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Football: Darien beats McMahon 21-14 in Tight Matchup at Home

Darien+football+wide+receiver+Connor+Lane+hauling+in+a+catch+against+McMahon+9%2F15%2F23
CT Insider
Darien football wide receiver Connor Lane hauling in a catch against McMahon 9/15/23

The home opener of the 2023 football season was noting short of exciting. fans came out to support the team and the high school was electric for a 3:30 start time. The Blue Wave team was ready to clash with the Brien McMahon Senators. Darien was going into Week 2 without playing a game Week 1 due to the forfeit from North Haven. Brien McMahon on the other hands was coming into this game after a hot Week 1 start defeating the Amity Spartans 27-17 on the road.

McMahon started the game with possession and kept the ball moving, until they would punt the ball over to Darien. Darien looked ready going on out to the field, which would be there first offensive possession of the year. On the first snap, both senior QB Declan Cunningham and sophomore QB Ben Rolapp came out on the field. Cunningham who received the snap, tossed it off to Ben Rolapp, who through a skyrocket ball into the McMahon territory. The ball was intercepted on McMahon’s 30 yard line and Darien started the year off with a turnover.

All throughout the game, Darien switched between Cunningham and Rolapp at the QB spot.

McMahon would then punt the ball again after having a penalty turn them away of a first down during the drive. Darien would go with Cunningham again and went three and out which was a trend throughout the first quarter for both teams.

Darien would then get the ball back after a McMahon punt and found themselves on their own six yard line. One the next play, Darien faced some miscommunication and the Darien snap went passed Cunningham into the endzone for a safety.

Things were looking bad for Darien as McMahon kept moving the ball due to the lack of presence from the Darien defense. However, senior captain Briggs McGuckin who plays on both offense and defense, saw an opportunity and intercepted the ball from the McMahon QB and ran with it until he was tackled at the McMahon 6 yard line. This interception changed the momentum for Darien, as they had looked sluggish for much of the first quarter. Their drive would end in a good fashion with RB Clifton Shelton bringing in his first TD of the season. Darien would lead 7-2 going into the second quarter of play.

Darien RB Clifton Shelton rushing past the McMahon defense (CT Insider)

On the first play of the second quarter, with McMahon in the red zone, the Senators would score a touchdown from senior Lucas Silva who brought the ball in under tight coverage from the Wave. McMahon went up 8-7 after a failed two point conversion.

Darien would then bring out Ben Rolapp for his first full drive of the game. After a successful drive putting Darien in scoring territory, Rolapp handed the ball of to junior TE Charlie Thom who fumbled the football on the rush. This fumble added to Darien’s turnover count and gave McMahon a chance to increase their score with the upcoming drive.

McMahon’s drives ate up a lot clock in the second quarter with their drive stretching 90 plus yards. With 9 seconds left in the half, McMahon QB Eamon Boyle found junior Jermel Bynum in the back of the end zone for a tocuhdown. McMahon would kick the PAT and go up 14-7 at halftime.

Darien needed to make an adjustment going into the locker room both on offense and defense. They would come into the third quarter receiving the kick which was a huge advantage to the start of the second half. QB Ben Rolapp would start the second half and looked to keep Darien alive in the game. Rolapp, being pressured on the pass rush, forced Darien to punt. McMahon would do the same and would punt away.

Darien started the drive with Declan Cunningham and the Blue Wave were quickly moving the chains. With key catches from Kevin Roche and Will Bonner, the Wave made their way into the red zone. Cunningham using athleticism ran passed the McMahon defensive line and rushed it into the endzone for a score. Darien tying the game was key to keeping the Senators on their toes.

For the majority of the second half, both teams’ defenses were playing hard and forcing other teams to punt the ball away. Darien then had the ball early in the 4th quarter with Ben Rolapp at QB. Rolapp found his target in Connor Lane, passing it to him multiple times throughout the quarter. Rolapp and the wave would move down the field until Darien was faced with a 4th and 20 decision. A big decision for head coach Andy Grant, Grant kept the aggressiveness going and set up Darien to go for it. Rolapp who was under pressure threw it up into the endzone and the 6-3 wide receiver would haul in the ball getting one foot in the endzone. The decisions paid off for Darien as this play would make them come out with the win 21-14.

This would be a key win for Darien starting the season at 2-0. The Wave will be home again for their next contest, taking on the Fairfield Prep Jesuits in a highly anticipated matchup. The Senators will be back home taking on the Manchester Red Hawks in an out of conference game.

 

DARIEN 21

MCMAHON 14

DARIEN  7 0 7 7 —21

MCMAHON 2 12 0 0 — 14

Scoring: 

M – Safety on Darien

D – Clifton Shelton 4 yard rushing TD (Sikora PAT good)

M – Lucas Silva 5 yard catch TD (Failed 2pt attempt)

M – Jermel Bynum 5 yard catch TD (PAT blocked)

D – Declan Cunningham 6 yard rushing TD (Sikora PAT good)

D – Connor Lane 23 yard catch TD (Sikora PAT good)

Records: Darien 2-0 ; McMahon 1-1.

 

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About the Contributor
Liam Tomaszewski, Sports Editor
Liam is a senior at Darien High School entering his first full year writing for Neirad. Liam enjoys writing about sports and covering Darien High School's varsity sports teams. In addition to writing for Neirad, Liam is the lead play-by-play voice of Darien Athletics and can be found on DAF Media.

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