Wave Falls a Yard Short in Turkey Bowl Loss


Darien Athletic Foundation

Darien receiver Briggs McGuckin after an incompletion in Thursday’s Turkey Bowl loss

A single yard is all that decided this one between the Darien Blue Wave and New Canaan Rams on Thanksgiving morning.

A fourth down play with minutes left in regulation saw Darien’s QB Simeon Doll leap for the end zone but be stopped by a New Canaan defense forcing the turnover on downs.

Thursday was the fifth straight Turkey Bowl loss that New Canaan handed Darien, although this year’s edition was the Waves’ best shot at a win.

A packed Darien student section for the 2022 Turkey Bowl at Stadium Field (Scott Ericson)

New Canaan would get the ball first, but the Darien defense did not miss a beat forcing the three and out.

Simeon Doll would march his Wave downfield and into the red zone before they would be forced with a 4th and goal.

For only the third time this year, head coach Mike Forget went to the sophomore kicker Tucker Stevens for the field goal attempt. A good snap, good hold, and beautiful kick split the uprights for a 3-0 Wave lead. This was Tucker’s first career varsity field goal as he was 0/2 entering this kick.

Back-to-back punts would take this one to the end of the first quarter in a not-so-exciting Thanksgiving morning matchup.

Ty Groff would set up in the shotgun early in the second quarter on a 3rd and 17. He looked to pass with a blazing Jack Barber hot on his tail. Groff would fumble, and the junior Jack Silsby recovered the pigskin giving Darien the ball on the 11-yard line. A big defensive play for Darien, and now setting them up with their best field position of the day.

A pass to Brady Pokorny inched the Wave closer. On 2nd down, Doll rushed to the outside, found a hole and find the end zone on the QB keeper. This score gave Darien the 10-0 lead.

Darien celebrating the touchdown rush from QB Simeon Doll in the 2022 Turkey Bowl Thursday morning (Scott Ericson)

A role reversal from the last time this game was played at DHS. In 2019 it was the Rams that jumped out to the early lead, but this year it was all Wave in the early goings.

The Rams would retaliate from this scoring taking the final 9:19 of the half and going on a 22-play drive. A drive that found the Rams stopped on 3rd down on the 7-yard line. A chip shot up and good for the all-state kicker Ty Groff. New Canaan took the time and effort and only put 3 points on the board before halftime.

The momentum was still with the Wave as their defense was lockdown the entire first half and built up the 10-3 lead. To add on to that, Darien would receive the kick out of the second half.

The Rams would quickly turn that momentum into their favor with senior Griffin Gentner picking off a Doll pass on the very first play from scrimmage in the second half.

New Canaan is now only 30 yards away from tying the game up at 10.

A handoff to Hunter Telesco picked up 10, and another handoff to Telesco saw Hunter break free for the 20-yard TD rush.

It only took a minute and a half into the second half, but the Rams scored ten unanswered and knotted the Turkey Bowl up at ten a piece.

Punts would be the main story of the remainder of the third quarter. Although one punt, in particular, would go in favor of the Rams. A slower snap to Herget and a Rams defender putting his head on the line blocked the punt and give New Canaan a great field position late in the third quarter.

Trevor Herget punting the football in a early game vs. the Greenwich Cardinals (Darien Athletic Foundation )

The field position is so good that Ty Groff on a fourth and long would see a 47-yard field goal attempt.

For most high school kickers this would be a near-impossible task, but for Ty Groff, this wasn’t even his long. Groff made a 48-yarder two weeks prior at Fairfield Warde and this one was in his range.

A good snap and the kick was up, soaring through the air as it cleared the uprights for the made field goal. Groff erupted as he just put his Rams team up heading into the fourth quarter.

Darien would need to get the offense going now, an offense that had only 20 yards in the entire third quarter!

Darien would fail to convert some crucial fourth downs in the final quarter as the back-and-forth battle continued.

The Wave saw another 4th and long on their end of the field with three minutes to play. Doll dropped back and looked down field to an open Trevor Herget. Herget halled the pass in and advanced Darien down to the 10-yard line.

The first time Herget was targeted all game was the play prior in which the ball just skimmed his finer tips incomplete, but Trevor made up for it giving Darien the red zone position late in the fourth quarter.

An incompletion on first down and a Doll run on second down would move the ball down to the 3-yard line.

Doll would try to leap the pile on third down but come up short on the 2-yard line.

Darien now was faced with a make-or-break situation. Game on the line, 4th and 2 on the 2-yard line. With only 1:52 left to play.

The Wave has the likes of Tucker Stevens, who made a longer field goal earlier in the game, and this would’ve been a chip shot for Stevens, on the other hand, going for the win just needed 2 yards with a potential rush play.

Mike Forget elected to leave the offense on the field.

Doll got the snap and leaped for the end zone.

The line judges sprinted in and marked him down at the 1-yard line. Doll came up short. Turnover on downs.

The Rams would run the clock out, and the fans would storm the field as New Canaan took down Darien 13-10 in the 2022 Turkey Bowl.

Heartbreaking loss for the Wave given they were up 10-0 and just a single yard away from winning the game.

And if the loss wasn’t crushing enough, this meant Darien football would miss the CIAC state playoffs. Shelton and New Milford both won meaning this game was for Darien’s season. The Wave finished 6-4 and in 9th place which didn’t make the playoff cut.

The 4th and 2 call didn’t pan out for the Wave, and it costed them the Turkey Bowl.

It was a hard-fought season for the boys in blue, but unfortunately for the seniors, this loss would be the last in their high school career.

New Canaan, with this win moves up to the 4th seed in the CIAC playoffs and will host Naugatuck in the state quarterfinals on Tuesday.

For Darien, the countdown begins for kickoff in 2023 in which Darien will look to end the 5-year reign of New Canaan on Thanksgiving morning.

Darien trotting onto the field after halftime vs. Greenwich this season (Darien Athletic Foundation)




NEW CANAAN 0 3 10 0 —13

DARIEN 3 7 0 0 — 10


D – Tucker Stevens 20 yard field goal

D – Simeon Doll 6 yard rushing TD (Stevens PAT good)

NC – Ty Groff 17 yard field goal

NC – Hunter Telesco 20 yard rushing TD (Groff PAT good)

NC – Ty Groff 47 yard field goal


QB: NC – Ty Groff 4-10 (40%), 28 yds, 0 td, 0 Int; D – Simeon Doll 10-22 (45.5%), 126 yds, 0 td, 1 Int.

RB: NC – Hunter Telesco 19 carries, 82 yds, 1 tds; D- Jake Wilson 10 carries, 34 yds, 0 tds.

WR: NC – Michael Smith 1 reception, 9 yds, 0 td; D- Brady Pokonry 6 receptions, 70 yds, 0 td.

DEF: NC – Griffin Gentner, 1 interception; D – Jack Silsby, 1 fumble recovery.

Records: New Canaan 9-1 ; Darien 6-4.