By Dave Ruden
The members and fans of the New Canaan and Darien football teams have received their wishes, though it took Mother Nature to intervene.
Saturday’s Class L championship game between the long-time rivals was moved Thursday morning from Central Connecticut State University to Boyle Stadium in Stamford, with the time moved to an 11:05 a.m. start.
The change was made because of forecast for snow on Saturday and the CIAC bylaws which mandate that all football games be completed by Sunday or co-champions are declared. The CIAC has also moved the Class LL final between Fairfield Prep and Southington at CCSU up to a 1:35 start on Saturday.
“The strong preference was to keep the schedule as announced and host a great event at Central Connecticut, but the threat of inclement weather and the potential that the games not be completed at all forced the issue,” said Karissa Niehoff, the CAS-CIAC’s executive director, in a statement. ”At that point we made what we felt is the best decision for the student-athletes and fans, and we appreciate the flexibility the Central Connecticut administration and our membership have shown.”
The forecast for Saturday is for snow Saturday night, which could not only affect game conditions but also travel concerns for those driving home.
“We do not like making decisions based on advanced weather forecasts, but in this case the logistics of changing the schedule and giving teams, fans, and our sites as much notice as possible required an earlier decision.”
New Canaan and Darien met in the 2008 state final, but two weeks earlier played in the FCIAC championship game at Boyle Stadium before an estimated crowd of 10,000 people.
Both schools, after winning their semifinal games last Saturday, mounted a campaign earlier this week to try and get the final moved to Boyle, encouraging fans to email CIAC officials.
New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said Thursday morning, “I think it is great for New Canaan, for Darien and all the fans in Fairfield County.”