By Kathleen Pulek
Daniel Hand, the #1 seed in Class L, showed why the Tigers are rated as the state's top football team Saturday evening in their championship match up with #2 Windsor at Rentschler Field.
Both teams got off to slow starts and finished the first quarter knotted at 0-0. Hand senior quarterback Brendan Bilcheck was picked off twice in the first half and the Tigers trailed 6-3 at the break. Windsor got on the scoreboard first, 4:03 into the second quarter, when Rhyeime Moore carried a 28-yard pass from Robert Fleeting into the end zone. Moore finished with 52 yards on three catches. Hand answered with Tyler Phan's 27-yard field goal as the half expired.
It was a different story over the final 24 minutes, with the Tigers firing on all cylinders. The defending Class L champions tallied three times in the third period to put the game out of reach. Caleb Ewald (8-74) crossed the goal line on a 23-yard pass, followed by defensive standout Daniel Rogers' fumble recovery and 42-yard rumble to pay dirt. Bilcheck bulled in from the four with Hand's final touchdown before Phan booted his second of two conversion kicks. Bilcheck was 15-25 for 141 yards on the night.
Fleeting completed 11-27 for 131 yards and a touchdown and was the Warriors' top rusher (22-34). Windsor held a slight edge in offensive plays (58-57) and time of possession (24:25 – 23:35).
Hand has now won 26-in-a-row and completed its second-straight 13-0 season. Windsor (11-1) last contended for a state title a decade ago, dropping a 14-13 decision to Ridgefield.