Strong second half propels Darien football past Trumbull, 42-13

It was a tale of two halves Friday night at Darien High School and for the Blue Wave, the second half was certainly the best of times.

Darien (7-0) scored three touchdowns in the third quarter and added two more in the fourth to turn a 7-7 halftime deadlock against Trumbull (3-4) into a 42-13 runaway win.

Despite the wide margin of victory, Darien head coach Rob Trifone voiced his disapproval to his players in the postgame huddle, attributing an uncharacteristically lackluster start to the game to overconfidence.

“I think our kids just took them too easy,” Trifone said. “They have to learn their lesson that teams are going to line up — and I don’t care what their record is — and they’re going to give you a game. I think that’s what we take away.”

“I don’t think we came out mentally prepared or physically prepared,” Darien senior co-captain Connor Fay said. “We didn’t come out ready to play a team that really took it to us. Thank God we were mentally strong and able to adjust. Our mental strength saved us again but we can’t come out like that in the first half.”

Despite seeing his team drop to 3-4 on the season, first-year Trumbull head coach Marce Petroccio was encouraged by his team’s gutty performance against the No. 1 program in the state.

“I think you saw what we could someday become,” Petroccio said. “We’re not quite there yet. We played tonight down three starters against them and it says a lot about what our kids are all about. They’re buying in. We will just keep getting better, but it’s a process for us. For us to come out and battle in that first half the way we did—I’m proud of my kids.”

Trumbull took the game’s opening kickoff at its own 15 and marched right down the field. The Eagles got as close as the Wave seven-yard line before stalling and attempted a close-range field goal. The kick, however, was blocked and Trumbull came away empty-handed.

After trading punts and gaining the upper hand in field position, Darien drew first blood.

The Wave were given a short field, starting at the Trumbull 37. On the first play of the second quarter, senior quarterback Cooper Hancock found wideout Peter Bredahl for a three-yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.

Trumbull countered immediately, driving 80 yards in nine plays for a score. Senior quarterback Colton Nicholas hit junior Kyle Atherton on a slant for an 8-yard touchdown, knotting the game at 7 with 7:27 left in the half.

Darien was poised to retake the lead as Hancock moved the Wave down to the Trumbull 13. Three straight incompletions led to a turnover on downs, preserving the 7-7 tie as the teams went into the half.

The Wave looked more like the top-ranked team in the state in the second half, scoring 28 unanswered points on their first four possessions coming out of the intermission.

A 12-yard Hancock-to-Bredahl touchdown capped off a seven-play, 64-yard drive to start the third quarter putting Darien back on top 14-7.

Senior co-captain Blake Cellar picked off a Nicholas pass on Trumbull’s ensuing possession, setting the Blue Wave up with ball deep in Trumbull territory. Three plays later Hancock found Bredahl in the end zone from 19 yards out to take a 21-7 lead with 6:32 left in the third.

After forcing a Trumbull three-and-out, the Wave offense hit pay dirt again. Senior running back Andrew Lucas finished off a 42-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, extending the Darien lead to 28-7 with 3:35 remaining in the third.

Darien added to that lead early in the fourth quarter. Senior Will Rolapp hauled in a 14-yard Hancock pass on fourth down to put the Blue Wave up 35-7 with 11:37 left in the game.

Darien’s one second-half hiccup came on Trumbull’s ensuing possession as a blown coverage led to a 52-yard touchdown pass from Nicholas to a wide-open Ryan Cranston, cutting the Wave lead to 35-13 with 8:36 left to play.

Darien answered by moving 64 yards in nine plays for its final score of the night, a four-yard touchdown run by Lucas that made it 42-13 Wave.

Hancock had a stellar performance for Darien, completing 26 of 42 passes for 303 yards and four touchdowns behind the protection of his offensive line—senior co-captain Will Keating, John Lochtefeld, Luke Sini, Ryan Sullivan and Tommy Bock.

Rolapp was Hancock’s top target, with nine catches for 98 yards and a touchdown while Bredahl had six receptions for 65 yards and three touchdowns. Lucas led the Wave with 77 yards rushing on 16 carries with two scores.

Darien’s defense sacked Nicholas three times and made the necessary halftime adjustments to slow the Trumbull offense down in the third and fourth quarters.

“We came in thinking we could get away with playing a five-box with one linebacker in the second level,” Trifone said. “With that quarterback [Nicholas] running the ball you just can’t. So that was the only real adjustment. We moved into a six-box and went to man coverage and we were fine.”

Nicholas had a solid all-around game for Trumbull, completing 16 of 30 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 44 yards on 15 carries. Sophomore Mileeq Green caught six passes for 79 yards while Atherton had five receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Darien 42, Trumbull 13

Friday, Oct. 26, at Darien High School

Trumbull 0-7-0-6 13

Darien 0-7-21-14 42

First Quarter

No scoring

Second Quarter

D - Peter Bredahl, 3-yard pass from Cooper Hancock (Will Kirby kick)

T - Kyle Atherton, 8-yard pass from Colton Nicholas (Ryan Cranston kick)

Third Quarter

D - Bredahl, 12-yard pass from Hancock (Kirby kick)

D - Bredahl, 19-yard pass from Hancock (Kirby kick)

D - Andrew Lucas, 2-yard run (Kirby kick)

Fourth Quarter

D - Will Rolapp, 14-yard pass from Hancock (Kirby kick)

T - Cranston, 52-yard pass from Nicholas (Kick blocked)

D - Lucas, 4-yard run (Kirby kick)