"He's not running away from defenses, but he's tough to tackle," Filippone said. "He has great leg drive and tremendous strength in his hips. And he's very good at catching the ball. He played wide receiver as a freshman."
Filippone said Walsh would be the best player at virtually every position on his team.
"Matt is smart and he's relentless in his performance and preparation," Filippone said. "On the field, he calls all our signals. Off the field, he lifts the extra day to improve strength."
Yet it is Walsh's ability to help his teammates find their strengths that Filippone says is his unique quality.
"He is one of the few kids who really understands how to lead," said Filippone, who has won six state titles at Hand. "This is my 24th season, I've probably had about 60 captains and he's in the top five in that category.
"He has a great quality of not demanding of others what he does, but do the best they can do. He's not telling them be like me, it's you got to find out what works for you."
Filippone did get a chuckle out of all the reports how Walsh led Hand in the 40-20 triumph over Xavier with his five TDs.
"His offensive performance was overrated," Fillipone said, laughing. "He had the ball in his hands five times and he scored five touchdowns on like 27 yards. That's all we asked him to do. Defensively, he was magnificent."
After playing what Filippone called a lousy first half, the Tigers were down only 20-14.
"At halftime, there was no panic," he said. "I asked them, 'After all the hype, do you think those guys in the other locker room are invincible?' They looked me in the eye and said, 'No way.' They knew after the first half Xavier was just another team and we were the better team and we were going to win."
"They knew what was at stake," he said. "They probably played the best game they have this year. So did we. It was too much for them."
Because the entire Connecticut focus was on this one game, Filippone said, it was a bigger-than-state championship environment.
"Now all of a sudden we have to come out here, refocus and convince them the team we're playing this week is better than Xavier. Our message: 'Guys you climbed to the top of the mountain and you may only be there for five days.' "
West Haven better than Xavier? Really?
"I think they are," Filippone said. "They're not as good on defense maybe. With Xavier you've got to stop DeAngelo Berry and Tim Boyle from throwing the ball to good but not tremendous receivers. The whole deal with Xavier is Berry is going to run the ball on these three plays and nobody in 30 games figured out how to stop them. We did."
Berry, averaging 190 yards per game, had 48.
"West Haven can hit you from three different directions with different backs," Filippone said. "Berry lined up next to Boyle every snap. Ervin Phillips is going to be at wing, slot, fullback, he throws the option pass. You can't play a static defense. He can hurt you in a 100 ways. To me that makes them a far more dangerous offense."
Matt Walsh, soon of State U, will be ready.