Class LL Football Capsule: No. 1 Greenwich vs. No. 3 Darien
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Greenwich posted a 31-7 victory over eighth-seeded Fairfield Prep in the quarterfinals, then topped fourth-seeded South Windsor in the semifinals 36-7. Darien defeated sixth-seeded East Hartford in the quarterfinal-round 30-10 and knocked off No. 7 West Haven in the semifinals 27-13.
Championship history: Greenwich has eight state championships to its collection (2007, 2006, 1999, 1991, 1990, 1983, 1981, 1974). Darien has won six state titles (2016, 2015, 1996, 1992, 1991, 1979).
PLAYER TO WATCH, GREENWICH: QB Gavin Muir: The junior, who returned to action after sitting out the second half of the Cardinals’ regular-season finale against Staples with an ankle injury, played well in the team’s tournament victories over Fairfield Prep and South Windsor. Greenwich’s offensive line must hold up against Darien’s imposing defensive line, allowing Muir to spread the ball to his team’s various receivers.
PLAYER TO WATCH, DARIEN: Michael Neary, Darien: The senior defensive lineman leads the Blue Wave in sacks and, along with Andrew Evanchick, can create havoc for any offense. Neary helped shut down West Haven’s running attack in the semifinals by bulling his way into the backfield.
STORYLINES: Both teams possess high-powered, spread offenses, so the defensive units, which have both been stingy, will be tested. Whichever team’s defense puts the most pressure on the quarterback should have the advantage. This marks the first meeting of the season between the Blue Wave and the Cardinals, as they did not meet during the regular season. Darien eliminated Greenwich from the Class LL tournament last season, beating the Cardinals in the quarterfinal-round at Boyle Stadium 29-3. Greenwich has allowed only 14 points during the postseason, while Darien has yielded 23. Saturday’s showdown marks the first time the Cardinals and Blue Wave will play for a state title.