Jul 30, 2014

Another Rush Hour for Hand

While many commuters will be hitting the highways to head home for the weekend, the Daniel Hand Tiger Football Team will be kicking off another Friday afternoon game at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, 4 p.m.

Coach Filippone really dislikes afternoon games.  Even some of the really great teams of the past have played horribly on Friday afternoons in New Haven.  The whole rhythm and flow of the season grinds to a halt.  Maybe because it is difficult to get a group of teenagers fired up for game time while their bodies are thinking siesta?  Even so, Coach Filippone usually finds a way to deliver a “wake up” message to the team at some point during the game.   

If there is any breathing room on the Hand schedule, this might be the week.  So far the season is not going well for Wilbur Cross.  Their starting quarterback from last year moved to West Haven and is now starting for the Blue Devils.  They lost their opener to Fairfield Prep 47-0 and two weeks ago they lost to Jonathan Law 28-12 in what was Jonathan Law’s first win since the 2010 season.   

Last week Wilbur Cross was idle, so Coach John Aquavita has had two weeks to prepare his team for Hand.  And if he has been watching film, he’ll have his defense lined up to stop the rush.  In contrast to the last few years, the 2012 Hand Tigers have relied on the rushing attack to get them through their first three games.  The combination of Brendan Bilcheck, Ian O’Toole and Matt Sullivan have carried the load for the offense.  Both Bilcheck and O’Toole were over 100 yards rushing last week against Cheshire.   

As long as the Tigers can keep their focus, (not look ahead one week to “you know who,” the X-men) and keep their fingers off the “snooze” button, they should be OK this week.  The Governors will need a lot of help from Hand to win this one.   


A Friday Night First 

Trivia Question: How many varsity football games have been played at Daniel Hand High School?   

Answer:  One. 

When last Friday's game against Cheshire was moved from the Surf Club to the high school turf due to weather and scheduling concerns, that was the first and only time a varsity level football game has been played on the high school grounds.   

Kudos to the Athletic Department and the high school staff and parents for pulling that off so well.  Despite the lack of stands, concessions or a gate everyone improvised and the game went on seamlessly.  The rain held off until the final moments of the fourth quarter.  The referee then wisely conferred with both coaches and ended the contest with 51 seconds remaining and Hand leading 35-7 in a downpour.  Cheshire was preparing to punt on fourth down from their own 20 yard line, so there was no reason to risk the players in those conditions just so Hand could take a knee and run out the clock.   


Patch Players of the Week

Offense: Quarterback BRENDAN BILCHECK looked like a man on a mission out there.  He ran for over 100 yards and got the offense out of several tight spots with determination and intensity.   

Defense:  He had big shoes to fill this year, but Junior nose guard, IAN DIELI, showed that he was up for the task.  Number 73 was in the backfield creating havoc all night.  



Xavier running back, Deangelo Berry, scored the first two times he touched the ball in their 35-14 win over Fairfield Prep.  He ran back the opening kickoff and then scored on his first carry from scrimmage to open up a 14-0 lead.   

West Haven prevailed 34-13 in the Battle of West Haven to bring their record to 3-0.  Running back Cameran Tucker had 323 yards rushing for Notre Dame.  West Haven has now entered the New Haven Register Poll at number 7.  They will visit the Surf Club in two weeks.   

The most interesting match up for this week? North Haven will travel to New London for a rare SCC vs. ECC contest.  

Coach DeMaio will be covering Guilford at Amity on 960 WELI.  

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