PLAYOFFS~!?! Yeah, we talk about playoffs (sorta' updated)

Howdy,

Okay, listen up as I'm about to (try to) explain the CIAC football playoff race.

The attached are the most brief and logical scenarios. Anything more than that would make both of our skulls explode.

Remember to print a copy and take it with you to Thanksgrabbing Eve and Day games. Don't forget to share as it is, after all, the holiday season.

Check back later around 11 tonight as I'll update everything. That's how much love I have in my heart for you. Yes, YOU.

A QUICK NOTE: Darien High has benched five players who are believed to have vandalized New Canaan High, according to the Connecticut Post. A source said that two are Blue Wave starters. Yeah, that could change the game as well as the complexion of Class L.

First, a quick rundown of the most important games:

Cromwell (6-3, 5-3 Pequot Sassacus) vs. Coginchaug-Durham (7-2, 6-2) at Middletown High, Thanksgrabbing Eve, 6:30 p.m.

The state's game where it's all-or-nothing game for both teams. A Class S berth goes to the winner, the loser won't be chatty at Thanksgiving dinner.

East Catholic-Manchester (2-7) at Cheney Tech-Manchester (7-2), Thanksgrabbing Eve, 6:30 p.m.

If East Catholic wins, then the door is wide-open to some M teams outside the top eight (such as Ledyard and Waterford).

SWC championship: No. 2 Masuk-Monroe (9-0, 5-0 SWC Colonial) at Newtown (8-1, 2-1), Thanksgrabbing Eve, 7 p.m.

Newtown must win to qualify for L. If it does, then LL gets nutty.

St. Joseph-Trumbull (7-2) at Trumbull (8-2), Thanksgrabbing Eve, 7 p.m.

A key game for both LL and S seeding.

Bethel (7-2, 2-3 SWC Colonial) at Brookfield (7-2, 3-2), Thanksgrabbing, 10 a.m.

A win earns Brookfield a M home quarterfinal. Bethel is a long shot to qualify for M with a win. Neither can afford to fail.

No. 9 Staples-Westport (8-1) at Greenwich (5-4), Thanksgrabbing, 10 a.m.

Staples must win to qualify for LL. It would be nearly impossible for it to qualify with a loss.

Cheshire (4-5) at Southington (8-1), Thanksgrabbing, 10 a.m.

Southington qualifies for LL with a win. It isn't out with a loss, but it won't be easy.

No. 7 Norwich Free Academy (9-0, 3-0 ECC Large) at New London (8-1, 3-0), Thanksgrabbing, 10 a.m.

The nation's oldest high school football rivalry affects the seeding in two divisions (LL and M).

Platt-Meriden (7-2) vs. Maloney-Meriden (8-1) at FALCON FIELD~!, Meriden, Thanksgrabbing, 10:30 a.m.

Maloney most likely qualifies for L with a win. A Platt win should jet it into the M playoffs.

NVL championship game: Naugatuck (8-1) at No. 6 Ansonia (9-0), Thanksgrabbing, 10:30 a.m.

Winner gets both the NVL title and bragging rights. A win could Ansonia the top seed in S. It's also a make-or-break game for Naugatuck. Win and it qualifies for L; lose and its fried.

No. 5 New Canaan (8-1, 4-1 FCIAC East) at No. 3 Darien (10-0, 5-0), Thanksgrabbing, 10:30 a.m.

Darien has qualified for L and is playing for a home quarterfinal. New Canaan must win or it doesn't get to shoot for its fifth-straight state title.

Hillhouse-New Haven (6-3) at Wilbur Cross-New Haven (4-5), Thanksgrabbing, 10:30 a.m.

A win may slingshot Hillhouse into the M playoffs. A Platt win could foul that up, though.

Now, on to the playoff scenarios:

CLASS LL

IN: Xavier of Middletown (9-0), Norwich Free Academy (9-0), Glastonbury (9-1) and Trumbull (8-1).

1. Xavier: Clinches a home quarterfinal with a win over Middletown (7-2) on Thanksgiving, or if either Newtown (vs. Masuk) or Trumbull (vs. St. Joseph) lose on Thanksgrabbing Eve.

2. NFA: Clinches a home quarterfinal with a win at New London (8-1), or a Newtown or Trumbull loss.

3. Glastonbury: It finished its regular season. It would earn a home quarterfinal with a loss by either Newtown or Trumbull. It might pass NFA if the latter lost.

4. Trumbull: Clinches a home game with a win.

5. Southington (8-1): In with a win.

6. Newtown (8-1): Ditto.

7. Staples (8-1): Ditto.

8. Conard (8-2): It's close, but it would help if either Southington, Newtown or Staples failed as West Haven could pass it on points. Conard has a 1,210 point minimum with 30 bonuses. A Westies win over Fairfield Prep (3-6) starts them at 1,090 with 50 bonuses.

9. Hall (8-2): It can't pass Conard as the two share three bonus games. That leaves Hall with one other bonus (South Windsor over Rockville, which is likely). Its best hope is losses by three of the following — Southington, Newtown, Staples, West Haven or Pomperaug of Southbury.

10. West Haven (7-2): It needs to beat Prep and hope one of the following fails — Southington, Newtown or Staples. Even then, it's no sure thing because of bonus points. It would be better, then, if two of those three lost.

11. Pomperaug (7-2): Beat Oxford (5-4) and hope that many teams ahead of it fail.

CLASS L

IN: Masuk of Monroe (9-0) and Darien (9-0).

1. Masuk: Has already clinched a home quarterfinal.

2. Darien: Earns a home quarterfinal with a win over New Canaan (8-1).

Everyone from here-on-in must win as the class is too congested for an 8-2 team to qualify.

3. Hand of Madison (8-1): In with a win over Guilford (5-4) and likely gets a home quarterfinal.

4. Wethersfield (8-1): In with a win over winless Newington and could earn a home quarterfinal.

5. Naugatuck (8-1): In with a win over Ansonia (9-0). That might also get it a home quarterfinal.

The next group are in a footrace:

6. North Haven (8-1): A win over Amity of Woodbridge (4-5) starts it at 1,200 points. It needs one of its two bonus games to edge out Bristol Eastern — Trinity Catholic of Stamford (3-6) over Wilton (3-6), or Foran of Milford (4-5) over town-rival Law (3-6).

7. Maloney of Meriden (8-1): A win over town-rival Platt (7-2) starts it at 1,190. It has 60 bonuses, many which look shaky. A loss by Naugatuck, New Canaan or North Haven would help.

8. Bristol Eastern (8-1): A win over Bristol Central (1-8) starts it at 1,120. It would max out at 1,200 with all 80 of its bonuses. Its bonuses aren't too promising, though, so a Naugatuck, North Haven or New Canaan loss would be to its benefit.

9. New Canaan (8-1): A win over Darien and one of four bonuses games gets it past Eastern. Its best bonus is Bridgeport Central (5-4) over city-rival Harding (2-7).

10. Avon (8-2): It finished the regular season and will have with either 1,120 or 1,130 points, depending on whether or not Housatonic Regional/Wamogo (5-4) beats Gilbert/Northwestern Regional of Winsted (7-2). The Falcons aren't in good shape.

11. Windsor (7-2): Beat Bloomfield (4-5) and pray.

12. Middletown (7-2): Beat Xavier and pray.

CLASS M

IN: Berlin (9-0), New London (8-1) and Plainville (8-1).

1. Berlin: Earned a home quarterfinal.

2. New London: Ditto. A win over NFA and bonuses could earn it the top seed, too, even if Berlin beats New Britain (1-8).

3. Plainville: Gets a home quarter with a win over Northwest Catholic of West Hartford (3-6).

4. Brookfield (7-2): In with a win over Bethel (6-3).

5. Coventry/Windham Tech (7-2): Likely in with a win over Ellington/Somers (5-4) - Platt could pass it with a win.

6. Gilbert/Northwestern Regional (7-2): Likely In with a win over Housatonic/Winnebago - Platt could pass it with a win.

7. Lyman Hall of Wallingford (7-2): Likely in with a win over town-rival Sheehan (2-7) - Platt blah-blah-blah-blah.

The following four teams would fight it out for the eighth and final spot should everyone win.

8. Cheney Tech of Manchester (7-2): Starts at 1,030 with a win over East Catholic of Manchester (2-7). Has 50 bonuses, less than half which are promising.

9. Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech (7-2): A win over Killingly starts it at 1,000. It has only 30 bonuses, two of which look hopeless.

10. Hillhouse of New Haven (6-3): Starts at 1,020 with a win over city-rival Wilbur Cross (4-5). It has 40 bonuses, 20 which are hopeless.

11. Platt: Boom-or-bust. A win over Maloney gets it to 1,060, eliminating P/T/E. One of five bonuses gets it past Hillhouse. Two bonuses mean that Cheney is cooked.

The rest are alive, but in need of help.

12. Enfield (6-3): Plays winless Granby.

13. Waterford (6-3): Plays at East Lyme (5-4).

14. Ledyard (6-3): Plays at Fitch (6-3).

15. Bethel (6-3): Plays at Brookfield.

16. Watertown (6-3): Plays at Torrington (6-3).

17. Wolcott (6-3): Plays at Holy Cros of Waterbury (5-4).

CLASS S

Qualified: Valley Regional/Old Lyme (9-0), Ansonia (9-0), Montville (8-1), St. Joseph of Trumbull (8-1) and Hyde of New Haven (7-2).

1. Valley: Already earned a home quarterfinal.

2. Ansonia: Ditto.

3. Montville: Ditto.

4. St. Joseph: Gets a home quarterfinal with a win over Trumbull.

5. Hyde: Could get a home game with a win over North Branford (5-4) and a St. Joseph loss.

6. Woodland of Beacon Falls (6-3): In with a win over winless Seymour. A Coginchaug of Durham loss to Cromwell would almost do it, too.

7. Sacred Heart of Waterbury (6-3): In with a win over fellow Waterbury-ian Wilby (1-8).

8. Coginchaug (7-2): In with a win over Cromwell (6-3). That would scoot it past Woodland and probably Sacred Heart, too.

9. Cromwell: In with a win over Coginchaug.

10. North Branford: A win over Hyde nets it 930 points with 30 bonuses. It's best chance are losses by both Sacred Heart and Cromwell. It would pass Cromwell, but would struggle to keep pace with the Hearts as the latter has 60 bonuses.

Got all that? Probably not as I don't.

Vaya con dios.

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