Last year Hand was led by quarterback Zach Miller. Miller was great dual-threat quarterback whose style fit perfectly with the spread offensive attack. Defenses couldn’t overplay the pass and had to account for Miller’s ability to tuck the ball and run. If the defense stacked the line to stop the run, Miller had a talented receiver in Alec Pacelli who would find an open spot in the secondary. The 2010 Tigers prolific offense resulted in a 9-1 regular season and an appearance in the Class L semi-final, won by New Canaan.
One year later, with Miller and Pacelli off to college, the reins of the offense were handed to Henry Foye. No one expected Foye to try and be Zach Miller. He was more of a pocket passer. This probably came as result of years of coaching from his dad, Mike, who was a quarterback at New London High School and Trinity College.
Once Henry got his first steps out of the way, his father started working on his three- and five-step drop. But the way the Hand offense has evolved, it seldom puts the quarterback under center, so it doesn’t use a drop-back passer. The question coming in to the 2011 season was whether or not Foye’s style would fit in the Hand spread attack.
Henry has answered that question and left no doubt. Foye has won every varsity game he has started. He has set single-season school records in multiple categories despite sitting out most of the second half in several games. For 2011, Henry has completed 173 passes in 255 attempts for 2,388 yards and 27 touchdowns; all are school records. In two games he completed a school record 23 passes and in one game he tied a school record with 4 touchdown passes.
In last week's semi-final against Masuk all the attention was on Masuk's quarterback, Casey Cochran, the State Gatorade Player of the Year. Cochran threw twice as many passes but was held to 277 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Henry completed 23 of 31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Cochran may have all the awards, but Foye got the important stat of the night, his team was 12-0 and moving on, while Cochran got an extra week to pack for UConn.
On Saturday afternoon we will see Henry Foye's final appearance in a Hand Tiger uniform. He has a chance to lead his team to a 13-0 record and a Class L State Championship, a feat matched in Hand's storied history by only the 1997 team.
Henry could not have accomplished any of this without a great supporting cast. Receiver Nick Vitale added many of those "passing yards" with his feet after the catch. Kevin Frey made sure that the defense had to respect the run and the solid offensive line needed to give him the time to find the open receiver. The Masuk game was a great example of this as it was a "team" win on both sides of the ball.
If Hand can reach their final goal tomorrow, Henry Foye will have left a mark on this program that will put him right up there many of the elite quarterbacks who preceeded him. That was one of the biggest surprises of the 2011 season.
And it was well worth the wait.