When the fourth quarter arrived at Rentschler Field Saturday afternoon, Hand was leading New Canaan by a score of 27-10. A seventeen point lead ... oh no! That was the identical situation in the 2007 Championship Game against the same New Canaan Rams. New Canaan put up three fourth quarter scores that day to take the Championship away from the Tigers and send them home empty handed.
But there would be no deja vu at Rentschler. New Canaan had no answers for the dominant Hand defense who, for the second time in a week, shut down one of the state’s most prolific offenses. New Canaan quarterback Matt Milano attempted 63 passes in the game and tied a state record by completing 38 of them. However, three first half trips to the red zone yielded only one FG for the Rams. It was that way all day. New Canaan was able to pick up some yardage, but very few points.
Hand’s offense was solid as well. Kevin Frey wasted no time in getting on the board as he took the handoff on Hand’s first play from scrimmage and raced 70 yards to the end zone. Later in the first quarter Frey broke free for 58 yards to give Hand a first down on the New Canaan 12 yard line. Henry Foye connected with Kyle Anderson in the end zone on the next play. Frey put a fantastic finish to his career with 214 yards rushing for the day. Nick Vitale had 11 catches for 87 yards with one touchdown. He rushed for for another 55 yards including an exciting 28 yard touchdown run on a reverse play in the third quarter.
Hand made sure that there were no fourth quarter heroics coming from New Canaan this time. In the fourth quarter Matt Walsh finished the scoring for the day with a 1 yard touchdown to make the final margin 34-10.
Defensive end Peter Gerson sacked Milano three times, Captain Dan Ives was the leading tackler for the Tigers with 11. To see official game stats - click here.
The Tigers finished their season with an impressive playoff run outscoring their three opponents 103-36. If Xavier had faltered against Staples in the Class LL final, Hand’s defeat of Masuk and New Canaan on their way to the championship would certainly put them in the mix for a #1 poll ranking. However, Xavier soundly defeated Staples 42-7 to win their 26th consecutive game, so when the polls come out this week, they will likely keep their #1 ranking. It was a good weekend for the SCC though, taking two of the four available championships. Hand will play Xavier next year in the regular season.
Congratulations Tigers! Class L Champions!