Top-ranked Darien, No. 3 Newtown meet for first time since dramatic 2019 state final finish
The last time Newtown and Darien met in a regular season game, the Nighthawks shut out the Blue Wave in Darien 7-0.
That was fifteen years ago, and Justin DeVellis expects a lot more fireworks this time around. Everyone is billing this one as the rematch of the thrilling 2019 Class LL state championship game. In a way, it is. Darien's defensive coordinator at the time is now its head coach, Bobby Pattison is still Newtown's head coach, and Blue Wave defensive lineman David Evanchick still anchors the D-line two years later.
But in most ways, it isn't a rematch: two entirely different teams as far as rosters and experience go. 2020 was a lost year for Newtown's offensive and defensive lines. The Nighthawks' skill players participated in 7-on-7s, where Darien participated in the full contact (11-on-11) Fairfield County Football League for a few games.
Both teams started slow in week 1. Darien turned the ball over twice in the first quarter and three times in the first half against winless Fairfield Warde. Newtown scored on its first drive of the season against Pomperaug, but allowed 17 points in the first half against the winless Panthers. Don't get it twisted, a lot of that was shaking off the rust after a long time off. The Blue Wave crowd will play a factor in this one for sure, but don't think just because it's a home game for Darien, the Newtown crowd won't show up. I'm expecting a lot of people to be in attendance for this one, and you better believe the Blue Wave has unfinished business to take care of after letting OT in the 2019 state championship game slip away.
DeVellis says this game gets won in the trenches. Keep an eye out for how Newtown's offensive line, anchored by guard Julian Crone, keeps Evanchick and the Darien defensive line at bay. Newtown's Magazu can definitely run wild, but DeVellis is curious to see how Nick Tarantino chooses to have his secondary play against Darien QB Miles Drake.
Jussy Locks' Pick: No. 1 Darien over No. 3 Newtown 26-17