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The last conference championship game was played Friday night, and two more teams (unofficially) earned a playoff berth.
And it goes a little something like this:
FCIAC Championship: No. 1 New Canaan beat No. 6 St. Joseph, 31-20
Neither team were on top of their game, according to all reports, but the Rams did more than enough to win their eighth league title. New Canaan quarterback Nick Cascione returned after missing two games to a concussion and earned MVP honors. He ran 19 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns and completed 10 of 23 passes for 141 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Many scribes were there to cover said event — Mary Albl of JRC Amalgamated, Doug Bonjour, Jon Chik and Scott Ericson of Hearst Inc., Tom Evans of the Norwalk Hour, and Dave Ruden of The Ruden Report all reporting.
Hall thumped Conard, 35-7, to win the rights to West Hartford
Tom Honyotski threw for 253 yards and three touchdowns in the first-ever Battle of West Hartford played under lights (BLEH). John Nestor of JRC Amalgamated and Tom Yantz of the Hartford Courant both reporting.
Valley Regional/Old Lyme rolled Gilbert/Northwestern Regional, 35-0
The WARRIORCATS played in honor of Tony Woods, the older brother of Steve Woods and uncle of Kevin Woods, both of which are assistant coaches. Justin Cheverier ran 15 times for 174 yards and three touchdowns. Pete Papuaga of JRC Amalgamated and some dude from TEAM DAY reporting.
Morgan crunched Sports Medical/University, 40-16
Jake Ward ran for 345 yards and five touchdowns as the Huskies barreled their way into states. The Hartford Courant had a blurb HERE.
Windham routed Bacon Academy 54-15
We listed this game for this reason — the Whippets scored 14 points in the game's first 21 seconds. Marc Allard of the Norwich Bulletin reporting.
• • • •
Hall and Morgan both (unofficially) clinched berths with wins on Friday night.
EIGHTEEN spots have been (unofficially) clinched for the CIAC state playoffs. That leaves FOURTEEN berths available.
Below is our never-ending attempt to explain the four races as simply as possible.
You really, REALLY need to follow Matt Fischer's wondrously magical ROBOABACUS. It details every team's potential playoff points, and updates in real time. As soon as a team qualifies — BAM — it shows up on the ROBOABACUS.
1. These are not to be taken as gospel. The predictions were done in eight minutes.
2. Just because we didn't pick your team to qualify doesn't mean we hate you. Hell, we don't even KNOW you. Should you choose to believe that this is the worst insult you've ever suffered, use it as motivation, and go on to win a state title, then we expect a free meal at your year-end banquet for providing the extra incentive you needed.
3. We plan on being wrong on about half of these and, in fact, look forward to it. To err is human. To laugh at one's self is divine.
Quote David Letterman, "Let me caution you — this is an exhibition, not a competition. Please, no wagering."
Note that we've gone with the chalk in next week's games. We'll have to fix that as Thanksgrabbing week is always about the unexpected and THE CRAZY.
Before we proceed, a quick explanation about "bonuses":
■ A team receives 10 points for every win and five points for each tie earned by any opponent it beat.
■ A team receives five points for each victory and 2.5 points for each tie earned by an opponent it tied.
Remember, kids — the top eight teams in each division qualify.
IN: Newtown (11-0), Norwich Free Academy (8-1), West Haven (9-1), Glastonbury (9-1), and Hall (9-1).
Newtown has earned a home quarterfinal. It will be the top seed if it wins at Masuk (7-3) on Thanksgrabbing Eve.
NFA would kinda' sorta' get a home quarterfinal if it beat rival New London (8-2) on Thanksgiving. It'll have to play somewhere with permanent lighting, but it will get to be the home team.
West Haven plays at Fairfield Prep (8-2) on Thanksgrabbing. It's a huge game. A win gets the Westies a home quarterfinal.
Glastonbury plays host to Simsbury (2-8) today. A win gets it a home quarterfinal
Hall finished its regular season Friday night and is just hanging out.
WIN-AND-IN: Southington (8-1).
Southington plays at Cheshire (4-6) in the Apple Bowl on Thanksgrabbing. Such a quaint name for a rivalry game.
MAD SCRAMBLE: Ridgefield (8-2), Fairfield Prep, Staples (8-2), Xavier (7-3), and Trumbull (8-2).
Ridgefield plays host to Danbury (3-7) on Thanksgrabbing Eve. A win gives it a 114.54 average.
Fairfield Prep would have a 119.09-point average if it beat West Haven.
Staples plays host to Greenwich (7-3) on Thanksgrabbing. A win gives it a 117.27 average.
Trumbull plays at St. Joseph (9-2) on Thanksgrabbing. A win gives 115.45 average.
Okay, say all four teams win. BONUS POINTS would decide who qualifies.
Prep's maximum average is 123.64. Three of its fives bonuses don't look good.
Staples' max average is 122.73. Three of its six bonuses look doable. One of its bonuses is Danbury, which plays Ridgefield.
Trumbull's max average is 120.91. The odds are against it getting four of its six bonuses. One of them is Greenwich, too.
Ridgefield's max average 120. Four of its six bonuses look promising.
All four are also relying on some of the same bonus games. To wit:
■ Fairfield Warde (3-7) at Fairfield Ludlowe (6-4): Ridgefield and Staples both need Ludlowe. Trumbull needs Warde.
■ Harding (3-7) at Bridgeport Central (0-10): Staples and Trumbull both need Central to win. Ridgefield needs Harding.
■ Norwalk (4-6) at McMahon (7-2): Staples and Trumbull both need Norwalk.
■ Stamford (2-8) at Westhill (5-5): Prep and Ridgefield both need Stamford.
■ Wilton (3-7) at Trinity Catholic (0-10): Ridgefield, Staples and Trumbull all need Wilton.
Xavier needs three of the four to lose — Prep, Ridgefield, Staples or Trumbull. Five bonuses would give it a 113-point average. Three of its five bonuses look good.
SEND HELP: McMahon, and Greenwich (7-3).
FORECAST: No. 1 Newtown vs. No. 8 Ridgefield; No. 2 NFA vs. No. 7 Staples; No. 3 West Haven vs. No. 6 Southington; No. 4 Glastonbury vs. No. 5 Hall.
• • • •
IN: New Canaan (11-0) and Platt (10-0).
New Canaan would earn a home quarterfinal if it beat fellow L contender Darien (9-1) on Thanksgrabbing.
Platt gets a home quarterfinal if it beats Maloney (1-8) on Thanksgrabbing.
WIN-AND-IN: Middletown (9-1), Darien, Naugatuck (9-1), and New London.
These four are all playing tough teams.
Middletown plays at Windsor (6-3) on Thanksgrabbing Eve.
Naugatuck plays host to Ansonia (11-0) on Thanksgrabbing
Darien plays at New Canaan.
New London journeys to NFA on Thanksgrabbing.
All four could still qualify with a loss. It's not the recommended way to go about things, though.
MAD SCRAMBLE: Farmington (8-2), Bristol Eastern (8-2), Hand (7-3) and North Haven (8-2).
Farmington plays at Plainville (4-5) on Thanksgrabbing. A win and its six bonuses would give it a 124.55 average.
Bristol Eastern plays Bristol Central (4-5) on Thanksgrabbing. A win and six bonuses would give it a 121.82 average.
Hand plays at Guilford (5-5) on Thanksgrabbing Eve. A win and five bonuses gets it to 120.
North Haven visits Amity (5-5) on Thanksgrabbing. A win and give bonuses gets it to 120.91.
SEND HELP: Windsor, Wethersfield (7-3), Avon (7-3), and Masuk.
A win and five bonuses would give Windsor a 110 average. That's not good enough to catch Middletown, Darien, Naugatuck, or New London, even if all four lost.
Wethersfield's plays host to Newington (5-5) on Thanksgrabbing. A win and five bonuses get it as high as a 103.64 average. The best it could hope for is the eighth seed as it cannot catch Middletown, Darien, Naugy, New London or Farmington. It would also need Eastern, Hand, and North Haven to lose and hope none of them earn bonuses.
Avon and Masuk are mathematically alive.
FORECAST: No. 1. New Canaan vs. No. 8 Naugatuck (edges out North Haven on tiebreaker points); No. 2 Platt vs. No. 7 Hand; No. 3 Middletown vs. No. 6 Bristol Eastern; No. 4. Darien vs. No. 5 Farmington.
• • • •
IN: Valley Regional/Old Lyme (10-0), St. Joseph (9-2) and Brookfield (9-2), Barlow (8-2), and Gilbert/Northwestern Regional (8-2).
VR/OL has earned a home quarterfinal and will be seeded no worse than second. It would have a shot to be No. 1 if it wins at winless Haddam-Killingworth on Thanksgrabbing Eve.
St. Joseph also earned itself a home quarterfinal, no matter what happens against Trumbull.
Brookfield gets itself a home quarterfinal with a win at Bethel (8-2) on Thanksgrabbing. That's the biggest game in this division.
Barlow plays at Weston (3-7) on Thanksgrabbing. A win gets it a home quarterfinal in its first playoff appearance.
G/NR plays host to winless Housatonic Regional/Wamogo on Thanksgrabbing. Note that the latter has forfeited its last five games, but guarantees it'll be ready to play.
WIN-AND-IN: Ledyard (8-2), Bethel, and Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech (8-2).
Ledyard is on the cusp of a berth. It plays host to Fitch (4-6) on Thanskgrabbing. It would qualify with a win, or if Stonington AND Wolcott both lost on Thanksgrabbing. And even if it lost, a lot would have to go wrong for it NOT to qualify.
Bethel, same thing.
Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech plays host to Killingly (4-6) on Thanksgrabbing. It would qualify with a win, or losses by both Stonington and Wolcott.
MAD SCRAMBLE: Stonington (7-3), Wolcott (7-3).
Stonington must beat Westerly (3-7) on Thanksgrabbing, AND have either Bethel or P/T/E lose. It could catch Ledyard if it lost to Fitch, but it wouldn't be easy.
Mathematically, Wolcott could catch the Bears with a win over Holy Cross (673). Both would have 1,130 points without bonuses. Stonington has a maximum of five bonuses. Wolcott has three.
Wolcott's most realistic chance to qualify is to win and hope that P/T/E AND Stonington lose.
SEND HELP: Foran (7-3).
Foran needs to beat Law, collect all of its bonuses, have P/T/E, Stonington AND Wolcott lose, and hope that P/T/E doesn't collect its two bonuses.
FORECAST: No 1. Valley Regional/Old Lyme vs. No. 8 Stonington; No. 2 St. Joseph vs. No. 7 Bethel; No. 3 Brookfield vs. No. 6 Gilbert/Northwestern Regional; No. 4 Barlow vs. No. 5 Ledyard.
• • • •
IN: Capital/Classical/Achievement (10-0), Ansonia, Prince Tech (9-1), Rocky Hill (9-1), Woodland (9-2), and Morgan (9-1).
C/C/A has earned a home quarterfinal. It'll be the top seed if it wins at Prince Tech today.
Ansonia gets to host a home quarterfinal if it beats Naugy.
The other two home quarterfinalists would likely come down to Prince Tech, Woodland and Rocky Hill.
Prince Tech must beat C/C/A. It's maximum average is 147.27.
Rocky Hill plays at Northwest Catholic (7-3) on Thanksgrabbing. It's maximum is 143.64.
Woodland plays at Seymour (6-4) on Thanksgrabbing Eve. It's maximum is 141.82.
Morgan play host to Old Saybrook/Westbrook (5-5) on Thanksgrabbing Eve. It's max is 134.55, so it would need two of the three to lose in order to get a home quarterfinal — Prince Tech, Rocky Hill or Woodland.
ALMOST THERE: Bloomfield (9-2).
We screwed up when we reported that the Warhawks would qualify with a win over Fermi on Friday. Our bad. They're this close, though. All they need is to earn just one of the eight bonuses.
WIN-AND-IN: Coginchaug (7-2).
Coginchaug plays at home today against winless Haddam-Killingworth, and at Cromwell (4-6) on Thanksgrabbing.
SEND HELP: Holy Cross, Canton (7-3), Montville (6-4), Northwest Catholic (7-3), North Branford (6-4), Windham (6-4), and Seymour.
FORECAST: No. 1. Capital/Classical/Achievement vs. No. 8 Bloomfield; No. 2. Ansonia vs. No. 7 Coginchaug; No. 3. Rocky Hill vs. No. 6 Prince Tech; No. 4. Woodland vs. No. 5 Morgan.
• • • •
Thanks for reading. More later.
Vaya con dios....
East Lyme returned just five players with any varsity experience and lost its first four games. It's made gradual improvement and downed Woodstock Academy last Friday, 42-7, its second-straight victory.