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First-place votes in parentheses, record, points tabulated on a 30-28- 26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis, and last season's final ranking:
1. Xavier (4) 1-0 364 3
KNOW THIS: The Falcons start the year at No. 1 even after graduating eight starters on both offense and defense. A team earns that respect after winning 39 of their last 40 games and a CIAC-record three straight Class LL titles. That and they opened the season with a 30-22 win over Staples.
NEXT: at North Haven, Friday, 7 p.m.
2. Ansonia (4) 1-0 352 2
KNOW THIS: The Chargers are a juggernaut again as almost the entire offense and six starters on defense are back from last year's Class S championship team. Arkeel Newsome set the state career scoring record (758 points) as Ansonia ravaged Torrington last Friday, 52-7. Oh, yeah - Newsome ran 10 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns in the first 11 minutes.
NEXT: at Sacred Heart, Friday, 7 p.m.
3. New Canaan (2) 1-0 350 NR
KNOW THIS: Folks thought the Rams were going to be good, but no one thought they'd lead Hand by as much as 43 points during last Wednesday's 50-21 win. Almost no one does that to Hand.
NEXT: at Bassick, Thursday, 6 p.m.
4. NFA (2) 0-0 280 6
KNOW THIS: Running backs Marcus Outlow and Kahleed Exum-Strong, and defensive linemen Tuzar Skipper and J'Von Brown all return from last year's Class LL finalist. And now you know why the Wildcats received two first-place votes.
NEXT: vs. Montville, Saturday, 1 p.m.
5. St. Joseph 1-0 231 NR
KNOW THIS: The team to beat in Class M - if they can get through a schedule with enough wins. The Cadets return over half of last year's state quarterfinalist, including Jordan Vazzano. was 14 of 23 for 201 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another in Saturday's 47-28 win over Notre Dame of West Haven.
NEXT: at Fairfield Prep, Friday, 6 p.m.
6. Greenwich (1-0) 1-0 227 NR
KNOW THIS: The Cardinals scored just one touchdown against favored West Haven on Sunday - and they won, 22-21. They scored on both a fumble return and an 88-yard return of a blocked field goal.
NEXT: at Darien, Saturday, 2 p.m.
7. Southington 1-0 215 NR
KNOW THIS: The Blue Knights admit that their offense is a work in progress. Their defense looked to be ahead of schedule as seniors Zachary Maxwell (defensive end) and Zachary Jamele (linebacker) led a young and inexperienced group during Friday's 16-9 win over Glastonbury.
NEXT: vs. Manchester, Friday, 7 p.m.
8. Middletown 1-0 160 NR
KNOW THIS: It has coaching, experience, and lots and lots of talent. One can't go wrong with that combination. The Blue Dragons ran for 410 yards in Sunday's 41-14 win over East Lyme.
NEXT: vs. Wethersfield, 7 p.m.
9. Windsor 1-0 134 5
KNOW THIS: Last year's Class L runner-up had a tougher time with Manchester on Friday than folks probably expected. Matthew Walthall ran for three touchdowns, his last in overtime to give the Warriors a 25-18 win.
NEXT: at Bulkeley, Friday, 7 p.m.
10. West Haven 0-1 128 NR
KNOW THIS: The Blue Devils were among a handful of teams expected to contend for the Class LL title. They hurt their playoff chances by making too many mistakes in Sunday's non-conference loss, and they still have to deal with their traditionally brutal SCC D-I schedule.
NEXT: vs. Foran, Friday, 4 p.m.
Dropped out: Hand-Madison (1), Hillhouse-New Haven (4), Staples-Westport (7), North Branford (8), Berlin (9), and Glastonbury (10).
Also receiving votes: Newtown (1-0), 123 points; Shelton (1-0), 114; Masuk (1-0), 107; Ledyard (1-0), 82; Fairfield Prep (1-0), 55; Darien (1-0), 54; New London (1-0), 52; Farmington (1-0), 48; Staples (0-1), 45; Glastonbury (0-1), 41; Platt-Meriden (1-0), 29; Naugatuck (1-0), 21; North Haven (1-0), 19; Valley Regional/Old Lyme (1-0), 14; Newington (1-0), 12; Ridgefield (1-0), 10; Tie, Hand (0-1) and Rocky Hill (1-0), 9; Tie, Foran-Milford (1-0) and Notre Dame-West Haven (0-1), 8; Tie, Capital/Classical/Achievement-Hartford (1-0) and Woodland-Beacon Falls (1-0), 7.
The following coaches voted: Tom Brockett, Ansonia; Jim Buonocore, Ledyard; Craig Bruno, Naugatuck; Scott Daniels, Glastonbury; Joe DellaVecchia, St. Joseph-Trumbull; Steve Filippone, Hand-Madison; Rob Fleeting, Windsor; Steve George, Newtown; Tanner Grove, Montville; Tim King, Valley Regional-Deep River; Sean Marinan, Xavier-Middletown; John Murphy, New Milford; Marce Petroccio, Staples-Westport.
Read Ned Griffen's high school football blog, "The Lonesome Polecat," at www.theday.com.