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A look at high school football throughout the state

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Week 5: Friday's Highlights

 No. 3 Hand snaps No. 1 Xavier's 30-game win streak 

MIDDLETOWN — It’s been quite a while since the Xavier football team has been outplayed and outmuscled. Maybe not since the Falcons’ last loss — way back in 2009.

But Hand, gritty, resilient and physical, snapped Xavier’s lengthy winning streak, and did so, at least in the second half, in convincing fashion.

Led by five touchdowns from UConn-bound senior Matt Walsh, the Tigers knocked off the top-ranked Falcons 40-20 in a Southern Connecticut Conference showdown Friday before 4,500 fans at Palmer Field. Xavier (4-1) had won 30 games in a row since losing to Staples in the Class LL semifinals in 2009.

A 2-yard touchdown run by Walsh tied the score at 20 in the third quarter, and then senior Brendan Bilcheck connected with senior Caleb Ewald on a 31-yard touchdown pass with 1 minute, 31 seconds left in the third quarter to give No. 3 Hand (5-0) the lead for good.

While Walsh capped five of Hand’s drives, Bilcheck, Ewald, senior running back Ian O’Toole, and senior receiver Kyle Anderson were instrumental in leading the offense.

PHOTOS: Hand tops Xavier

Read more here.

MALAFRONTE: Hand proved it was the No. 1 team

XAVIER: Tigers' defense shuts down Falcons in second half


ROUNDUP/SUMMARIES: Fairfield Prep rolls past Cheshire

Hillhouse prevails over North Haven

Hyde beats Valley Regional, remains undefeated

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Friday, October 12, 2012

No. 3 Hand knocks off No. 1 Xavier

MIDDLETOWN - Hand snapped the streak.

The Tigers, behind five touchdowns from UConn-bound senior Matt Walsh, knocked off top-ranked Xavier 40-20 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division I contest before 4,500 fans Friday at Palmer Field.

The loss ended the Falcons' 30-game winning streak, which began in 2010. 

Xavier led (4-1) led 20-14 at halftime. Kris Luster caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Tim Boyle, while Boyle and DeAngelo Berry had rushing touchdowns in the first half.

Berry was held to 40 yards on 15 carries. Boyle completed 9-of-22 passes for 137 yards and one interception. 

Walsh scored on touchdown runs of 11, 2, 3, 6 and 1 yards. Caleb Ewald caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Brendan Bilcheck for Hand (5-0).

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Hand-Xavier: Time to Play

The Day here. Xavier vs. Hand. No. 1 vs. No. 3.

Here are some preview stories on tonight's big game.  (7 p.m. at Palmer Field, Middletown)

 Tigers defense faced with toughest test

MADISON — If any opponent has the personnel to slow down Xavier’s potent offensive attack, it may just be Hand.

The Tigers defense features two players headed to Division I schools next fall in linebacker Matt Walsh (UConn) and lineman Peter Gerson (Yale).

The rest of the unit, including senior strong safety Alex Tuccero, certainly has the talent to play at the next level, too.

It will likely take a Herculean effort from a defense to derail the Falcons. Hand gets that chance tonight at 7 at Palmer Field in a much-anticipated Southern Connecticut Conference showdown.

Read more here.

Marinan, Falcons loving the spotlight: Read more from the Middletown's Press' Jim Bransfield

Connecticut sports writers pick the winner: Find out their  picks 
TALE OF THE TAPE: A comparison between the two storied programs
Ticket, parking, radio and TV information: Get informed here

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Ansonia rolls over Seymour

ANSONIA — Saiheed Sanders could not have picked a better opponent to have a breakthrough game against.

As a freshman, Sanders attended Seymour before transferring to Ansonia, where he now lives with his father.

On Thursday, Sanders rushed nine times for 106 yards and three scores, leading the Chargers to a 47-0 Naugatuck Valley League Brass Division victory over, you guessed it, Seymour.

Read more here.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ansonia 47, Seymour 0

Saiheed Sanders rushed nine times for 106 yards and three touchdowns for the host Chargers in this NVL Brass Division win Thursday.

Sanders scored on touchdown runs of 6, 31 and 9 yards for Ansonia (5-0), which is ranked No. 4 in the Register Top 10 Poll.

Andrew Matos returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown for the Chargers after Seymour was forced to punt  on the game's opening drive that lasted nearly six minutes.

Jai'Quan McKnight tossed touchdown passes to Raeshaun Finney and Ryan O'Connor for Ansonia. 

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Bilcheck keeps Hand attack running smoothly

MADISON — Most eyes will be on Xavier’s Tim Boyle on Friday night.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Boston College-bound quarterback is hard to miss.

He’ll be calling the signals for the Falcons’ offense when top-ranked Xavier faces No. 3 Hand at 7 p.m. at Palmer Field in Middletown.

But on the other side of the field, the Tigers feel they have a pretty good QB of their own in senior Brendan Bilcheck.

 Read more here.


CHIP MALAFRONTE: Hand has a puncher's chance against Xavier

Ticket, parking information for Friday's Xavier/Hand tilt

TALE OF THE TAPE: Hand at Xavier

Who will win the Hand-Xavier football game Friday? Cast your vote!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hand, Xavier put streaks on line

 Both Hand and Xaiver have lengthy win streaks heading into their showdown on Friday (7 p.m. at Palmer Field, Middletown).

  • Xavier has won 30 straight games. Its last lost came against Staples in the Class LL state semifinals in 2009. The Falcons’ last regular season defeat was to Wilbur Cross in the season opener that year. 
  •  Hand has won 17 in a row. This is the team’s first meeting since the Tigers emerged with a 31-16 victory in 2007.
Below is a list of the state's longest winning streaks:


School Games Years
Cheshire 49 1992-96
Ansonia 36 1975-78
Bloomfield 35 1996-2000
Ansonia 35 2005-08
Stamford (33-0-2) 35 1911-14
Derby (33-0-1) 34 1966-70
New Canaan 34 1967-70
Xavier-Middletown 34 1970-1973
Fitch-Groton 34 1999-2001
Southington (32-0-1) 33 1962-66
St. Joseph-Trumbull 30 1981-84
Xavier 30 2010-2012

On Nov. 10, 1973, West Haven stopped Xavier's 34-game winning streak, emerging with a 25-20 victory.

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Hand-Xavier: Info, Poll, Tale of Tape

Planning on attending Friday night’s much-anticipated Hand/Xavier football game (who will win?, VOTE) at Palmer Field in Middletown?

According to the Southern Connecticut Conference website, tickets will be $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. Xavier students can enter free with a school ID. Children under 10 are free.

The athletic complex at Palmer Field holds about 5,000.

Nearby Veterans Park will be made available for parking. Portable lighting will be installed in the park and at the footbridge that links the park with Palmer Field. Xavier will have a ticket booth stationed at the footbridge.
Parking at nearby businesses on streets next to the field is not recommended.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.



Rank in Register Top 10 poll: No. 3 — No. 1

Record: 4-0 — 4-0
Coach: Steve Filippone — Sean Marinan

Conference: SCC Div. I East — SCC Div. I West

Location: Madison — Middletown

Mascot: Tigers — Falcons

Consecutive wins: 17 — 30

Program wins: 333 — 31
Class: L — LL

State titles: 10 — 3

State finals: 16 — 5

Last meeting: Hand won 31-16 in 2007

Series history: Hand leads 14-6

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hand-Xavier: The Series

No. 3 Hand will meet No. 1 Xavier on Friday (7 p.m. at Palmer Field, Middletown) in a clash between two of the state's best programs.

Xavier has won 30 straight games; Hand 17 in a row.

Below is the series history between the two schools, compiled by former New Haven Register editor and columnist Bob Barton.

1978, Nov. 10 – Hand 30, Xavier 21
1979, Nov. 9 – Xavier 21, Hand 0
1980, Nov. 14 – Hand 29, Xavier 22
1981, Nov. 13 – Xavier 20, Hand 6
1982, Nov. 12 – Hand 30, Xavier 14
1983, Nov. 11 – Hand 28, Xavier 20
1984, Nov. 9 – Hand 25, Xavier 21
1985, Nov. 15 – Hand 21, Xavier 13
1986, Oct. 4 – Xavier 19, Hand 3
1987, Oct. 3 – Xavier 20, Hand 0
1988, Sept. 30 – Hand 14, Xavier 7
1989, Sept. 29 – Hand 14, Xavier 6
1990, Sept. 28 – Hand 12, Xavier 7
1991, Oct. 4 – Hand 27, Xavier 0
1992, Oct. 2 – Hand 40, Xavier 27
1993, Oct. 1 – Hand 24, Xavier 18
1994 (first year of SCC) – DNP
1995 – DNP
1996 – DNP
1997 – DNP
1998 – DNP
1999 – DNP
2000 – DNP
2001 – DNP
2002 – DNP
2003 – DNP
2004, Sept. 17 – Hand 34, Xavier 27
2005, Sept. 16 – Xavier 27, Hand 21
2006, Sept. 15 – Xavier 7, Hand 0
2007, Sept. 14 -- Hand 31, Xavier 16
2008 – DNP
2009 – DNP
2010 – DNP
2011 – DNP

Hand leads series 14-6. 

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FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Platt Tech off to 3-0 start for first time

With a talented and experienced group returning this season, Platt Tech expected to be competitive.

The Panthers did last year, too, but the team fell short of their goals and finished at 4-6.

“Last year, on paper, we had some talent and expected to win six to eight games,” Platt Tech coach Vin Camera said. “But we had some injuries, and kids who didn’t come out that we were expecting to, and we won just four games.”

This year the Panthers took a different approach in managing expectations.


North Haven senior Jalon White has certainly made the case that he is perhaps the state’s best running back.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Despite losing to top-ranked Xavier 49-12 on Sept. 21, White rushed 23 times for 235 yards. He scored on runs of 51 and 78 yards in the fourth quarter while the Falcons’ starters were still in the game.

This past week, the Indians earned an impressive 34-20 victory over previously unbeaten New London. White carried 36 times for 354 yards and all five touchdowns.

“It was a huge night for him,” North Haven coach Anthony Sagnella said. “He’s at a different speed right now. He was certainly a good player the first two years, but he’s also in a different role now. He’s taking on the role where he’s the guy now, and that’s great.”


Who do you think will win Friday night’s contest between No. 3 Hand and No. 1 Xavier?

You can cast your vote right now at The poll will be open until just before game time.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Palmer Field in Middletown. Both teams are 4-0.




Hamden Hall Jr. WR Mike Breuler: Made seven catches for 197 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-20 win over Fieldston (N.Y.) on Saturday.

Haddam-Killingworth Sr. RB Nate Cruz: Rushed 26 times for 205 yards and four touchdowns in a ♦Hopkins Jr. RB Jim Martino: Rushed 16 times for 229 yards and six touchdowns in a 40-8 win over Rye (N.Y.) on Friday.


Cheshire So. DB Jack Cunningham: Had five tackles, two interceptions and blocked an extra-point attempt in a 48-13 win over Notre Dame-West Haven on Friday. Cunningham also rushed six times for 69 yards.

Hillhouse Sr. DB Andre Anderson: Made eight tackles and an interception in a 47-0 win over Law on Friday. Anderson also ran for 153 yards and three touchdowns.


Amity Jr. Lyle Luth: Kicked two field goals and seven extra points in a 61-43 win over Guilford on Friday.  
Coginchaug Jr. Jack Granger: Returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown in a 40-0 win over Lewis Mills on Saturday. Granger also scored on a 15-yard run.


Seymour at Ansonia, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.: 960-WELI,, iheart radio
Hand at Xavier, Friday, 7 p.m.: 960-WELI,, iheart radio


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Monday, October 8, 2012

Who will win: Hand or Xavier? VOTE

My Top 10 Ballot

Here is the ballot I submitted for the New Haven Register Top 10 football poll after Week 4. Voters are asked to vote for 15 teams. Points on tabulated on a 30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis.

The poll should be up later tonight on the Register's website and will appear in Tuesday's print editions.

One team from my previous ballot lost (New London), so I dropped it out and added a new team.

1. Xavier
2. Staples
3. Hand
4. Windsor
5. Ansonia
6. Greenwich
7. Newtown
8. West Haven
9. Masuk
10. Berlin
11. Southington
12. Glastonbury
13. Norwich Free Academy
14. North Branford
15. North Haven

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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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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Week 4: Saturday's Highlights

NEW HAVEN — Hyde football’s 2012 Redemption Tour continued to get rave reviews following the Howling Wolves’ 21-10 Pequot Conference victory against Cromwell Saturday at the Wilbur Cross Athletic Complex.

With last year’s 55-20 loss to the Panthers still fresh in their minds, Hyde took advantage of four Cromwell turnovers and grabbed a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.

“The kids circled the calendar for this one,” said Hyde coach Melvin Wells. “We’ve got a group of seniors that played last year and they remember the feeling and it wasn’t a good one. We felt embarrassed. This year they dedicated themselves to getting better and today we came out prepared.”

An interception by Hyde linebacker Khalil Morant set up the Howling Wolves’ first score, a 17-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Kevin Jones to Tyquan Franklin, who was open in the corner of the end zone.

VOTE for Hyde's KEVIN JONES for Saturday's STAR OF THE DAY

Oxford 55, Notre Dame-Fairfield 20: Quarterback Brennen Diaz threw two touchdown passes and ran for another and Chris Van Kamerik caught the two touchdown passes and added a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown to lead Oxford to its SWC Patriot win in Fairfield. Kamerik had five receptions for 72 yards and Dan Trombetta had five carries for 112 yards, including a 93 touchdown run, for Oxford (3-1).


PLATT TECH has been nominated for TEAM OF THE WEEK! VOTE!

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