)

SJ — Jared Mallozzi 25 pass Cory Babineau (Luke Kirby kick)

D — Collins 47 pass Peters (Stewart kick)

D — Maxwell Grant 3 run (Stewart kick)

D — Mitchell Pryor 1 run (Stewart kick)

SJ — Brian Harner 1 run (Kirby kick)

D — Nicholas Green 21 pass Peters (Stewart kick)

D — Matthew Maignan 60 pass Jack Joyce (Austin Hagander kick)

Records: Darien 1-0; St. Joseph 0-1.