Darien vs. Greenwich – Week 8 Preview


Darien Athletic Foundation

Darien rushing past a Greenwich defender en route to taking down the Cardinals in 2019 regular season meeting.

If there is one date that every Blue Wave football fan has circled on their calendar, it’s October 29th. Not only is it Homecoming for Darien High School, but they welcome in one of the best football teams in the state of Connecticut this season, the Greenwich Cardinals.

2019 was the last time that these two powerhouses met. First in the regular season at Cardinal Stadium. The other was at DHS in the CIAC Class LL Quarterfinals.

Darien went up 21-0 in the regular season meeting in 2019, but 21 unanswered from the Cardinals got them back within striking distance. Darien was up 27-21 with minutes to play, Greenwich QB James Rinello marched his squad into the Red Zone before a 3rd down catch would set them up on the Darien 13.

Video highlights from the 2019 regular season meeting (courtesy of GametimeCT)

With only 7 seconds to play, Rinello, who thought they got the first down on the previous play, spiked the ball, stopping the clock. What Rinello didn’t know was that his receiver came up short a play prior and he just spiked the ball on a 4th and 1 play to end the game. Darien took the last regular season meeting between these two 27-21 and survived at Cardinal Stadium.

This is one of many epic tales in such a storied rivalry between Darien and Greenwich. A meeting in the 2017 state championship at Stamford’s Boyle Stadium, was won by Darien, in a meeting played in a literal blizzard. Cardinals fans know it as the “Cardinals vs. Convicts” game, as an obvious play on the old Notre Dame vs. Miami “Catholics vs. Convicts” rivalry.

Darien’s Tyler Herget coming up with the ball in the 2017 “Snow Bowl”

The Wave and Cardinals have seen back-and-forth success in this intense rivalry, and Saturday, they will open a new chapter.

Darien is coming in hot, having won their last three games played. Darien’s last loss came during the home game against the Maloney Spartans. Since that September 23rd night, Darien has seen an explosion on the offense with Trevor Herget stepping up on the offense, Jake Wilson getting hot on the run game, and the defensive likes of Jack Barber, Robert MacLehose, and Dash Ross showing up to play. Wilson scored four touchdowns last week at Fairfield Ludlowe, and has had more success at finding the openings on coverage and picking up huge gains. Darien is still dealing with the injury of Duncan Easterbrook on the OL. With a platoon of replacements, they have been holding their ground. Although, the rumors are Easterbrook might return for this clash with the Cardinals giving Darien another upper hand. This is a new Blue Wave team the past three games, and they are looking to show that with a statement against a top team in the Greenwich Cardinals.

Darien’s Jake Wilson rushing in week 1 at St. Joseph.

Greenwich comes into play ranked 4th in the state with a 5-1 record. Greenwich was number one to start this season, but a loss to Southington knocked them down a notch. In other words, beating Greenwich is possible, and Darien will look to take some of that Blue Knight magic and pick up the same result against the Cards.

Greenwich QB Jack Wilson rushing past Trumbull defenders

Greenwich’s defense has not been stellar, having given up 24+ points in four games this season. But what makes Greenwich so good is the offense. An offense that has scored 246 points in the first 6 games, including a 62 point performance vs. Westhill. No, that is not a typo, 62 points on the scoreboard against the Vikings. Greenwich has one of the best quarterbacks in the state with senior Jack Wilson back in his second year starting. This season Wilson has managed to rack up 20 touchdowns (10 passing and 10 rushing) with his 1181 passing yards and 64.5% completion percentage. Wilson is a precise quarterback who can make the tough throws and get the completions, last week vs. Trumbull he had 22 completions for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns. This skill combined with the lethal wide receivers in Justin Wailgum, Charlie Dixon, and Dominic DeLuca makes it extremely tough to stop. Wailgum is the leader of the group with 33 receptions for 494 yards and receiving touchdowns in each of the last five games for Greenwich. Greenwich does have a rush option with senior back Jack Konigsberg, but the Cardinals have relied on the air game for their high-powered offensive efforts all season.

Greenwich does have some defensive weapons at work, including junior defensive end Griffin Galletta who leads the Cardinals with 6 sacks. But with a lack of depth on the defensive ends, the opposition has managed to score big on the Cardinals. This has mainly come with a lack of experience in the secondary. Looking at the team’s game against Trumbull, 267 of the team’s total 322 yards came from the throwing game, and the same could be said against St. Joseph when the Cardinals surrendered 238 passing yards. So for Darien and their combination of QB Simeon Doll to Trevor Herget or Brady Pokorny, this is the week to exploit that and keep the chains moving.

Darien’s Liam McBride catching a TD pass in 2021 win

Darien will have another advantage on Saturday. For the first time since September 24th of 2021, Liam McBride will enter a varsity football contest. McBride, who caught one touchdown in two receptions last season for the Wave, has been dealing with injuries. Thus he has missed the entire season to this point. Liam is a Denison football commit and can make a big receiving play wherever he is on the field. For a Darien team that lacked height and experience at WR earlier this season, McBride will still play a big impact on the Darien offensive end.

This should be a great matchup in week 8 of the season and one that could decide a lot of ground in the state playoff race. The Wave now sits in 7th place in the Class L rankings, and this week is worth more points (150 for the win compared to 100 vs. Class L teams) given they are playing an opponent from Class LL. There is more at stake for the Wave on that end.

Darien is officially in the home stretch of their season and plays a home-heavy ending. Saturday is the beginning of a final four-game stretch in which Darien plays three of the four at home. It is going to be a matchup you won’t want to miss!


Saturday Gameplan

Darien student section throwing the flour before the game against Maloney earlier this season.

Make sure to come out to the Stadium and support the Wave on homecoming. It is the biggest week for school spirit and the biggest non-Turkey Bowl game on the schedule. Arrive early, be loud and support the Wave. Darien has the chance to make a statement in this one, and the more home-field advantage they can get, the better-suited they will be to take down the Cardinals. Temperatures are supposed to be in the low 60s with some clouds in the sky. It should be a reprieve from the rain this week and next.

If you can’t make it out to the Stadium and still want to cheer on the Wave, 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 2:00pm.