DARIEN -- In the days leading up to Darien's game with unbeaten Staples, Rob Trifone hailed the Wreckers as possibly the fastest team he's seen over his career.
On Saturday afternoon, after watching the Wreckers bludgeon another defense by rolling off 50-plus points for the fourth straight game, the Blue Wave head coach heaped even more praise on his opponent.
"In my 34 years, this is the best high school football team I've ever seen," Trifone said of Staples, which piled up more than 400 yards of offense in the first half, and crushed Darien 63-28. "We played Masuk back in 2010 and we played Hillhouse in the state semifinals, and they were some phenomenal team back in 2008. This team is bigger and faster collectively than anyone I've ever played."
Staples moved to 6-0 and is now averaging 54 points a game. Darien fell to 4-3.
Staples running back Joey Zelkowitz piled up 138 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, and also hauled in an 83-yard pass for a score. His backfield mate, Nick Kelly, also toted the ball 10 times on the ground for 138 yards, and scored a pair of touchdowns.
"They're just phenomenal," Staples head coach Marce Petroccio said. "They finally had a chance to really carry the ball. This is a real football team in Darien. I just felt like we had to feed these two guys and they had a phenomenal day."
Zelkowitz took his first touch on Staples' third play from scrimmage and bounced outside for a 41-yard touchdown to put Staples up 7-0 just over a minute in. On the Wreckers' next possession following a Darien three-and-out, Zelkowitz capped a nine-play, 58-yard drive with a 3-yard scoring burst.
"Coach just called the right plays and the (offensive) line played unbelievable. The holes were huge, so that made it easy," Zelkowitz said.
With 4:08 left in the first half, Kelly polished off Staples' fourth straight scoring drive--this time, a methodical 12-play, 78-yard trip down the field--with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone to make it 28-7.
Staples, which has scored at least 49 points in all six wins, also torched Darien through the air. Quarterback Jack Massie threw for three touchdowns, two of which came in the second half. Massie connected on a 5-yard scoring play with Kelly on the Wreckers' second possession of the third quarter, and hit a wide-open Zelkowitz on an 83-yard catch-and-run to make it 42-7 with 2:43 left in the quarter.
"Not only are they fast but because they have all those monsters up front, they get some daylight and now you've got a kid in open space," Trifone said. "We've got some fast kids too, but I don't have monsters up front that give them the same daylight that their line can."
Massie added a 73-yard scoring run and in total, six different players accounted for Staples' nine touchdowns.
"It was a great day," Kelly said. "The offensive line did a fantastic job. We feed off of them."
Darien struggled to move the ball on offense with any consistency until it was too late. The Blue Wave finished off its second drive with a 39-yard pass from Henry Baldwin to Ian Vanderhorn to cut its deficit to 14-7, but it came up empty over its next seven drives.
Staples' defense forced two turnovers, one of which came when Zelkowitz stripped wide receiver Jackson Whiting of the ball inside the Wreckers' 5-yard line. The other came on an interception by Kelly.
"Not only are they phenomenal on offense, they're phenomenal on defense," Trifone said. "They're well-coached, in the right place at the right time, and they make plays. We knew that they were going to be stingy.
"We had some opportunities that we fumbled away."
Darien scored 21 points in the fourth quarter as Vanderhorn scored on a 3-yard run to make it 42-14, and Baldwin hit Peter Gesualdi and Nick Lombardo for touchdowns of 53 and 21 yards, respectively.
"We busted a couple coverages. We're upset about that, but in the end I thought overall we played great defense," Petroccio said. "One (touchdown) came against the J.V. team, that's fine. But we'll shore it up and just keep getting better."
email@example.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour
STAPLES 63, DARIEN 28
STAPLES 14 14 14 21--63
DARIEN 7 0 0 21--28
S--Joey Zelkowitz 41 run (Liam Gilmore kick)
S--Zelkowitz 3 run (Gilmore kick)
D--Ian Vanderhorn 39 pass from Henry Baldwin (Daly Hebert kick)
S--James Frusciante 9 pass from Jack Massie (Gilmore kick)
S--Nick Kelly 1 run (Gilmore kick)
S--Kelly 5 pass from Massie (Gilmore kick)
S--Zelkowitz 83 pass from Massie (Gilmore kick)
D--Vanderhorn 3 run (C.J. Raia kick)
S--Massie 73 run (Mike Gifford kick)
D--Peter Gesualdi 53 pass from Baldwin (Raia kick)
S--Jack Greenwald 34 run (Raia kick)
D--Nick Lombardo 21 pass from Baldwin (Raia kick)
S--Teddy Coogan 29 run (Gifford kick)
Records: Staples 6-0; Darien 4-3.