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New Canaan Vs. Darien Football Rivalry Heats Up For Thanksgiving Title Game

Darien quarterback Pete Graham (left) and New Canaan's Mike Collins will lead their teams into Thursday's FCIAC title game at Boyle Stadium in Stamford. Both teams enter the game undefeated.
Darien quarterback Pete Graham (left) and New Canaan's Mike Collins will lead their teams into Thursday's FCIAC title game at Boyle Stadium in Stamford. Both teams enter the game undefeated. Photo Credit: Facebook/Blue Wave Football/New Canaan Football

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The annual Thanksgiving Day football game between Darien High School and New Canaan High School has always been bragging rights in the rivalry between the bordering towns. On Thursday, the stakes are much higher.

The Rams (9-0) and Blue Wave (10-0) kick off at 10:30 a.m. at Boyle Stadium in Stamford. The winner captures the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship and will likely be the top seed for the Class L tournament. The loser will also qualify for the Class L tournament but will face a more challenging path.

New Canaan holds a 49-35-2 advantage in the series. Darien won last year’s game on Thanksgiving Day, 28-24, but the Rams turned the tables on the Blue Wave in a Class L playoff game, winning 44-12. Darien has won two straight on Thanksgiving Day, but the Rams have won 11 of the last 13 meetings.

New Canaan is ranked No. 1 in the latest MaxPreps’ state rankings, while Darien is No. 2.

The Rams featured a balanced offense. Junior quarterback Mike Collins has thrown 23 touchdowns (with just four interceptions) and Frank Cognetta leads the rushing attack with 549 yards and eight touchdowns. Alex LaPolice (26 receptions, eight touchdowns) and Kyle Smith (23 receptions, eight touchdowns) are Collins’ top targets.

Junior quarterback Tim Graham (19 touchdowns, eight interceptions) leads the Darien offense. Shelby Grant (690 yards, five touchdowns) is the leading rusher and Colin Minicus has 40 receptions and three touchdowns.

New Canaan and Darien also played for the league championship on Thanksgiving Day in 2008. New Canaan won that match-up, 28-20.

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