It looked like the grinding offense of North Haven was going to out muscle Darien as the Indians took a 20-9 lead after a touchdown run by bruising back Ethan Suraci but an 84-yard kickoff return by Nick Lombardo stopped any momentum North Haven had and got the Blue Wave rolling en route to a 36-27 victory.
The win leaves Darien with an inside track to the Class L playoffs, they are currently the No. 4 team in L while North Haven fell to No. 10 but could make the playoffs if they win their final game and things around the state break right.
Lombardo nearly returned a punt after the next North Haven possession but a block in the back called it back.
Darien would score seven plays later, making it 22-20 for a lead they would not relinquish.
The Blue Wave’s halftime adjustments worked out and they contained the North Haven offense for the most part in the second half.
The biggest play of the second half came after Darien scored to make it 29-20.
North Haven faced a 4th and 5 from their 31 and tried a fake punt, snapping the ball to Suraci but the snap went high and Darien tackled the punter after he scooped it up.
North Haven knows they have trouble coming from behind but the fake punt in its own territory seemed a bit early.
The Indians scored to make it 29-27 with 8:59 but when they got the ball back with 4:56 they decided to go to the air, resulting in an interception.
The Indians were not done, however, as Nick Lombardo of Darien fumbled with less than 2:00 after picking up enough yards for the first down but again North Haven could not move the ball, losing a fumble this time.
- It was my first time at Vanacore Field and I was very impressed.
Love the grass field, though it is a bit uneven it was so good to watch football on real grass for the first time all season.
- North Haven band was top-notch, playing mostly contemporary songs and keeping up the energy all night.
The band did cost the Indians 15 yards in the fourth quarter after Darien complained the band was playing during their offensive series.
The ref walked over to the band leader and warned him but on the next play the drummers started banging and North Haven was hit with a 15-yard penalty.
I totally get the frustration of the North Haven fan but the rule is that the band can’t play during the opponents offensive play calling and they were warned.
The penalty had no impact on the outcome of the game.
- Also really liked that North Haven had to fire trucks near the end zone and they would put on the sirens when North Haven scored.
Looking forward to my next trip to North Haven, one of my new favorite places to watch a football game.