Hand loses first-place vote after surviving Shelton

Hand remains atop The's Day Top 10 state coaches’ poll but lost a first-place vote after surviving a scare from Shelton last Friday.

Shelton, meanwhile, gained enough respect to move up despite three losses.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter to voters if you lose — it’s how you fared against top competition.

Hand scored with 18 seconds left to beat the Gaels 21-14, its 33rd straight win. The two-time defending CIAC Class L champion had beaten its previous 26 opponents by an average score of 46.6-8.3. The last time it didn’t win by double digits was when it edged Cheshire 20-12 on Nov. 11, 2017.

The Tigers (9-0) received 10 of 13 first-place votes.

No. 2 St. Joseph (8-0) earned the other three first-place votes. St. Joe's gaining an extra first-place vote may have as much to do with how it has blown out everyone this season as it has to do with Hand needing a last-minute rally to win.

Shelton (5-3) moved up to 11th despite its record. All of its losses have come against Top 10 teams — No. 4 Newtown (34-24), No. 8 Cheshire (24-12) and Hand. It also has wins over the likes of Norwich Free Academy (41-20), ranked eighth in the CIAC Class LL rankings.

The Gaels aren’t the only three-loss teams receiving votes — Fairfield Prep (5-3), NFA (6-3) and Wilton (6-3) have all impressed voters enough because they’ve played  tough schedules and/or have quality wins.

Darien (9-0) was third, Newtown (9-0) fourth, and Greenwich (8-1) fifth.

Bloomfield (8-1), Southington (8-1), Cheshire (7-1), Ansonia (9-0) and Maloney (8-1) round out the Top 10.

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