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New Canaan Rallies To Stun Darien, Win State Football Title

New Canaan quarterback Michael Collins looks for a receiver under pressure from Darien's Mark Evanchick.
New Canaan quarterback Michael Collins looks for a receiver under pressure from Darien's Mark Evanchick. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- New Canaan High School rallied from a 20-7 deficit to stun top-seeded Darien High, 21-20, and win the Class L Large state football title game Saturday at West Haven High School.

The game-winning score for the Rams (11-1) came on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Michael Collins to Alex LaPolice with 6:59 remaining in the game. New Canaan also beat Darien (12-1) in the state title game last year after losing to the Blue Wave on Thanksgiving.

The meeting was the 89th between the bordering, archrival high schools. The Rams lead the series, 50-36-2. New Canaan has won eight state titles since 2001, and 20 overall.

New Canaan led 7-0 after a 15-yard touchdown pass from Collins to Michael Kraus in the first quarter.

Darien then scored 20 unanswered points. Timmy Graham threw a 30-yard scoring pass to Will Hammernick, and found Griffin Ross on an 11-yard touchdown. Hudson Hamill’s 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter gave Darien the lead. But the Blue Wave missed the extra point, giving New Canaan a small opening.

The Rams got within 21-14 on a 17-yard pass from Collins to Kyle Smith in the third quarter, and then won with the final touchdown to LaPolice. Kicker Peter Swindell made all three extra points.

Collins had a huge game for New Canaan, completing 25-of-48 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns. LaPolice had eight receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown.

New Canaan’s defense tossed a shutout in the second half. The Rams forced six turnovers,

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