Over two-day span, Darien claims season-opener with runaway win over Hillhouse
By Jon Chik
The offensive fireworks came to a sudden halt in the fourth quarter of Darien’s shootout against Hillhouse at Darien High School Thursday afternoon, but Darien picked up right where they left off on Friday and scored a 46-20 season-opening victory.
On Thursday, play was halted due to lightning with the Blue Wave holding a 40-26 lead over the Hilltoppers and 9:40 to play.
LOMBARDO ON FIRE: Darien’s monstrous offensive output was spearheaded by Nick Lombardo, who scored four touchdowns — three receiving, one rushing — while hauling in four Silas Wyper passes for 120 yards and picking up 15 yards on three carries.
In fact, the final play before the weather delay was Lombardo’s fourth touchdown, as Wyper threw his fourth touchdown pass down the right sideline. Lombardo made a leaping catch and went in for the score.
John Reed, a defensive standout for most of the afternoon, made the first big play of the game when he picked off a pass and returned it to the Hillhouse four late in the first quarter, setting up a four-yard Lombardo sweep and a 7-0 Blue Wave lead.
“We knew we were going to be able to move the ball,” Lombardo said. We talked about it all week that we wanted 50 points and we were just short.”
HILLHOUSE HANGING TOUGH: Trailing 13-0 with absolutely nothing going its way in early in the second quarter, Hillhouse got the break it needed when Jonathan Young stepped in front of a swing pass for a Pick 6, bolting 55 yards untouched to pull his team to within 13-6.
Trailing 19-6, Hillhouse got its second big play of the first half on what looked to be a short gain by Forel Kourouma. Darien seemed to have him bottled up for a relatively short gain, but the fullback shook free and was off to the races for a 78-yard score to cut Darien’s lead to 19-13.
The two “home runs” kept Hillhouse in the game early.
WYPER STANDS TALL: If there were any first-game jitters for quarterback Silas Wyper, the Darien signal-caller didn’t show it. Wyper directed six touchdown drives while completing 18-of-31 passes for 242 yards. He also had 59 yards on nine carries, most of which were designed runs.
“We (Lombardo and Wyper) were on the same page. I’ll throw it up and he’ll make the play. He’s a high jumper in the offseason, so I trust him to get every jump ball I throw,” Wyper said. “I’ll throw it as far as I can and he’ll run under it.”
GREENWICH UP NEXT: Darien won’t have too long to celebrate the win over Hillhouse, as another enormous early-season test looms on the horizon, a home clash with Greenwich on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m.
“Another big test right away. We got past the first one and Greenwich is going to be another huge test,” Darien coach Rob Trifone said. “I’m hoping we can clean up some of the mistakes. Yesterday we made some mistakes that we’ve got to clean up, but it’s opening day jitters.”