The Hillhouse football team qualified for the state playoffs with an 8-2 record. The fact they did that after the season, and off-season, they had, is a testament to their perseverance and toughness.
The Academics won their first game easily but then fell to Daniel Hand of Madison. They were able to eke out a 20-18 win over Guilford or they might not have qualified.
The next week Hillhouse played three of the best quarters any high school football team could ever play. The Acs led two-time state champion Xavier 49-21 after three quarters only to see the Falcons come back and win the game 50-49.
It would have been easy for Hillhouse to feel sorry for itself but instead the Acs finished the season by outscoring its last three opponents 133-7 to finish 8-2 and clinch the fourth spot in the Class M state playoffs.
Hillhouse season results
- Foran W 55-34
- Daniel Hand L 19-37
- Branford W 32-18
- Jonathan Law W 47-0
- North Haven W 27-14
- Guilford W 20-18
- Xavier L 49-50
- Lyman Hall W 46-0
- Sheehan W 45-7
- Wilbur Cross W 42-0
In reading about the case of Dyer in newspaper articles, it is hard to tell if he was just trying to help one of his players because of a wording of a course offering or trying to keep a player eligible.
In this excerpt from the New Haven Register, it sounds like Dyer is a model coach, trying to help his players:
When asked if there is pressure on teachers or coaches to help athletes headed for NCAA sports positions, former Hillhouse coach Bob Purcell said there is not.
“Athletes get the perception of getting extra help, but from what I’ve seen, it’s not true at all,” he said. “Athletes seek out extra help because of time constraints (due to practice and games).”
Purcell added that Hillhouse football coach Tom Dyer runs an after-school study hall every day for the whole team, and attendance is mandatory. He completes weekly progress reports for players.
“Everything he has done has always been with concern of students’ academic success first and foremost, regardless of winning on the field,” Purcell said. “It’s a totally ethical and honorable program and I’m disgusted by the report. There were so many allegations that were truly not looked into enough.”
The report, however, alleges that Dyer has said he was concerned about references to summer school on transcripts and the Hillhouse students’ NCAA eligibility to play college football.
Changes in summer school records were made after Dyer and Principal Kermit Carolina went to see retired teacher Edward Scarpa, who works part-time at Hillhouse, and he changed the transcript, with Carolina’s knowledge, the report says. Carolina maintains he did not know details of what was being changed, the report says.
To read about the grade tampering scandal, go here.