Darien’s football team’s offense fueled by dominant play from the offensive line

As Darien’s offense lit up the scoreboard every week, overtaking opponents 448-158, the skillful players took turns sharing the limelight.

Running back Tighe Cummiskey ran for 1,200 yards, quarterback Miles Drake threw for 1,450 yards and 23 touchdowns on 3 interceptions and wide receiver Matt Minicus regularly beat the opposing defensive backs for big catches.

All the while, Darien’s offensive line kept showing, making his blocks and then exiting the pitch in front of skilled players who were interviewed by the press after games.

This was exactly what the linemen wanted. Their satisfaction came from the victories, not from having their names in the newspaper.

“We know you can’t have a football team if you don’t have a good offensive line,” said Daren senior attacking tackle Karson Drake. “We don’t need the fame or the attention, we know what we’re going to do and we just got on with the job.”

Drake (6-3, 210 pounds) is joined on the line by three other seniors at Beau Hancock (6-3, 270), Connor Sini (5-11, 230) and Brady Campbell (6-0, 208) and towering junior center James Thom (6-4, 270). Together, they form one of the largest and most talented offensive lines in the state.

The four seniors have built a bond playing together since the fourth year, giving them an unspoken familiarity and cohesion on the pitch.

Playing together on the left side of the line, Drake and Hancock are particularly impressive working together and opening gaping holes for running backs.

“We’ve been playing together since the fourth year,” said Drake. “Beau is one of my best friends. It’s fun to go out there and play with the guys you’ve been playing with for so long. The chemistry is there and we just do it.

In the LL CIAC Class quarter-final match against Hamden on Tuesday night, the line opened some big holes, blowing up the Green Dragon’s defensive line and allowing Cummiskey to run nearly 200 yards as Daren claimed a victory of 46-19.

“The offensive line was exceptional. Every time I ran the ball I saw Hamden’s children on the ground. They hit their blocks every time, ”Cummiskey said. “We have Beau (Hancock) and Karson (Drake) on the left side absolutely wrecking the kids, we have our huge James Thom center crushing people and Connor Sini and Brady Campbell on the other side. Everyone did a fantastic job tonight and made it easy for me.

If the decision to play was left to the linemen, the Blue Wave would attack every opponent on the ground.

“It turns us on when they call races. We want to run the ball even more than we do, ”said Drake. “We know we have Miles (Drake) and some really good receivers, but we still love it when they call racing games.”

Darien coach Mike Forget wasn’t surprised by what he saw from the offensive line against Hamden, saying this unit has been strong all season.

“The line did its job and Tighe continued to beat and get extra yards after contact, which he has been doing all year,” said Forget. “The offensive line is a great group of guys who have worked hard all season. They are definitely a family and it makes them come together and work so well. They have been doing this all year round and it’s fun to see.

Darien will face rival New Canaan at Dunning Field in the LL Class semifinals at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, 10 days after losing their only game of the season 12-7 at Thanksgiving to New Canaan. The Rams are the top seed in the LL class and took Darien’s No.1 spot in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll this week.

“We have received them again. This is what we wanted, ”said Drake. “Right after the clock hit: 00 against New Canaan, we wanted them again and we knew we would get them again. We will come back with a different game plan and do our best. “

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