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Man, this has been one daffy off-season. To wit(less):
* About a seventh of the state's 146 teams have had a coaching change.
* The CIAC's football committee has talked amongst themselves about the addition of a fifth division in 2015. It could either be an open division, an all co-op/tech school division, or for a fifth class.
* The Shoreline Eight of the Pequot Football Conference are looking for a new suitor. They talked to Southern Connecticut Conference commish Al Carbone Monday.
A source told The Day that those within the Shoreline have encouraged the league to speak with the Eastern Connecticut Conference.
Where to begin, where to begin.
Let's go backwards and focus on the Shoreline Eight today.
The Eight are Coginchaug of Durham, Cromwell, Haddam-Killingworth, Hyde of New Haven, Morgan of Clinton, North Branford, the Old Saybrook/Westbrook co-op, and the Valley Regional/Old Lyme co-op.
Sources said Avon has applied to the Central Connecticut Conference.
Enfield and town neighbor Fermi are merging in 2014. Fermi plays in the CCC, while Enfield belongs to the North Central Connecticut Conference in all other sports.
Travel is another issue for some of The Eight, albeit a much lesser one.
Connecticut is a small state, even if many Nutmeggers consider a drive from New Haven to London akin to crossing Asia.
On the other hand, we'd rather take a 45-minute bus trip one way then one that takes another hour.
Valley/Old Lyme lucked out next season as its longest road trips are within its division — Hyde and Cromwell.
Old Saybrook/Westbrook, on the other hand, has interdivision games at Nonnewaug of Woodbury, Stafford and Windsor Locks.
Whelp, the SCC has six Class M schools — East Haven (459 boys), Foran of Milford (474), Hillhouse of New Haven (451), Law of Milford (490), Lyman Hall of Wallingford (499), and Sheehan of Wallingford (450). None are "too big" for the Eight to play.
Odds are that the SCC would add a third division to evenly break up 27 schools. Reckon it would look something like this:
DIVISION I: Hamden (914), Fairfield Prep (908), Xavier of Middletown (881), Amity of Woodbridge (856), Cheshire (775), Shelton (772), West Haven (772), Notre Dame-West Haven (624) and Hand of Madison (616).
DIVISION II: North Haven (639), Wilbur Cross of New Haven (615), Guilford (551), Branford (526), Lyman Hall, Law, Foran, Sheehan and Hillhouse.
DIVISION III: East Haven, Valley Regional/Old Lyme (384), Haddam-Killingworth (334), Old Saybrook/Westbrook (332), North Branford (313), Coginchaug (283), Morgan (291), Cromwell (277), and Hyde (153).
That third division would be suit The Eight just fine.
(Hand was placed in D-1 instead of North Haven because of its pedigree. East Haven was placed in D-3 as it would be one of the shortest trips for the Eight, and because it's been the SCC's most downtrodden program — it's 9-61-1 over the last seven seasons.)
No idea how the SCC would schedule interdivision games. A school's size doesn't equate to winning, but it wouldn't be right to schedule a Coginchaug and Morgan against a Cheshire or Xavier. It wouldn't benefit of them either.
Aside from figuring out crossovers, the Eight and the SCC look like a swell fit.
The ECC may be a better fit based on both logistics and size (the majority of its teams are Class M or S.)
No offense to the Eight, but it's best they don't go to the ECC. And it pains us to write that as we have a special place in our heart for the Pequot and its small-town charms.
Every league in the state has its issues, but the ECC may be the most dysfunctional when it comes to football.
There's been too many times in which an ECC team has reacted to being scheduled against a slightly bigger school as if it were facing Alabama. On a field filled overrun by hungry wolverines. And they have to wear jerseys made out of Spam, too.
Eastern Connecticut Conference? More like Everyone Constantly Complains.
It doesn't help that Bacon Academy and Woodstock Academy, two of the league's larger schools, have two of the youngest programs and have struggled.
The presence of Norwich Free Academy is another issue as it's one of the state's largest schools (1,065 boys). That written, no one in the ECC complained about playing the Wildcats when they were a consistent loser in the eighties and nineties.
The addition of the Eight would force some ECC schools to move up a division to accommodate its new members.
Yeah, good luck with that. The league couldn't get anyone to move into the Large Division next season, resulting in a 4-6-5 division format.
Go west, Shoreline Eight, to the Southern Connecticut Conference. Fare thee well.
You've read enough for one sitting, so we'll save the other stuff for another blog.
Thanks for reading.
East Lyme returned just five players with any varsity experience and lost its first four games. It's made gradual improvement and downed Woodstock Academy last Friday, 42-7, its second-straight victory.