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Monday, October 8, 2012

Hand v. Xavier: Get there early

Here are some tips from the Middletown Press' Jim Bransfield for those planning to attend Friday's  Hand at Xavier game:

MONDAY MORNING MUSINGS: Get there early for Xavier-Hand football

Get there early. As in very early.

The Hand vs. Xavier game Friday night needs no additional hype. But here it is anyway. It’s the undefeated Class L champion, Hand of Madison, taking on the state’s defending Class LL champion, undefeated Xavier, at Palmer Field at 7 p.m.

Xavier, ranked No. 1 in the state and Hand, ranked No. 2 or 3, depending on which poll you like, ought to put an enormous crowd into the local ballyard. Hand comes in with signature wins over Hillhouse (3-1) and Cheshire (3-1). Xavier has won 30 in a row. The winner, with some objections from Staples of Westport and Ansonia, will likely be rated the No. 1 team in the state next week.

Going to the game? Pay attention. The city will open Veterans Park for parking. There will be portable lighting installed in the park and at the footbridge that links Vets with Palmer Field. Xavier will have a ticket booth stationed at the footbridge.

 Do NOT park on the property of businesses adjacent to the park along Route 66 and Bernie O’Rourke Drive. It’s not fair to them and you will run the risk of having your car towed. I’m not going to make suggestions about where to park, but if you don’t mind walking a bit -- hey, it’s good for you -- use your imagination about areas that might be a half mile or so from the park.

Pay attention to city police. The local department has always been great about handling big crowds and just do what they say. If you arrive 15 minutes before game time and expect to be able to park anywhere near the park, you live in Fantasyland. Get there early, grab a Famous Palmer Field hot dog (you will be supporting the local Legion baseball team), find a seat and enjoy.

The baseball stadium will be open and while you’ll be a ways from the football field, yeah, you can see. There are 5,000 seats in the place, but arriving at 6:30 and expecting to sit at the 50-yard line means you, too, live in Disney World.

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