No. 2 Windsor vs. No. 1 Hand
WHERE/WHEN – Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Saturday, 5:35 p.m.
ON THE AIR — Radio: WELI 960-AM | TV: CPTV Sports | Online: ESPN 3, Watch ESPN app
TICKETS — $10
COACHES — Windsor: Rob Fleeting (4th year, 38-5); Hand: Steve Filippone (24th year, 200-61-5, 6 state titles).
RECORDS – Windsor 11-0 (CCC Division II West champions); Hand 12-0 (SCC Division I East champions)
HOW THEY GOT HERE — Windsor: def. Fitch 38-7; def. New Canaan 27-21; Hand: def. Platt 55-26; def. Masuk 42-23
STATE TITLES – Windsor (0-1): None. Hand (10-6): 1976-M, 1977-M, 1982-MII, 1984-MI; 1989-MM; 1997-L; 2003-M; 2004-M; 2005-M; 2011-L
TOP PLAYERS — Windsor: Sr. QB Robert Quinn Fleeting (2,488 yards, 32 TDs, passing; 655 yards, 10 TDs rushing); Sr. RB Devonte Dillon (674 yards, 5 TD rushing); Jr. RB Jalen Berry (496 yards, 7 TD rushing through 10 games); Sr. WR Ryhieme Moore (771 yards, 8 TD receiving through 10 games); Sr. LB Cole Ormsby (14 sacks through 10 games); Sr. WR/DB Terrell Huff (451 yards, 4 TDs; Sr. LB Chris Traore. Hand: Sr. FB/LB Matt Walsh (10 TDs); Sr. DL Peter Gerson; Sr. WR Kyle Anderson (504 yards, 4 TD receiving); Sr. WR Caleb Ewald (936 yards, 9 TD receiving; Sr. QB Brendan Bilcheck (2,125 yards 17 TD, 11 INT; 696 yards, 10 TD rushing); Sr. SS Alex Tuccero; Sr. RB Ian O’Toole (858 yards, 15 TDs rushing); Jr. LB Dan Rogers.
WORTH NOTING – Hand has won the second-most CIAC titles (10), tied with St. Joseph (10) and behind Ansonia (17). …Filippone has won six titles, including last year’s Class L title over New Canaan. His 42-23 victory over Masuk was his 200th career victory. …LB Walsh is a UConn commit. DE Gerson will attend Yale. …Hand has been the No. 1 team in Connecticut since a 40-20 victory over Xavier on Oct. 12. …The Tigers have won 25 straight games dating back to last season. …It’s last loss was to New Canaan in the 2010 Class L semifinals. …Windsor is making its second appearance in the championship game. It lost to Ridgefield 14-13 in the 2002 Class L final. …Robert Quinn Fleeting is the son of coach Rob Fleeting. …The Tigers average a balanced 176 passing yards and 168 rushing yards per game. …Windsor allowed just 8 points per game in the regular season, the second-least in Connecticut. Overall it’s allowed 10 per game. …Cole Ormsby is committed to UMass and twin brother Lance is committed to Central Connecticut.
OUTLOOK — Windsor comes in as the once-jilted, now redeemed power from the north. The Warriors are a year older and wiser than a season ago when New Canaan rallied to knock them out of the running. This time, they held their ground and have advanced to their first final since losing to Ridgefield in 2002. Fleeting has established himself as one of the state’s best passers, and Windsor’s stable of backs and receivers are all tough to defend. The Ormsby twins lead a defense that’s perhaps a bit overshadowed by Quinn Fleeting’s fireworks. They’re a tough opponent. But Hand will be the most talented, most physical team Windsor has seen all season. The No. 1-ranked Tigers aren’t particularly huge up front, but they’re fierce, virtually flawless and just as determined to grab a state championship. Quinn Fleeting figures to have his hands full trying to stave off Hand’s fearless defense, led by Walsh and Gerson. If he can escape, he’ll have Tuccero and the Hand secondary with which to contend. Of more concern is how Windsor will stop the Hand offense. It was perfect in Sunday’s state semifinal vs. Masuk, especially the Bilcheck-to-Ewald combo which torched the Panthers for 185 yards and two TDs. Sheer talent and experience as seniors will allow Windsor to hang around. But by the second half, as the hits began taking their toll, it’ll be all Hand, all the time.
OUR PICK — Hand 38, Windsor 21
- Windsor football relishing trip to state final – MaxPreps
- Hand shows its back on track with semifinal win – Hartford Courant
- Fleetings, father and son, lead Windsor into football final – Hartford Courant
- Bloodied but not broken, UConn-bound Matt Walsh leads Hand into Class L Final – Ray Curren, Elm City Newspapers
- The Polecat: Ned Griffen rehashes the state quarterfinals (Hand’s Matt Walsh es loco en la cabeza)