Photographs by Chris Cody
Turkey prepped and stuffing made? How about your stadium cushion and a warm sweater? That’s what hundreds of residents in Darien and New Canaan will grab this Thanksgiving morning to prepare for the Turkey Bowl, the annual showdown between two of the state’s high-school football powerhouses. The contest pits the Blue Wave of Darien against the New Canaan Rams, securing bragging rights for the year.
The teams have been playing each other since 1928, but it wasn’t until 1994 that they battled in the Turkey Bowl. Many of the games have played like movie dramas. Last year, for instance, Darien was down 21–0, before storming back to beat the Rams in overtime 28–21. New Canaan exacted revenge later, nipping Darien 21–20 and capturing the state title. This year’s Turkey Bowl almost didn’t happen. Conference officials wanted to replace it with the FCIAC championship, but that move triggered petitions, and the contest was restored. “The Darien/New Canaan rivalry is equivalent to the Yankees and the Red Sox, or Michigan and Ohio State,” says New Canaan’s Bruce G. Wilson, Jr., who played football for the Rams in the 1970s. His sons play now. “They’re high-achieving towns with the two top football programs, period.” Alas, the Rams lost two years in a row. After those games, Wilson and his family headed to dinner with their Darien cousins. There was plenty of turkey, but no razzing. Says Wilson, “Everyone’s very respectful.”
Expect the 2015 Turkey Bowl in Darien to be packed. To get a good seat, arrive before the 10:30 a.m. kickoff. There’s tailgating to fill the time. Here are food tips from Adrianna Robles at Browne & Co. in Darien.
QUICHE: “It tastes great when it’s hot or cold.”
PUMPKIN PIE: “Yes, eat it for breakfast.”
GRANOLA: “It’s best when it’s stirred into yogurt. It’s filling and easy to carry.”
MUFFINS: “Make them hearty. Brown & Co.’s morning glory with apples, coconut and grated carrot is a very good choice.
SANDWICH: Robles’ favorite has brie, pear and endive on raisin walnut bread.