WILTON — Moments after suffering a 41-0 loss to Darien on Friday night, Wilton coach Bruce Cunningham gave a reasonable assessment of his opponent.
“They’re good,” Cunningham said. “They’re well rounded, kind of have it all covered, from the offensive line, to the defensive line, to the secondary, to the skill kids on offense, to the quarterback, to the kicker.”
That, indeed, about covers it.
Or, if you prefer succinct, Blue Wave quarterback Tim Graham summarized it all in two words: “We’re ‘ballin.’ ”
After a poor practice on Tuesday, coming off what he thought was an uneven effort last week against Ridgefield, Darien coach Rob Trifone said he upped his mood to DEFCON 2 the following day.
“On paper this is a game you should win but we’ve slopped around in other games this year not taking care of business,” Trifone said. “They played very well.”
The Blue Wave (8-0) scored on five of its six first-half possessions, starting with a pair of touchdown passes from Graham to Hudson Hamill and Tim Lochtefeld.
Save for a concerned yellow-light of five fumbles — Darien recovered the first three, and Trifone attributes them in part to fighting for extra yardage — and it was the kind of effort Trifone was looking for during what is the calm before the storm in the schedule.
“I’ve always said to my teams in seasons like this you are trying to get better every week,” Trifone said. “It doesn’t matter who you are playing. Ultimately you are going to be in some very big games if you continue on this road so you can’t take two steps back.”
Friday’s point total was actually the lowest in the last four weeks for Darien, which has dominated against teams that largely make up the second tier in the FCIAC this season.
After Harding next week come the heavyweights: North Haven and New Canaan, followed by postseason play, with the game against the Rams possibly for the FCIAC championship.
Trifone is challenging his players to stay focused, because the mistakes you get away with now are likely to prove more costly once the leaves are off the trees.
It is a battle Trifone has thus far been winning, though a battle nonetheless.
“They are kids, and they read the newspapers and their parents read the newspapers and they listen to other people,” Trifone said. “It’s very difficult.”
The dominance of the Darien defense has been well chronicled, and deservedly so.
The offense has been quietly rolling along, finding the end zone early and often without much fanfare, perhaps because the success has been a collaborative effort.
“We are starting to click really well,” Graham said. “I’m making better reads and settling in and executing. We want to keep the good habits. We are putting up points.”
It has been a difficult year for the Warriors, who are 3-5 though getting the most out of what they have. The problem was evident when the team took the field; just 32 players in uniform, a 20 percent absence due to injury.
Cunningham acknowledged the mismatch.
“We got beat tonight and they beat us pretty good,” Cunningham said.
The Warriors can take solace; they are not alone in that category.
The Blue Wave are locked in right now, fully aware that honing in on the present will help ensure reaching their future goals.
“We are playing well,” Graham said. “We just have to keep doing this the next three weeks.”