Weekend Game Plan: St. Joseph And Darien Set For Heavyweight Showdown

St. Joseph’s Jesse Bike makes a diving catch against New Canaan. (Photo: Tina Beyer)

This week brings us our second heavyweight bout of the season and several games that could provide some intrigue.

Game Of The Week

Darien (2-0) at St. Joseph (2-0), Saturday, 1:30 p.m. Three hundred and sixty two days ago, the Cadets traveled to Darien still on a high from a season-opening win over New Canaan. They suffered a humbling 42-10 defeat.

St. Joseph ran the table after that to win the Class S title, while the Blue Wave, after a Turkey Bowl slip against New Canaan, rebounded to win the Class LL championship.

The Cadets find themselves in the same situation Saturday. With a victory, they will be favored to again run the table and this time likely maintain the No. 1 ranking in the state, which the Blue Wave have held for three years.

Is St. Joseph better equipped this time? It certainly impressed in a 28-0 decision over the Rams. Despite three early interceptions by quarterback David Summers — 60 percent of the number he had all last year in what was a very rare off day — the Cadets had little difficulty, largely because of a defensive front that thrived behind a speed rush.

The Cadets have its customary array of offensive weapons and despite injuries have received good play from the offensive line.

The intangible is we really don’t know much about the Blue Wave yet. There are a lot of new faces. Their was a decisive opening win against Ridgefield, another team that is hard to get a read on.

Darien is strong at receiver and running back, but this will be the first real test for new quarterback Cooper Hancock.

Darien’s Will Rolapp makes a leaping grab against Ridgefield. (Photo: Darien Athletic Foundation)

The back seven on defense is solid for the Blue Wave but the line, arguably the biggest strength of the program during this three-year run, has a number of newcomers.

Line play would seem to be where this game is decided because the other areas appear fairly even. Can the Blue Wave get a pass rush and disrupt Summers’ timing? Can they again contain Jaden Shirden, the Cadets’ shifty running back? Can they give Hancock time to find his dangerous group of receivers?

As far as long-term implications, a Darien loss would mean the Turkey Bowl against New Canaan will feature teams with a minimum of one loss and could have state playoff ramifications.

For the second time in three weeks, St. Joseph is the state’s football hot spot.

Friday

New Canaan (1-1) at Trumbull (1-1), 7 p.m. The Rams were routed by St. Joseph and routed Danbury. Now they play an opponent somewhere in between in terms of talent level. They have dominated the series of late. Marce Petroccio is trying to return the Eagles to an elite level. They will try to be more competitive against a Marinelli-coached team than they were in the opener with Greenwich.

Ridgefield (1-1) at Bridgeport Central (0-2), 7 p.m. The Tigers should have little trouble here as they prepare for what is a big game next week at home against Staples.

Brien McMahon (0-2) at Staples (2-0), 7 p.m. It has been a tough start for the Senators. The schedule gets no easier here as the Wreckers have been impressive.

Saturday

Norwalk (2-0) at Fairfield Ludlowe (1-1), Noon. The Bears’ offense has met little resistance so far. Can the Falcons make it 2-0 at home this season?

Stamford (0-2) at Trinity Catholic (0-2), 1 p.m. The first step toward a city title will also provide one of these rivals with its first win of the year.

Danbury (1-1) at Westhill (0-2), 1 p.m. Under new coaches, the Hatters are trying to build a foundation and get some wins in the process, while the Vikings are in a rebuilding mode after heavy graduation losses.

Fairfield Warde (1-1) at Wilton (1-1), 2 p.m. This game always seems to be pivotal to the teams’ hopes of finishing above .500. This looks like one of the most competitive matchups of the weekend.

 

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