St. Joseph meets Hillhouse in the Class M championship Saturday in West Haven. But does anyone remember the last time these two teams met?
It was in East Haven in the 2012 Class M quarterfinals. Hillhouse defeated St. Joseph 34-14 on its way to winning the Class M championship over Berlin at Rentschler field a week later.
Do you remember? That they played and the final score, maybe.
But we’re quite sure there weren’t many of you there.
That’s because game was played in a near blizzard at Crisafi Field. Very few people made the trek to East Haven. Though St. Joseph managed to bring a decent-sized contingent.
With snow in the forecast, it was one of just four quarterfinal games (out of 16) played that November 27 evening. Host teams Staples (vs. West Haven), Rocky Hill (vs. Hyde) and Berlin (vs. Bullard-Havens) all elected to play on their turf fields, as well.
None of them dealt with as much snow as Hillhouse-St. Joseph, however. (For Staples and West Haven, there was virtually none at all).
Fluffy while flakes turned Crisafi into a winter wonderland just as the game kicked off. Thankfully, wind was not an issue.
Still, Hillhouse’s decision to play the game incensed St. Joseph, which saw its season end in its first playoff game after winning the Class S title in 2010.
“We were told field conditions would be considered but … they weren’t considered,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said afterward. “But that’s life. They had to play on it, too.”
St. Joseph committed four turnovers and Hillhouse cashed them in all night. Hillhouse’s Derrick Gilliam recovered a fumble on the first series of the game, which led to a Facinete Haderia touchdown.
Later, Darryn Horner returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown to put the Academics up 28-6 at the half. He added a second interception to set up a late Je’Vaughn Moore touchdown.
“If we played on grass, we wouldn’t have been able to play this game,” then-Hillhouse coach Tom Dyer said. “This was a turf field. Not once did I hear my kids complain about the conditions.”
Indeed. Hillhouse’s Andre Anderson ran for 145 yards on 15 carries and scored twice. Hillhouse went on to beat Montville 48-26 in the semifinals and then Berlin 34-12 in the state championship game.
The following year, with many of the same players returning, St. Joseph claimed the Class M championship over Brookfield at CCSU, a game that was played… ironically enough… in a snowstorm.