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Big Second Half Ignites Darien Football To Win Over Wilton

DARIEN, Conn. – The Darien High football team rebounded with a vengeance Friday evening after injuries and a stunning loss to Trumbull last week threatened to derail its season. The Blue Wave scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to roll past Wilton, 34-7.

The Warriors had no answer for Darien’s running game, which racked up nearly 200 yards. Christian Bognar continued his stellar season with more than 100 yards rushing and a touchdown.

But the best news for Darien was the return of multifaceted offensive threat Peter Gesualdi. The senior captain opened Darien’s scoring with a 1-yard run and gave Wilton an extra man they had to cover.

“We knew at practice we couldn’t look ahead of anyone,” Gesualdi said. “We got caught looking ahead against Trumbull, but we didn’t tonight.”

After Brian Wiegand was handed an interception return for a touchdown on a silver platter by Wilton quarterback Brett Phillips, Darien was in complete control with an early 14-0 lead.

But Wilton came up with an interception of its own with just more than two minutes to play in the first half. A pair of late-hit penalties on Darien put Wilton on the doorstep of the end zone. Phillips found Mike Burns for a 4-yard touchdown pass, cutting Darien’s lead to 14-7 and swinging the momentum in Wilton’s favor going into halftime.

But Darien’s defense stopped Wilton cold on its first possession of the second half, capped by a sack of Phillips by Mark Evanchick, a just-called-up-from-junior-varsity freshman.

After a short punt, Darien took advantage of excellent field position, marching 53 yards to the goal line. The drive was capped by a 7-yard touchdown run by Ian Vanderhorn.

The Blue Wave put the game out of reach on its next possession when Henry Baldwin connected on a 57-yard bomb to Greg Lesko to go ahead, 27-7.

Bognar capped the stellar night with a 4-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Senior linebacker "Andrew Maley gave us a good speech at halftime that really pumped us up,” Gesualdi said of the second-half explosion. “Our defense played great that second half. This was a great bounce back.”

Darien (4-2) will put its postseason hopes on the line next week when the Blue Wave hosts undefeated Staples High, the top-ranked team in the conference.

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