WHERE: Darien High School
WHEN: Saturday, 1:30
RECORDS: St. Joseph 1-1, Darien 2-0
LAST YEAR: Darien 31-7
PLAYERS TO WATCH: St. Joseph: Jr. QB Jordan Vazzano (483 yards, 5 TD; Sr. FB/LB Mike Pulaski (9 tackles/gm; Sr. WR/DB Denzel Moscova; Sr. WR/DB Jake Pelletier (3 TD); Darien: Sr. QB Henry Baldwin (576 yards, 7 TD passing); Jr. HB/DB Nick Lombardo (304 yards, 5 TD); Sr. TB/LB Christian Bognar; Sr. T/DE/TE Will Lochtefeld (6-1, 240); Sr. T/DT Matt D'Andrea
OUTLOOK: After a hard-fought Week 1 loss to Staples, St. Joseph is eager to prove it will be a factor in this year's FCIAC race. The Hogs were explosive in a 34-0 win over Wilton. Vazzano has opened some eyes in two games as a starter and his weapons are many. Pulaski and the defense looks equally tough. On paper, Darien appears to have all the pieces for a run at FCIAC and state titles. Baldwin has been unstoppable and Lombardo has been a breakout star. With RB/DB Peter Gesualdi out with a leg injury, they'll need all hands on deck to beat back the Hogs and maintain their contender status.
WHERE: Palmer Field, Middletown
WHEN: Friday, 7
RECORDS: Fairfield Prep 2-0, Xavier 2-0
LAST YEAR: Xavier 35-0
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sr. RB/DB Dillon Ryan; Sr. QB Strecker Backe; Sr. FB/LB/K Chris Golger; Sr. OL/DL John Meyers; Sr. OL/LB Anthony Dileo. Xavier: Sr. QB Tim Boyle; Sr. RB DeAngelo Berry; Sr. CB Chris Luster; Sr. LB Max Tylki; Sr. NG Zack Creeron (6-1, 300)
OUTLOOK: The big question on everybody's mind: Is this the year we finally see the return of Fairfield Prep as a football power? The Jesuits have won both their games 47-0 and have the highest point differential in the state. But that was against struggling Wilbur Cross and East Haven. Let's try No. 1 Xavier at Palmer Field. A Prep victory would be a seismic shock. Xavier's won 28 straight and is poised to win a third state title with new stars seamlessly growing into their roles. Fairfield Prep must play the game of its life. If this game's competitive past halftime, we think Prep will earn some respect.
WHERE: Lancaster Field at Tiger Hollow, Ridgefield
WHEN: Friday, 7
RECORDS: Stamford 2-0, Ridgefield 1-1
LAST YEAR: Ridgefield 34-28
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Stamford: Jr. RB/DB/KR Cameron Webb (263 yards, 3 TD rushing); Sr. QB/FS/P Tyler Kane (6 TD passing); Sr. MLB Frankie Colandro; Sr. C/DT Rodrigo Denapoli. Ridgefield: Sr. RB/DB Sam Gravitte; Sr. QB Connor Rowe; Sr. OL/LB Andrew Barton; Sr. WR/DB Chris Mirra; Sr. RB/DB Mickey Hicks.
OUTLOOK: Disregarded at the time, this turned out to be a critical piece of Ridgefield's 2011 season and what kept Stamford out of the state playoffs. This year, Stamford comes in undefeated and impressive despite losing many of last year's stars. It's still a relatively unknown bunch. But Webb is a star in the making and there are several others waiting to break out. Ridgefield still has lots to prove since losing to Greenwich in Week 1. This game is a must-win if the Tigers want to keep their playoff dreams intact. Pressure's on. Stamford, however, has nothing to lose.