DARIEN — If the Darien football team achieves the goal of a fourth straight state title, it will look back on the first half of tonight’s game with Trumbull as an important stepping stone.
The Blue Wave, perhaps unable to remember their last test, were locked in a 7-7 tie.
Darien coach Rob Trifone would rather have been in the customary position of being a score away from a running clock.
“I was ripping inside but I didn’t want to show the kids that,” Trifone said. “I wanted to show them I was confident — which I was — and that they need to be confident too. I didn’t want them to get all out of sorts. It’s 7-7, you are the better football team right now. Just go out and prove it. That was our halftime speech.”
The first possession of the third quarter resulted in Cooper Hancock’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Peter Bredahl. The second ended with another scoring pass to Bredahl. Andrew Lucas crossed the goal line from two yards out to end the third drive.
By the time the Blue Wave were in victory formation, they were five for five in the second half and had come away with a 42-13 win to improve to 7-0.
Even Trifone had to admit that while ideally you would like each outing to be over by halftime, the reality is that streak will soon end. And experience in being able to absorb a punch and battle back will prove a valuable resource.
“If you’re ahead in every game 28-0 or whatever … it’s probably a good thing even though I didn’t like it,” Trifone said. “Our kids didn’t panic and came out and played a great second half.”
Hancock threw four touchdown passes, the first three to Bredahl and another to Will Rolapp. Lucas accounted for the other two scores.
Other than an early-season game against St. Joseph, Hancock has had relatively smooth sailing. He was flawless in the second half, helped by an army of sure-handed receivers.
“He spreads the ball well across the field and he’s getting very comfortable back there,” Trifone said. “Last year he was playing JV. I think he’s in a real good spot.”
Tonight it was Bredahl’s turn to spend extended time in the end zone.
“We had a slow start, the offense couldn’t get much going but we got it going in the second half and turned it around,” Bredahl said. “Trumbull is a good team. That was definitely an awakening for us. We have to come every day and work hard.”
The game was a victory or sorts for Trumbull (3-4), or more accurately an indicator of the continued progression under new coach Marce Petroccio. Play with the Blue Wave for a half now, play with them for a full game soon.
“We’re not quite there yet,” Petroccio said. “They’re buying in. (Darien) is a great football team. We played them tough for a half. I said to Rob we made you sweat a little bit. We’ll get better but it’s a process. For us to come out and battle the way we did in the first half, I’m proud of my kids. You got a little glimpse of what we can be.”
Colton Nicholas threw a first-half touchdown pass to Kyle Atherton to tie the game and a late one to Ryan Cranston with the score 35-7.
“To their credit boy did they play well in the first half,” Trifone said. “Marce is a great coach and you know they are going to get things rolling over there. They have some great athletes.”
Petroccio needs a little more time. For Trifone, it is walking a continued tight rope of excellence.
“We’ve got a lot to work on,” said Bredahl, a statement that will no doubt please his coach. “Treat every practice like it’s championship week. That’s what championship teams do.”