There are 145 CIAC High School football teams in Connecticut. In August they all have hopes of playing their last game at Rentchler Field in December. By mid-season about half the teams start to say, “Well, there’s always next year.” On Thanksgiving there are about fifty teams who wait for all the results to be tabulated to see if they are one of the 32 going on to the post-season. And by this weekend it’s down to the eight finalists who all hope that they are one of the lucky four who will end their season on a win and bring home the championship trophy.
The first of the four Champions was crowned last night in the Class LL final as Xavier defeated Norwich Free Academy 48-14 to win their third consecutive title.
The Class S and Class M champs will also be crowned before Hand kicks off at 5:35 pm. Daniel Hand will be looking to close out their second consecutive 13-0 season with a Class L Championship.
Windsor plays in the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC). They were the CCC Division II West Champions. The closest game they played all year was against Middletown on October 19th. The Warriors needed to come from behind in that 40-35 shootout. In the first two rounds of the playoffs they defeated Fitch 38-7 and then beat New Canaan 27-20 in a rematch of the 2011 semifinal.
Top players for Windsor are: Sr. QB Robert Fleeting, son of Head Coach Rob Fleeting, (2,488 yds, passing; 655 yds rushing); Sr. RB Devonte Dillon (674 yds, rushing); Sr. WR Ryhieme Moore (49 catches for 962 yds.); Sr. LB Cole Ormsby (7.5 tackles/game); Sr. LB Chris Traore (8.4 tackles/game).
Windsor has an abundance of talent and can score quickly. The knock against them is that they play in a weak conference , so we’ll see if they can put up their usual five or six touchdowns against the Hand defense? Not likely. The only way Windsor can win their first championship is if Santa Claus comes early. The Tigers will have to “hand” them lots of presents to keep them in the game.
Not much drama in Hand-Masuk II
In the 2011 semi-final, Hand and Masuk were even at halftime. Then Hand came out and completely dominated the second half. In this year’s version, Hand started right where they left off. The Tigers scored on the first play of the game when Caleb Ewald caught a Brendan Bilcheck pass near the line of scrimmage and then took off for a 74 yard touchdown. The Tigers opened up a 35-0 lead with five minutes left in the first half. Coach Filippone rested most of starters for the second half and the final score was 42-23. It was career win number 200 for Coach Filippone. See full game re-cap by Mike Madera for the New Haven Register here.
There was no drama on the outcome of the game, but there was some drama on Masuk’s first possession. Hand Captain, Matt Walsh lost his helmet while making a tackle and opened up a huge gash on his forehead. It looked like Matt would be done for the day, but just like the scene from the movie Rocky, trainer Terry Ajaski played the Burgess Meredith role (without any cutting) and got Matt patched up enough to return to the game after a few minutes. Click to see an article on this by Ray Curren for the Milford-Orange Bulletin
Patch Players of the Week
Offense: The Hand offense accumulated over 400 yards in the first half, that took a team effort. Brendan Bilcheck was 12 of 20 for 303 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ian O’Toole ran for 71 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. But the guy who got things started was CALEB EWALD with his six receptions for 224 yards and two touchdowns. We also got a glimpse of the future as Jr. RB Conor Dowd rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown in his relief effort in the second half.
Defense: Another great defensive effort. The tackling was ferocious from everyone. Captain ALEX TUCCERO showed why his name will come up on many ballots for post-season honors with several big hits and tight coverage. He also added another interception to his season total.
Around the SCC
This is a great week for the SCC. The conference has a chance to win three of the four classes. Xavier did their part last night. Now it is up to Hand and Hillhouse today. Hillhouse will be playing Berlin for the Class M title at 2 pm.
On the Air
The game will be broadcast live on CPTV Sports (Channel 966 on Comcast in Madison) it will also be streamed live over the internet on ESPN3 or www.watchespn.com . You can also listen to “The Coach” George DeMaio, live on the radio 960 AM or www.960WELI.com or Iheartradio.com.
More info here.