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Darien High Football Team Hosts Naugatuck In Playoff Opener

Darien's Mark Evanchick leads the state with 21 sacks heading into Saturday's Class L playoff game against Naugatuck.
Darien's Mark Evanchick leads the state with 21 sacks heading into Saturday's Class L playoff game against Naugatuck. Photo Credit: Facebook/Blue Wave Football

DARIEN, Conn. -- Darien High School’s football team has not won a state title since 1996 and has never finished undefeated and untied. But the Blue Wave are just two games away from accomplishing both of those feats.

Darien (11-0) is the top seed for the Class L Small Division playoffs, and plays in the semifinals Saturday at home against No. 4 Naugatuck. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

The winner of Saturday’s game will meet the winner of No. 2 New Canaan vs. No. 3 Wethersfield for the state crown next weekend. Darien has been knocking on the door in the state tournament in the past few years, including a loss to New Canaan in last year’s Class L championship game.

The Greyhouds (9-2) lost to Ansonia, 47-12, in their annual Thanksgiving game. Naugatuck also lost to Wolcott, 45-38, earlier this year.

If there’s one thing Naugatuck can do, it is score points. The Greyhounds averaged over 50 points per game in their nine wins this season. Ansonia (10-1) is the only team to hold Naugatuck below 38 points.

Darien can move the ball, too, but its defense has been tough to score upon. In the Blue Wave’s 28-21 win over New Canaan on Thanksgiving, the Blue Wave did not allow a point in the second half or in overtime.

Junior quarterback Tim Graham got the Blue Wave’s offense going in the second half against New Canaan, and completed 19-of-35 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown. Hudson Hamill tossed the winning touchdown pass to Griffin Ross in overtime after Graham left the game late in the fourth quarter with an injury. Graham has been practicing this week.

Naugatuck also will be tested by a Darien defense that has five shutouts this season. Darien’s defense features George Reed and Mark Evanchick. Reed has 8.5 sacks and Evanchick leads the state with 21, according to statistics by MaxPreps.

Darien’s last state title came in 1996. The Blue Wave also won state titles in 1979, 1991 and 1992. The 1992 team finished 11-0-1, the only undefeated team in the history of the school.

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