DARIEN — Darien coach Rob Trifone might have felt slighted by some higher power when he was handed the Blue Wave’s 2013 football schedule.
But even after massive graduation losses, it looks like this Darien team is going to be all right.
Nick Lombardo scored a pair of touchdowns and Darien’s defense returned two turnovers for scores in a 42-21 victory over No. 9 Greenwich Saturday at Darien High School Field.
“When you graduate 24 seniors… and then you look at the schedule and it says Hillhouse and Greenwich. You’re thinking, who hates me up top?” Trifone joked.
So far, the team has answered the celestial challenge. Two weeks in, the Blue Wave is unbeaten.
Will Hamernick returned an interception 13 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first play and Darien cruised from there, scoring on its next three possessions to take a 28-0 lead which, ultimately, proved unsurmountable.
“Yeah, this year, we came in as the underdogs,” said Lombardo, a senior receiver who caught a pair of first-half touchdowns and now has seven in two games. “We were talking about it and we know we’re a good team.
“Last year we had big expectations and maybe we came in a little cocky. But this is a humble team and we’re ready to do business.”
Though Greenwich cut the lead to 28-7 on the final play of the first half, Darien’s defense didn’t bend much further. Led by ends Mark Evanchick and George Reed, the Blue Wave forced three second-half turnovers, including a 14-yard fumble return by John Reed that officially put the game out of reach.
Greenwich’s only other scores were a 12-yard interception return by John Fischer and a touchdown scored with the reserves late in the game.
“I was extremely gratified last week with the way we played last week. That was a good sign for this group,” Greenwich coach Rich Albonizio said, referring to a 22-21 comeback win vs. West Haven. “But this was more like the way we played in the preseason. We didn’t have a good week of practice and I think they thought they were better than they were.”
Darien improves to 2-0 (1-0 FCIAC) heading into a game with Bassick. The Wave take on St. Joseph in two weeks.
“Obviously, we’re very pleased that this point,” Trifone said. “But I think there’s a lot of good teams in this league.” He noted games vs. St. Joseph in two weeks, Ridgefield and New Canaan.
“And, of course we also picked up North Haven, which just knocked off the No. 1 team in the state,” he said. “Yeah, someone doesn’t like me up there.
Greenwich (1-1, 0-1 FCIAC), which lost standout linebacker Kendrick Pozo to an ankle injury on the game’s first play, heads home to face No 3. New Canaan next Saturday.
“Even bigger for us was the fact that we lost Kendrick Pozo, our leader on defense,” Albonizio said. “Him getting hurt …he’s very difficult for us to replace. We just don’t have the depth at that possession.
“Darien does a great job with that 7-on-7 stuff. Catch and throw, catch and throw. And they protect the quarterback.”
Greenwich 0 7 7 7 — 21
Darien 13 15 7 7 — 42
- D–Will Hamernick 13 interception return (Daly Hebert kick)
- D–Nick Lombardo 16 pass from Silas Wyper (kick failed)
- D–Jay Harrison 1 run (Lombardo pass from Wyper)
- D–Lombardo 22 pass from Wyper (Hebert kick)
- G–Austin Longi 12 pass from Jose Melo (Peter Heerdt kick)
- D–John Reed 14 fumble return (Hebert kick)
- G–John Fischer 12 interception return (Heerdt kick)
- D–Harrison 4 run (Hebert kick)
- G–Devin McGrath 31 pass from Melo (Heerdt kick)
Records: Greenwich 1-1 (0-1 FCIAC); Darien 2-0 (1-0 FCIAC)