- Coach: Rob Trifone (8th year, 51-20)
- Conference: FCIAC East
- Playoff Class: L (686 boys enrollment)
- Home: Darien HS Field
- 2013 Record: 12-2 (8-1 FCIAC, Lost to New Canaan in Class L championship)
- 2014 Kickoff: Sept. 12 vs. Hillhouse (at Wilbur Cross), 4 p.m.
- Captains: Will Hamernick, Griffin Ross, George Reed, Tim Lochtefeld, Jack Tyrrell
- Team website: Darienfootball.com | MaxPreps page
- Mark Evanchick, Jr. DE (6-0, 230)
- George Reed, Sr. OG/DE (6-1, 235)
- Griffin Ross, Sr. WR/DB (5-11, 170)
- Will Hamernick, Sr. HB/DB (5-11, 170)
- Tim Lochtefeld, Sr. HB/LB (5-11, 170)
- Jack Tyrrell, Sr. OT/DT (6-3, 242)
- Tim Graham, Jr. QB (6-4, 170)
- Charlie Travers, Sr. LB/TE (6-2, 220)
- Jack Griffiths, Sr. OT/DT (6-2, 270)
- Sam Bowtell, Sr. OT/DT (6-2, 245)
- Spencer Stovall, Jr. OT/DT (6-0, 240)
- Andrew Stuber, Soph. OL (6-6, 300)
- Hudson Hamill, Jr. HB/S (5-9, 145)
- Bobby Trifone, Jr. WR/DB (5-10, 140)
- Christian Trifone, Jr. HB/S (5-10, 140)
Nick Lombardo, RB/DB; Silas Wyper, QB; Jay Harrison, TB/SS; John Reed HB/CB; Andrew Nault, LB; Myles Ridder, LB; Daly Hebert, K
Rob Trifone doesn’t quite understand what the fuss is all about. The Blue Wave graduated plenty of key performers from last year’s Class L championship run: Do-everything back Nick Lombardo, Jay Harrison, John Reed, Daly Hebert and — perhaps most important — quarterback Silas Wyper. Yet, everybody with a camera, voice recorder or notebook running around Fairfield County seems to have his club pegged as the “TEAM TO BEAT!” in the 2014 FCIAC race. “We still have a few holes to fill,” he said.
But when Trifone flashes his famous wry smile it becomes pretty clear: If everything goes according to plan — and it typically does for teams under his charge — the Blue Wave is going to be good.
“I think if we’re going to be successful it’ll come down to team chemistry,” Trifone said. “We’re working on that.”
In other words, Darien is loaded with talent, size and skill. Just a snip here and a tuck there and it should be playing for their first FCIAC title since 2010 and that elusive first state title since 1996. Darien has lost five consecutive state finals since then, including two losses (both to arch-rival New Canaan) under Trifone.
The Wave are stacked on the offensive and defensive lines. A majority of the team’s 12 starters are linemen. None draw a crowd like outstanding junior unanimous All-State defensive end Mark Evanchick, who ripped through FCIAC (and SCC) defenses as a sophomore. He is the state’s top-returning sack artist with 14 and added 13 tackles for a loss. Evanchick, teamed with fellow end George Reed (a not-too-shabby five sacks, 12 tackles for losses), Jack Griffiths and Jack Tyrrell, gives Darien a fearsome foursome — perhaps the state’s best defensive front.
Darien lost a few in the defensive backfield, but should be just fine with linebackers Tim Lochtefeld (75 tackles), Charlie Travers (24) and defensive back Griffin Ross (4 interceptions) returning. Trifone’s twin sons Bobby and Christian Trifone will also be in the mix in the secondary.
Offensively, the Wave will rebuild at the skill positions behind an experienced offensive line anchored by Griffiths (6-2, 270), Sam Bowtell (6-2, 245), Spencer Stovall (6-0, 240) and sophomore Andrew Stuber, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound manchild. Ross, who was overshadowed somewhat by the explosive Lombardo, returns as one of the state’s top receivers. He caught a whopping 80 passes for 1,061 yards and six touchdowns a year ago. The Blue Wave, which only ran for 1,538 yards last season, will turn to a cadre of backs including Lochtefeld, Christian Trifone and Peter Archey.
The big question is at quarterback, where 6-foot-4 junior Tim Graham takes over for Wyper. He saw only limited varsity action last year, but Trifone says Graham has “all the tools” to lead the offense. “We’re just working on his mental game right now, and that’s an adjustment,” Trifone said. “But he’s done everything he’s had to do in the offseason to play varsity quarterback.”
If Trifone’s track record is any indication, Graham will be just as good (if not better) than Wyper, Henry Baldwin, Chris Allam and Matt Wheelock before him: Program quarterbacks who quickly go from anonymity to stars in a matter of weeks.
Darien’s road is, once again, a who’s who of strong programs from both the FCIAC and SCC. The Wave faces Hillhouse in a rough, 4 p.m. opener in New Haven and then head to fellow contender Greenwich (in Trifone’s words, the FCIAC’s real team-to-beat) for a crucial Week 2 matchup that will define the 2014 season. The Wave also gets St. Joseph, Ridgefield and SCC Division II power North Haven before taking on arch-rival New Canaan at home in the Turkey Bowl. Darien saw a rare, two-year win streak vs. the Rams end in last year’s Class L championship, something this group wants to rectify.
Sept. 12 — vs. Hillhouse (at Wilbur Cross), 4 p.m.
Sept. 19 — at Greenwich, 7 p.m.*
Sept. 27 — Bassick, 1:30 p.m.**
Oct. 2 — St. Joseph, 3 p.m.**
Oct. 11 — Ffld.Warde, 2 p.m.**
Oct. 18 — at Trinity Cath., 2 p.m.**
Oct. 24 — at Ridgefield, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 31 — at Wilton, 6 p.m.**
Nov. 8 — Harding, 2 p.m.*
Nov. 15 — North Haven, 1 p.m.
Nov. 27 — New Canaan, 10:30 a.m.**