Graham Maybell rushed for 94 yards, scored a touchdown and earned MVP honors for Darien in Friday's 17-7 victory over Trumbull in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship game.
He also realized the defense was largely responsible for allowing the Blue Wave to dominate in the second half. "Our defense won the game for us,'' Maybell said after Darien won its first league title since 1998. "They bailed us out."
Four times in the first half, Trumbull (8-2) moved deep inside Darien territory. Each time, the Golden Eagles failed to score. The first drive ended when Jake Weil recovered a fumble on the Darien 18-yard line. Trumbull also missed a field goal and twice turned the ball over on downs. "We knew we had to stop them, and we did,'' said Charlie Kunze, who had a fumble recovery, a deflected pass and was a force throughout on the defensive line.
After a scoreless first half, Darien took control on the opening drive of the second half. Maybell carried five times on an eight-play drive that culminated in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Chris Allam to Pete Gesualdi. Maybell scored on a 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter to cap a four-play, 5-yard march. Allam's 49-yard completion to Clay Barker set up the score. C.J. Raia booted a 32-yard field goal later in the quarter. Trumbull scored on a 3-yard run by Ian Milne with 2:33 left.
"After we got that first touchdown I knew we had it,'' Kunze said. "Trumbull's a great team. Their quarterbacks are fast. I was getting tired of chasing them. We knew they weren't going to score in that first half. We couldn't let them."
Maybell rushed for 63 yards in the second half to spark Darien's offense. Allam, who was 2-for-11 in the first half with an interception, found his rhythm in the second half and completed 3-of-4 passes for 68 yards. "I think we started wearing them down in the second half,'' Maybell said. "We just wanted to pound the ball. We're in great condition, and I think that really helped us."
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