WILTON, Conn. – Mental miscues dogged the Wilton High football team all Friday night in a frustrating loss to Darien, 34-7.
The Warriors were hit for seven penalties, including three false starts and a pair of offside calls. A crucial offensive pass interference call early on also kept Wilton from finding a rhythm against a Darien squad that came in vulnerable after a loss to Trumbull.
“We didn’t handle the mental stuff well tonight,” Wilton head coach Bruce Cunningham said. “I don’t care how good you are. If you keep putting yourself in the situations we had, it’s going to catch up with you sometime.”
After Brian Wiegand was handed an interception return for a touchdown on a silver platter by Wilton quarterback Brett Phillips, Darien was in complete control with an early 14-0 lead.
But Wilton came up with an interception of its own with just more than two minutes to play in the first half. A pair of late-hit penalties on Darien put Wilton on the doorstep of the end zone.
Phillips found Mike Burns for a 4-yard touchdown pass, cutting Darien’s lead to 14-7 and swinging the momentum in Wilton’s favor going into halftime.
But Darien’s defense stopped Wilton cold on its first possession of the second half, capped by a sack of Phillips by Mark Evanchick, a just-called-up-from-junior-varsity freshman.
After a short punt, Darien took advantage of excellent field position, marching 53 yards to the goal line. The drive was capped by a 7-yard touchdown run by Ian Vanderhorn and Darien ran with it from there.
“I thought we hung in there,” Cunningham said. “We still had a chance down by seven, with the ball, with the momentum, the whole nine yards – and we just kind of self-destructed.”
Wilton (3-3) travels to New Canaan on Oct. 27 for a 2 p.m. game.