Cummiskey, No. 1 Darien outlast Wilton in high-scoring game

DARIEN — If you’re a fan of great defensive battles, this football game was not for you.

Top-ranked Darien and visiting Wilton combined for 13 touchdowns and 92 points before the Blue Wave finally pulled away for a crazy 56-36 victory Saturday.

Darien senior running back Tighe Cummiskey scored four touchdowns, three rushing and one receiving, and the Blue Wave (5-0) had two TDs on special teams to survive and remain unbeaten.

While high-scoring games aren’t a favorite of Darien coach Mike Forget, the Wave’s former defensive coordinator was happy with the fact that his team stepped up in other ways.

“The good thing about this team is when one aspect isn’t playing well, all the others rise up,” Forget said. “Our special teams played very well today, the defense was a little tough, and the offense came and put some points on the board. The fact that they have each other’s backs is wonderful.”

It was the second straight loss for Wilton, which dropped a 36-35 overtime game to Notre Dame-West Haven before their bye week. Despite the defeat, coach EJ DiNunzio was upbeat.

“Darien is the No.1 team in the state for a reason, but three quarters in, we were right there,” DiNunzio said. “In years past, we’re not even in these games, but now, we’re getting to the point where we’re good enough to compete. Now we have to learn how to win them.”

Wilton (3-2) had a terrific performance from quarterback Grant Masterson, who passed for 244 yards and four TDs, and also rushed for 91 yards and another score.

Jake Sommer had 118 yards from scrimmage and turned a short pass from Masterson into a 69-yard TD to give the Warriors a 36-35 lead with 10:35 remaining.

“They aren’t just football players, they’re great kids and they’re smart kids and they do everything we ask of them,” DiNunzio said. “If Grant isn’t the best quarterback in the FCIAC, he’s one of the best, and Jake is a helluva runner and he plays great defense as a linebacker. I can’t ask for anything more from those guys.”

Darien featured a great performance from Cummiskey, who had 234 yards from scrimmage. In the fourth quarter, he rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns, and added a two-point conversion.

“Our O-line just started clicking,” Cummiskey said. “We were making blocks; getting lanes open. It was easy for me to just run through the holes that my line created for me.”

“You give Tighe any kind of hole, these corners and safeties have a tough time bringing him down,” lineman Karson Drake said. “So we know we just have to get to the linebackers and the D-line and leave him one-on-one with the small guys.”

Darien QB Miles Drake passed for 188 yards and hit Cunmmiskey, Jaylen Lesperance and Matt Minicus for TDs.

The Wave was saved in the first half by its special teams, which put up 14 of Darien’s 22 first-half points.

Jeremiah Stafford took the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown. After Masterson scored on a 20-yard run and connected with Parker Woodring for a 10-yard TD and a 14-7 Wilton lead, Lesperance tied the game with a 42-yard punt return.

The Wave took an eight-point lead on a Drake-to-Cummiskey 33-yard TD and two-point conversion in the final minute of the first half,

On the first drive of the third quarter, Masterson led the Warriors 71 yards and connected with Craig Hyzy for a 26-yard TD to cut the deficit to 22-21.

That started the seesaw, as the teams traded touchdowns. The Wave went up 29-21, Wilton tied it at 29-29, Darien went back in front at 35-29 but had the PAT attempt blocked by Sommer, and the Warriors then took the lead at 36-35.

The Wave went in front for good with 9:55 remaining as Drake connected with Minicus on a 57-yard touchdown pass. A steady diet of Cummiskey, who scored the final two TDs, helped Darien finish off the clock.

“They came out firing, they came here to prove something, and for the first three quarters, they did,” Cummiskey said of Wilton. “We couldn’t shut them down on defense up until the fourth quarter and our offense started out a little rough and then we found a way to turn it on.

“We just outlasted them.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Tighe Cummiskey, Darien: Cummiskey was a monster for the Wave, scoring four touchdowns and racking up 234 yards from scrimmage. He rushed for 86 yards and scored twice in the fourth quarter, adding a two-point conversion run as an exclamation point.

QUOTABLE

“It started with keeping our heads up. You would think that when we were tied with a team we think we should be beating, that everybody would be down, but we kept going. We knew our game plan was going to work out and we ended up on top.” — Darien senior lineman Karson Drake

david.stewart

@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports

No. 1 DARIEN 56,

WILTON 36

WILTON 14 0 15 7 — 36

DARIEN 7 15 7 27 — 56

First quarter

D - Jeremiah Stafford 83-yard kickoff return (Isaac McMullin kick), 11:48;

W - Grant Masterson 20-yard run (Michael Cooper kick), 5:12;

W - Parker Woodring 10-yard pass from Masterson (Cooper kick), 2:07;

Second quarter

D - Jaylen Lesperance 42-yard punt return (McMullin kick), 10:40;

D - Tighe Cummiskey, 33-yard pass from Miles Drake (Jake Wilson pass from Matt Minicus), 0:26;

Third quarter

W - Craig Hyzy 26-yard pass from Drake (Cooper kick), 9:29;

D - Cummiskey 2-yard run (McMullen kick), 7:03;

W - Benjamin Calabrese 8-yard pass from Masterson (Masterson run), 0:29;

Fourth quarter

D - Lesperance 25-yard pass from Drake (kick blocked), 11:18;

W - Jake Sommer 69-yard pass from Masterson (Cooper kick), 10:35;

D - Minicus 57-yard pass from Drake (pass failed), 9:55;

D - Cummiskey 9-yard run (Cummiskey run), 6:08;

D - Cummiskey 6-yard run (McMullin kick), 0:53.

Records: Darien 5-0, Wilton 3-2