Darien Fights Past Errors to Secure Win Over Greenwich on the Road
September 22, 2014
Written by Alex Hager
The Darien Blue Wave is 2-0 after a win against Greenwich on Friday evening. In the minds of fans across the town, the boys in blue rank among the best in the state. Despite the opinion of the masses and Friday’s final score line, the Blue Wave have quite a few screws to tighten before they can make a claim to being included in the CIAC’s elite.
Throngs of fans clad in white from head to toe turned out to Cardinal Stadium to cheer on the Wave, but the game they saw was far from pretty. While it was competitive and evenly matched, the contest was riddled with mistakes that left both teams’ chances of winning in a constant state of flux. Fumbles and interceptions were abounding for both sides. Turnover after turnover gave Darien fans substantial cause for concern, and nearly cost the Wave the game.
Even with their impressive statistical showings, there was no shortage of slip-ups for the Wave’s attack. For one, junior quarterback Tim Graham was on the receiving end of a few too many sacks. A number of key plays in the middle of a scoring drive ended in a loss for Darien, after Graham fell victim to the duress of Greenwich’s charging D-line. The Cardinals provided a challenge for the Wave’s highly touted offensive line, who seemed to be struggling for the first time in recent memory. To add to those difficulties, Graham often lingered in the pocket for a second too long, holding on to the ball on plays that could have ended in incompletions rather than losses of yardage. In addition to this, a significant amount of return attempts, as well as rushes, saw the pigskin hit the grass as the Wave’s ball carriers fumbled, sometimes resulting in turnovers during promising drives.
Despite all of their shortcomings, it was far more than happenstance that the Wave won the contest. As the game went on, it became clear that DHS’ offense was beginning to settle in and establish its identity. Last year’s scoring unit was dominated by QB Silas Wyper’s mobility and the deep threat provided by WR Nick Lombardo. This year, it appears that the Wave has reason to rely on the ground game. Senior Peter Archey scored first for Darien, putting his strength on display muscling through Greenwich’s defense. Later in the game, Shelby Grant cemented his reputation as a speed threat. Finding holes in the Cardinal backfield on practically every play, the lightning-fast junior notched a touchdown and had a handful of impressive long-distance runs to put the Blue Wave in the red zone. Grant ended the night with a total of 98 rushing yards.
Also worth noting was the performance put on by rookie kicker Stephen Walker. Walker, the senior soccer convert, has taken over the kicking and punting duties for Darien, and has done so rather impressively. He went 3 for 4 on PATs, and nailed two field goals, from 29 and 25 yards. His punt and kickoff prowess was on display as well. Walker kept the Cardinals’ return charges at bay with booming kicks that found their way to the goal line on every attempt, and punts that often pinned Greenwich return men deep in their own zones. The senior looks to be a valuable addition to this year’s squad.
As the saying goes, “a win is a win is a win”. Darien should be thankful for the fact presented in the saying, but hopeful for the future. Although the offense showed a few weaknesses, the largest impression left of the game was the potential within Darien’s roster and skill set. Even after a 33-26 win, many are unconvinced that the Wave is the best in the state. By eliminating sloppy turnovers and harnessing the full potential of Grant and Archey in the ground attack, Darien could have a very reasonable claim to stand among the Connecticut’s top ranks.
Alex Hager is a senior at Darien High School. As an aspiring sports journalist, Alex has created his own sports show at DHS and has assumed roles on multiple local broadcast teams. He follows all things athletic, from the big four leagues in the US, to the most obscure of international sports. Alex hopes to, one day, turn his passion and obsession into a career. You can stay updated with DHS Blue Wave Sports by following @DHSWaveCast on Twitter, or follow Alex's personal account @awhager.