The Darien football team was without several wide receivers at this weekend’s Grip It and Rip It, a result of a trip to a national lacrosse event.
Quarterback Miles Drake and the rest of the receiving corps didn’t seem to miss a beat.
The Blue Wave finished the two-day tournament with a 7-3 record while reaching the quarterfinals. It was a fine showing for Darien’s quarterback, who gave a lot of credit to players such as Trevor Herget, Jake Wilson and Jaylen Lespearance.
“The guys who are here today really played well and stepped up,” Drake said. “Whenever the ball came their way, they grabbed it, and I couldn’t be happier with the way they played.”
Darien has a storied football tradition to continue. The team has reached the state finals six times in the seven seasons from 2013 to 2019, winning five titles and finishing as the Class LL runner-up in 2019.
Drake said the secret to the Blue Wave’s success is quite simple: “We just love playing football.”
“We’ve come up through DJFL (Darien Junior Football League), which is such a great system. There might be a little added stuff just because we’re Darien but really we just love playing football. We have fun.”
Mike Forget, the Wave’s long-time defensive coordinator, has taken over as Darien’s head coach for Rob Trifone, who stepped down in early 2020. Forget coached the Wave through four private league games last fall, but this year will be a complete season.
“Our message and our plan hasn’t changed,” Forget said. “We’ve been doing the same things through COVID that we normally do. We were fortunate enough to get a season in a private league last year so a lot of these kids played and got some reps and we’re looking to just expand on that this season.”
As for the Grip It and Rip It, Forget said it’s all about the reps.
“We get timing, we get practice and we get repetition,” the coach said. “That’s the most important thing that we’re looking for. We’ve got a lot of young guys out here right now and we’re looking to get them as much timing and repetition as we can.”