It'll be the most hyped high school football game in the state this season, and deservedly so.
Friday night's contest between Xavier (Middletown) and Hand (Madison) features the top two teams in the Hartford Courant's state rankings. Each team is 4-0.
“I've been thinking about this game for a long time, No. 1 versus No. 2,” Xavier quarterback Tim Boyle told the Courant. “There will be a big crowd and a great atmosphere. What more can a player ask for?”
“Xavier is very, very good,” added Hand coach Steve Filippone. “They don't make foolish mistakes. Their talent and execution are at a very high level.”
Top-ranked Xavier, last year's Class LL champion, will carry a 30-game winning streak into Friday's contest (7 p.m.) at Palmer Field in Middletown. Xavier's last loss came against Staples in the 2009 Class LL semifinals.
The Falcons are averaging 44.3 points per contest and have outscored their four opponents 177-32.
Second-ranked Hand, last year's Class L champion, has won 17 games in a row. The Tigers are averaging 39.0 points per game, and have outscored their opponents 156-53 in their four victories.
Boyle, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior, has completed 46 of 79 passes for 726 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He has committed to play at Boston College.
Boyle is complemented by running back DeAngelo Berry, who ranks fourth in the state in rushing yardage (763 yards).
The Xavier offense will be facing a defense led by linebacker Matt Walsh and defensive end Peter Gerson. Walsh has committed to the University of Connecticut, and Gerson will continue his career at Yale.
It'll be the first time the programs have met since Hand posted a 31-16 victory in 2007. Hand leads the series 14-6.
The longest high school football winning streaks in state history:
Cheshire (49) 1992-96
Ansonia (36) 1975-78
Bloomfield (35) 1996-2000
Ansonia (35) 2005-08
New Canaan (34) 1967-70
Xavier-Middletown (34) 1970-1973
Fitch-Groton (34) 1999-2001
St. Joseph-Trumbull (30) 1981-84
Xavier (30) 2010-2012
Note: Stamford went 33-0-2 from 1911 to 1914; Derby went 33-0-1 from 1966 to 1970; and Southington went 32-0-1 from 1962 to 1966.
WOOSTOCK MAY GET RELIEF
The Woodstock Academy football program will likely move from the Eastern Connecticut Conference's Large Division to the Small Division for the next two-year cycle, which begins with the 2013-14 school year.
Woodstock's request was approved by the league's athletic directors Tuesday, but still must be approved by the league's principals next month.
Woodstock is 0-4 and has been outscored 174-21 this season. The Centaurs were 2-8 and were outscored 302-148 last year.
The ECC's athletic directors also voted on divisional alignment for the next two seasons. If Woodstock is allowed to move down, the league's three divisions will have a 4-6-5 format. No team from the Medium Division expressed an interest to replace Woodstock in the Large Division. The new alignment would look like this:
Large Division: East Lyme, Fitch, New London and Norwich Free Academy.
Medium Division: Bacon Academy, Killingly, Ledyard, Montville, Stonington and Waterford.
Small Division: Griswold, Plainfield, St. Bernard/Norwich Tech, Windham and Woodstock.
A PERFECT 10?
The seniors on the Bacon Academy boys' soccer team are playing for their third coach in as many years, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the team's results this season.
First-year coach Andrew Storton has guided Bacon Academy to a 9-0 start. The Bobcats will be seeking their 10th victory when they place Windham on Friday.
Bacon Academy has outscored its opponents 42-4 this season, and has recorded six shutouts.
Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering sports throughout New England since 1992.