DARIEN, Conn. – Darien football coach Rob Trifone tried to find the bright side in Saturday’s 63-28 loss to Staples.
“Playing against them makes you a better football team,’’ Trifone said after the Wreckers rolled to their sixth straight win. “We’re not playing anyone like that again this season. There are not too many teams in the United States like that. We played well at times. At others it looked like we never ran a tackling drill in our life.”
Staples scored on its first four drives in the first half. Its last drive ended when the clock expired. The Wreckers piled up nearly 400 yards on offense in the first half alone, and moved the ball at will. Joey Zelkowitz’ 41-yard scoring run on the third play from scrimmage started the carnage.
“They’re just as good live as they are on tape,’’ Trifone said. “When you watch a tape of them, you have to turn it off and say ‘Was that a highlight tape?’ Their big plays were the result of some phenomenal athletes. We took a risk in order to try stop the run, and they took advantage of it.”
Zelkowitz (142 yards on 10 carries) and Nick Kelly (149 yards on 13 carries) ran all over the Blue Wave. Quarterback Jack Massie completed 14-of-18 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns.
Darien’s first half touchdown came on a nice 39-yard pass from Henry Baldwin to Ian Vanderhorn. Vanderhorn added a 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Peter Gesualdi caught a 52-yard scoring pass from Baldwin. Darien’s final score was a 48-yard pass from Baldwin to Nick Lombardo.
Baldwin had his best day of the season, completing 22-of-36 for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Darien’s ground game was held in check, however. Christian Bognar managed 64 tough yards on 15 carries.
The loss virtually eliminates an hope of the Blue Wave (4-3) playing in the Class L tournament. Darien has another tough contest next week against undefeated Trinity Catholic, and still has New Canaan (6-1) on Thanksgiving Day.
“Back to back undefeated teams,’’ Trifone said. “Let’s see what happens. One of the silver linings today was Henry looked like his old self. He’s had a few struggles, but he looked like himself today. That’s a good thing going forward.”