STAMFORD – As soon as the 2015 football schedule was released there was a collective “uh-oh” heard all throughout Stamford High School. It didn’t take long for such concern to turn into stark reality Friday night at Boyle Stadium.
Darien, the defending Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference champion and state runner-up, was the opening opponent for the Black Knights. It took the Blue Wave less than four minutes to open a 14-point lead and less than a half to build a 47-point cushion on their way to a 47-13 victory.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Stamford High head coach Jamar Greene said. “At least we got to see what a championship-caliber team looks like.”
The first half was about as good as it gets for Darien, which was led on offense by quarterback Tim Graham and on defense by Mark Evanchick. Darien scored on every possession, and also once on a safety.
Stamford, meanwhile, in the opening half had more turnovers (5), and more penalties (6) than total yards gained on offense (4) to go with just one first down.
Graham and most of the starters sat out the second half, but before that he completed 18 of 20 pass attempts for 214 yards and four touchdowns, two to Colin Minicus and one each to Ryan Corcoran and Bobby Trifone. Graham completed passes to 10 different receivers in the opening half.
“Tim is a veteran quarterback who has a slew of receivers,” Darien coach Rob Trifone said.
Shelby Grant and Christian Trifone added touchdown runs for the Blue Wave and place kicker Riley Stewart went 6-for-6 on extra points and booted a 34-yard field goal.
You want a negative from Darien’s perspective? OK, here are two: The Blue Wave rushed for 18 yards on 16 attempts in the first half and committed six penalties, and then allowed Stamford back Tyrel Diaz to rumble 53 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the second half.
But even Rob Trifone could look past that.
“We weren’t able to run the ball,” Trifone said. “But I like that while we knew Stamford was young, we didn’t play down to the level of competition.”
Darien was 12-1 last season and lost only a handful of players to graduation while reaching the state championship game for a second consecutive season. Behind Graham and a stout defense, the Blue Wave look primed for another championship run.
“Is this the best (Darien team of the last three years)?” Trifone said. “Last year we had an awesome defensive line and three or four of them graduated. But we sure have some weapons, so we’ll see.”
Things might not be looking quite as rosy at Stamford, but one bad night against one of the strongest teams in the state isn’t a fair barometer.
The Knights certainly fared better in the second half as the starters went up against Darien’s second team. Stamford’s first three plays from scrimmage in the second half netted 89 yards, all on the ground. Quarterback Troy Duncan showed flashes — aside from the four interceptions — and rushed for the Knights’ second score. Diaz is a bruiser at running back and finished with 63 yards rushing. The Stamford run defense was solid as Darien ended up with 44 yards on the ground.
And one more good bit of news for the Knights: no more Dariens on the schedule.
“We have to limit our mistakes but I love the attitude,” Greene said. “I want us now to go out and smack adversity in the face.”