Commentary: Is The Absence Of A Possible Darien-New Canaan Rematch Good Or Bad?

It has been much quieter in these parts since 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving afternoon than in recent years. The Turkey Bowl trophies have usually been grasped for just minutes before talk of a state playoff rematch between Darien and New Canaan beats the cranberry sauce to the table.

This year, though the FCIAC has five teams, including its two biggest rivals, competing for CIAC championships, there has been a palpable silence leading up to Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

Which begs the question: now that Darien has moved up to Class LL and New Canaan has no chance for revenge, is that good or bad?


Upon Further Review: Trinity Catholic Still Flying Fast Under The Radar

Perhaps the surest sign of the respect Trinity Catholic has earned this season is no one has pointed out the relative weakness of its schedule. The Crusaders’ best win came against Ridgefield, which just missed out on a Class L playoff berth because of a lack of bonus points.

That victory came in the fourth game. The Crusaders have not since played a team with a winning record.

But no one has made any mention about whom Trinity has not beaten headed into Tuesday’s Class S quarterfinal game against Morgan because the team has maintained a consistent quality level.


Video: Darien-New Canaan Turkey Bowl Highlights

New Canaan jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on a Michael Collins touchdown run, but Darien came back into a game that turned out to be a parade of traded touchdowns before Timmy Graham’s second touchdown pass of the day to Hudson Hamill in the final minutes gave the Blue Wave a 28-21 win for the 50th FCIAC championship.

It was Darien’s fourth straight Turkey Bowl win in the series and the second straight for the league championship.


Graham Finally A Headliner After Leading Darien To 28-21 Win Over New Canaan For FCIAC Title

STAMFORD — Timmy Graham is never going to have to answer the questions again, about what it feels like to be underappreciated despite having a memorable career that has been deserving of the spotlight.

Thursday morning, on one of the grandest stages in Connecticut high school football history, the Darien quarterback turned the Turkey Bowl into his day, leading his team to its second straight FCIAC championship with a 28-21 win over New Canaan.


New Canaan Places 9, Darien 8 On All-FCIAC Football Team

New Canaan and Darien were the top two teams in the league this season and are headed to Thursday’s conference championship game, so it is no surprise that they were the leaders in the All-FCIAC football voting. The Rams, 8-0, placed nine players on the team. Darien, also 8-0, had eight players honored.

Greenwich was next with seven players named to the first team.

Trinity Catholic’s Donny Panapada, who has guided his team into the Class S playoffs, was selected as the Coach of the Year.


New Canaan Gets A Kick Out Of Swindell’s Intangible Possibilities

NEW CANAAN — With an average victory margin of over 35 points per game, the New Canaan football team has been devoid of any pressure moments this fall.

That likely could change on Thursday morning, when the Rams face Darien in the annual Turkey Bowl, with the FCIAC championship at stake. And if the game were to come down to a last-second field goal attempt, well, that would be just fine with Peter Swindell, the Rams’ kicker.

“When I get the chance to kick I take full advantage of it,” Swindell said during a recent practice.


Thanksgiving Game Plan: Darien, New Canaan…Plus A Whole Lot More

For the 10,000 of you headed to Boyle Stadium Thursday morning, a few more sentences if you haven’t already been Turkey Bowl-ed to death.

For those of you in other towns, there are four more teams playing in games that have direct state playoff implications, as well as several others of local rivalry interest that could have an impact on the postseason plans of schools outside the conference.


Darien’s Defensive Backs Have Proved Secondary To None

Of all the statistical superlatives one can find about the 2015 Darien High School football team, perhaps none are as impressive as the following: In a pass-happy league, the Blue Wave secondary has not allowed a touchdown in the air all season.

Now, keep in mind that the team’s biggest test is yet to come. That happens Thursday when the Blue Wave take on New Canaan in a battle of unbeaten teams with the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship at stake. And New Canaan quarterback Michael Collins has averaged nearly six touchdown passes per game this season.

So, we’ll see what happens Thursday. But going eight games without allowing a passing touchdown against a schedule including Staples, St. Joseph and Greenwich — three teams with a combined 16-8 record — is remarkable.


Turkey Bowl Breakdown: Greenwich Coach John Marinelli Analyzes Darien-New Canaan

No one currently outside the Darien and New Canaan football teams is better equipped to analyze Thursday’s Turkey Bowl than John Marinelli. He spent the last few trying to solve the Blue Wave defense as the Rams’ offensive coordinator.

This year, in his first season as the Greenwich coach, Marinelli had to face both teams.

Marinelli agreed to break down the game, which is also the 50th FCIAC championship, for The Ruden Report


New Canaan Quarterback Michael Collins Breaking Records With Some Professional Tutoring

NEW CANAAN — Michael Collins has had many demanding teachers at New Canaan High School, but none like the volunteer assistant who came into his life weeks before the start of this season.

There would be no showing up late, no absences, nothing less than a 100 percent commitment. One tardiness meant a failing grade, and the teacher essentially closing the classroom door.

If the demands seemed excessive, they were. Then again, when you are a quarterback looking to master your craft, and the instructor is a former first-round NFL draft pick, it is easy to make the necessary level of dedication.