State champs Darien, New Canaan lead FCIAC in All-State honors

Darien, which won FCIAC and state Class LL championships, and Class L state champion New Canaan were ranked 1-2 in the two final state high school football polls to highlight the postseason honors of those two teams along with many other players from the conference.

Coach Rob Trifone’s Blue Wave won the 50th and final FCIAC championship game with a 28-21 victory over previously-undefeated New Canaan on Thanksgiving Day and then Darien completed its special season with a 39-7 victory over Shelton in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL state championship game.

Coach Lou Marinelli’s New Canaan Rams won the CIAC Class L title with a 42-35 victory over North Haven.

The New Canaan Rams celebrate after Matt Cognetta’s 53-yard touchdown run for the opening touchdown Saturday in West Haven. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo

Consequently, the two traditional FCIAC powers were the easy choice for the top two spots in both the final 2015 GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 Football Poll voted on by 29 members of the media and The Day of New London Coaches Top 10 Poll voted on by 13 coaches throughout the state, including Marce Petrocccio of Staples and St. Joseph’s Joe DellaVecchia.

Darien unanimously received all 29 first-place votes in the GameTimeCT/Register media poll and all 13 first-place votes in The Day’s coaches poll. Darien is also the recipient of the Joseph W. Kelly Award, which is presented annually by the Walter Camp Football Foundation to the top high school football team in Connecticut.

The top four teams were in the same exact order in both polls as North Haven and Shelton were ranked third and fourth, respectively, behind Darien and New Canaan.

Southington, which was ranked first going into the three rounds of the four state class playoffs, finished fifth in the media poll and was tied for fifth with Class S state champion Bloomfield in the coaches poll.

Darien routed Southington, 49-7, and ended Southington’s 31-game winning streak in a showdown of the state’s top two ranked teams in the Class LL semifinals.

Windsor, which lost to New Canaan, 21-6, in the Class L quarterfinals, was ranked sixth in the media poll and followed by Bloomfield, Class M state champion Brookfield, Westhersfield and New Fairfield.

Brookfield was ranked seventh in the coaches poll and followed by Windsor, Newtown and New Fairfield.

Darien senior Mark Evanchick set the state record for career sacks. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo

Four more teams from the FCIAC – Trinity Catholic, Staples, Ridgefield and St. Joseph – were in the “Also receiving votes” category in both polls.

Trinity Catholic received the 17th most points in both polls.

Ridgefield was ranked 18th and Staples was 20th out of the 24 teams that received votes in the media poll. St. Joseph was 18th and Staples 21st out of the 21 teams that received votes in the coaches poll.

The FCIAC was also represented by five of the 20 players on the 2015 Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Football First Team.

Senior quarterback Michael Collins and the New Canaan Rams won their third straight state title this fall. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo

Darien’s superb senior Mark Evanchick was selected as a defensive lineman and joined on the defensive team by teammate Bobby Trifone, a defensive back and the son of the head coach, and St. Joseph linebacker Cam Ryan.

Evanchick, a 6-foot, 240-pounder, broke Dwight Freeney’s state record for career sacks and is the 2015 Connecticut Gatorade Football Player of the year.

New Canaan had two selections on offense in quarterback Mike Collins and offensive lineman Lucas Niang.

The CHSCA also had all-state selections in each of the four state classes and the FCIAC had 13 selections among the 105 combined players on those four teams.

There were nine FCIAC players among the 26 players on the Class LL All-State Team. They included quarterback Tim Graham, running back Shelby Grant, wide receiver Colin Minicus, defensive lineman Andrew Stueber, and defensive backs Christian Trifone and Hudson Hamill of Darien; offensive lineman Jackson Ward and punter Ryan Fitton of Staples; and Greenwich tight end Scooter Harrington.

There were also 26 players chosen, 13 on offense and 13 on defense, on the Class LL and Class M All-State teams and there were 28 Class S All-State selections.

Running back Matt Cognetta, wide receiver Kyle Smith and kicker Peter Swindell of New Canaan were on the Class LL All-State Team.

Trinity Catholic wide receiver Izaiah Sanders made the Class S All-State Team and the conference had no one on the Class M team.

Head coach Rob Trifone and the Darien Blue Wave celebrate with the CIAC Class LL championship plaque Dec. 14 in New Britain. — Darien Athletic Foundation photo