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Glastonbury - Norwich Free Academy's smaller competitors within the Eastern Connecticut Conference, perhaps even those without a sinister sense of humor, likely view tonight's football game against Glastonbury with one word: finally.
Yes. The Wildcats finally get to pick on someone their own size. Literally.
NFA and its 2,345 students dwarf the remainder of the ECC, leaving some of its league brethren carping occasionally about competitive imbalance. Tonight, however, the Wildcats get Glastonbury and its more than 2,200 students, a game between the state's fourth- and fifth-largest schools.
It wouldn't even be a stretch to think that two schools 34 miles apart with such similar enrollments could be conference mates. For now, though, they'll settle for a nonconference game that is among the state's most anticipated this season.
NFA (2-0) is ranked third in the state media poll and fourth in the state coaches' poll. Glastonbury (2-1) has made the playoffs the last four years, is a four-time state champion since 1984 and has won two straight games since a season opening loss.
Theday.com begins coverage of tonight's game at 6:15.
The game also offers a glimpse of two of Connecticut's best players.
NFA running back Marcus Outlow, who is headed to Boston College, and Glastonbury quarterback Jalen Ollie, the son of UConn men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie.
Outlow ran for more than 100 yards last week against Fitch, while Ollie threw for 302 yards and accounted for four touchdowns (two running, two passing) in a 42-28 win over South Windsor.
"He's a versatile guy," Glastonbury coach Scott Daniels said of Ollie. "He's slippery. He's quick on his feet. He's very balanced and doesn't take big hits. Guys don't really blow him out. He's able to avoid big-time contact, and it's been a pleasant surprise for us.
"It helps when the quarterback can run when the pocket breaks down."
The teams have very little history between them, but shared a common opponent from last season: defending Class LL champion Xavier.
"NFA will keep opponents off balance with their misdirection on offense, which they do very well and will have a solid defense," said Xavier coach Sean Marinan, whose team played NFA and Glastonbury in the playoffs last season. "Glastonbury will look to establish the run game but also throws the ball well. They use multiple fronts on defense which gives you a lot to prepare for."