Biggest game in Connecticut is on HAN: No. 1 Darien vs. No. 2 New Canaan

Darien and New Canaan, the two top-ranked football teams in Connecticut, meet Thanksgiving morning live on the HAN Network. With this year’s game being held at New Canaan’s Dunning Field, the easiest way to watch the game will be for free on HAN Network — because unlike the past two years, ticket sales are limited.

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New Canaan (9-0) and Darien (9-0) will clash in the Turkey Bowl at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 24, at Dunning Field, which will have extra seating — but nowhere near the 12,000-seat capacity of Boyle Stadium in Stamford, where the two teams met the past two Thanksgiving mornings. It is not available this year as Stamford hosts crosstown rival Westhill in the city’s Thanksgiving game.

There will only be about 4,000 tickets sold for this year’s Turkey Bowl, New Canaan athletic director Jay Eagan told HAN on Monday. Some of those will be standing-room only as the 3,200 bleacher seats will be on a first-come basis. Both schools are limiting ticket sales to in-person purchases Monday, Nov. 21, through Wednesday, Nov. 23. (Here’s how to buy tickets in New Canaan and how to buy tickets in Darien.) There will be no walk-up tickets sales on gameday. But the game will be streamed live in HD at HAN.Network, the HAN Network mobile app (for iPhone and Android), and simulcast on Frontier Communications’ Vantage Sports Network (Ch. 600/1600-HD).

The Rams are looking to end their recent Thanksgiving Day slide, as Darien has won the last four Turkey Bowl games, including last year’s 28-21 decision at Boyle Stadium. During that same span, New Canaan has beaten Darien twice for state championships — first in the Snow Bowl at Boyle Stadium in 2013, and then again at Ken Strong Field in West Haven in 2014.

If you don’t count the games they’ve played against each other, New Canaan and Darien football are a combined 84-1 since 2013, according to the New Canaan Advertiser.

This year, New Canaan carries a 12-game winning streak into the showdown, while Darien has a state-best 21-game win streak. The two teams last met in last year’s Turkey Bowl, which also served as the 50th and final FCIAC Football Championship. The league voted to no longer hold a championship game so that more teams could schedule a 10-game regular season after the state wanted to limit football games because of concussion concerns.

While this isn’t the FCIAC championship, the winner of the game will have the best record in FCIAC going into the state football playoffs, which begin on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

“It’s going to be an unbelievable game — two great teams at Dunning,” senior co-captain Teddy Hood told NCAdvertiser.com after the Rams beat Fairfield Ludlowe, 46-6, on Friday. “We’ve got to try and treat it like any other game, though. Focus on practice, challenging the defense and vice-versa. We’ve gotten the best looks in practice. We play the best team in the state every single day, so we’re ready for anything. I’m sure Darien can say the exact same thing because they challenge each other. These next two weeks, we just have to have consistently great practices and I think that’s going to help us in the long run.

Darien shut out Staples, 27-0, on Friday to clinch an undefeated record going into the Turkey Bowl. “I think we are ready for the ‘playoff push,” Darien senior co-captain Quin Fay told DarienTimes.com. “New Canaan is a very talented team, but we are up for the challenge. Couldn’t be more excited.”

Darien co-captain Finlay Collins told The Darien Times that the Blue Wave’s win over Staples won’t compare to what’s ahead: “I thought overall we took care of a really tough team and played well, but we need to get much better going into Turkey Bowl week and the state playoffs if we want to end the season the right way.”

New Canaan’s Hood added: “This is the best time of the year. Not too many games left, so the intensity is high and we’re having a lot of fun.”

How to watch

The HAN Network live broadcast of the game can be seen at HAN.Network, on affiliate websites including FCIAC.net and on Frontier Communications’ channels 600 and 1600-HD and on the HAN Network app for Apple iOS and Android devices. Live coverage will start at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving, following a special two-hour preview show at 8 a.m. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for the latest updates.

It’s easy to watch HAN Network broadcasts on your smart televisions or with Apple TV, Roku (search for Hersam Acorn on Roku’s YouTube channel) or Google’s Chromecast.

The HAN Network is the exclusive FCIAC broadcast partner through the spring of 2018. HAN Network’s broadcasting division streams at least four high school sporting events a week during the school year. This is in addition to daily news, sports, politics and lifestyle studio programs. Check out our broadcast schedule here and be sure to watch Coffee Break, our southwestern Connecticut daily news show at 11 a.m., and join us for sports talk on Nutmeg Sports, Monday-Thursday at 2 p.m. You can watch all the shows at HAN.Network or on demand at live.HAN.Network/han-on-demand/.

You can check out more of the winter schedule at this link. And be sure to follow the HAN Network on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

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