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It is the calm before THE CRAZY.
Another team (unofficially) clinched a home quarterfinal on Saturday, while another (unofficially) locked up the top seed in their division.
And now we wait until Tuesday as the final week of the regular season begins, the playoffs are finally fully formed, and the inevitable CRAZY leads to daffy games, insane finishes, brain-exploding upsets, and other nifty chaos.
WELCOME TO THANKSGRABBBING WEEK.
Donevin O'Reilly ran 13 times for 169 yards and three TDs as Glastonbury earned a home quarterfinal.
Bennie Fulse III ran 16 times for 169 yards and three TDs as the unbeaten Trailblazers (unofficially) clinched the top seed in Class S.
• • • •
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 four 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, "this is only an exhibition. This not a competition. Please, no wagering."
Note that we've gone with the chalk in next week's games. We'll fix that for Tuesday because of the impending Thanksgrabbing 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 (10-1), and Hall (9-1).
Newtown earned a home quarterfinal. It will be the top seed if it wins at Masuk (7-3) on Thanksgrabbing Eve.
NFA would have to pick someplace to play its home quarterfinal should it beat rival New London (8-2) on Thanksgiving. The Academy doesn't have the required permanent lighting.
West Haven plays at Fairfield Prep (8-2) on Thanksgrabbing. A win gets it a home quarterfinal at the state's football capital.
Glastonbury and Hall have both concluded the regular season.
WIN-AND-IN: Southington (8-1).
Southington plays at Cheshire (4-6) on Thanksgrabbing.
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-point average.
Fairfield Prep would have a 119.09 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 it a 115.45 average
BONUS POINTS would decide who qualifies if all four teams win.
Prep's has the biggest maximum average — 123.64. Three of its five bonuses don't look good, though.
Staples' max is 122.73. Three of its six bonuses look good. One of its bonuses is Danbury, which plays Ridgefield.
Trumbull's max average is 120.91. Four of its six bonuses aren't good. 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:
■ 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 four teams 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 be the top seed if it beat fellow L contender Darien (9-1) on Thanksgrabbing. It's nearly impossible for it not to get a home quarterfinal even if it lost.
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.
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 plays at NFA on Thanksgrabbing.
All four could still qualify with a loss, but that's dangerous.
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 five bonuses would give it a 123.64 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 would give it a 120 average.
North Haven visits Amity (5-5) on Thanksgrabbing. A win and five bonuses would give it a 120.91 average.
SEND HELP: Windsor, Wethersfield (7-3), and Masuk.
Windsor's max is 110 if it wins and earns all five of its bonuses. It cannot catch Middletown, Darien, Naugatuck, or New London under any circumstances.
Wethersfield and Masuk could only finish eighth if all went right for it. It cannot catch Middletown, Darien, Naugatuck, New London, or Farmington under any circumstances.
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), Gilbert/Northwestern Regional (8-2), and Barlow (8-2).
VR/OL will be seeded no worse than second. It would earn the top seed with a win at winless Haddam-Killingworth on Thanksgrabbing Eve.
St. Joseph has 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.
Barlow gets a home quarterfinal if it wins at Weston (3-7) on Thanksgrabbing.
G/NR plays host to winless Housatonic Regional/Wamogo on Thanksgrabbing.
WIN-AND-IN: Ledyard (8-2), Bethel, and Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech (8-2).
Ledyard qualifies with a win over Fitch (4-6) on Thanskgrabbing. It would also qualify if Montville beat St. Bernard/Norwich Tech on Tuesday, and if Woodland beat Seymour (one of Wolcott's bonuses) on Thanksgrabbing Eve.
The Colonels would also qualify if both Stonington AND Wolcott lost on Thanksgrabbing. A loss doesn't ruin them, either. It would need just one bonus to beat out Stonington and two to edge Wolcott.
If Bethel lost, then it would need three of its four bonuses to hold off Stonington. It would need two to block Wolcott.
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.
Mathematically, Wolcott could catch the Bears with a win over Holy Cross (7-3). Both would have 1,130 points without bonuses. Stonington has a maximum of five bonuses (although one is Ledyard beating Fitch). Wolcott has three.
Wolcott's most realistic shot to qualify is a win and losses by P/T/E AND Stonington.
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. EASIER EXPLANATION — the Lions would be eliminated if Hand beat Guilford on Thanksgrabbing Eve.
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 (11-0), Ansonia, Rocky Hill (9-1), Woodland (9-2), Morgan (9-1), and Prince Tech (9-2).
C/C/A is the top seed.
Ansonia has clinched a home quarterfinal. A would be No. 2 if it beat Naugy.
Rocky Hill would earn a home quarterfinal if it wins at Northwest Catholic (7-3) on Thanksgrabbing. Its maximum is 143.64.
Woodland gets a home quarterfinal with a win at Seymour (6-4) on Thanksgrabbing Eve. Its max is 141.82.
Morgan plays host to Old Saybrook/Westbrook (5-5) on Thanksgrabbing Eve. It's max is 134.55, so the only way it gets a home quarterfinal is if a loss by Rocky Hill or Woodland.
ALMOST THERE: Bloomfield (9-2).
All it needs is one of its eight bonuses.
WIN-AND-IN: Coginchaug (7-2).
The Blue Devils play at Cromwell (4-6) on Thanksgrabbing.
SEND HELP: Holy Cross, Canton (7-3), Montville (6-4), Northwest Catholic (7-3).
These four need to win, Coginchaug to lose, and to cash in on bonuses.
(Holy Cross could mathematically catch Bloomfield, but it won't.)
Holy Cross has the best chance of this group — it has four bonuses for a 111.82 max.
Canton has four bonuses for a 106.36 max.
Northwest has seven bonuses for a 106.36 max. Those aren't good odds.
Montville has the worst odds of them all. It has four bonuses for a 100.91 max. That's also Coginchaug's minimum. So if Coginchaug lost, all it would need is one of its six bonuses to eliminate Montville.
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.