NEW CANAAN >> Finlay Collins intercepted Drew Pyne in overtime to lift No. 1 Darien to a thrilling, 37-34 victory over No. 2 New Canaan in the annual Turkey Bowl in front of an overflow crowd at Dunning Stadium Thanksgiving Morning.
Collins’ pick came just after Darien’s Riley Stewart kicked the go-ahead, 24-yard field goal to start overtime and stopped what had been a miraculous New Canaan rally from 24 points down in the second half.
This was Darien’s fifth-straight Thanksgiving Day victory over New Canaan. It completed a second-consecutive 10-0 regular season and earned the Blue Wave the top-seed in the Class LL tournament.
Darien will play No. 8-seeded Greenwich in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Boyle Stadium.
New Canaan (9-1) still clinched a No. 2 seed in the Class L tournament. The Rams will face No. 7 Masuk at Dunning Stadium.
In addition to his interception, Collins had a monster day. He ran 10 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns as the Blue Wave methodically built a 27-10 halftime lead.
When Quinn Fay sacked Pyne and forced a fumble that Cord Fox returned for a 14-yard touchdown, Darien had a seemingly insurmountable 31-10 advantage with 5:50 left in the third.
But New Canaan scored the next 24 points, turning what was shaping up to be a rout into a classic.
Pyne, the freshman first-year starter who threw for 223 yards on 24-of-25 passing, hit Quintin O’Connell for a touchdown to pull New Canaan within 31-17 after three quarters.
The Rams continued their march in the fourth. While its once shellshocked defense held Darien to just two first downs in the second half, New Canaan got a field goal from Grant Morse, a 1-yard run from Spencer Williams and then tied it on Ryan O’Connell’s 1-yard dive with 21 seconds remaining.
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) November 24, 2016
New Canaan’s defense did its job during the first overtime, holding Darien to a mere field goal. But on second down, after a run, Pyne’s pass was picked off by Collins, sending a wall of Darien fans onto the field.
Darien quarterback Brian Peters completed 16 of 36 passes for 192 yards.
Graham Braden ran 15 times for 132 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown run for New Canaan. Teammate Quintin O’Connell caught 10 passes for 89 yards.
Darien 37, New Canaan 34
DARIEN 13 14 7 0 3 — 37
NEW CANAAN 3 7 7 17 0 — 34
D–Finlay Collins 50 run (Riley Stewart kick)
D–Nick Green 9 run (kick failed)
NC–Grant Morse 35 field goal
NC–Graham Braden 77 run (Morse kick)
D–Max Grant 65 pass from Brian Peters (Stewart kick)
D–Collins 2 run (Stewart kick)
D–Cord Fox 14 fumble recovery return (Stewart kick)
NC–Quintin O’Connell 16 pass from Pyne (Morse kick)
NC–Morse 29 field goal
NC–Spencer Williams 1 run (Morse kick)
NC–O’Connell 1 run (Morse kick)
D–Stewart 27 FG
Team records: Darien 10-0, New Canaan 9-1