New Canaan vs. Darien – 2022 Turkey Bowl Preview


NC Rams Football

The coveted Coaches Memorial Trophy at the 2021 Turkey Bowl with the Rams hoisting the trophy.

It’s here, another chapter of the Turkey Bowl. The most storied rivalry in Fairfield County opens another chapter. Darien and New Canaan, Wave and Rams.

Last year, a crushing 12-7 defeat at the hands of the Rams. The past four bowls have gone in favor of New Canaan, dating back to 2017.

In 2022 however, the Wave looks for their revenge playing for their season.

Darien currently sits in 7th place in the CIAC Class L standings. Needing a turkey bowl win to earn a spot in the state playoffs. It’s a win or go home game for Darien as they play for everything Thanksgiving morning.

“We are taking this game just like any other” Darien 2nd year Head Coach Mike Forget said when asked about the mentality of this weeks contest.

Thursday will be the 28th Turkey Bowl and the 95th all-time meeting between these two foes. New Canaan has won 17 bowls, Darien 9, and they played to a tie in 2003.

A rivalry that has survived the Great Depression, World War II, and Vietnam. Darien and New Canaan football is perhaps the single most anticipated sporting event in Southwestern Connecticut!

Darien and New Canaan meeting at Boyle Stadium for the 2017 Turkey Bowl (NC Rams Football)

A different story in 2022. For the first time since 2018, Darien will enter the Turkey Bowl, not 9-0. This year, a 6-3 record is what the Wave has played to. Having struggled at home with losses to Maloney and Greenwich at the Stadium, Darien is looking to avoid the under .500 record at home. Something the program has not seen since 2014.

As for the Rams, they enter 8-1. Having only that sole loss to a tough St. Joseph team, the Rams have been practically unstoppable this year.

The Turkey Bowl is a chance for any team to stamp their legacy on the program

— Jake Wilson

Darien comes in hot, winners of their last two. The Wave had some strong offensive games scoring 49 points against the Norwalk Bears and 42 against the Brien McMahon Senators. Both of which playing without senior running back Jake Wilson. A minor leg injury has kept Wilson out of play the last two weeks, and he will be a game-time decision for the 2022 Turkey Bowl. In his absence, junior Clifton Shelton has seen a majority of the carries and giving Blue Wave fans a glimpse of the future. On the passing game, Simeon Doll has continued to keep the peddle to the medal, throwing for three touchdowns last week at Casagrande Field. Doll did see some hiccups against the Norwalk Bears, in which he threw a pair of interceptions, but Doll continues to be constant with his gains. The only flaw for the Darien air game has been the poor decisions and throwing to the wrong receivers. That is how the week 8 Greenwich game ended, an intended pass to a double-teamed Brady Pokorny that was picked off by the Cards.

Darien will look to come in using their momentum and avoid making any of those tiny errors they have made in the past. This is a Rams team that will make the Wave pay with even the slightest of errors.

Darien’s Trevor Herget moving past the Greenwich Cardinals defense in a 2022 matchup (Darien Athletic Foundation)
New Canaan’s running back Hunter Telesco rushing past a diving Xavier defender in week 1. (Dave Stewart)

As for the Rams, they enter 8-1 on the season with a dominating past couple of weeks. 42 points scored vs. the Fairfield Ludlowe Falcons, and 41 vs. the Fairfield Warde Mustangs were the last two times out for New Canaan. This Rams team has an equal balance of offensive power and defensive strength. Four shutouts, and only 82 points against all season for the Rams’ defense! A defense, that has the likes of Matthew Salmini, Walker Blair, and Javier Perez Soto leading the charge. The Rams caused 22 turnovers as a team that has been locked in since game one. On the offense, senior quarterback Ty Groff steps into the center light. Groff, the team’s kicker also became the starting quarterback this year. Sophomore Alex Russey started at QB with Groff injured to start the season, and pre-season WR1 and RB1 were ruled out for the year, this Rams team has been making the best of it. Senior Hunter Telesco has filled the vacancy at the running back position and has led the rush-heavy team. 129 carries for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns to this point. In the air, the Rams only have 73 completions in 117 total passing attempts. All this is good for only three passing touchdowns. A freshman in James Mcinerney has been the main target for Groff but has not yet found the end zone.

It’s the same show but with a different cast of characters every year

— Ty Groff

Darien and New Canaan have both seen their fair share of adversities during the season. The 6-3 Wave will be playing for their season on Thanksgiving morning while the 8-1 Rams are playing to advance their playoff seeding.

Kickoff is scheduled for 10 am at the DHS Stadium Field to what should be a sold-out DHS Stadium. Extra bleachers have been brought in, and ticket sales quickly sold out.

The year-by-year history of the Darien-New Canaan football game (NC Rams Football)

This will be only the ninth time in the 28 meetings that the Turkey Bowl plays out at Darien High School.

2019 was the last time that this storied rivalry took to the DHS Stadium Field. A New Canaan team under the leadership of now Norte Dame quarterback Drew Pyne, demolished the Wave 20-0, sending the Blue Wave fateful home disappointed.

2022 is a new year, a new turkey bowl, and for Darien a chance to end a drought!


Thursday Gameplan

Kickoff is at 10 am, be early, be loud and stay late to cheer on the Blue Wave! The team is expected to wear blue for a change on Thanksgiving morning. Ticket sales have already sold out so their will be no at the gate ticket sales for Thursday. Make sure to bring the flour and bring the energy to give Darien the home field advantage! Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-40’s and sunny with the high of 47 to be expected. So a warmer day for some Thanksgiving football!

If you can’t make it out to the Stadium and still want to cheer on the Wave, DAF Media has you covered with the live game coverage. Darien students Braden Schenck and Dylan DeRiso will handle the announcing with the pregame show going live at 9:30am.