Darien vs. Maloney – Week 3 Preview


Darien Athletic Foundation

Darien sprinting out of the tunnel ready for Friday Night Lights in 2022

Class L champion vs. Class LL champion. That’s the headline for this Friday night showdown between two of the state’s football powerhouses. The Maloney Spartans (2-0), winners of the CIAC Class L crown a year ago will travel to Darien for this first-ever showdown with the Blue Wave.

Darien senior Trevor Herget kicking off the week 2 game vs Bridgeport Central.

Darien is coming off a nice outing last week where they shut out the Bridgeport Central Hilltoppers 47-0 en route to their first win of the season. Darien had bounce-back performances from the entire offense combining for 379 total offense yards, almost 150 yards more than what they had at St. Joseph in week 1. Jake Wilson rushed for his first 3 touchdown’s on the season with 158 total yards in the game, and Darien is looking to carry that momentum into this one. 

Maloney wide receiver Jaden Vasquez breaking past an East Hartford defender.

Maloney will be no easy task for Darien. The Spartans come in 2-0 after beating East Hartford in week 1 and then traveling to Simsbury last week taking down the Trojans 35-13. Starting with the defense, the Spartans have one of the best in the state. Senior Donte Kelly has had an interception in both of the teams’ games so far, including a pick-6 last week in Simsbury. Joining Kelly in the interception club is #1 Jaden Vasquez who has also picked off an opposition pass in each week of play. The Spartans feature a big group of linemen that will look to give Darien’s young OL a run for their money. The Spartans talent doesn’t just stop on defense, but their offense could be even stronger! First-year quarterback Kyle Valentine takes over for 3-year starter Angel Arce. Valentine started the Simsbury game last week completing all 8 of his first passes and throwing for 100+ yards on the first two drives alone! He is joined in the backfield by Class L Championship game MVP and all-state 2nd teamer Josh Boganski who rushed for 18 touchdowns last year. 

The Wave will have their work cut out for them. If the defensive likes of Ryan Girlamo, Robert MacLehose, JD Brennan, Layton Reesor, and Jack Barber can continue to pressure opponents it will be interesting. Maloney has some quick receivers in main targets, Joziah Gonzalez and Donte Kelly. The key for Darien on Friday is the defense can not get beat on coverages. The Spartans have 5, 30+ yard touchdown plays on the season, all because of holes that were found in the defense.

If Darien can play the same lockdown defense as they played at St. Jospeh but create more productive red zone opportunities then the Wave would be looking good on Friday Night.

That is another unmentioned element. Darien has the home-field advantage. Maloney threw 2 interceptions last week and both were on crucial third-down plays in tied game situations. In simpler terms, times when the Simsbury student section brought the energy and forced Valentine off to making the risky passes which worked in favor of the Trojans. Meriden is an hour’s drive to Darien so the boys in black should have the numerical advantage in the stands.

Darien does have some history on their side as well. Excluding Turkey Bowl games, the Wave have won their last 44 home games on Stadium Field dating back to 2012. The last time a team other than the Rams left DHS with a win was in 2012 when the Staples Wreckers upset Darien 63-28.

However, this contest of 2 state champions will be one for the ages and one that could have major impacts in the new Class L division.


Friday Gameplan

Darien students filling the student section for a 2021 Black-out vs Newtown.

Get to the Stadium nice and early because this one will be a packed house! Make sure to wear black and bring the flour to give the Wave the home field advantage! It’s going to be colder out than normal with temperatures in the lower 60’s so be prepared!

If you have other plans to spend your Friday night, DAF has you covered with the live stream. You can listen to DAF commentators Braden Schenck, and Michael Mercein call the action with kickoff at 7:00pm.