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Fans hoping No. 1 Hand, No. 2 St. Joseph continue their collision course

Hand and St. Joseph of late have combined to receive all first-place votes in The Day's Top 10 state high school football coaches’ poll.

One of them will likely finish as the unanimous number one in two weeks.

The CIAC football playoffs begin Wednesday (the CIAC pushed the quarterfinals back a day to allow host sites to prepare their fields), and the game that every fan (and most players and coaches) have wanted to see all season is a Class L final betwen Hand and St. Joseph.

Hand is the two-time defending champion and seeded second in the division. St. Joseph is the top seed and has won successive state titles, too (Class S 2017, Class M 2018). Both teams had perfect 10-0 regular seasons.

The Tigers received nine of 12 first-place votes in this week’s poll. The Cadets earned the other three.

New Canaan (8-2) is the week's big mover as it jumped back into the top 10 to No. 8. It had the most shocking win of Thanksgiving week, a 20-0 victory over then-No. 3 Darien.

The Rams leapfrogged over the likes of Ridgefield (8-2), which beat New Canaan in Week 2 (17-14). The Tigers are 12th, and their losses were to No. 4 Greenwich (27-7) and St. Joseph (41-0).

New Canaan also lost to St. Joseph (58-14).

Darien (9-1) dropped to sixth, two spots behind Greenwich (9-1) despite beating the Cardinals on the road on Oct. 26 (27-21). The two meet again at Darien in a Class LL quarterfinal.

Cheshire (8-2) kept the respect of voters despite losing its regular-season finale on Thanksgiving. The Rams were stopped on a game-ending two-point conversion attempt and edged by No. 7 Southington, 21-20. They dropped two spots to No. 10.

New Canaan’s ascension back into the top 10 forced out Maloney (9-1), the previous No. 10 team. The Spartans are seeded third in Class L and the Rams fourth.

n.griffen@theday.com

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