Darien scores 26 second half points, stuns Warde
If ever there were a half that successfully told the tale of two programs' recent histories, the second 24 minutes between Darien and Fairfield Warde's football game would be it.
Warde held a 16 point halftime advantage, but Darien stormed back, defeating the Mustangs 29-19 on Friday night at Tetreau/Davis Field.
"These guys played one heck of a second half," Darien coach Rob Trifone said. "I can't remember turning around a 19-3 deficit against a good football team like that."
The defending FCIAC champions got a pair of touchdowns from junior Peter Gesualdi and Christian Bognar. The Blue Wave scored 26 unanswered, second half points to boost them to 2-0 and earn some points with Trifone.
"This was a grow-up game," Trifone said. "Last week we didn't face adversity, this week we faced some adversity."
Warde was keyed by fullback Joe Marx, who ran for a pair of touchdowns and running back Devon Lofton who had 70 total yards for the game. The Mustangs fell to 1-1 in a game that seemed eerily familiar to DellaVolpe.
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"We made emotional mistakes," he said. "It was a little bit of not knowing what to do when we were there."
But Lofton exited the game in the second half due to leg cramps, and DellaVolpe believed that his absence made his team's offense less dynamic.
"You take that little burst away that Devon gives us and you don't run through that arm tackle," he said.
After a field goal by Chris Smith put Darien ahead, Warde scored the next 19 points, led by Kevin Krug's 29 yard reception from quarterback Chris Foley, and Marx's two scores, which game the Mustangs a 19-3 lead at halftime.
"We got pushed around," Trifone said. "Welcome to varsity football."
However, a botched snap on Warde's first extra point and a missed two-point conversion left the Mustangs only ahead by 16.
"We had poor execution on special teams for us tonight," DellaVolpe said. "It just destroyed us."
Then in the second half Warde's special teams imploded, behind two shanked punts, a forced fumble and a miscue by Mustangs' punter David Wolff when his knee went down attempting to field a punt, which set the Blue Wave up with field position inside Warde territory four times in the second half.
"We were completely out of sync in the third quarter," DellaVolpe said. "If I could figure out what caused it, I'd have stopped it."
Darien finally capitalized on the field position advantage, going 42 yards capped by Henry Baldwin's 14-yard screen pass to Gesualdi to cut Warde's lead to 19-10.
After a Warde three-and-out and another shanked punt, Darien went 31 yards in four plays, finished by Bognar's 14 yard scamper that cut the Mustangs' advantage to 19-16. Darien then took over at the Warde 28 after the inadvertent kneel down, and on the first play of the fourth quarter, took a 22-19 lead when Bognar plunged in from a yard out.