The Day's final Top 10 H.S. football poll
First-place votes in parentheses, final record, points tabulated on a 30-28- 26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis, and previous ranking:
1. Hand (11) 13-0 386 1
KNOW THIS: It won its second straight CIAC Class L title. It has won 26 straight games. And it beat state champions Hillhouse and Xavier. Any questions?
2. Ansonia (2) 14-0 354 3
KNOW THIS: You want to argue that the Class S champion Chargers were the state's best team? Go ahead. You've got a good case.
3. Xavier 12-1 348 5
KNOW THIS: It made state history by winning a third straight Class LL title. It also did so succeeding against a ridiculous schedule - its opponents were a combined 99-44, best in the state.
4. Hillhouse 11-2 302 NR
KNOW THIS: One needs to know just how bad things used to be for the Academics to truly appreciate what they've accomplished of late. They had just three winning seasons from 1990-2001 and were 47-78-1. Former head coach Eric Barbarito, his staff and the community turned the program around. Current head coach Tom Dyer has kept it going. And Hillhouse has won four state titles since 2002, including two in the last three seasons.
5. Windsor 11-1 288 4
KNOW THIS: The Warriors have enjoyed two unbeaten seasons and made it to Saturday's Class L final. That's a pretty good run.
6. Norwich Free Academy 12-1 258 8
KNOW THIS: The Wildcats were looking for respect prior to the Class LL playoffs. They earned it after knocking off the two-time Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference champion (Staples) and South-West Conference champion (Newtown).
7. Staples 10-1 238 2
KNOW THIS: Its only loss was by two points (30-28) in the Class LL semifinals to NFA.
8. North Branford 12-1 169 NR
KNOW THIS: The Thunderbirds gained some believers after blitzing their way to the Class S final, and for giving Ansonia some trouble in Saturday's title game.
9. Berlin 11-2 168 NR
KNOW THIS: It played to win during Saturday's Class M final. It was doing great and led by six points late in the third quarter when Redcoats coach John Capodice opted to go for it on fourth-and-one from his team's own 23-yard line. Hillhouse stopped them and dominated on its way to a 34-12 win.
10. Glastonbury 10-2 156 T9
KNOW THIS: It continued the program's run of excellence by qualifying for the state tournament for the fifth straight year. Its only losses were to Xavier in the LL semis and Southington during the regular season. The Tomahawks even got revenge on the latter, beating it during the state quarterfinals.
Dropped out: Southington (6), Newtown (7), and Greenwich (T9).
Also receiving votes: Southington (10-1), 124 points; Masuk (10-2), 117; Newtown (10-1), 107; West Haven (8-3), 61; Tie, Greenwich (8-2) and Middletown (8-3), 52; New Canaan (9-3), 44; North Haven (7-3), 35; St. Joseph (8-3), 15; Wolcott (9-2), 10; Montville (9-3), 8; Tie, Weston (9-3) and Woodland (8-4).
The following coaches voted: Tom Brockett, Ansonia; Jim Buonocore, Ledyard; Craig Bruno, Bunnell; Dave Cadelina, Bridgeport Central; Steve Filippone, Hand; Rob Fleeting, Windsor; Tanner Grove, Montville; Jude Kelly, St. Paul; Tim King, Valley Regional; Sean Marinan, Xavier; John Murphy, Masuk; Marce Petroccio, Staples; Bob Zito, Maloney.
Note: Go to www.theday.com to read Ned Griffen's state high school football notebook.