Windsor's defense dominated and senior signal-caller Quinn Fleeting scored six touchdowns as the Warriors trounced Fitch High (Groton), 38-7, in the quarterfinals of the Class L football playoffs Wednesday night.
The win at Windsor's Jack O'Brien Stadium Wednesday brought Windsor's win-total on the season to 10-0, but it was just one part of the team's plan for the 2012 season, according to Fleeting, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns and ran for two more scores against Fitch.
The quarterfinal pits Windsor against New Canaan, to which the Warriors lost in the 2011 quarterfinal on a game-winning field goal.
Fleeting said he has thought about a potential rematch with New Canaan every day, dating back to the heart-breaking end of the 2011 season. He has daydreams about the loss, and has even watched a YouTube video of The Kick nearly every day (see attached media gallery for two videos of The Kick) leading up to the Wednesday's victory.
"I know we're going to be be very hungry. We're going to have to make sure we play through the whole game," said Fleeting of the upcoming rematch with New Canaan.
In the two teams' meeting in 2011, Windsor led 24-7 midway through the second quarter in the game, but failed to score again, and let the Rams crawl back to life, culminating in The Kick, which put New Canaan up 27-24 with mere seconds remaining.
If Windsor is going to avoid repeating history, they'll have to make sure they build on the momentum created Wednesday against Fitch.
Offensively, Windsor struggled against Fitch early, making it appear as a defensive slugfest as the game remained scoreless through the second quarter.
"We were just trying to slow them down. We wanted our defense to be our offense," said Fitch coach Mike Emery following his team's loss.
Windsor's defense, as it has for much of the season, held strong and provided a spark for the entire team.
Midway through the second quarter, senior defensive back Devonte Dillon forced his first of two interceptions of the game, giving the Warriors the ball at midfield.
"My assignment was to cover the flats, and our safety, Tyrell Huff, had over the top. He's a great player, so I knew I was able to gamble," Dillon said of his ability to force Fitch's quarterback to make mistakes.
Dillon and Huff's collaboration proved problematic for Fitch all game, as Huff was able to record two interceptions as well, bringing Fitch quarterback Devante Anderson's turnover total to four.
Following Dillon's first interception, Windsor was able to convert a first down on third-and-eight from the 38 yard line with a 24 yard pass from Fleeting to senior Rashad Ramsey (4 rec., 72 yards, 1 TD).
Until that play — a crossing pattern over the middle — Windsor unsuccessfully tried to use its speed and attack the outside of the Falcons defense. Ramsey's catch, however, exposed a weakness and the Warriors were able to capitalize again and again.
Windsor went in to the locker room up 19-0 and never looked back.
Fitch (8-3) scored its lone touchdown on a 78-yard scamper by junior running back Robert Johnson early in the third quarter. Johnson was able to around the outside of the Windsor defense, and ran virtually untouched down the sideline.
Fitch's score seemed to swing momentum a bit, as it forced the Warrior's offense to punt on its next two possessions, but it was the defense again — Huff's first interception of the night — that provided the spark for Windsor and culminated in a touchdown; this time on a 31-yard pass from Fleeting to senior Ryheime Moore.
Moore, who began the game with a few drops, including one in the endzone, finished the game with an impressive 10 catches for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Windsor will play New Canaan (9-2), which handed Avon its first loss of the season Wednesday, 16-7. The teams will meet in a rematch of the 2011 semifinal on Dec. 2 at a location to be determined. The winner will face the winner of Masuk (11-1) and Daniel Hand (11-0) for the Class L state title.
Windsor has never made it to the state title game.