Football: FCIAC headliner goes to Darien

The third-ranked St. Joseph football team had knocked off one of the FCIAC elite football teams on the road in New Canaan to open the season.

On Saturday, coach Joe Della Vecchia’s Cadets looked to takedown another No. 1 ranked squad, only to fall 42-10 to host Darien High.

“We played with good energy in the first half,” Della Vecchia said. “We had a couple more shots in the second period, but didn’t make the plays.

"They (Darien) are a good team. They ran their stuff (in the second half) and I thought we were lethargic. That’s what I saw.”

Coach Rob Trifone’s Darien won its 28th consecutive game behind a balanced attack led by quarterback Jack Joyce and running back Mitchell Prior.

“This was a tough task,” Trifone said. “They (St. Joseph) went into New Canaan on opening night and won.

"That is never easy to do. We had a great week of practice. I’m really proud of them.”

As they did against New Canaan to open the season, the Cadets came out amped up.

On the game’s second play, Mike DiIorio’s hit separated a receiver from the football and Mike Morrissey recovered on the Blue Wave’s 22.

Jaden Shirden cut inside Mark Arnone’s block to move the chains to the 11, before Darien held and Luke Kirby came on to kick a 26-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead at the 10:36 mark of the first period.

After an exchange of punts, Darien took over for the third time at its 20-yard line.

Prior went off tackle, and cut back against the flow of the defense to run 55 yards to the Cadets’ 25.

Two first downs later, Prior ran for a 2-yard TD.

Austin Hagander added the PAT with 4:33 left in the opening stanza.

Darien (3-0) got the ball back at its 20 and drove 80 yards in 9 plays.

Joyce found Patrick Burke over the middle, but Ace Luzietti knocked the ball loose at the three-yard line.

The loose ball followed the pair into the end zone, where trail receiver Tyler Herget fell on it in the end zone for the score.

Cadet receiver Jesse Bike then led St. Joseph back.

After Phil Pasmeg moved the ball to the Cadet 46 with a 15-yard reception from quarterback David Summers, Bike made a great catch by out jumping his defender at the Darien 32.

On the next play, the junior receiver out fought Alex Dehmel at the goal line and came down with the 32-yard TD pass in the end zone.

With just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Kirby’s PAT made it 14-10

Joyce countered.

Three runs by the senior QB, including a 36-yarder, brought the ball to the Cadets’ 20.

Joyce then found Burke for a 19-yard gain. Prior took it in on the next snap for a 21-10 lead.

Each defense held and St. Joseph had another chance to get closer with the ball midway through the second quarter.

Bike’s’s 13-yard catch moved the chains to the Darien 22, but the next four plays netted negative one yards and the Blue Wave took over on their 23.

Darien moved to the St. Joseph 26, before the Cadet defense held on downs.

Pasmeg caught a 17-yard pass and Bike a 13-yarder to start the third quarter for St. Joseph, but each gain was followed by a mistake (holding penalty, quarterback sack).

Given a shot field, Darien went 44 yards to up its advantage on Prior’s 1-yard run.

The 28-10 score held until the final period when Darien scored again, this time on Burke’s’s 22-yard pass reception.

The Blue Wave scored one last time with 3:56 remaining on Andrew Lucas’ 8-yard run.