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You spend eight weeks watching games across the state and drawing conclusions.
You think you know things. Team A has played well all season. Team B had a rocky start. So, naturally, Team A is going to win.
It's November football, thus it's time for THE CRAZY to begin. The underdogs rise up. The can't-miss miss. And the finishes get better-and-better.
Eastern Connecticut was blessed with THE CRAZY on Friday night. Middletown came down to play New London in a game shown at TheDay.com (CHEAP PLUG). The Blue Dragons were unbeaten and ranked third in both The Day's coaches' and New Haven Register media polls. The Whalers had righted themselves after losing two of their first three and likely need to win out to have a shot at the CIAC Class L playoffs.
Give Middletown the win.
New London rallied back from a 14-point deficit, and freshman Garrett Burdick nailed a 22-yard field goal as time expired to give the Whalers a 23-21 win.
Stonington lost its first two games of the season. It played host to Ledyard, which had only been beaten by ECC heavyweight Norwich Free Academy. Said Ledyard also squished Montville last week, 55-13. That was the same Montville that skunked Stonington, 49-37, on Sept. 27. Jeremiah Crowley ran for a state-record 526 yards against the Bears in that game, too.
Mark it down — Ledyard over Stonington.
(Takes deep breath) Stonington trailed by six points when Tom Dooley recovered a fumble at the Colonels 40-yard line, Divante White ran for a go-ahead 2-yard TD with 44 seconds left, Zach Poirier ran in the two-point conversion, AND Harry Calmar and C.J. Dipollino sacked Ty Ebdon near the Bears' end zone to end the game as Stonington triumphed, 28-21.
Xavier trailed Shelton by 12 points with over seven minutes left in its game, a Class LL eliminator. It looked like the three-time, three-time, three-time defending LL champs would miss this season's playoffs.
The Falcons drove NINTY-EIGHT YARDS on their final possession, culminating in Joe Carbone's 9-yard touchdown run with 9 seconds left to give his team a 15-12 win.
Thank you, football. And thank you for your November crazy.
• • • •
Here's a look at how those in The Day Top 10 state coaches' poll fared:
No. 1. New Canaan beat Wilton, 35-7.
Wilton gave the Rams hell. The game was tied at halftime (7-7), and New Canaan QB Nick Cascione had been knocked out of the game with a concussion. The Rams eventually pulled away with 21 fourth-quarter points. Scott Ericson of Hearst Inc. reporting.
No. 2. Ansonia beat Seymour on Thursday, 21-20.
Seymour gave the Chargers hell. It led 14-13 with over six minutes left in the game, and had a 28-yard field goal go wide right with 1:58 remaining. It was Ansonia's 37th straight win, the second-longest streak in state history. Doug Bonjour of Hearst Inc., Mark Jaffee of the Waterbury Republican-American, Pooch Diggity Dogg of JRC Amalgamated, and some dude all reporting.
New London beat No. 3 Middletown, 23-21.
Danny Maranda completed 18 of 19 passes for 172 yards and two TDs for the Whalers.
Co-no. 4 Newtown beat Stratford, 35-0.
Defensive end Jaret DeVellis had to fill in at running back when Cooper Gold had to exit after getting banged up in the first half. DeVellis ran for two touchdowns, ran in a two-point conversion, and had a sack and a fumble recovery. Andy Hutchison of the Newtown Bee reporting.
Co-no. 4 West Haven beat Hand, 46-35.
Syracuse-bound Ervin Philips ran 26 times for 267 yards and five touchdowns, and recovered both an onside kick and a Hand fumble in the end zone. Mike Madera of JRC Amalgamated reporting.
No. 6. Glastonbury beat New Britain, 34-6
Let's give some love to the defense — Ryan Trzcinski and Justin Kretzmer each had 11 tackles for Glastonbury. Carl Josephson of the New Britain Herald reporting. The Hartford Courant also has a blurb HERE.
No. 7. St. Joseph beat Fairfield Warde, 47-27.
Jordan Vazzano threw for 275 yards and five touchdowns. Hearst Inc. has a blurb HERE.
No. 8. Platt beat Rockville, 53-7.
Andrew McBride completed 9 of 16 passes for 194 yards and four touchdowns. Joe Virgillito of the Meriden Record-Journal reporting.
No. 9. Xavier beat Shelton, 15-12.
Joe Carbone ran 24 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns and completed 6 of 19 passes for 95 yards with two interceptions. Gentleman Jim Bransfield of the Middletown Press reporting.
No. 10. Norwich Free Academy beat Killingly, 56-12.
Boston College-bound Marcus Outlow ran for 260 yards and three scores. Marc Allard of the Norwich Bulletin reporting.
Other games of note:
• Farmington beat Bristol Eastern, 20-15.
Farmington's Jeremy Buck and Kenny Jones hooked up on a 97-yard pass play. Jones also ran eight times for 54 yards and two TDs. Kevin D. Roberts of the Bristol Press reporting.
• Stonington beat Ledyard, 28-21.
Zach Poirier ran 28 times for 160 yards for Stonington. Brett Poirier (no relation) of the Norwich Bulletin and some dude reporting.
• North Haven beat Foran, 28-14.
• Ridgefield beat McMahon, 44-7.
Will Bonaparte had 26 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 91 yards and a score as the Tigers hand McMahon its first loss of the season. Tom Evans of the Norwalk Hour, Richard Gregory of Hearst Inc., and Dave Ruden of his eponymous website reporting.
• • • •
Ansonia (Class S) and Newtown (Class LL) have unofficially clinched playoff berths.
Capital/Classical/Achievement unofficially qualifies for Class S if it beats O'Brien Tech today.
Thanks for reading. More later.
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.