YOUR weekend itinerary, Bassick's big win, Cochran's health, STORYTIME, and 1,280 other words

Howdy,

Here's YOUR weekend itinerary. Gas up the car.

TONIGHT

Ledyard (4-0) at NFA (2-1), 6:30 p.m.

It's the ECC's only remaining unbeaten team vs. the team everyone figured would be the ECC's best team. Ledyard passed its first test last Friday, beating New London 21-3. JoJo Shumaker ran 38 times for 220 yards and a TD thanks to an all-new offensive line that's evolved nicely — center Tyler Woods, guards Kevin McDonald and Jeffery O'Hanlon, and tackles Jeremy Baron and Dwayne Brown. NFA has been hit with ankle injuries to two of its best players — Marcus Outlow (RB-DB) and Tuzar Skipper (OL-TE-DE). Khaleed Exum-Strong (RB-OLB) is also banged up. Not good. The Wildcats only play 10 games this season when teams could schedule up to 11, so another loss may jeopardize their chance at returning to the CIAC Class LL playoffs.

Rocky Hill (4-0) at Platt (4-0), 6:30 p.m.

The staff at Polecat HQ would love to be at this game as both teams are skilled in the manly discipline of the running arts. Rocky Hill is among the state's top practitioners of GOD'S OFFENSE, led by Chris Young (700 yards, 10 TDs) and Dave Sevigny (406 yards, six TDs). Tyzahn LEATHERWOOD has run for 861 yards and 14 TDs and is protected by some very large dudes. The winner can lay claim to being the baddest team in the CCC D-III.

No. 1 Ansonia (4-0, 1-0 NVL Brass) at Derby (4-0, 2-0), 7 p.m.

The Division Street battle hasn't been this enticing in years. Both teams are battling for the division lead and positioning in the Class S playoff rankings. Ansonia has been the undisputed kings of running the ball — it's averaged a state high 435 yards with 27 touchdowns. GROUND-AND-POUND. UConn-bound tailback Arkeel Newsome has averaged 18.5 yards a carry. Derby is 4-0 for the first time since 1990 and been led by QB Mike Kreiger. He's thrown for 919 yards and 10 TDs, and he's rushed for 386 yards and three TDs. Tyrae Small has averaged 123 yards rushing a game with four TDd.

Barlow (3-1, 2-0 SWC Yankee) at New Fairfield (3-1, 1-1), 7 p.m.

These two are lurking in the top eight of the Class M rankings and must keep winning to stick around. Barlow QB Jack Shaban is the state's most exciting player who you haven't seen this season. He's run for 558 yards and eight TDs. The Rebels counter with Michael McCourt (695 yards, nine TDs).

Fairfield Prep (3-1, 0-0 SCC D-I West) at No. 7 Shelton (4-0, 1-0), 7 p.m.

We've waited five weeks, but finally, the SCC's heavyweights begin brawling with one another. It all starts with this beaut with more battles to come in the weeks to come. Prep was seconds away from beating No. 3 St. Joseph three weeks ago. Instead, the Cadets connected on a game-ending, 42-yard touchdown pass and won, 36-34. The Jesuits have averaged 6.2 yards a carry thanks to their XXXXL offensive line — center AJ Mansolillo (5-11, 275), guards Connor Roche (6-2, 255) and Brendan Sullivan (6-2, 230), and tackles Anthony Palazollo (6-6, 305) and Michael Ruther (6-7, 290). EEP. The Gaels cannot match that kind of brawn (duh), but have two of the league's top scorers in QB Mark Piccirillo (558 yard passing, seven TDs, 296 yards rushing, nine TDs) and running back Jason Thompson (533 yards, four TDs). The winner gets bumped up the LL rankings.

Notre Dame-W.H. (1-3, 1-0 SCC D-I East) at West Haven (3-1, 1-0), 7 p.m.

It wouldn't matter if both teams put little replica jerseys on ducks and had them fight over a loaf of bread — it would still be one of the state's fiercest games. Cam Tucker's status is unknown after missing ND's overtime loss to Ridgefield last week with a sprained ankle. He's rushed 41 times for 326 yards and six TDs.The Westies have won three straight since their season-opening loss to Greenwich, 22-21. Syracuse-bound RB Ervin Philips, FB Marshont Little and QB Duane Gary have led a rushing attack that's averaged 339 yards a game.

SATURDAY

Woodland (4-0, 2-0 Copper) at St. Paul (3-1, 2-0), 1:30 p.m.

If you thinking passing is the greatest, and that the running arts are boring, well, then, you should be deported. Before we hurl you into the Atlantic, we'll allow you to attend this passtravanganza. Kountry Kyle Brennan figured out that this game has the two QBs with the most combined career passing yardage than any other contest in state history — UConn-bound Logan Marchi of St. Paul (7,840 yards), and the Hawks' Tanner Kingsley (5,897). That's 13,737 yards (find Kountry's graphic HERE). Hope you enjoy this game. Also hope you enjoy your swim.

• • • •

HATS OFF to Bassick for breaking its long losing streak against Bridgeport Central on Thursday night.

Vochan Fowler completed 9 of 13 passes for 110 yards and two TDs and ran 18 times for 115 yards as the Lions downed the Hilltoppers, 34-13.

It was the first time Bassick beat Central since Sept. 23, 1995 (a 14-12 win). Thanks to Chuck Banning, el jefe of TEAM DAY~!, for combing through the records for us.

Emery Filmer of Hearst Inc. covered the game.

• • • •

Okay, for those of you who haven't been following the Jack Cochran situation the last few days….

….Cochran missed Harding's 35-31 loss to Fairfield Ludlowe last Saturday. He hasn't been with the team this week.

Dave Ruden of the Ruden Report tweeted Wednesday that a reliable source said Cochran had or would resign.

Cochran later told Ruden, "there is no story."

Bridgeport Citywide Athletic Director Neil Kavey told Doug Bonjour of the Connecticut Post that Cochran hadn't resigned and had a health issue, but he wouldn't elaborate on Cochran's absence.

Thursday, Paul Vallas, Bridgeport's Superintendent of Schools, told Bonjour that Cochran has a heart condition and was undergoing tests.

So there you go.

• • • •

STORYTIME

Gentleman Jim Bransfield, Middletown Press: Middletown, Xavier aiming for Homecoming wins.

Doug Bonjour, Hearst Inc.: Fairfield Prep regroups, believes it's ready for No. 7 Shelton.

Kountry Kyle Brennan, Waterbury Republican-American: Ansonia, Derby resume long, storied, fierce rivalry. He also has a "Chalk Talk" with current U of New Haven offensive coordinator Chris Anderson, who coached Woodland to two state titles.

Kountry Kyle Brennan and Mark Jaffee, Waterbury Republican-American: Red Zone Show.

Bryant Carpenter, Meriden Record-Journal: Area previews.

Mike DiMauro, TEAM DAY~! member and tortured Giants fan: Area previews.

Pooch Diggity Dog, JRC Amalgamated: Unbeaten Derby faces major test against No. 1 Ansonia, and, Pooch's Picks.

Pooch Diggity Dogg and Sean Patrick Starfish, JRC Amalgamated: Games to watch.

Scott Ericson, Hearst Inc.: McMahon's defense key to 4-0 start.

David Fierro, Hearst Inc.: Greenwich wants to keep momentum against Norwalk.

Dave Greenleaf, Bristol Press: Long-time rivals clash tonight as Bristol Central travels to Bulkeley.

Mark Jaffee, Waterbury Republican-American: Vaccarelli returns to make impact for Woodland squad.

Carl Josephson, New Britain Herald: New Britain has upset on mind against No. 4 Southington, and, Southington not going to take New Britain lightly.

Chris McLaughlin, New Britain Herald: Berlin looks to keep winning tonight against Weaver, and, Newington seeking big win against tough Glastonbury.

Kevin D. Roberts, Bristol Press: Bristol Eastern focused on improving against Fermi tonight.

Dave Ruden, The Ruden Report: Wilton finding effort compensates for lack of depth, and his Week 5 guide to FCIAC games.

Jason Sonski, Hearst Inc.: Derby hopes to thrive in underdog role against rival Ansonia.

Sean Patrick Starfish, JRC Amalgamated: His weekly Audibles.

Matt Straub, New Britain Herald: Finishing is Plainville's goal tonight against East Catholic.

Tom Yantz, Hartford Courant: East Hartford shakes off 0-2 start with impressive wins.

• • • •

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the weekend.

Vaya con dios....

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