Darien tops final football poll for third consecutive season

Darien three-peated as the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL Football Playoffs champion and, consequently, coach Rob Trifone’s Blue Wave was voted No. 1 in the Final 2017 GameTimeCT/New Haven Register Top 10.

Darien finished first in that final media state poll for the third consecutive year and led an impressive showing from the FCIAC as the conference had the top two ranked teams, three of the top four, and four among the top eight.

St. Joseph was ranked second, Greenwich finished fourth and New Canaan eighth.

Darien had been ranked first for most of the year but dropped down to fifth in the previous poll after having its 34-game winning streak snapped with a 27-0 loss to New Canaan on Thanksgiving Day.

Greenwich ascended to No. 1 in that previous poll and advanced to the Class LL championship game to set up a showdown against Darien. The Blue Wave prevailed by a 31-22 margin over coach John Marinelli’s Cardinals, who had quite the resurgent year.

All of the top four teams in the final poll finished with 12-1 records.

St. Joseph defeated Ansonia, 42-36, in the Class S state championship game and that enabled Coach Joe DellaVecchia’s Cadets to ascend from No. 4 in the previous poll to No. 2.

Daniel Hand finished No. 3 as that only non-FCIAC team among the top four. Hand was not even ranked among the Top 10 in the previous poll leading up to the playoffs but the Tigers won their 11th straight game in the Class L final with a 35-21 victory over Masuk.

Killingly finished undefeated (13-0) and ranked fifth in the state poll after its 41-14 victory over Joel Barlow in the Class M final. Like Daniel Hand, Killingly was also not ranked in that previous most recent poll which was voted on after the end of the regular season.

Darien received 16 first-place votes from the 24 pollsters, Killingly received five first-place votes and Hand got the other three.

Ansonia (12-1) and Masuk (11-2) were ranked sixth and seventh, respectively.

New Canaan (9-3) finished eighth as that fourth FCIAC team ranked among the top eight. Coach Lou Marinelli’s Rams were denied an opportunity for a fifth straight state Class L championship after they were eliminated by Masuk, 28-14, in the Class L semifinals.

West Haven (9-3), which lost to Darien, 27-13, in the Class LL semifinals finished ninth.

Middletown (10-1) was undefeated, ranked third in the previous poll and seeded first in the Class L playoffs but the Dragons lost in the quarterfinals to four-time defending champion and eighth-seeded New Canaan, 24-9, and they completed the Top 10.

The pollsters voted on their own respective top 15 teams, 27 total teams from the state received polling points and 7-3 Ridgefield received the 17th most points as the only FCIAC team among the 17 in the “Others receiving votes” category.

The Darien Blue Wave celebrates a touchdown by T.J. Cornacchia during the Class LL final. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo

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