The St. Joseph High football team took a 17-0 lead over Darien High before the Blue Wave rallied back to win a 21-17 home decision in a battle between a pair of state-ranked unbeaten squad on Thursday.

Darien (4-0) scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Tim Graham to Colin Minicus on the third play of the fourth quarter to take the 21-17 lead.

St. Joseph (3-1) drove twice inside Darien territory, but gave up the ball on a fumble at the 14-yard line with 5:31 remaining and lost the ball on downs at the 36 with one minute on the clock.

The Cadets took a 7-0 lead on Kevin Trefz’ 13-yard touchdown pass to Lars Pedersen and Marc Mrozek’s conversion kick at the 6:52 mark of the first period. The 32-yard march was set up by Buddy Wade’s fumble recovery.

St. Joseph made it 10-0 with 2:51 left in the first half on Mrozek’s 24-yard field goal. Mufasha Abdul Basir’s 41-yard run had given the Cadets a first down at the Darien 13.

Abdul Basir scored from 21 yards out with 5:44 remaining in the third quarter. The 45-yard drive was helped by a 15-yard helmet-to-helmet flag on Darien after Seamus Keating caught a five-yard pass.

Darien put is best drive of the game together on its next series, as it marched 61 yards in 10 plays before Peter Archey scored on a 5-yard run.

Hudson Hamill’s interception on St. Joseph’s second-down play gave the Blue Wave the ball back on the Cadet 33.

Off play action, Graham threw a perfect pass to the tightly covered Todd Herget, who made the tough catch in the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown. Stephen Walker’s second of three PAT’s brought the score to 17-14 with 22 seconds still left in the third quarter.

On the second play of the final period, Hamill recovered a Cadet fumble on the St. Joseph 37. Two plays later, Graham connected with Minicus for the go-ahead score.