NEW CANAAN, Conn -- The New Canaan 3rd Grade Red football team defeated Darien, 16-0, to run its scoreless streak to 14 quarters and reach the semifinals ofthe Fairfield County Football League playoffs. New Canaan will play Wilton blue in the semifinals on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Wilton High School.
The swarming defense of Maddox Underwood, Jack Murphy, Harry Appelt, Griffin Koch, Henry Cannon, Jack Connors, Johnny Dunn, Nicholas Radman, Mac MacHale, Ben Marshall, Chris Canet, Jackson Lamorte, Bryce Harrell, Will Thomas, Cory Pickering, Aidan Blair, and Tommy Towers helped stop Darien, which beat NC Red 13-0 earlier in the season.
After stopping Darien on three straight plays to start game, New Canaan (5-3) took over at midfield. Offensive line play again was superb. Jackson Slazyk, Griffin Koch, Jack Connors, Dylan Kortman, Nicholas Radman, Jackson Lamorte and center Charlie Borthwick (who played an extremely clean game at center) opened up gaping holes. Running backs Hayden Shin, Chris Canet, and Tommy Towers were set free to overwhelm Darien. After Chris Canet rumbled down to the 1, Tommy Towers went in untouched for the game's first score. Chris Canet then eluded two defenders to put New Canaan up 8-0 with 3:24 left in first quarter.
On Daren's second possession, Harry Appelt and Henry Cannon combined on 8-yard sack on first down. Darien's only threat of the day was thwarted when Griffin Koch made a TD saving tackle on the next play. The ensuing handoff was fumbled, and an opportunistic Henry Cannon jumped on to give New Canaan the ball back at the 37 yard line.
NC Red turned the ball back to Darien, but Maddox Underwood, Nicholas Radman, and Mac MacHale teamed up for three yard loss. Another three yard loss had Jack Murphy, Griffin Koch, and Ben Marshall all in on tackle. On pivotal fourth and five, Chris Canet made huge solo stop. That made it clear this was a different team than the one that Darien had beaten earlier this season.
Similar to past games, Hayden Shin then pounded away at the midsection of Darien defense. It seemed like Darien needed multiple tacklers just to bring him down. On 4th and 12, Tommy Towers went 16 yards. A facemask penalty was added on to give Red the ball on the Darien 20. After a couple more Shin runs up the gut, Towers scored with sweet cutback move. Canet made it 16-0 by stutter stepping by two defenders.
The second half was more of the same, suffocating defense, superb line play and steady grinding offense. In desperation, Darien attempted to throw the ball more in the second half, but Johnny Dunn and Jack Murphy made sure this tactic would not work either. Maddox Underwood and Henry Cannon showed relentless pursuit, while Dylan Kortman pressured Darien O into many mistakes.
They say defense wins championships and with this team firing on all cylinders, they are ready for top seeded Wilton next Saturday. For the entire Fairfield County Football League Tournament grid, click on this weblink.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.