Watch Darien and New Canaan clash for FCIAC football crown

New Canaan quarterback Michael Collins eyes a receiver during his nine-touchdown performance against Trumbull on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. — Dave Stewart photo

For just the third time in its 50-year history, the biggest football rivalry in Connecticut will decide the FCIAC football championship. And you can watch it from wherever you end up on Thanksgiving morning on championships.han.network.

The matchup will feature two record holders: New Canaan quarterback Michael Collins tied Connecticut’s single-game touchdown passing record (live on the HAN Network). And Darien’s Mark Evanchick broke Dwight Freeney’s state high school career record (also live on the HAN Network).

With the Blue Wave’s (8-0) win over Staples (6-2), 27-0, on Saturday, (and New Canaan’s (8-0) win, 42-7, over Fairfield Ludlowe on Friday) the annual Darien-New Canaan Turkey Bowl becomes the FCIAC Championship game for the second year in a row and the third time since 2008. The neighboring rivals, who have been playing football against each other since 1928, will meet at Boyle Stadium in Stamford on Thanksgiving morning at 10:30.

Darien QB Timmy Graham throws a pass during the Wave’s 27-0 win over Staples two weeks ago. Graham was Darien’s MVP in last year’s final. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo

HAN Network’s coverage will begin at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving with a pregame show that features interviews with players and coaches from both teams, along with town officials and other notables, followed by a look across the state at all the rivalry games going on on Thanksgiving and a preview of the state football tournaments. That will all appear on live.HAN.network for free. The game, which kicks off at 10:30, will be available as a pay-per-view event on championships.han.network. You can subscribe now for $7.50 to access to the game on Thanksgiving morning. The HAN Network has exclusive live video and audio rights to the FCIAC Championship. Part of the money from subscribers goes to the FCIAC to support its member schools.

New Canaan won the league title over Darien when the two met at Boyle in 2008 in front of a crowd of 10,000; Darien came back from 21-0 to force overtime and beat the Rams last year to win its fifth FCIAC title in overtime, 28-21. The Rams won their eighth FCIAC championship in 2013 over St. Joseph — the first football game carried on HAN Radio, the precursor of HAN Network.

Unlike 2008 and 2014 when the two teams ended up meeting again in the state tournament, this will be the only time Darien and New Canaan play football against each other this year. The Blue Wave was bumped up from Class L to Class LL this season while the Rams were kept in Class L.

New Canaan’s David Strupp catches up with Darien’s Timmy Graham. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo

This will be the 22nd Turkey Bowl since the FCIAC moved its rivalry games to Thanksgiving back in 1994. New Canaan has won 13 of them; Darien has won seven, including the last three. The rivals also tied one year. In their history, New Canaan holds a 50-36-2 edge over Darien.

In the days leading up to the Turkey Bowl the HAN Network will be spending each day focusing on the players and rich history of not only the Darien-New Canaan rivalry but the 50-year history of the FCIAC Football Championship — the only football league championship in Connecticut.

All regular-season Connecticut sports contests on HAN Network are broadcast for free. You can see the broadcast schedule here. HAN’s FCIAC postseason coverage, which includes boys and girls soccer, field hockey, cross country, volleyball and football is available for a nominal subscription cost, detailed here.

The HAN Network, formerly known as Hersam Acorn Newspapers, is the exclusive FCIAC broadcast partner through the spring of 2018. HAN Network’s broadcasting division replaced HANRadio.com with a new focus on live video streams of high school athletics along with the Network’s news and lifestyle programming.

To advertise on the HAN Network broadcasts, click here for package option.

Darien’s Mark Evanchick (90) pressures New Canaan quarterback Michael Collins during last year’s Turkey Bowl/FCIAC final at Boyle Stadium. — Darien Athletic Foundation photo