High school football previews / Week 9

Stonington High School's Zach Poirier, right, runs for a big gain earlier this season against Woodstock Academy. Poirier and the Bears can clinch the Eastern Connecticut Conference Small Division with a win tonight at home against Plainfield.

Friday's Games

Plainfield at Stonington, 6:30 p.m.

Records: Plainfield (5-2, 2-0 ECC Small Division); Stonington (6-2, 3-0)

Outlook: True enough, Stonington needs help from schools across the state to make the state playoffs. But the Bears have so much to accomplish, even if they fall short. It begins here. A win gives Stonington the Small Division championship and keeps playoff hopes alive. Plus, there's still a bragging-rights game with Westerly remaining on Thanksgiving.

East Lyme at Montville, 6:30 p.m.

Records: East Lyme (1-6); Montville (6-2)

Outlook: Montville rebounded from a disappointing loss to Ledyard with a solid win at Stonington last week. The Indians must win to keep their Class M playoff hopes alive. The schedule is favorable to finish 8-2. In addition, state playoff points will determine the outright ECC Medium Division champion. Montville may have the advantage if Ledyard stumbles the rest of the way.

Fitch at St. Bernard/Norwich Tech, 6:30 p.m.

Records: Fitch (6-1); St. Bernard (0-7)

Outlook: Fitch served notice to the rest of the league and state last weekend: The Falcons are a contender. They dropped 39 points on New London and have a great chance to earn a playoff berth in Class L. Fitch added a passing element last week to its running game, led by a strong offensive line and backs Saffwan Davis and Bobby Johnston.

Saturday's Games

New London at Ledyard, 10:15 a.m. on theday.com; 10:30 kickoff.

Records: New London (6-2); Ledyard (6-2)

Outlook: A very special day, a very special game. One of the league's great rivalries adds two components this season to make the game bigger. First, the circumstances. This is a playoff knockout game. Both teams need to win. Second, the atmosphere. The Day's live video coverage will feature production trucks, several cameras and a network quality feel. The game's producers and directors will do the same job a day later in Foxboro for Patriots-Bills.

Waterford at Norwich Free Academy, 1 p.m.

Records: Waterford (3-5); NFA (8-0)

Outlook: NFA has all but secured a state Class LL playoff berth. (The Wildcats, however, cannot play host to a quarterfinal game per a new CIAC rule stipulating that all quarterfinal sites must have permanent lights). Still, it's been a memorable season. NFA has established itself as the league's best team.

Cromwell at Valley Regional/Old Lyme, 6:30 p.m.

Records: Cromwell (6-2, 6-2 Pequot Sassacus); Valley/Old Lyme (5-2, 5-2)

Outlook: Cromwell is one of the best teams Valley/Old Lyme has played this season. The winner keeps its playoff hopes alive and moves into sole possession of third place in the Pequot Sassacus.

- Mike DiMauro


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