Tigers Take Home All the Hardware

The Daniel Hand Tiger Football Team successfully defended their Class L Title in a 23-6 win over Windsor last Saturday at Rentschler Field. The Tigers finish their season 13-0 and were ranked #1 in the State in all the polls.

This is the second consecutive 13-0 season for the Tigers and the Class of 2013 will pass on an active 26 game win streak, a team record, to next year’s team.

In the final, the Windsor defense had a big first half intercepting Hand twice in Hand territory. One led to a second quarter 28 yard touchdown pass from Quinn Fleeting to Ryheime Moore.  After the extra point kick was blocked, Winsor led 6-0. Towards the end of the half Hand was able to put a long drive together, but with only 5 seconds remaining they opted for a 27 yard field goal from Tyler Phan to cut the Windsor lead in half at the break.


Third Quarter Makes the Difference

After trading punts to open the second half, a 23 yard touchdown pass from Brendan Bilcheck to Caleb Ewald put the Tigers ahead 10-6.  On the next possession, Windsor quarterback, Quinn Fleeting had his helmet knocked off and by rule he had to leave the game for one play.  The subsequent snap to the backup quarterback was fumbled and Dan Rogers found the ball lying near his feet.  He then scooped it up and ran untouched 42 yards for a score.  The extra point kick was missed and Hand now had some breathing room with a 16-6 lead. 

Hand held Windsor on the next possession and got the ball back at midfield.  Eight plays later Bilcheck ran it in from the four yard line and put the Tigers up 23-6 with just under two minutes left in the quarter. 

From that point the Hand defense harassed Fleeting in the backfield with numerous hurries and four sacks, two by Weston Staples, to seal the win and the Championship.

Click here for stats and game re-cap from the CIAC


Patch Players of the Week

Offense:  BRENDAN BILCHECK rushed for 82 yards and passed for 141. CALEB EWALD had 8 catches for 74 yards and a TD. 

Defense:  MATT WALSH turned in a monster performance for his last game as a Tiger: 15 tackles, 2 forced fumbles. He seemed to be everywhere from sideline to sideline.  Same for ALEX TUCCERO with 8 tackles and an interception.  PETER GERSON and WESTON STAPLES each had two sacks. 


Numero Uno!

Hand was voted number one in all the polls, they were almost, but not quite unanimous.  In the New Haven Register Sports writer’s poll there was one voter who picked Xavier for number one.  Don Boyle of SportingNewsCT.com stated that in his opinion, Xavier was the best team at the end of the year.  There is no doubt that Xavier had improved since losing to the Tigers, but really Don?  Can you completely discount a 40-20 home loss when they had the opportunity to compete head-to-head?   But that’s why it’s called an “Opinion Poll.”  Everyone’s entitled to their own. 

In the New London Day Coaches’ Poll, Ansonia received two votes for the number one spot. The identity of those two coaches was not revealed, but we do know one of them was not Ansonia coach Tom Brockett.  He stated that he voted for Hand.  Ansonia accomplished something last year that no other Connecticut team had done before; they won 14 games.   This year they did it again.  If someone wanted to recognize Ansonia for that achievement by voting them as number one… I don’t have a problem with that.  Who would win if they played one more (BCS-like?) game? We’ll never know.  However, we do know that Hand met Class LL Champion - Xavier and Class M Champion - Hillhouse in the regular season and defeated them both.  If that’s not deserving of a number one ranking, I have no idea what is. 

Which brings me to another observation…


How About that SCC?!

Three of the four possible State Championships were won by teams from the SCC.  The Conference has no “Class S” teams in it (can we invite North Branford?), so the SCC has achieved everything it could possibly win. 

This year the SCC could be called the “State Champions Conference.”

Despite a 7-3 record, North Haven received some votes in the final top ten polls.  Why?  They only lost to teams who won State Championships; Hand, Xavier and Hillhouse.


More Hardware on the Way

Daniel Hand is the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s choice to receive the Joseph W. Kelly Award, which is given annually to Connecticut’s top high school football team.  The team will be honored at the organization’s 2012 Walter Camp All-America team banquet on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven. 

Also on January 12, Daniel Hand along with the three other state football champions – Xavier (Class LL), Hillhouse (Class M) and Ansonia (Class S) – will be recognized at the Walter Camp Breakfast of Champions, which will be held at Anthony’s Ocean View. That morning, the Walter Camp All-Connecticut Team, High School Player and Coach of the Year will also be announced.

Tickets are available for both events.  Details at www.waltercamp.org or 203-288-CAMP (288-2267)

Post Season Honors

Daniel Hand was well represented on the All-State and All-SCC teams.

CHSCA All State – Overall

QB – Brendan Bilcheck

DL - Peter Gerson

LB - Matt Walsh

CHSCA All State – Class L

WR - Kyle Anderson

WR - Caleb Ewald

DB - Alex Tuccero



QB – Brendan Bilcheck

WR - Kyle Anderson

DL - Peter Gerson

LB - Matt Walsh

DB - Alex Tuccero

Thank you 2012 Tigers for a fantastic season!  We're all very proud of you.  


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