DARIEN, Conn. It was supposed to be a rebuilding season for the Darien High School football team in 2011, but the Blue Wave surpassed all expectations and finished with an impressive 8-2 record.
But Darien fell short of defending its conference title and reaching the state playoffs two things that don't sit well with Blue Wave players and coaches. A young core of players is returning with a year of experience under their belts and head coach Rob Trifone is expecting his team to at least match their record from a year ago.
"You don't go 8-2, return most of the same players and expect to go 8-2. Just do the math," Trifone said. "You have to raise the bar to 9-1 and beyond."
Eric's take: Trifone is exactly right. Darien should at least equal its 2011 record, but to make good on that goal of "raising the bar," the Blue Wave is going to have to figure out how to defeat Staples and New Canaan this season.
Beating those teams starts by winning games a bit more convincingly. Darien barely survived Wilton and needed wild second-half comebacks to take down Fairfield Warde and Danbury. If the Blue Wave can breeze through their other eight games, they will have a much better shot at taking down Staples and their arch-rival, New Canaan, on Thanksgiving Day.
Worst Case : St. Joseph bounces back from a dismal season and hands Darien an early loss, sending the Blue Wave's season reeling. Then Staples and New Canaan blow by Darien, shutting the Blue Wave out of the postseason.
Best Case: The experience Darien gained in 2011 translates to greater success in 2012. Henry Baldwin and Peter Gesualdi lead a stellar offense and the Blue Wave is able to sneak by either Staples or New Canaan (not both, though) for a trip back to the Class L state tournament.
Key Players : Henry Baldwin, QB; Peter Gesualdi, RB; Jackson Whiting, WR; Graham Lesko, FS/TE; Griffin Ross, TE
Big Games: 9/14 (Opening Day) at Fairfield Ludlowe; 9/29 vs. St. Joseph; 10/27 vs. Staples; 11/22 (Thanksgiving) vs. New Canaan
Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for more season previews of nine other conference football opponents.
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