NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Darien High went into Thursday’s Turkey Bowl hoping to win its first Thanksgiving Day rivalry game in 10 years. But New Canaan quarterback Matt Milano and a stingy defense dashed those hopes. The Rams topped the Blue Wave, 42-21, in New Canaan to earn a berth in the Class L state playoffs and ruin Darien’s chances at the postseason.
“No disrespect to anyone else, but Milano is awesome,” Darien coach Rob Trifone said after the game. “He’s a great quarterback.”
Milano got New Canaan’s offense going early, scoring on the Rams’ first possession. The senior quarterback connected on a 10-yard touchdown pass to senior Patrick Newton to put the Rams up 7-0 just three minutes into the game. Both offenses then stalled for the rest of the first quarter, trading punts for the next 11 minutes.
Darien evened the score early in the second quarter. Junior quarterback Henry Baldwin hit senior Harlan Smith to put the Blue Wave on the board with 9:58 the left in the half. But less than a minute later, Milano put New Canaan up for good with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Peter Kraus, beginning a run of 35 unanswered points for the Rams.
Milano was named MVP for the Rams, throwing four touchdown passes and running in another, and throwing just one interception. Senior Captain Kevin McDonough also scored for the Rams, on a 1-yard touchdown run in the third. The Blue Wave’s MVP was Andrew MacDonald, who intercepted two passes on defense.
New Canaan also turned in an impressive performance on defense. The Rams intercepted Baldwin’s passes five times, including two by senior Jared Meichner. “I thought our defense played their best game of the year,” said Rams coach Lou Marinelli.
With the loss, Darien drops to 8-2 and is eliminated from the state postseason race. New Canaan improved its record to 9-1 and will face New London on the road Tuesday in the first round of the Class L playoffs.