By Sean Patrick Bowley
Special to CIACsports.com
STAMFORD, Conn. – Some of the names have changed, but the second verse was as same as the first in Darien’s and Southington’s Class LL semifinal rematch Monday night.
Behind a dominant effort by Michigan-bound two-way lineman Andrew Stueber and defensive end Quinn Fay, top-seeded and defending champion Darien ripped Southington, 38-7, at Boyle Stadium Monday night at Boyle Stadium.
Darien extended their state-best win streak to 24 games and punched the Blue Waves’ tickets back to the Class LL championship game. The Blue Wave will face Ridgefield in an All-FCIAC final Saturday, 2:30 p.m. at Ken Strong Stadium.
Finlay Collins scored two touchdowns and Darien’s defensive line sacked Southington quarterback seven times, three by Fay, as the Blue Wave inexorably pulled away.
Darien led 14-0 after the first quarter and Riley Stewart kicked a 34-yard field goal mid way through the second to stake the Blue Wave to a 17-0 lead.
Unlike last year’s 49-7 loss to Darien in the semifinals, Southington (11-1) had some fight in it. Sam Thompson picked off a pass to halt a sure scoring drive late in the first quarter. Later, a 58-yard run by Vance Upham set up Will Barmore’s 13-yard touchdown strike to Richard Rivera to cut Darien’s lead to 17-7 with 3:48 remaining before halftime.
But Darien marched right back down the field, with Collins doing a majority of the work, and responded with Nick Green’s deflating, 2-yard touchdown run for a 24-7 halftime lead.
It was all Darien in the second half. Tim Herget caught a short pass from Brian Peters and danced through several tackles for a backbreaking 37-yard touchdown.
Brian Minicus had an interception. Darien tacked on one last score — a 12-yard pass from Peters to Green — before sending in the reserves in the fourth quarter.
Upham finished with 134 yards on 9 carries. He also lost a fumble which led to a touchdown in the first quarter. Barmore was 17 of 34 for 160 yards and a touchdowns. He was intercepted twice.
Collins ran 90 yards on 21 carries and had two touchdowns. Peter Guttuso had Darien’s other interception.
Southington—0 7 0 0—7
Darien 14 10 14 0 — 38
D—Finlay Collins 1 run (Riley Stewart kick)
D—Collins 1 run (Stewart kick)
D—Stewart 34 field goal
S—Richie Rivera 13 pass from Will Barmore (Nick Daddona kick)
D—Nick Green 2 run (Stewart kick)
D—Tim Herget 37 pass from Brian Peters (Stewart kick)
D—Green 12 pass from Peters (Stewart kick)