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Updated Sept. 14 — There may still be a more level playing field through much of the league in 2017. But when assessing Darien and the rest, again, it seems more like comparing apples and oranges after game one.

It was a lot of fun. I credit my O-Line; they stepped up.

— Jack Joyce

Because when Brian Minicus took a giant step forward for a game-opening interception and strike, the Wave never looked back, in a 38-12 victory over the Tigers at Ridgefield on Friday night.

“Our defensive line definitely came up huge,” said Minicus. “Christian Evans, Mike Neary, (John) Lochtefeld and (Drew) Evanchick. They put pressure on the quarterback, put him in a bad position; we just made him blindly throw it and we just happened to be there.”

Minicus ran back a pair of interceptions 15 and 20 yards respectively, with the one in the second half finished by weaving his way to the end zone on a mercury quick shift steps from the goal line.

And new senior quarterback Jack Joyce looked composed and competent in connecting on two TD passes to Max Grant, the first for 30 yards, the next for 16.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Joyce. “I credit my O-Line; they stepped up.”

Austin Hagander kicked a 29 yard field goal, and four PAT, and spotting in from JV, sophomore Will (The Thrill) Kirby ran in a 23 yard TD to cap the scoring in the fourth quarter.

Darien led 14-0 after one quarter and it was up 21-6 at the half.

Winning its 26th in a row, not having lost since the state final of 2014, defending Class LL Champ Darien is 1-0, Class LL runner-up Ridgefield 0-1.

“I don’t want to say I’m surprised, because coach Trifone, has said since day one that Jack Joyce is going to be a special quarterback,” Rob Trifone said. “And he had a shoulder issue a year ago, and people were questioning whether or not he’d be able to do it. Let me tell you, that kid’s one tough kid. And I knew that.”

The Tigers scored in the second quarter when Connor Goff snatched a blocked punt inside the Wave 10 and trotted in, and in the third quarter with Greg Gatto finding Jackson Mitchell on a short gain, and Darien then blocking the PAT kick.

See all the TDs up close, sacks and some searing receptions, and hear what they had to say in VIDEO: Meet the New Boss... featured on this site