This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.Article Published September 15, 2019
The Hand football team began its quest to win a third-straight Class L state title by recording a 49-14 home victory against Notre Dame-West Haven in an SCC Tier 1 matchup at the Surf Club on Sept. 13. The win marked the 25th-consecutive victory for the Tigers, who are the No. 1-ranked team in the state.
Hand jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter before its defense even allowed a first down. Senior running back Colin McCabe had a huge game for the Tigers by rushing for 324 yards and two touchdowns to go with a receiving TD in the victory. Senior captain quarterback Phoenix Billings threw three TD passes and also ran for a score. Hand’s stingy defense held the Green Knights’ offense to just 110 yards and also forced numerous turnovers on the night.
The Tigers took an early 7-0 lead when senior Austin Doyle returned a blocked punt 12 yards for a touchdown. Two minutes later, Billings connected with senior Isaiah McNeilly on a 21-yard TD pass to make it 14-0. Later in the frame, Billings plunged in for a 1-yard TD run and a 21-0 advantage. With 4:52 to go in the quarter, Billings found senior Jesse Lutz on a 19-yard scoring strike to increase the lead to 28-0. Notre Dame scored the final touchdown of the quarter to make it 28-7 entering the second.
In the second quarter, McCabe broke loose for an 85-yard touchdown run that gave Hand a 35-7 advantage. Following a Notre Dame touchdown, Billings tossed a 35-yard TD to McCabe, and McNeilly followed by running in the 2-point conversion to give Hand a 43-14 lead at intermission. McNeilly also kicked five extra points in the win.
In the third quarter, McCabe took home a 24-yard touchdown rush for the Tigers to put a bow on their 49-14 victory.
Next up, Hand is hosting Middletown for a non-conference game at the Surf Club at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20.
The Tigers posted a 3-0 sweep over Lyman Hall in their season opener on Sept. 13. Hand took the match behind set scores of 25-17, 25-16 and 25-16.
Allie Nelson’s 15 kills and four service aces led the way for the Tigers in the win. Pam Englehart added four aces for Head Coach Ally Johnson’s club.
The three-time defending Class L state champion Tigers earned a 2-2 tie at Guilford in their first game of the year on Sept. 14.
Colton Finke’s goal off a pass from Scott Testori equalized the score at 2-2 as time was running out in the 73rd minute. Both sides had chances throughout the rest of the game, but neither could produce the go-ahead goal.
Hand controlled play and kept Guilford out of its offensive end for the first 20 minutes of the game. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead when Jack Wildermann scored from Testori in the 20th minute. Guilford scored the next two goals of the game before the Tigers rallied for the tie. Goalkeeper Eli Davies made five saves for Hand, which outshot Guilford by a 21-11 margin.
Hand was on the road to face Guilford in its season opener last week. The Tigers took a 5-0 defeat against the Indians at Guilford High School on Sept. 14.
Girls’ Cross Country
The Tigers started their year by sweeping a tri-meet at the Supply Pond in Branford on Sept. 10. Hand notched a 24-31 victory over the host Hornets, defeated Hillhouse the score of 24-32, and claimed a 15-50 win over Career in the meet.