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Monday, December 17 High School Sports

Football: Darien uses second-half surge to top Staples

DARIEN — Saturday at Darien was the classic unstoppable force, meets immovable object matchup.

Staples came in averaging more than 36 points per game offensively, while Darien had allowed just five per contest. Both were undefeated at 4-0.

But, Darien is Darien.

GametimeCT No. 1 and winners of the last three Class L titles, the Blue Wave defense held Staples without a point, downing the Wreckers 24-0.

“If you would have asked me if I thought we were going to shut them out, I would have thought you were crazy,” Darien coach Rob Trifone said. “After watching them over four games, (they have) so many weapons.”

The first half was a myriad of turnovers, penalties and squandered plus-field position.

Darien’s Will Kirby banked a 34-yard field goal off the right upright and in with 2:07 left in the half for the game’s first points.

“We knew we were going to have some adversity today and we just wanted to accept that and overcome it,” first-year Staples coach Phil Treglia said. “And I think that although we did make some mistakes to start the game, 3-0 at halftime was right where we wanted to be. So, we did overcome our adversity and were able to play our game.”

But the Blue Wave offense finally started clicking in the third quarter.

On its first drive of the third, Darien’s Will Kirby converted a fourth-and-2 to the Staples 14 and Cooper Hancock connected with TJ Cornacchia on a jump ball in the back corner for the first touchdown of the game.

Kirby made it 17-0 late in the third on a 1-yard plunge after Hancock completed a third-and-6 pass to Will Rolapp.

Early in the fourth, Staples got its biggest play of the game — a 36-yard completion from Jake Thaw to Mark Didio to the Darien 22.

But the Wave defense stepped up again, as Bruce Ferguson’s interception nullified the threat.

The defense made its last stand midway through the fourth, holding steady on fourth down to give the Wave the ball at their own 44-yard line. Rolapp put the finishing touches on the game from 4 yards out.

“We prepare really well and that’s a lot of credit to our coaching staff, Coach Forget and Coach T,” Darien middle linebacker Connor Fay said. “We come out and we’re up by three going into the second half and we didn’t get shaken in the locker room. We knew we had to come out with an even better second half.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Fay, Darien. The Blue Wave pitched their second shutout of the season and have yet to give up more than one score in any game.

“Whenever we have points on the board, we think of it as a win,” Fay said. “Obviously, that won’t happen every game. There will be teams down the road we give up points to, but we trust our offense to score more than we give up.”

QUOTABLE

“I think the kids are great,” Treglia said. “They showed who we are today. We are physical, we’re tough. We got some things to work on but were going to be there, we just have to keep executing and work that little bit extra in practice to make it happen in the big games.”

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aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP

DARIEN 24, STAPLES 0

STAPLES0 0 0 0—0

DARIEN0 3 14 7—24

D—Will Kirby 34 field goal

D—TJ Cornacchia 14 pass Cooper Hancock (Kirby kick)

D—Kirby 1 run (Kirby kick)

D—Will Rolapp 4 run (Kirby kick)

Records: Staples 4-1, 4-1 FCIAC; Darien 5-0, 5-0.

Anthony E. Parelli|Sports Writer, Sports Editor

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