Fitch's playoff drought might end Friday with a win ... and some help

It’s been five years since Fitch qualified for the CIAC football playoffs.

Five years may not seem like a long time, but it is for a Falcons program that’s used to winning.

There’s a chance that Fitch could end its playoff absence this Friday night and qualify for the Class L playoffs.

First, the Falcons must win at East Lyme in a game that will resonate both in the Eastern Connecticut Conference’s Division I and the Class L playoffs. A win would give the Falcons the Division I title. The Vikings would have a chance to earn at least a share of the title with a win.

Fitch (7-0) is fifth in the Class L playoff rankings. East Lyme (5-2) is 10th.

The Falcons will be scoreboard watching, no, make that Twitter watching, if they beat the Vikings for updates on Bunnell (6-2) at Newtown (6-2).

Fitch, with a win, will unofficially qualify for the playoffs if Newtown also wins. It will have to wait another week if the Bulldogs prevail. The Falcons host Windham (1-6) next week and visit Ledyard (2-6) on Thanksgiving.

The playoff pairings aren’t official until approved by the CIAC football committee the day after the regular season ends.

East Lyme will all but be eliminated from postseason contention with a loss. It’s conceivable that a three-loss team could qualify in Class L, but the Vikings have received so few points because they’ve beaten so many losing teams.

Barlow (5-3) is the only non-losing team East Lyme has beaten. Its other four opponents are a combined 9-20. The Vikings' last two games are against Guilford (3-4, Oct. 16) and winless Waterford (Thanksgiving).

Speaking of schedules that have dragged a team’s playoff points total down, looking forward, it’s possible that Fitch finishes unbeaten but doesn’t finish among the top four seeds or get a home quarterfinal. Its opponents are a combined 17-39 with NFA (5-3) being the only team with a winning record.

A look at the other divisions:

CLASS S: The Valley Regional/Old Lyme co-op (7-1) is rated 10th, but the Warriors are still in good shape to qualify because there are games remaining between fellow Class S contenders.

No 2 Bullard-Havens (8-0) hosts No. 6 Prince Tech (6-1) next weekend. No. 4 Rocky Hill (8-0) hosts No. 7 Cromwell/Portland (7-1) on Nov. 22, and Valley/Old Lyme will also receive 10 points if Cromwell/Portland wins because it beat the Panthers. No. 8 Plainfield (6-1) plays No. 13 Griswold (6-2) on Thanksgiving and, by the way, hosts unbeaten Killingly this Friday.

The Warriors play this Saturday at Lewis Mills (1-7) and end the regular season at rival Haddam-Killingworth (5-3, Nov. 17). They’ll be just fine if they win both.

CLASS LL: Norwich Free Academy remains in peril as its rated 17th out of 35 teams. Moreover, only 19 teams are mathematically alive because there are so many unbeaten or one-loss teams in the division. It must win out to have a shot. It plays at Class L runner-up Windsor (8-0), the fifth-ranked team in The Day's state coaches’ poll, on Nov. 16. It hosta to New London (2-6) on Thanksgiving.

CLASS M: Thames River (4-3) has moved up to No. 10 and hosts Prince Tech in a must-win game on Saturday. It closes the season with out-of-conference games against Stonington (2-5, Nov. 16) and Quinebaug Valley (3-5, Thanksgiving).

Killingly (7-0) remains atop the division and will qualify with a win over Plainfield.

No. 2 Berlin (8-0) and No. 3 Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial (8-0) have both unofficially qualified.

n.griffen@theday.com

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