Football

Weekend Game Plan: Darien, Greenwich Host Teams With Upset Hopes

For the first time in four years Darien opens a season without a state title to defend. (Darien Athletic Foundation)

After a few seasons with opening games involving top contenders, we have what appears to be a slate of games with a prohibitive favorite. This is where we learn whether some of the teams with lower expectations may be better than we think.

Game Of The Week

Fairfield Ludlowe (0-0) at Darien (0-0), Friday, 7 p.m. You can go home again. Third-year Ludlowe coach Mitch Ross returns to where he got his start, ending as the Blue Wave’s offensive coordinator. The Falcons are coming off a storied 7-3 season, but return just a few starters and get this difficult opener.

The Blue Wave for the first time in four years don’t have a state title to defend. They started last season 9-0, then lost on Thanksgiving to New Canaan, followed by a Class LL quarterfinal defeat to Newtown. Peter Graham takes over a position his brother Timmy mastered, as the Blue Wave’s starting quarterback. Darien will not be looking to offer a warm welcome to its former assistant.

Friday

New Canaan (0-0) at New London (0-0), 6:30 p.m. The Rams make a long trip to open up in quarterback Drew Pyne’s last first game.

Westhill (0-0) at East Lyme (0-0), 6:30 p.m. The Vikings hit the road for a non-league game against an opponent that won four of its final five games to finish 5-5.

Fairfield Warde (0-0) at Ridgefield (0-0), 7 p.m. This actually is one of the more interesting games between league teams. The Tigers believe they will be much improved with a number of starters back.

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St. Joseph (0-0) at Brien McMahon (0-0), 7 p.m. The Cadets look like they will be in the running for the state’s top team. This is a tough opener for the Senators as they try to gain early confidence.

Staples (0-0) at Stamford (0-0), 7 p.m. The Adam Behrends era begins at Staples. The early play of quarterback Jackson Zager will be closely studied.

Bridgeport Central (0-0) at Trumbull (0-0), 7 p.m. Expect to see a lot of carries for the Eagles’ Mileeq Green in the early going. The Hilltoppers hope to be more competitive this year.

Trinity/Wright Tech (0-0) at Norwalk (0-0), 7 p.m. Are the Bears going to be six-win good or seven- to eight-win good? Coach Sean Ireland believes it can be the latter. After all the offseason speculation, the Crusaders get to take the field.

Saturday

Danbury (0-0) at Greenwich (0-0), 4 p.m. You could easily make the case this is the game of the week. Everyone seems to be all in on the Hatters being the most improved team while there is uncertainty with the Cardinals, the defending No. 1 team in the state, because of personnel losses. The new starters could be equally effective, we just don’t know them yet. The first game for new Cardinals head coach Anthony Morello.