State Championship Luncheon: Constestants meet at Rentschler field (video)


Players from the eight state football finalists gathered Monday at Rentschler Field for the annual state championship luncheon.

Players walked awestruck into the stadium’s banquet hall and across the field below. They mingled near each other. They took pictures. They dined on a massive catered lunch.

Oh, and they were peppered with questions by TV, radio and newspaper personalities from points all across Connecticut.

Not one of the players complained that the venue was too big. None of them worried about the atmosphere. They soaked it all in. Some didn’t leave the premises until after a good hour of walking around.

They were Gods for the afternoon.

So here we start. Four games, four state champions. Below is the schedule. Above is the PlayOn! Sports Network’s online broadcast replay. We’ll start previews later this week.


No. 5 Norwich Free Academy (12-0) vs. No. 3 Xavier (11-1)

FRIDAY, 7 p.m.


No. 3 North Branford (12-0) vs. No. 1 Ansonia (13-0)

SATURDAY, 10:35 a.m.


No. 4 Hillhouse (10-2) vs. No. 2 Berlin (11-1)

SATURDAY, 2:05 p.m.


No. 2 Windsor (11-0) vs. No. 1 Hand (12-0)

SATURDAY, 5:35 p.m.

Sean Patrick Bowley

65 Responses

  1. MXR says:

    Makes sense to me. Madison coronation party / Hartford area team gets the prime spot. The other bigger crowd game gets Friday, with the benefit that the fans have pretty straight shots from MTown and up Rte 2 — none of the whining from last year about Friday night traffic.

  2. eddysuds00 says:

    @MXR.. no one will whine this year because there arent any FCIAC teams in it from Fairfield County.

  3. UCONN says:

    Saw hand play yesterday… Totally whooped masuk up, they’re a great team and all but about half of those kids are probably on the juice… Just saying… And they are better than last years hand team… Walsh is the best player in the state hands down. You almost felt bad for the masuk kids getting pounded on every hit from the hand defense

  4. tony occh says:


  5. Brian says:

    Come on UCONN. That’s unfair, saying they’re on steroids. It could simply be pro-hormones or testosterone therapy.

  6. WCC of old says:

    As a SWC fan, it makes me VERY happy to see Newtown and Masuk both get an azz wipping!

  7. William says:

    Hey losers: Don’t make comments about programs and 17 year old kids, when you have no idea about the committment what it takes to be a program of Hand’s caliber. Yes, they lift weights all Winter and Summer, and compete in passing leagues, they make sacrifies, more than you ever have. Real competitors don’t cast disparaging remarks about nonsense, they try to duplicate it. Pay a visit to their campus and fitness facility, I bet you would swallow hard. Their coaches break their backs, coaching fundamentals, and breaking down video. Little kids can’t wait to put on the Tiger’s uniform. Ansonia is another program like this, and they do the same thing. They work hard. Now go back to the couch and take a nap, you loser!

  8. GHS1973 says:

    Interesting…So far the online polls have all the SCC teams winning, along with Ansonia (of course)…The closest in the poll is NFA-Xavier…I can’t see that upset happening, but who knows?..Didn’t see Staples going down either…NFA defense better get to Boyle though, or IMO Boyle to Luster will be hard to stop with Berry in there…Glad to see all the games are on CPTV for those of us who can’t get to the Rent…No dogs in these fights, just looking for great games to enjoy watching..

  9. Hoop says:

    Like NFA, Ansonia, the House and Hand this weekend. Outlow and Newsome most impressive runners I’ve seen this season. Hope UConn gets a reasonable chance to recruit Outlow.

  10. Brian says:

    I agree with William. It’s not like anybody from that team has ever been caught with illegal substances. Until the police get involved, or its reported in a newspaper, I’m not buying it.

  11. RAY BROWN says:

    NFA—-just a feeling
    HAND—–WINDSOR is solid but NEW CAANAN lost to TRINITY,do the math
    HOUSE—–BERLIN has trouble with speed
    ANSONIA—-im used to it

  12. Dave Lib says:


  13. mooncake says:

    I am a (defeated) staples fan. I saw nfa staples and i saw X greenwich. Let me tell you what I think about the final:

    1) NFA defensive front 7 will be bigger than anything X has seen. Not the front 4 but the front 7. IMO, NFA linebackers are way big compared to X. QB #11 plays outside LB and #90 is a beast. X: the LBs are big, maybe not so fast but big, period. The front 7 of NFA overall is bigger than X, no question in my mind…

    2) Almost all the big time NFA offensive players play defense (including the QB at outside LB). I think X is deeper. Part of the reason NFA bogged down vs Staples in the 2nd half (compared to staples’ mistakes) was the guys playing both ways (esp. the QB at LB and Outlow as FS). I think a close tough game will affect on one side of the ball or the other.

    3) Outlow #21 is not that fast. Yes, the most physically gifted Adonis you will see in a CT uniform, but not that fast.

    More to come as i think it through…

  14. ciacfollower says:

    Again, my pics (from the previous headline comments)


  15. SCC fan says:

    Saying that Hand players are on steroids is completely unfair. Those players work their tails off all year to get where they are now. William is right. Little kids in madison dream of one day becoming hand football players and none of them would ever risk that dream by taking steroids. Please check yourself before you accuse high schoolers of taking steroids.

  16. scc says:

    Hand btw is on juice. I go to college with a hand fball kid that graduated last year and he told me pesonally that some were on juice and some were on testostrone

  17. Can we keep this civil? And by civil I mean lose the anonymous accusations.

  18. scc says:

    Ill come out dont worry and i will bring the kid that played and told me that they did juice and see if hands really the number one team or if its bull…coach. and players shoyld get loked into lol

  19. ciacfollower says:

    @”scc” #18 – The end of that blurb made alot of sense…You’re obviously the one who’s juiced.

  20. FtballFanatic says:

    1. Yeah I would say they will be, its good for them that they have great athletes in the secondary, that should help. Glastonbury was able to halt the X offense for stretches, and they made Berry and Luster had to do more tough running than usual, hats off to them
    2.But X’s offense was just too deep to stop for long.
    3. Outlow seems to have a good burst in these clips, but it was kind of curious that he was caught from behind in the open field, but still a dominant football star in the making

  21. Xalum says:

    In 2005 hand players got caught with steroids they had to go to court. Once that stuff gets in a program it takes a while to go away and when then the coach encourages it. He said he bought it for his players before. So im not making this up. Also the team was accused last year. This program should be shut down but we are still not doing tests. Also I have a family member who was on the team last year and told me several players that did it. (I will keep the players names disclosed)

  22. Honus says:

    Talk about “juice” was for sure bantered about last year at the Rent. I won’t say which team, but suffice to say it’s either a vicious lie or rampant. There’s no middle ground. But is there even any CIAC violation for doing it?

  23. ciacfollower says:

    @ #21 – Sounds like another disgruntled X alum, & Hand opponent, that can’t compile a proper paragraph. You’re actually doing a greater disservice to your own alma mater.

  24. Cthsfootball says:

    William, I made zero accusations of Hand steroid use, but found it hilarious that while scalding people for making unsupported claims, you go ahead and make several unsupported insults of your own. Probably could have gone about that more effectively lol.

  25. Cthsfootball says:

    Ftball fanatic, I find your comments interesting. I haven’t seen Outlow in person but while the video does show he’s on a different level athletically then everyone else on the field, he doesnt completely jump
    off the screen with his speed like I would expect a prospect of his caliber would. Plus his stats dont seem as dominant as you would expect. Didn’t he not score a TD last game? I remember Amari Spievey in ’05, who went to Iowa and is on the Detroit Lions, he literally single handedly dominated games. He had 12 carries for 289 yards in one game. He was a CB prospect and from what I’ve seen I think if Outlow has these offers it’s as a CB as well because if you’re under 200 pounds without having Olympic track speed, Alabama is NOT offering you as a RB. He also has a good frame for a DB in my opinion, not a top notch D1 RB in the SEC.

  26. Hsfan says:

    I think outlow looks to be either a lb or safety at the next level. He is already 200 pounds. By the time he gets into college and a real S&C program he could be 230 to 240

  27. Hsfan says:

    Also I really hope no high school athlete takes steroids. Too young to be manipulating hormones. I think 99% of steroid allegations are false In high school anyone who lifts weights serious and gets bigger is accused of steroids.

  28. Windsor fan says:

    Do you really think 99% of steroid allegations in High School football are false ? Very naive. Many players ,not the majority, but a lot, have used steroids. Actually, kids who don’t even play football have used steroids, just to get bigger. Kids can get steroids just as easily as they get any other drugs they want. Or do you think they don’t use marijuana either ?

  29. Windsor fan says:

    And I would like to see Windsor win, but dont think they will beat Hand.

  30. Northern CT Fan says:

    You folks coming on here and bashing these kids and making unsupported and wildly speculative allegations should be ashamed of yourselves. Add to that all of the personal attacks between commenters and this is becoming a rather ugly place. Sean’s blog is a real treasure, but more and more I get disgusted when I come here and read the comments. THIS IS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL! They are KIDS. And I have no doubt many of them come here and read this stuff.
    Take your BS elsewhere and let this blog be what Sean and most of us want it to be – a fun place to come read and discuss the great game of CT High School Football. And stop all the nonsense!

    Lastly, let me say that Berlin will win Class M and I think Windsor is capable of giving Hand a competitive game.

  31. teamguy says:

    Outlow is faster in person; I’ve seen him twice; also very, very strong. I only saw him caught behind by Frusciante (sp), the super fast kid from Staples, and that was cuz Frusciante took a good angle. Outlow is impossible to arm tackle, and a lot of kids didn’t really want any part of him in the open field (not a criticism, I wouldn’t either!)He is best gang tackled; very big strong legs that he keeps churning. I think Outlow’s coach used him mostly as a decoy; was probably the best defense against his own player. It will be fun and interesting to watch him against Xavier. With all our great news coverage, how is was this kid such a secret? of course, that’s another reason it’s so fun to watch, getting to see “surprises” and “underdogs” win, that’s what makes it so fun!! Congrats to all the teams, they truly have earned it, and thanks to the Post and SPB for their coverage.

  32. Uconn says:

    Almost every high school team works hard in the weight room like hand in the offseason. But to tell me that some of those DB’s aren’t taking some kind of substance is ridiculous. They just don’t come that big in CT. I personally know Madison residents that are close to the program and told me they’re big on steroids up there… I’m not taking anything away from them they’re a great team and can probably hang with the top teams from New Jersey like don bosco or BC and will probably mop up Windsor on Saturday… I hope they’re not on anything I really do… But they’ve been caught before

  33. Ansonia says:

    Pump the breaks with the crybaby steroid talk. This Hand team isn’t the second coming. Their kids play the game the right way and sell out for eachother. The coaches get every once of talent out of their kids. Their QB is the poster child for overachievers. If you saw the kid over the winter you’d say there’s no way that’s the same kid. Give credit where credits due. By the way, there’s still one game to play do hold off on the parade.

  34. @Ansonia – Agreed. Wholeheartedly. Can we talk about fun stuff for now?

  35. Shoreline football fan says:

    The players that got caught with steroids were three incoming freshman and a soccer player. No Hand varsity player takes steroids. Its sad when kids work year round and get accused of cheating. Kids on the Hand team wake up every morning in the summer and lift with their team then most of the team goes to a private gym after that later in the day. Just because players are committed to something doesn’t mean they are cheating. Please check your facts before you make a horrible accusation of high school athletes like that. Your argument is just because hand is good means they take steroids. With that train of thought i could go off saying Xaviers phenomenal team last year took steroids. It just doesn’t make sense. Do not accuse high school athletes of juicing when all they do is work as hard as they can to be the best they can be.

  36. spike says:

    Dear UCONN, Hand or any other CT. team cannot compete with Don Bosco or BErgen CAtholic. These schools are recruiting machines.

  37. Dave K says:

    Signing off for the year. Things have regressed steadily over the past couple of weeks. Good luck to all the teams……

  38. Tim says:

    Do you think the CIAC will ever consider an Open Championship? Or a Final Championship. S vs. M and L vs. LL? How about the potential for a double elimination tournament? thoughts?

  39. PapaDags says:

    @ northern Ct fan, post #30…Well said, I agree with all the important pts. you make..Let’s enjoy these games for what they are…This is HS Football at it’s finest…HOWEVER, I’ll take this moment to respectfully disagree with your picks..I can’t see Hillhouse losing…in fact I feel they will win BIG. I love NFA’s chances and see a close game. Ansonia is a gimmee…(will also win big) and don’t see Hand losing. Perhaps Windsor can keep it close…If Nfa wins they could leapfrog Ansonia in final state poll..Who is # 1 if Hand loses and Ansonia and NFA win????Gotta give it to Ansonia….Probably too high of a jump to give it to NFA although beating very good teams. Lastly, Newsome breaks all time scoring in CT….AS A JUNIOR!!!!..This kid has another year…I knew he had big things ahead of him when I saw him play as a freshman…Unbelievable athleticism…..GO CHARGERS!!!!!

  40. mr fciac says:

    outlow is not a d1 prospect good player but doesn’t have the speed and football IQ to play in the bigs he is just a good high school player
    jabril peppers is the same size and plays in a much harder league
    and is dominate in all phases he is what a d-1 prospect looks like

  41. @Tim – Double elimination???

  42. FtballFanatic says:

    @Mr. Fciac-

    You’re out of your midn if you don’t think Outlow is a division 1 prospect. He has great speed and size, but even more than that he has the agility of lets say a harold cooper (a definite d-1 prospect) but he’s 5-11 and 200 pounds on top of that. Look at his highlights and not just clips from this ONE game to asses a player

    @Cthsfootball- lookup hios hudl, and you’ll see him trucking people, and then running loose for 60 yard touchdowns scoring on kickoffs and showing agility and speed rarely found with his frame. He can play RB, CB or maybe even safety in a few years potentially in any conference (alabama thinks so) just look out.

  43. @Mr FCIAC – Alabama, Oregon, Florida, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan, Boston College, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State… Etc Disagree with you on Outlow.

  44. mr fciac says:

    SPB well see

  45. Cthsfootball says:

    Outlow is definitely a D1 level athletically but I don’t think it’s as a RB at the top end of D1 powerhouses(Bama, Oregon ect). To me he seems more like a defensive back. Haven’t seen enough to determine safety/corner. Someone mentioned linebacker at the next level. There is no chance of that(atleast not at the Bama’s of the world).

  46. Xhs says:

    Spike, XHS of last year could. Don Bosco’s coach was there at the Rent and said they could.

  47. CTFB12 says:

    I hope the recruitment of Outlow isnt like the Boeing Brown fiasco. Remember that one? Going to South Carolina, Kentucky, etc etc. The kid didnt even play QB for his own team his senior year. I have seen Outlow vs Newtown and he is the real deal!!
    Good Luck to the kid I hope he ends up somewhere big

  48. Friend says:

    How is it possible that Hand is on steroids when their starting offensive line has players under 200 lbs. Also their best offensive lineman bench around 240 at max which is not close to some of the other schools. They only have two starters about 6’3″ and only have two players who can bench around 300+ lbs (in Walsh/Gerson). Hand is not nearly the most athletic team on paper but by far the best through how they commit themselves to the program and work together as a team. Stop with the misconceptions because of the fact that Hand is a very physical and relentless team, that was how they were coached and know how to play.

  49. GHS1973 says:

    Never seen Outlow live, but will see him Friday night on TV…All the hype now about this young man…I hope it’s all true to the good, but still feel they will have a problem with X…I gotta root for CT boys now to make it to the next level, and hopefully beyond…My team, and conference is out…Now I root for my State’s football players..

  50. cheshirecat says:

    Madison wins many shoreline titles in youth football which typically translate to high school. I have a hard time believing that the 6th graders are on something other than hardwork. We respect them for their continued excellence and try to model our youth program towards theres. They just do a better job selling football to their youth while many areas dont have the committment and time needed to do it right.

  51. ciacfollower says:

    @cheshirecat #50 – Good point.
    I’ve heard East Haven, which hasn’t had a winning tradition in decades, had an exceptional youth football team this year. Top-ranked nationally, any truth to this ? And if so, is this at all common in E. Haven’s youth program ? And will it translate to a turn around of it’s HS results down the road ?
    Anyone knowledgable regarding this ?

  52. another fan says:

    @33 saying “the kid looks nothing like he did last winter” does not help your case.Last time I saw that team it was a machine against a very talented Masuk team last year.I can’t say anymore than I already have on that.

  53. calming rain says:

    It seems to me this year we have maybe the most D1 players in the state weve had in a while… And what about matakevich a fairfield county kid and trevardo williams another fairfeild county kid making first team all big east… cant forget about redd and wittick both at usc two other fairfield county kids… who has produced the best players in the last ten or so years???

  54. #90 says:

    Thirty years ago this date New Canaan beat Naugatuck for then 30-year-old Lou Marinelli’s first state championship. Lou inherited a franchise that had not won a single game in 3 years (pretty hard to do) and was 8-50 in the preceding 5 years. It was Lou’s second year at NCHS. He went 4-5 the first year and has not had a losing season since.

    This is a game of passion and willpower.

    Congratulations to all the kids who dreamed of playing at the Rent and had the passion and willpower to achieve the dream. Congrats to the parents and coaches as well for their selfless dedication and love.

    Celebrate one and all. THere is no better game ever invented!!

  55. Cheshire cat says:

    @ciac follower. East haven has good teams at the 6-8th grade level. The 8th grade team was the most talented team in the league in three years they have not had a close game. The problem is that all there talent will get divided up and most will end up at nd-wh. They are doing a great job building but they need to keep the top kids from going to nd or x.

  56. SlickRick says:

    I saw Outlaw the last two NFA games. He’s a beast. Also plays a good safety on Defense. He ran by Newtown and was tough against Staples. I think he was used too much as a decoy against Staples and it almost cost them. The NFA QB is shifty too but no Outlaw. They should of fed him the ball and got some first downs and killed the clock. NFA played a good game, but not perfect. The QB missed Outlaw on a post pattern that I think he would of taken to the house. Outlaw had a pick that NFA could not cash in in the first half and they had a roughing the kicker that kept a staples drive alive in the first half. NFA is very good but with that said I’ve seen Xavier too and I think that Xavier prevails by 12 points. Staples played hard but they ran an option play with 2nd and goal at the two that NFA blew up with 7 min left. NFA recovered. I think he should of ran it up the middle out of the I formation to make it 30-28. Option is too risky on second down in my opinion. Anyway, tough call what are ya gonna do. Good luck to all the kids. Hand is a Machine too.

  57. ciacfollower says:

    @Ccat #55 – thanks for that follow-up & insight. Never realized EH started off with that kind of potential with their youth.
    Why wouldn’t they opt for a premium education / winning tradition when they can have it all tuition-free ? D’oh !

  58. ciacfollower says:

    @Uconn, #32 – By “DB”, you mean defensive back(s)?
    Taking a closer look at the baddest-ass back on Hand that I can see Alex Tuccero, who just made All-SCC and will very likely make All-State, he’s listed at 6′-0″ 175 lbs.& knowing the majority of these HS player’s weights are bolstered by about 5% on these rosters, yeah, that’s MONSTROUS.

  59. fan says:


    High school players do not get tired. They are 17 and 18 year old kids. Ansonia has been playing their best players both ways for years and it doesn’t hurt them one bit. The kid Milone from Masuk never comes off the field and he is as fast and fresh in the last minute iof the game as the first. C’mon man lighten up with that tired talk.

  60. Hand alum says:

    I played football at hand, grew up dreaming about playing on strong field, Madison never has the best athletes or biggest players in CT, we were just a bunch of kids who grew up knowing that we’d risk our bodies for our team to win, everyone on the team is close, to this day I would do anything for that group. Let the game be played, accusing high school kids of taking steroids is crazy, they’re just another group of Madison kids who know how to play the game

  61. Kyle says:

    Hand people,

    Don’t let the steroids stuff bother you. It’s just people trying to poke at you and get under your skin. All it is is the stigma from a few years ago sticking with you.

    I played for Ansonia back in ’06 and everyone kept telling us around the valley that our kids were on steroids, it was getting annoying but if you kick ass and take names people need to find some fault with what you’re doing. We had people like Kuraczea who went on to play at UConn, getting criticized of taking them.

    You people need to realize, these aren’t kids on steroids. They are Division 1 football players lol

  62. RAY BROWN says:

    steroids—-recruiting—–tranfers–unbeatable teams—what a great year for bloggers

  63. @Ray-Ray: not a great year overall for the kiddies down here, unless you’re an Ansonia fan. Even that’s been tough.

  64. Ansonia says:

    @Anotherfan, I’m not talking about his physical stature. If you stand next to the kid you wouldn’t think he was a football player, more like a golfer or caddy. He looked very raw and unpolished during the offseason. I’m sure their coaches are more then surprised with his level of play. Great job by him! His play is the main reason they beat X, he played out of his mind that night.

  65. GHS1973 says:

    @Ray…Who are you more worried about….North Branford Saturday morning, Or the possibility of the Bridgeports coming to the NVL in the near future?