State Quarterfinal Tuesday: Staples, Hillhouse win big in snow bowls

CLASS LL —Staples 42, West Haven 0

CLASS M — Hillhouse 34, St. Joseph 14 | Berlin 41, Bullard-Havens 14

CLASS S — Hyde 15, Rocky Hill 14

Darryn Horner snags an interception in front of St. Joseph's Jake Pelletier at the goal line in Hillhouse's 34-14 victory over the Hogs at East Haven. Horner took the pick 98 yards the other way for a touchdown just before halftime.

A year ago, torrential rain played havoc with the CIAC state quarterfinals.

On Tuesday night, Mother Nature decided to test the playoff field again, this time with a significant (but not crippling) snowstorm.

Twelve of the 16 state quarterfinal hosts either couldn’t play or just flat-out decided not to play.

The other four hosts decided to give it a go. To the chagrin of of a few, CIAC made no attempt to intervene. “We’re playing … Not sure if we should be playing,” said one football committee member, whose complaint wasn’t the snow, but the advantage the mass postponements give the Tuesday crowd, “but we’re playing.”

And then there was the other side.

“Football is played the elements,” Hillhouse coach Tom Dyer said. Asked again, Dyer added, “We were prepared. This is football weather. This is a turf field.”

So we kicked off four quarterfinal games, some played in driving snow for at least a half or two. The worst of it was high atop Wheelbarrow Road in East Haven (The East Haven Himalayas, says Ned ‘Polecat’ Griffen’). Westport seemed to get the least.

Three hosts won. The other lost in a heartbreaker.

Staples passed its test. With high flying colors, it passed.

So did Hillhouse.

Visitors St. Joseph and Bullard-Havens? Not so much.

Bullard-Havens didn’t seem to mind. “It’s no excuse for not doing our job,” senior back John Shannon said of his team’s 41-14 loss.

St. Joseph… to say they minded would be sugarcoating it.

“I’m not sure whose idea it was to play,” said coach Joe Della Vecchia, in a string of not-so-subtle complaints about the weather and the officiating, which he believed hindered his team’s potential.

“I’m not a fan of it. It certainly didn’t help the timing of what we had to do. It didn’t hurt us as far as the outcome, I don’t think, but the whole time the receivers were a little bit slower and the balls were going a little bit farther. I disagree with the decision to play here today. I thought it was just raining. We came up here and the field was covered in snow and it wasn’t really taken care of well. It was tough for both teams.”

Andre Anderson stretches the ball across the goal line for a touchdown in Tuesday night's Class M quarterfinal victory over St. Joseph.

The Hogs’ offense never found its footing on the inch of snow on the Crisafi Field turf. They committed four turnovers, one fumble and three interceptions. The fumble came on the first play from scrimmage. It led to a touchdown. Darryn Horner took another 98 yards for a touchdown to put the Academics up 28-6 at halftime.

St. Joseph also couldn’t score inside the 10-yard line twice in the first half.

Hillhouse, meanwhile, were practically making snow-angels. While Harold Cooper wasn’t a major factor with 47 yards, Andre Anderson was. He ran for 139 yards. One long run led to a touchdown, the other was a touchdown.

“I never played in anything like this,” said Horner, who had two interceptions to lead a physical defensive backfield that harassed and punished St. Joseph’s receivers  “It was exciting.”

“”I’m real proud of them for showing some real toughness and battling the weather and really not making the weather an issue,” Dyer said. “I never once heard my kids say, hey coach, I slipped.”

The speedy and physical academics will face the winner of Wolcott-Montville. They’re the surefire favorites in Class M now after winning what many of us called the ‘Class M championship in the quarterfinals.’

Dyer didn’t want to hear it.

“This wasn’t the state championship,” he said. “We’ve seen Wolcott. We’ve seen Montville. Both two quality programs. We’ve got to be prepared to play because if we’re not prepared to play, we’re going to be sitting home watching the state championship.”

James Fruciante hauls in a long touchdown pass from Jack Massie in the Wreckers' 42-20 victory over West Haven.

SPEAKING OF FAVORITES, Staples sure looked like one in demolishing West Haven 42-20. The Wreckers scored on the first offensive play of the game — a 60-yard touchdown pass from Jack Massie to James Frusciante and then scored another three touchdowns on five more plays.

The Wreckers defense had no issues stopping the Westies sterling back Ervin Phillips.

Like they did to so many teams this season, the Wreckers amassed over 300 yards in the first half and led 35-0.

“We came out fired up,” Frusciante said. “I think we were really ready to go for this game. The offense came out fired up and the defense was lights out in the first half.”

The Westies came into the game without staring quarterback Jevon Taylor but, “Our problems really weren’t on offense in the first quarter,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said.

Staples did get a jolt of reality when senior back Nick Kelly injured his shoulder in the third quarter and didn’t return to the field, except to sit on the bench. Losing the all-state player wouldn’t be fun for the Wreckers. Not now.

Still, what a performance.

BULLARD-HAVENS MUST have had underdog fans giddy in the second half of their state quarterfinal vs. Berlin. The Tigers were down early, but rallied to pull within 21-14 in the second half on a pair of Jacqua Solomon runs.

But Berlin turned on the jets and eventually cruised to a 41-14 victory.

It was a much better effort than their last two trips. “This was the most talented team I’ve coached,” Johnson said. “We represented ourselves well.”

FINALLY, it was heartbreak in Class S for Rocky Hill. The No. 4-seeded Terriers had just rallied from 15-0 down to pull within 15-14 with seconds remaining against Hyde, pending the extra point. They decided to kick, take their chances in overtime. But the it was blocked slightly and fell just short of the goal posts. Hyde wins and advances.


Watch highlights of that, and West Haven-Staples below from the guys at WFSB.

Here’s hoping for more excitement in today’s quarterfinals.

Hyde 15, Rocky Hill 14: Highlights via WFSB

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Staples-West Haven highlights via WFSB

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Sean Patrick Bowley

89 Responses

  1. dave k says:

    Sounds like some sour grapes on the part of St Joes. Get over it , it snowed on both sides of the field. Blaming the refs. Late hits, defensive holding come on coach give credit where credit is due ,Hillhouse was the better team .

  2. Kyle says:

    Totally agree, what a baby. The other teams that lost aren’t sitting here complaining. Sound like a bunch of pretty boys at st joes. It’s snow, that’s like the best weather to play football in. Shut up coach

  3. mueller says:

    Hey Joe Del shut it- they would have beat you in perfect conditions, I guess Tony Franklin isn’t an all-weather offense

  4. SJFan says:

    SJ-Hillhouse game should not have been played last night. But I will give HH credit for adjusting to the conditions. It is too bad this game did not get postponed.

  5. FCIAC fan says:

    St. Joes had a great season. They far exceeded anyone’s expectations, they played hard, they played with heart, and Coach Del remains one of the best coaches in CT high school football. No need to disrespect Coach Del or call the players names, they are a great group of kids and have great future ahead of them on and off the field. Hillhouse played a great game and good luck to them going forward.

  6. SJFan says:

    FCIAC Fan – well said. SJ had a great season and the future is bright.

  7. Ozzy says:

    @1,2,3 – you obviously weren’t at the game, or you wouldn’t be making those comments about the SJ coach and players. It was a tough, hard hitting, physical game in nasty conditions. Both teams played their hearts out, and despite being down 28-6 at the half, SJ didn’t quit. They came out in the 2nd half and shut Hillhouse down (not an easy task as we all know.) Unfortunately, the Hillhouse D did the same thing to them (again, not an easy task!) IMHO the game boiled down to this…in he first half, both teams defenses gave their offenses multiple short field opportunities, but only Hillhouse took advantage. Add in the 98 yard pick six just before the half, and SJ dug themselves into a hole they could’nt get out of. Congratulations to Hillhouse and best of luck the rest of the way. Congratulations to SJ on a great season, and for having one of the best football programs in the state year in, year out.

  8. Just Another Fan says:

    Also doesn’t help that st joes didn’t have their first or second string running backs

  9. mueller says:

    Ozzy, nope was in Westport, but how you guys can defend graceless excuse making from Dellavechia is beyond me, they both had to play in those conditions didn’t they?

  10. Paul says:

    Has Coach Del stopped crying yet?Really,if it was on a dry field Hillhouses athletes put up 3 more td’s.I thought recievers have the advantage on a slick field?Also, to #8 WH played without their starting Q.B last night and had to move their all-state RB to play Q.B.I have not heard McCarthy crying…Nice year St.Joes but get over it.

  11. JB says:

    SJ is an up-and-coming, young team in the FCIAC and I would have expected them to give HH a better game. But HH the stronger team this year (under any weather conditions). However, nothing should be said negative about SJ. They had a huge turnaround year from 2011 and next year they will be a force in the FCIAC and M states. Sean called that one correctly from the beginning of the season. Congratulations to SJ on your accomplishments this year.

    HH likely plays Berlin in the M finals. Should be a good one, but HH still too good for anyone else in M.

  12. FCIAC says:

    SJ game should not have been played last night, don’t care what anyone says. I have no patience for people who speak ill of SJ and Coach Dell. Hands down one of the best coaches coaching one of the best programs in the state. @ Comments 1, 2, 3 There is absolutely no need to comment on this article bashing SJ its just uncalled for. Give credit to the team who came out on top and be done with it, no need to be obnoxious. Congratulations to Hillhouse on the win, and congratulations to SJ for a great season.

  13. Raff says:

    St. Joseph with or without Musafa #32 was going to lose. The big story here is how Coach D and his staff handled themselves after the loss. Do they teach sportsmanship at St. Joseph? Rumor was a few coaches from St. Joe were chirping during the season that Hillhouse had a soft secondary. After the hits that were delivered last night and 4 int’s I think that case is settled. Welcome to the SCC St. Joe. Besides Dareien and a weak Trinity team St. Joe beat nobody all year. St. Joe in the SCC would be 5-5.
    Poor choice of words by Coach D after the game. It’s a shame his actions were in front of student athletes.

  14. Raff says:

    Let’s also remember that both teams had to play in the same conditions. St. Joe had the ball 2 times inside the 15 after 2 Hillhouse turnovers and came away with 0 points. Did the refs cost St. Joe there? Was Vazzano’s INT before the half that went 99 yards for a TD caused by the refs?

    Coach D should be reprimanded. He handled himself very poorly last night and his 20 assistant coaches get an A in whining. Buckle up and play football. When it snows in Buffalo do the Bills cancel the game? Solution is next time St. Joe should earn the #4 seed and then they can decide when to play. Remember a visiting team does not call the shots.

  15. Ozzy says:

    mueller – looks like he is agreeing with your comment about the Tony Franklin offense not being all-weather…and I have to agree also, easier to run than pass in those conditions. Note also Hillhouse smartly and agressively pressed the SJ receivers, knowing the conditions would make it difficult for them get off the defender and into their patterns with the proper timing. The result was incompletions, tipped balls, interceptions.

    Staples is ridiculous good huh? Have seen them a few times this year also…

  16. Ryan says:

    SJ would have beat HH in normal weather conditions. The refs were giving the calls to HH in the secondary and if you think the Sj assistant coaches were talking about HH secondary in the middle of the season think again. SJ has two rings in the past 3 years. HH has one.

  17. Paul says:

    Hey Ryan,add another one to the House this year…..It’s now two rings each.Stop whining and get out and recruit some more prospects for Catholic U.Maybe you could beat them in hoop again this year but rumor has it they want you BAD!!!!

  18. Raff says:

    @Ryan- Are you kidding me making that statement after you got drilled 34-14 in the snow? Seriously I hope you are not a coach. Grab a clue.
    Hillhouse since 2002 is 92-30-1 with 3 State Titles and 1 runner up finish without recruiting and probably will add another title this year. Before the back to back titles in 2009-2010 for St. Joe there program was a mess. This year St. Joe beat 2 teams with a winning record- Darien and Trinity catholic. Darien gave the game away to St. Joe in overtime 35-28. To say St. Joe would have won in better conditions is sour grapes and you look foolish. Did the refs throw 4 INT’s? Did the refs fumble on the 1st play of the game? Grab a clue! Now that you have been knocked out you can make some in house visits and recruit the best kids in fairfield county. SCC is where the football is!

  19. Raff says:

    Also you are right St. Joe won Class SS & S in 2009 & 2010. A catholic school winning S is a joke. When St. Joe stepped up to Class M they take a quick exit like last night. Seriously have a clue when you speak.

    Just admit you got beat. Ask Pelletier how that hit was! He will be seeing daises for a few weeks.

  20. RAY BROWN says:


  21. PapaDags says:

    Hillhouse would have won under any conditions, too fast, and hit like HELL….Certainly the conditions last night didn’t work to SJ’s favor.But it couldn’t have helped the speed that HH demonstrated to me last night either..Only difference IMO is they may not have won by 20…possibly 42-28…you can be sure there would of been more scoring

  22. PapaDags says:

    True blemish of the game was the taunting by some HH players at end of game to a hurt SJ player who took one of many of incredible hits delivered by the HH secondary…I’m talking speed and HITTING

  23. Reggie Palmer says:

    When I google Ansonia’s QB and RB, I find that they both played their Pop Warner football in Waterbury. Just curious, how is that different from the ‘recruiting’ that you harp on all the time?

  24. Dan says:

    Impressive run HH has had in football. Maybe they should move up to LL. BBall team plays in LL.

  25. hillhouse dad says:

    St joes coach is a classless act. he need to have grace after a loss and teach his young men to respect others . my son told me about some of the things that they call the hillhouse players but as i told my son when those things happen put your anger in the game and take care of business legally on the field. asked some of the players how it feel to be hit so hard that they were scared to play.

  26. FCIAC fan says:

    @Raff What kind of person taunts a injured kid on a blog? Are you kidding me? Coach Del is a class act as is St. Joe’s entire athletic program. And I’m quite sure that any of the kids coming out of that program have the tools they need to succeed on the fieid and in life, so they don’t turn out like you. As for the conduct of coaches, what are you crying about? If your team was the better one that day, rise above whatever you “have heard” about chirping on the sideline, I’m sure there isn’t a coach/player/AD that hasn’t chirped about something from time to time….. You sound like an idiot with all of your Catholic slurs and pretty boy comments……were you expelled from St. Joe’s as a child or did you just not do well enough on the test to get in? Move on

  27. 31 says:

    @Raff — Agreed that some of the SJ comments look sour grapes but if you were at the game, you had to see that the refs were horrible. That, however, should not take away from how Hillhouse prepared and executed their game plan. No doubt about it, Hillhouse was the better team last night. But why mention recruiting? Hillhouse is notorious for recruiting athletes in and around the New Haven area!! Just ask the folks over at Cross. For heavens sake, their principal has been brought up on grade altering charges!! There is not a bigger abuser of the rules than HH’s own Kerm. As for the hit on Pelletier, that was as cheap a shot as I have seen in ALL of football this year, college or pros. If that hit was made in an NFL game, fines would be handed out. The ref in that case was clueless and gutless not to make an illegal hit call while on the HH sideline. As for Pelletier, he got his bell rung for sure, but that kid is tough as nails and was immediately back in the game making spectacular catches. Why you feel the need to disparage him is typical of the way a lot of (not all) Hillhouse fans act and behave.

  28. SJFan says:

    It appears that the HH fans are still not over the fact that SJ beat them in basketball this year. SJ has 4 rings in the last 3 years in basketball and football. The fact of the matter is the game should not have been played last night under these conditions for both teams. Under normal conditions, SJ would outscore HH with his passing game. Period.

  29. CTHSFootballRocks says:

    I do not see anyone bringing down Staples regardless of Kelly playing the rest of the way or not. They have too many weapons on both sides of the ball. They have speed, size, and playmakers on O and D. They also have the experience of being there last year and leaving bitterly disappointed.

    Go ahead SCC homers, start lighting me up. My team plays in the SWC!!!!!

  30. Dan says:

    @SPB Do you have a video of the hit?

    Im not a St. Joes backer, but its funny to see all these HH people talking about how classless the SJ coaches and players were. HH remember this quote that was on TV “We were playing 5 versus 7.” Talk about whinning and setting a goood example for the kids. He did such a good job of that they made him AD. What a joke.

  31. @Dan — which hit? There were about a half dozen

  32. 31 says:

    @Dan…they didn’t make him the AD, they made him the PRINCIPAL!!

  33. Dan says:

    I guess the cheap shot that “31” was talking about on Pelletier

  34. Dan says:

    @31-you are right. I stand corrected. HAHAHAHA Principal

  35. Class says:

    First things first, SJ coaches or players did not complain about the weather. Coach Dell said, “I don’t know whose decision it was to play” I guarantee the question was who decided you guys should play tonight? And he responded justly so, no complaining, no whining. The whole game there were blown calls for both sides. However, at the end it got pretty bad when the SJ receiver was thrown out of bounds at least 10 yards downfield from the line of scrimmage and the corner for Hillhouse intercepted it and there was no call. Also, the helmet to helmet contact was heard all over East Haven last night. If any bloggers want to talk about classless coaching they should be talking about Dyer should be reprimanded because after a SJ player goes down on the field due to head to head contact the Hillhouse players continued to taunt the injured SJ player. SJ players were forced to stay in their huddle and did not say a word as directed by their head coach.

    Raff, I don’t know where you were at the end of the game but I saw all of the SJ coaches walk over shake hands and congratulate the Hillhouse coaches. And how do you know what the SJ coaches said? Are you in the office breaking down film? Are you at practice hearing them coach? I don’t think so. So let the rumor be a rumor and stop trying to stir the pot.

    Dave K, Mueller and Raff how would you feel if your teams had those calls be ignored?

    And Mueller, did you personally speak to Coach Dell? Did you hear those words come out of his mouth?

    He didn’t agree with the decision to play and he admitted it hurt his team. I don’t see that as whining or complaining. There were two men trying to shovel the field as the snow continued to accumulate. No complaining, no whining, just stating the facts.

    Obviously it was a tactical decision to play the game last night for Hillhouse. However, wouldn’t they want to win the game fair and square?

    Coach Dell exerts nothing but class and instills that in all his players. Not a single word was said by them and the coaches kept quiet. It is frustrating when in the quarterfinal of the state playoffs you cannot find qualified officials and all Coach Dell did was state the truth. You cannot call the man classless. The amount of time and dedication he puts puts into this program for these kids to not only be good football players but to be better men when their playing careers are over. He has done a tremendous job and continues to be a tremendous and respectable coach across the league.

    Don’t be so quick to judge.

    And Raff how dare you talk about a player like that. These are kids remember? You should be suspended from whatever you do. #3 and #29 both got up and finished the game strong, yet you think you can call them out on a Monday Morning QB blog? Talk about classless.

    And SPB what about the hit on #29 when all the HH players stood over him and taunted? CLASSLESS.

  36. old man says:

    no ciac games should be played at east haven high school.

  37. Hsfan says:

    I don’t think weather gave hill house and advantage they run option the snow Hurt them more on offense probably

  38. Kyle says:

    Shut up and get over it, you lost the game and would have been beaten regardless. Man up and take the loss. I hate that excuse stuff. Excuses are like ……, everyone has one and they all stink!

  39. Raff says:

    @Class- I would like to retract my statement earlier about #3 Pelletier absorbing a brutal hit and apologize. I wish the kid well. It was not needed.

    @Class- I will not retract and I will say how disspointed I am in Coach D’s comments about mugging when it’s called press coverage and overall I have lost respect for the St. Joseph program. I actually was down on the field and I saw a brief handshake from Coach D to Dyer and he then stormed off chasing the refs and I witnessed Coach D cursing at the refs in front of players on the field. I will say I stand by that because I witnessed it. St. Joseph complaining about playing the game is a joke. This is football and I say buckle up and quit crying. Both teams had to run in the snow. The problem was one team was better than the other. St. Joe needs to lose with class and stop whining. It’s pretty obvious to the state and people in attendance last night St. Joe lost the game and the numbers don’t lie. Even in those conditions Hillhouse still had 395 yards of offense. Imagine on a dry field what they would do to St. Joe.

  40. Class says:

    Raff- Go watch the game film before you start saying how you lost respect for St. Joseph program. The receivers were being held all the way down field, that is against the rules of football and football is to be played by the rules especially at the state quarterfinal level. The referees should be able to make those calls instead they looked as if they didn’t belong there and that is a fact. I lost respect for the Hillhouse program when the coach refused to take charge when SJ had a player down and the Hillhouse players taunted him, you didn’t see SJ players approaching those Hillhouse players, they stayed in the huddle as the coach demanded. That is a lack of control by both Dyer and the referees and was a very despicable display of sportsmanship.

    It is funny that you only criticize Coach Dell yet refuse to look at the things Dyer did wrong or didn’t do at all. Also, it must not matter to you the language the parents, fans and players of Hillhouse were using during the game and after the game, which I heard firsthand. I didn’t even want to bring that up until you mentioned cursing another time in your blog posts. I believe that people get wrapped up in the spirit of the competition that comes with the game and things are said out of jest. So Hillhouse gets the pass, but Coach Dell continues to be lambasted by anonymous bloggers for what he may or may not have said?

    Coach Dell also never chased down the refs, he returned and talked to his team in their huddle closest to the woods as the refs walked off the field towards the parking lot. 34-14 is still a respectable game. The score was also 28-14 until the last few minutes of the game. Hillhouse also broke a few plays and give credit to SJ’s defense, which defended Hillhouse better than any other team they played this year minus Hand.

    And the same can be said for SJ, imagine on a dry field what they would have done? Why do you think 12 out of 16 games were canceled on “Super Tuesday”, but not SJ vs. Hillhouse? It was a tactical move, they knew they had the upper hand and that’s that. Any home team deciding on postponement or not would obviously do the same thing. No complaining, no whining, just the truth.

    And you keep bringing up losing with class? I believe SJ did that. The players and coaches did not throw any cheap shots, make any scenes or show any bit of unsportsmanlike conduct to the Hillhouse players and coaches. They congratulated them after the game and both coaching staffs shook hands. If you were Coach Dell how would you feel if you felt your kids had it taken from you by the terrible officiating? Isn’t it your duty to fight with the best of your ability for your team? Coach Dell did not make a scene and he certainly did not chase down the referees.

    Not a single player complained about the playing conditions and Coach Dell was stating the obvious in his answers with the media after the game. Coach Dell stated the same thing three years ago in 2009 in a state championship win over Montville that he did not think the weather was to be played in. And it was not, they postponed the following championship games to Sunday. SJ won decisively that day, 14-3, against a very good Montville team so it was a statement and an opinion, not an excuse or complaint.

    Watch the game film and get back to me on the officiating. Aren’t the referees supposed to be held to a certain level of higher performance that earned them a playoff game? They were atrocious referees to say the least. I believe any high school coach across the nation would have a hard time keeping their cool if calls were blown like that. I’m sure you can access the film since you were granted sideline access.

  41. SJFan says:

    To all the HH fans who insist that the conditions did not favor HH, please read the New Haven Register. Your own players admitted the field conditions gave them a clear advantage because of their style of play, which is mainly running the ball.

  42. Paul says:

    Could we stop with all this St.Joe whining and excuses please…. I wonder how all our Greenwich friends on board here are going to react after their game last night?I hope by their tweets last night they keep the focus on the game and not that one adult fan yelling at their players?

  43. Raff says:

    @Class- Wow- I guess my remarks sparked you to write a novel. Also you keep harping on what you saw and I know what I saw. Seriously though why haven’t you mentioned once the two Hillhouse turnovers that gave St. Joe the ball inside the 15 twice and they came away with zero points. Did the officiating hurt you there? Was Vazzano’s 4 int’s and the fumble on the 1st play from scrimmage caused by the referees? Sour grapes and St. Joe had there chances and yes I did read the Register and the Hillhouse players basically said we were prepafred for the conditions. All good football teams prepare for all conditions. I also saw many calls that Hillhouse didn’t get either so it goes both ways. You are complaining about a reciever getting dragged out of bonds. Do they play physical football at St. Joe?

    Like I said earlier St. Joew is handing in equipment and Hillhouse is moving on. Next time if St. Joe wants to call the shots tell them to earn the #4 seed. When you are the higher seed there are always advantages. Also the comments in the paper by Coach D really let him lose all credibility because people statewide are saying he is out of line. That was his choice. ST. Joe is so mighty but in football when they play heavyweights like Staples or New Canaan in there conference they lose. I mean St. Joe wasn’t playing Warde- Bassick- Harding or Wilton Tuesday night. Why act surprised they lost.

  44. 31 says:

    For the record, HH amassed 227 yards in the game and Vazzano threw 3 int’s. I cannot speak to the alleged actions or inactions of Coach Dyer but I do not that he was the first person to attend to #3 when he was cheap shotted on the HH sidelines and that was the right thing to do. The refs didn’t blow the game for SJ but the back judge was incompentent which, in addition to the weather conditions, was a diminishing factor to the SJ style of play. SJ usually has a quality running game to complement its passing game but the HH defense took care of that. Football is an emotional game and emotions can get the best of anybody in the moment but Raff, you’re just a jerk.

  45. Raff says:

    Jerk? I have been called a lot worse but thank you and thank you for your courtesy. The bottom line is you were harping about bad calls and now you are just blaming the back judge. I also saw the hit on #3 and I I will say it was rough but I can’t force the official to throw a flag. I am glad #3 was able to continue and he got back in there. I am sure the trainer wouldn’t have allowed him to go back in if he was banged up.

    St. Joe had so many chances to get on the board and the Hillhouse defense prevented that. If I want to comment on quotes that were made by Coach D that were completely ridiculous then that is my right. Saying your WR’s were mugged is completely sour grapes. Once again it’s called press coverage. Watch some football and get back to me.

  46. Ole #65 says:

    Here is the bottom ljne and I am totally biased. That was the worst officiated game i have ever seen for both teams. You can not grab and shove receivers in there routes. That went on all game. Another thing is it is supposed to be a point of emphasis on helmet to helmet hits for the saftey of the young men and that was not enforced. Ive been to games in both leagues and have seen that enforced. That crew was a disgrace to the game. HH played a great game and deserved to win but I firmly believe SJ was affected by the poor refs due to there style of play. Those reffs shouldnt even be given freshman games let alone playoff games.

  47. Ole #65 says:

    Raff, Thats was not press coverage pal. Press is at the line not 10 yards down field. Your a clown.

  48. SJFan says:

    Raff- the bottom line is HH knew the SJ receivers could beat them down the field, despite all the speed that HH is claimed to have. Don’t get me wrong, the two backs for HH are great, but that’s about it. Coach Dell is right in saying that the receivers were being mugged all game, and the refs allowed it to happen.

  49. hillhouse dad says:

    st joes line is big but they did not move their feet . they were holding and was getting away with it. the st joes fans should stop there crying and give hillhouse credit by preparing for the all are welcome to join us on sunday and cheer these young men on.

  50. Reggie Palmer says:

    ST Joe’s is yesterday’s news. Let’s move on to harangue, abuse, and vilify someone new today. Maybe the ECC?!

  51. Paul says:

    Ole and SJ fan-Do what you do best……Its BASKETBALL season.

  52. Raff says:

    PRESS COVERAGE! Coach D and his staff need to learn how to loss with class in the off season. From what I hear this isn’t his first incident from other FCIAC people with complaining and comments in the paper.

    34-14 The better team won! St. Joe I am sure will be back and when they get back to the playoffs I will say it again become the higher seed and then maybe you will be happy with the conditions, travel and whatever else they want to complain about.


  53. Dan says:

    @Raff- maybe the HH principal can teach St Joes how to lose with class. “5 vs7″ “5 vs7″

  54. SJ Alum says:

    To my fellow Hogs supporters, no excuses, no explanations we were beat by a better team. (I’ll show my cards now) My son is a starter on Xavier and Hillhouse gave them one hell of a battle. They are well coached and disciplined,their speed is phenomenal and they play to the end leaving it all on the field. There’s no shame in the success you had this season, use this loss as motivation, that’s how dynasty’s and tradition are born. Give credit where credit’s due Good Luck HOUSE on your journey!

  55. Raff says:

    @SJ Alum- Thanks for speaking the truth. The House vs. Xavier game in week 7 was a battle. It was 21-0 House 6 minutes into the game and 49-21 after 3 quarters House and Xavier came back and pulled it out 50-49 due to there kid’s believeing they would never lose and being well coached and prepared. That game actually showed House that there was no room for error after that loss and that 11-2 is what it will take to win Class M and it actullay fired up Xavier because since that game Xavier has outscored its opponents 272-54 and they have been rolling. Boyle is the real deal and you could see it when he was a Sophomore and coming thru the system.

    @Dan- Ask the principal? I think he actually he said 8 vs. 5 but I don’t discuss that situation because it’s none of my business and I am talking football here. How can I address that when I wasn’t involved?


  56. Frank says:

    I don’t know what the 8 vs 4 or 7 vs 4 thing is all about, but its tough to go overboard faulting a coach for things said seconds after a tough loss, especially in defense of his players. You would think SPB would weigh in just a bit, at least from a character standpoint, but he is predictably quiet on this. Sean, you made it clear you don’t want to be a homer, but being a frontrunner is nearly as bad. If you make your living adding editorial comment and opinion on this stuff, let’s hear it……..

    I remember the Staples coach made a mis-statement about a player after a playoff loss a few years ago and Sean was tripping over himself in defense of him.

    He’ll be roaming the sidelines in August sucking up for a good scoop, I’m sure……

  57. Dr. Von Nostran says:

    Not that I want to perpetuate this, but what is so bad in the quote below (at the bottom)? He even states that he didn’t think it effected the outcome.
    After the game, the players shook hands, and hugged…
    From my point of view, one team wanted to play in the conditions, the other team didn’t, and it showed. From the opening kickoff the HH players were excitedly jumping up and down while the SJ players were kicking at the turf.
    The difference in the game was that HH capitalized on all the SJ mistakes, while SJ didn’t. A handful of plays determined the outcome of the game.

    “I’m not a fan of it. It certainly didn’t help the timing of what we had to do. It didn’t hurt us as far as the outcome, I don’t think, but the whole time the receivers were a little bit slower and the balls were going a little bit farther. I disagree with the decision to play here today. I thought it was just raining. We came up here and the field was covered in snow and it wasn’t really taken care of well. It was tough for both teams.”

    In my opinion..which means nothing…the teams were pretty evenly matched.

  58. @Frank – Love these trolling comments questioning my objectivity.

    On Hillhouse-SJ: No excuses. Play the game. SJ doesn’t want to lose, don’t fumble on the opening play, convert inside the 10 two times, don’t throw a 98-yard INT ret TD… I sympathize, because I think the CIAC shouldn’t allow any kind of outside advantages. If there were 12 postponements (some of which were out of a coach’s hands, in school district policy or an admin’s instead) and of all the semifinals are pushed to Sunday, then just move the whole thing.

    That said, I have no problems playing in snow. And Hillhouse was pretty physical. Were there some questionable holds on receivers? Sure. … Some calls maybe should have been made. But in the end you can’t make mistakes. They compound any calls you don’t get.

    Hillhouse was better in the end.

    ADD: As for what Joe said, I never really ever fault people after an emotional playoff games like that, unless it’s really bad. He was mad his offense couldn’t run like it should in a game he believed he shouldn’t play. He was mad about the perceived lack of calls on his receivers. Stepping back, you’d prefer they’d handle it better and not make excuses, but as a reporter, who am I to wish coaches and players didn’t speak their minds? I love honesty. Makes for good material.

    As for the Staples kid, lets jog your memory: I don’t quite remember the semantics of it, but people criticized Marce because it sounded like he threw Matt Kelly under the bus by when he didn’t. The He or we “didn’t get it done today,” was misunderstood and we — as a news organization — got it wrong. Marce was the first guy to meet Kelly after that game was over. He literally walked onto the field and gave the kid a hug as the Cheshire players celebrated around him.

    So yea, I’m “tripping all over” myself to defend something that was pretty obvious and to blame ourselves.

    Hahaha … “predictably quiet” You’re out of your mind.

  59. Ole #65 says:

    Joe D may have a rep for getting on officials but in this case he was 100% right. I can’t even say the better team won because the game was so poorly officiated. I thought HH was awesome but Ive seen SJ play with Staples and thats the best team in the state hands down. It is what it is but I saw this debacle and I’m not taking anythging away from HH, I hope they win it all, but that was bad job on the CIAC allowing that crew to even be around kids.

  60. hillhouse dad says:

    what most people dont realiseis that hh defense coach came from yale with that college experience and it makes a big difference.also if hh did not have to play there guys on both sides of the ball they would be a great qb plays the entire game.he is the punter, point after,corner back and qb. he is also the brother of georgetown standout jeremy moore.

  61. Dylan says:

    Ole #65 I like your confidence that Staples is the #1 player in the state.

  62. Dylan says:

    I meant #1 team in the state, sorry.

  63. For Kid's Sake says:

    I am going to need to put parental controls on SPB’s blog page. I hope the kids don’t read what, I presume adults, are writing in some of these comments. All of the chldren across this state play hard week in and week out. They put their hearts, souls and bodies on the line. They are expected to play to 110% of their ability every week. And if they don’t, they are critized in print. They are children playing a game, not a professional athlete getting paid millions of dollars. And, the coaches devote hundreds of hours every year for minimal pay. Some of your comments show an absolute lack of respect for others. Who are any of you to judge? Especially judge coaches who dedicate so much of their time and children who are giving their all. Should we teach our children to not volunteer or play because of the possibility that someone hinding behind a fake name and the safety of their smart phone or keyboard are going to publicly attack them. Try setting a good example for our future generations. Just my opinion…

  64. Raff says:

    @Ole65- First off I have seen Staples and they are an outstanding football team but let’s wait and see first how they do vs. Xavier in the LL final if they meet up. Staples last year was smoked by Xavier 42-7 and Staples has been a team over the years ( 2009 vs. Cheshire) and last year as a team that hasn’t gotten it done. I know they went back to back about 6 years ago but that is history now. Staples beat Greenwich 48-30 and Xavier smoked Greenwich 55-14 last night and I know the Greenwich Qb has been out but it wouldn’t have made a difference at Palmer field. Also let’s not forget the #1 team in the state Hand (SCC also) who has a 24 game winning streak and it doesn’t look like they will be knocked off in Class L. Staples needs to beat NFA and Xavier in the LL final handily before we can consider them a shot at #1.

    Also to St. Joe fans- I know emotions ran high but as a coaching staff and as a team you never complain when both teams play in the same conditions. Anybody who watched the highlights or was at the game would know who the better team was. To say St. Joe would win on a dry field is just ignorant. I know a catholic school like St. Joe doesn’t handle losing well but seriously take some lessons from other coaches and teams around you. Sportsmanship goes a long way!

  65. GHS1973 says:

    The best part of the Greenwich-Xavier game was the brawl in the 3rd quarter wich took the cops to break up…Halted play for around 15 minutes…Greenwich was frustrated, and put on a late hit in the end zone…All hell broke loose then…Funny, but X got penalized for a face mask, but regrouped and scored anyway…They (Xavier) are big, strong, and good…Their QB has a big time arm which he showed in the 2nd half after Berry went out with a concussion…Greenwich couldn’t stop the Boyle to Luster connection in the air…

    I don’t know who’s better, X or Staples this year, but I believe the gap has narrowed…And, who knows about NFA?…I don’t…I just know they smoked an unbeaten Newtown team…I have to root for conference now, meaning Staples & New Canaan who are the only FCIAC teams left..

  66. SJ Alum says:

    First off congratulations to all the teams who made states (regardless of the outcome) Any senior playing high school ball would of loved to play “just one more game” for their team. That being said, this is the most exciting time of the year. Xavier firing on all cylinders, Staples focused on a mission, NFA out to prove to the state they are the real deal. Don’t count out Glastonbury just yet, wait til Sunday. I know Greenwich didn’t play their starting QB against X but neither did West Haven against Staples. X has shown more dominance in their wins against the same teams Staples beat (Greenwich and West Haven)and their schedule was much more demanding and physical, battle tested through all 4 quarters. I’m hoping a rematch @ Renchler occurs, Then we can wait 10 months for another rematch. Rooting SCC here! Xavier, Hand, Hillhouse!

  67. just a fan says:

    of the remaining teams who does everybody think most abides by the rules? i don’t mean by the letter of the law, i mean by the spirit of the high school football ethos. an example of this i mean a certain nvl team may not be in strict violation due to some good manipulation, but really has not had a star player that actually lived in the town prior to hs…in essence who plays the cleanest that has made it this far? just curious about everyone’s opinions.

  68. bigmac says:

    wow just watched the hillhouse st joes highlights and the st joes coach is the biggest sore loser, have some class give hillhouse credit, no team loses by 20 because of refs or weather. hillhouse had to play in the snow and it didnt stop them from dropping 34 on s.j. have some dam class st joe coach ur team got spanked by hillhouse not the refs or the snow

  69. Raff says:

    @Bigmac- Well said and that is what I have been saying. Both teams had to play in the same conditions and St. Joe twice was given the ball inside the 10 and they couldn’t do a thing.

    Even on the tape Coach D is cursing at refs as they leave the field in front of kid’s.

    34-14! It’s pretty clear!

  70. Just Saying says:

    Raff…Give it up already…Now it’s getting annoying…You made your feelings clear…We just don’t need to read it 15 times…You really aren’t that high and mighty

  71. Just Saying says:

    Sorry…You actaully posted the same thing 11 times on this blog not 15…My apologies Raff

  72. FauxRealism says:

    In the NFL you are allowed 1 chuck within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage on a receiver. In high school, the DBs are allowed to make contact with receivers as many times as they want, and anywhere on the field, until the ball is thrown.

    Why don’t more teams take advantage of that rule to play physical defense and shut down passing teams?

  73. Dr. Von Nostran says:


    When did this happen ” I actually was down on the field and I saw a brief handshake from Coach D to Dyer and he then stormed off chasing the refs”?

  74. FCIAC fan says:

    @bigmac @raff The fact that you’re still talking about Coach Dell is mind boggling. I’m starting to think this does have something to do with Basketball. He’s a great coach, he’s coached for years, the kids and parents love him and he’s produced championship teams. Just getting into the playoffs with the schedule they have is amazing. LET IT GO AND MOVE ON! Take some advice from yourselves and “have some class”.

  75. hillhouse dad says:

    this is to dan at#24 HH have to petition the ciac every year to play in LL it is a school with under 900 kids and girls outnumber boys so the football team is perfect where it is

  76. 31 says:

    @FauxRealism — wow, if this is true, something learned. A lot of that was going (some holding too) but that is a great point.

    I vote that nobody responds to Raff anymore…or anybody else that sounds like him.

  77. Dr. Von Nostran says:

    #24, #75 – In football, you are what the # of boys say you are. You cannot move between divisions:
    The “Tournament Packets” for each sport have a lot of useful information, such as playoff formats and dates and how the divisions are calculated (basketball).

  78. mooncake says:

    Greenwich DBs were the exact opposite of Hillhouse. From what I’m reading Hillhouse played aggressive, got in SJ’s grill. Greenwich played off 8-12 yds and played loose. X’s #22 Luster had free reign for 10-12 yd hitch patterns from the slot. My thought watching Boyle is that his short passing is excellent and his long passing not so much. His long ball looks a little flat and with too much mustard. I am sure Gbury and NFA/Staples will play bump and run on the receivers (esp #22) and dare Boyle to go long. OK take one long TD pass over 3 TDs on hitch patterns. Esp. if Berry is not playing.

  79. Raff says:

    @just saying- Coach D and St. Joe staff need to learn about sportsmanship.

    Also House 34 St. Joseph 14!

    Now add that to my posts

  80. Football Fan says:

    @Raff NO doubt the weather conditions were NOT in favor of Hillhouse.Very exciting to see them play on a dry,turf field.Unfortunately for Montville they will get to see that upclose on Sunday.

  81. Casey Olayos says:

    Just had to post on this because i think it is pathetic that you adults sit behind your computer screens like this and talk smack to each other over high school football..absolutely PATHETIC get a life.

  82. Casey Olayos says:

    why dont you tell “coach d” all of this yourselves? im sure he would appreciate the constructive criticism..seems a lot more productive than talking about it on here.

  83. GHS1973 says:

    X creams NFA in the 2nd half…Too big

  84. Dave K says:

    Congrats to the 32 teams who made it to the playoffs. Best of luck to those still in the hunt.

  85. GHS1973 says:

    Hey Casey…Lighten up…some of us are out of work, with nothing else to do..But love HS football…Consider yourself lucky if you have a job…God only shines on those who get it…

  86. Dave K says:

    Not to prolong this, but I think the point is that in an anonymous forum where people (mostly parents) can act as made up characters to defame, judge, ridicule, second guess or taunt real people, it is a little pathetic. All else is good clean fun.

  87. GHS1973 says:

    2 daughters & 4 grandkids here, Dave K…That’s reality brother..It’s beyond who wins or loses now…I justt wanna see/hear a good game..I have to deal with the XMAS presents for all, which I will, don’t worry about it…

  88. Casey Olayos says:

    exactly..if you knew about football you wouldn’t be posting on an anonymous blog site under an alias. lol

  89. 23 says:

    @Raff Do you not have anything better to do than sit on a blog and bash SJ. Get a grip dude. Who cares, clearly the team you support one, Give it up. Lets play basketball