The first official act for the Daniel Hand High School football team for the 2012 season included running on to the field during the pre-game ceremonies with a new State Championship flag to be added to the top of the bleachers. Last year the Tigers went 13-0 and defeated New Canaan in the Class L Championship Game to win the program’s tenth title.
If the 2012 Tigers want to repeat the success of the 2011 team, their road will be a bit tougher. The Southern Connecticut Conference has “rewarded” the Tigers for their 2011 East Division Title by revamping their schedule so it now includes: Xavier, North Haven, Shelton and Hillhouse instead of East Haven, Hamden, Lyman Hall and Fairfield Prep. The SCC schedule is always tough, but this year is especially brutal.
Mark your calendars now, the game that everyone wanted to see last year will be played on October 12th at Palmer Field in Middletown. Plan on arriving early.
In what has become a Hand tradition, calling the plays this year will be yet another Senior quarterback making their varsity debut, Brendan Bilcheck. Bilcheck is a dual threat QB who can scramble. And he did not disappoint on Friday night, rushing for two touchdowns and passing for two more.
The defense returns more players with experience led by Captains Matt Walsh and Pete Gerson. Junior Ian Dieli has replaced Joe Demichele at noseguard and Senior Weston Staples has been moved from defensive end to linebacker to replace Danny Ives.
On Friday night, Bilcheck got the first score of the year, running it in from two yards out with 5:47 remaining in the first quarter. The extra point kick attempt failed so Hand led 6-0.
In the second quarter, Caleb Ewald caught a short screen pass from Bilcheck and made a dazzling 65 yard run for a score. Ian O’Toole ran in the two point conversion to make the score 14-0. At this point, with 8:25 remaining in the first half, Amity showed that they are improved from last year’s team and held the Tigers scoreless for the next 20 plus minutes of the game.
At the start of the fourth quarter the score remained 14-0. The fans were then treated to a fast and furious two minutes that saw 28 points scored. Bilcheck scrambled from 11 yards out to make it 21-0. Amity then fumbled on the next drive and Hand took over with great field position. Bilcheck then hit Ewald for anther quick score. Hand now led 28-0 with 10:33 remaining in the game. On the ensuing kickoff, David Buono of Amity got the Spartans on the scoreboard with an 88 yard return making it 28-7. Matt Sullivan then came in at quarterback for Hand and made a 28 yard scramble to make the score 35-7 with 9:47 remaining in the game.
Amity scored one last time on a 2 yard run by David Attolino with 46 seconds left in the game. This was after most of Hand’s starters had been pulled.
After the game Coach Filippone addressed the team and told them to enjoy the win, but also realize that a lot of work needed to be done before they would be ready to face Hillhouse next week, to be played Friday at 4 p.m. at Bowen Field.