DARIEN — As a full moon hung over the Darien turf at the end of Halloween week, the Wilton offense acted like a vampire — trying to suck the life out of Darien.
The Blue Wave defense however, shined in its role of Van Helsing, recording their third-straight shutout on Senior Night in a 27-0 win.
“Defense wins championships, and that’s what we pride ourselves on,” Darien linebacker and receiver Nick Green said. “When our offense struggles, our defense backs it up and that’s what motivates our offense to do better. It gives us real joy when we get a shutout on the board.”
Darien (8-0), which won its 33rd-straight game Friday, got off to a slow start, only running three total plays in the first half as Wilton’s triple-option offense controlled the clock.
The defense took over both roles however, forcing and recovering a Wilton (4-4) fumble at the Warriors 3 yard line, where Green would take it in two plays later.
Late in the half, Bruce Ferguson picked off one of two total Wilton pass attempts and returned it to the 26.
With just six seconds left in the half, Darien made it 14-0 on Jack Joyce’s back-shoulder strike to Tyler Herget.
“I thought we played well, but you can’t make the mistakes that we made,” Wilton coach Bruce Cunningham said. “The two critical mistakes in the first half against a team like that, they will make you pay for it every time. Besides that, I thought we battled and hung in there.”
With another — this time much different — test passed for the Darien defense, the Blue Wave are now allowing just a paltry 4.4 points per game.
Friday, it was the linebacking corps of Green, Connor Fay and Kevin Grune that lead the defensive charge.
“Our defense is playing lights out,” Wave coach Rob Trifone said. “You saw Kevin Grune in action tonight and he’s a heck of a linebacker, plus Fay and Nick Green. We have a lot of good players on defense, and defense is going to keep you in all ball games.”
Darien eventually made the score lopsided with fourth quarter touchdowns from Mitch Pryor on a 1-yard plunge and Nick Green via a 4-yard out from Jack Joyce.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Green, Darien. The senior two-way star made a ton of stops against the Wilton run game, and scored two of Darien’s four touchdowns in the contest.
The biggest struggle in preparing for Wilton is trying to duplicate the Warriors’ triple-option attack in practice.
“When we defend the spread, we run the spread, so we can simulate in practice and it looks like the spread,” Trifone said. “We can’t simulate that option. We tried, and we know what they do, but we can’t run it at that speed; so tonight was the first time they were like, ‘holy cow.’ ”
The road gets easier for Wilton, but not much, as the Warriors face Westhill next Friday night at home.
“We have one tough game next week against Westhill,” Cunningham said. “That’s probably the best Westhill team I’ve seen in 30-plus years. We’re pretty consistent with our approach, that’s what I like about this team. They don’t get too high, they don’t get too low, every week they try to grind it out and give great effort—which they did today.”
DARIEN 27, WILTON 0
WILTON 0 0 0 0—0
DARIEN 0 14 0 13—27
D—Nick Green 3 run (Austin Hagander kick)
D—Tyler Herget 8 pass Jack Joyce (Hagander kick)
D—Mitch Pryor 1 run (PAT failed)
D—Green 4 Joyce (Hagander kick)
Records: Wilton 4-4; Darien 8-0