Ledyard, Valley/OL in thick of 'M' race

Fans of southeastern Connecticut football should keep an eye on the CIAC Class M playoff rankings.

Two of the top five teams are from the area - Ledyard and the Valley Regional/Old Lyme cooperative program. Both continue to put themselves in position to play in December.

Valley/OL moved past St. Joseph and into first in the Class M rankings after smashing previously unbeaten Morgan last Friday, 51-6.

The Warriors (6-0) have five games left, three of which are against winning teams - vs Ellington (4-3) this Friday, at Cromwell (4-2) on Nov. 8, and vs the Gilbert/NW Regional co-op (5-1) on Nov. 22.

The Colonels (6-1) have a chance to clinch the Eastern Connecticut Conference Medium Division title the next two weeks and gain valuable playoff points in the process. They play host to Montville (4-3) this Friday before visiting Stonington (4-2) on Nov. 8.

Ledyard's final two games are against teams with losing records - at Waterford (3-4) on Nov. 21, and at home on Thanksgiving against Fitch (2-5).

Stonington is eighth in the rankings and has a tough stretch ahead. It plays at Norwich Free Academy (5-1) the week after the Ledyard game, and finishes with home dates against Killingly (4-3) and old rival Westerly.

A look at the other four divisional races:

Class LL: NFA may have to win out to qualify, but it will be favored in all four games. The Wildcats could also pick up some valuable points in the process as they play at East Lyme (4-2) on Friday, and finish at home against Killingly (Nov. 8), Stonington (Nov. 16), and New London (4-2, Thanksgiving Day).

Class L: New London has put itself back in the playoff race by winning its last three games, but the Whalers still have to face the two toughest opponents on their schedule over the final five games.

New London, currently 11th in the division, plays host to Middletown (7-0) next Friday in a game that will be live-cast at theday.com. The Blue Dragons are ranked fourth in The Day's Top 10 state coaches' poll.

The Whalers conclude their season at NFA.

Note that a three-loss team hasn't qualified for states since the CIAC added a quarterfinal round in 2010. There's a slim chance it could happen this year because this is an 11-game season, not 10.

Class S: Montville all but ended its playoff chances last Friday after wasting a 14-point halftime lead against Killingly and losing, 26-21. The Indians are ranked 15th and might not pick up enough points even by winning out. Bacon Academy (Nov. 9) has only two wins, and the St. Bernard-Norwich Tech co-op (Nov. 26) has just one.

n.griffen@theday.com

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