Monday's playoff (and mental) breakdown, STORYTIME, ANNOUNCEMENTS, polls, and 2,672 other words


Well, this is it. The final week of the regular season. No more football Friday's (except for one state final). No more frying out brain cells trying to figure out these confounded CIAC playoff points.

Below is a thorough breakdown of the four playoff races. Everyone here at Polecat HQ will effort to update this today and Wednesday in order to keep YOU in the know.

Much like Bryan Adams, everything we do, we do it for YOU. Sadly, YOU are not the subject of said song, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

(You're a lucky man, Pat O'Connor.)

We encourage you to keep track of the playoff points using Matt Fischer's robo-abacus. It updates everything in real time, so mere seconds after a score is uploaded into the CIAC's database, you'll know whether your team is playoff bound or toast.

And now, on to the playoff breakdowns, mental breakdowns, and half-baked predictions.

Please heed the words of David Letterman, "Remember, this is not a competition, it is only an exhibition — please, no wagering."


Projected cutoff: Two losses.

Qualified: Glastonbury, Greenwich, Newtown, Norwich Free Academy, Southington, Staples of Westport, and Xavier of Middletown.

Teams still alive: Six.

1. Southington (9-0)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. Cheshire (6-3).

Outlook: Gets a home quarterfinal with a win, or a loss by NFA, Xavier or Newtown.

2. Staples (8-0)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing at Greenwich (8-0).

Outlook: A win gets it a home quarterfinal and the FCIAC title.

3. Greenwich (8-0)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing v. Staples (8-0).

Outlook: See Staples.

4. Xavier (8-1)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing vs. Middletown (8-1).

Outlook: See Greenwich and Staples, minus the FCIAC crown.

5. Norwich Free Academy (9-0)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing at New London (7-2).

Outlook: A win won't get it a home game. It needs either Southington, Xavier or Newtown to lose to get said home game. And it won't be playing on campus anyways as its field doesn't have lights.

6. Newtown (9-0)

Remaining game: Wednesday v. Masuk (9-0).

Outlook: It's in the same situation as NFA. Quick note — quarterback Dan Hebert done for the season due to injury. Ouch.

7. Glastonbury (9-1)

Outlook: It's regular season over, it waits patiently for an opponent.

8. West Haven (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. Fairfield Prep (6-3).

Outlook: Lock. In with a win.

9. Ridgefield (7-2)

Remaining game: Wednesday at Danbury (2-7).

Outlook: Poor. It needs to win and hope that West Haven loses to Prep. It would then be in a footrace with said Jesuits. They'd both start with 980 points. Prep has four bonuses, the Tigers three, and three real shaky bonuses at best.

10. Manchester (6-3)

Remaining game: Wednesday at East Hartford (1-8).

Outlook: Done. It's only alive by a strange quirk in the playoff points.

11. Fairfield Prep (6-3)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at West Haven (7-2).

Outlook: Unknown. A win over the Westies gives it a better chance at qualifying than anyone else. Ridgefield has bad bonus games. It would also earn 10 points if Cheshire beat Southington, which hurts the former's playoff cause. And Naugatuck plays Ansonia.

12. Cheshire (6-3)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Southington (9-1).

Outlook: Done. Like Manchester, it's only alive by a quirk in the system. THANKS, KYLE (proxy to Mean Patrick Sowley).

13. Naugatuck

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Ansonia (9-0).

Outlook: Toast. Let's see, the Greyhounds would have to beat the Chargers, hope that Prep beats West Haven, that Southington beats Cheshire, and that Prep gets no bonuses. Nope.

The eight: 1. Staples v. No. 8 West Haven; No. 2 Southington v. No. 7 Newtown; No. 3 Xavier v. No. 6 Glastonbury; No. 4 NFA vs. No. 5 Greenwich.


Projected cutoff: Two losses.

Qualified: Avon, Fitch, Hand of Madison, Masuk of Monroe, Middletown, New Canaan and Windsor.

Teams still alive: Four.

1. Hand (9-0)

Remaining games: Wednesday vs. Guilford (5-4).

Outlook: A win earns it the top seed.

2. Windsor (9-0)

Outlook: It's finished the regular season and will be no worse than the No. 2 seed.

3. Avon (10-0)

Outlook: Regular season done. Home quarterfinal earned.

4. Masuk (9-0)

Remaining game: Wednesday at Newtown (9-0).

Outlook: A win gets it a home quarterfinal.

5. Middletown (8-1)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Xavier (8-1).

Outlook: The only way it gets a home quarterfinal is if it beats Xavier, and Masuk loses.

6. New Canaan (8-1)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing at Darien (6-3).

Outlook: Only way it gets a home quarterfinal is if Masuk and Middletown lose. Wouldn't hurt if Fitch lost to Ledyard, too.

7. Fitch (8-1)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing vs. Ledyard (6-3).

Outlook: It would need Masuk, Middletown and New Canaan to fail in order to get a home quarterfinal. DOUBLE WING.

8. Platt (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Maloney (3-6).

Outlook: Lock. Win and it's in.

9. Farmington (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing vs. Plainville (3-6).

Outlook: Not good. It must win, and Platt must lose.

10. Darien (6-3)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. New Canaan (8-1).

Outlook: Poor. It needs to win, and for Farmington and Platt to both lose.

11. North Haven (6-3)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. Amity (4-5).

Outlook: Sadly, awful, as everyone here at Polecat HQ love GOD'S FATHER'S OFFENSE. The Indians need to win, and for Farmington, Platt and Darien to all lose.

The eight: 1. Hand v. No. 8 Platt; No. 2 Windsor v. No. 7 Middletown, Part II; No. 3 Masuk v. No. 6 Fitch (just like old times); No. 4 Avon v. No. 5 New Canaan.


Projected cutoff: Two losses.

Qualified: Berlin and Wolcott.

Teams still alive: 10.

1. Wolcott (8-1)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Holy Cross (6-3).

Outlook: A win would likely earn it the top seed.

2. Berlin (8-1)

Remaining game: Wednesday at New Britain (3-6).

Outlook: A win gets a home quarterfinal.

3. Ellington/Somers (8-1)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing v. Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton (6-2).

Outlook: Very good. Win and it's in. It would also get a home game. It could also qualify with a loss, but it'll be close.

4. Barlow (8-1)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing vs. Weston (7-2)

Outlook: Unknown now that quarterback Jack Shaban suffered a season-ending injury. Win and it's in. It's out of bonuses, so if it wins, it finishes with 1,240 points. If it loses, it'll have 1,070 points. Remember that for later.

5. Hillhouse (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Wilbur Cross (2-7).

Outlook: Lock. Win and it's in.

6. St. Joseph (7-2)

Remaining games: Wednesday at Trumbull (4-4).

Outlook: Lock. Win and it's in.

7. New London (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. NFA (9-0).

Outlook: Not good. A win and it's in, but NFA has played better this season.

8. Bullard-Havens (7-2)

Remaining game: Tuesday at Bassick (1-8).

Outlook: Unknown. Win and it's almost in, but we're not sold on it beating Bassick. A B-H win gives it 1,090 points with three bonuses, none of which are locks (Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech over Killingly, Wilcox Tech of Meriden over Whitney Tech of Hamden, and Cheney Tech of Manchester over city-rival East Catholic).

9. Montville (7-2)

Remaining game: Wednesday at St. Bernard/Norwich Tech (0-9).

Outlook: Fair. It's best chance are if three of four things happen — losses by New London, Bullard-Havens, Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton and Weston. That written, if Bullard-Havens wins today, then Montville goes to Defcon 2. A win over the Saints gives it 1,060 points, so its minimum is 30 points less than B-H's. The Indians have five bonuses, but only Windham over Woodstock Academy is a lock. They'd need wins by Killingly, Bacon Academy (over RHAM of Hebron), Watertown (over Torrington) and Stonington (over Westerly) to max out at 1,110 points. B-H's max is 1,120.

10. Weston (7-2)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing at Barlow (8-1).

Outlook: Much better with Shaban out for Barlow. Win and it's almost in. It would have 1,120 points, which is B-H's max. B-H would win the tiebreaker. Weston has one tiebreaker, and it isn't good - Bethel over Brookfield.

11. Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton (7-2)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabing at Ellington/Somers (8-1).

Outlook: Unknown. Win and it's almost in, but Ellington/Somers has been the better team thus far. A win gives C/W/B a minimum of 1,110 points. It has one bonus - Granby over Canton. It cannot catch Barlow or Weston, whichever wins. If it and B-H tie, then B-H wins the tiebreaker. Finally, a Patriots win over E/S matches Montville's max, and it wins that tiebreaker.

12. Ledyard (6-3)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Fitch (8-1).

Outlook: Poor. It needs to win and have four of the 10 teams in front of it lose.

The eight: No. 1 Wolcott at No. 8 Barlow; No. 2 Berlin v. No. 7 Montville; No. 3 Ellington/Somers v. No. 6 Weston; No. 4 Hillhouse v. No. 5 St. Joseph.


Projected cutoff: Two losses.

Qualified: Ansonia, Hartford Capital/Classical/Achievement, Hyde of New Haven, and North Branford.

Teams alive: 10.

1. Ansonia (9-0)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. Naugatuck (6-3).

Outlook: It's already clinched a home quarterfinal. A win earns it the top seed.

2. Hartford Capital/Classical/Achievement (9-0)

Remaining game: Today v. Prince Tech (8-1).

Outlook: A win gets it a home quarterfinal.

3. Hyde (9-0)

Remaining games: Wednesday at North Branford (9-0).

Outlook: A win earns it a pseudo-home quarterfinal (the Howling Wolves use Bowen Field, which doesn't have lights).

4. North Branford (9-0)

Remaining games: Wednesday v. Hyde (9-0).

Outlook: See Hyde, although it has lights.

5. Rocky Hill (8-1)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. Northwest Catholic (7-2).

Outlook: Very good. A loss doesn't doom it, either. Of the bottom six teams, only Stonington could beat Rocky Hill's minimum (1,150), but the Bears would need to earn two of three bonuses. More on that later.

6. Prince Tech (8-1)

Remaining game: Tuesday at Hartford Capital/Classical/Achievement (9-0).

Outlook: Lock. It could lose and not collect any bonuses, and still be in good shape as it's so far ahead of the No. 8-14 teams.

7. Trinity Catholic (7-2)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing at Wilton (4-5).

Outlook: Lock. It needs just one win and a Northwest loss. If Northwest wins, then all Trinity needs is to earn one of its five bonuses.

8. Woodland (6-2)

Remaining game: Wednesday v. Seymour (5-4)

Outlook: Good. A win should clinch a spot, provided Northwest doesn't beat Rocky Hill. If Northwest won, then it beats the Hawks.

9. Northwest Catholic (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Rocky Hill (8-1).

Outlook: Unknown. Win and it's in.

10. Stonington (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Westerly (5-4).

Outlook: Not good. The Bears best chance is to beat Westerly and hope that Woodland and Northwest lose.

Mathematically relevant: 11. Cromwell (7-2); 12. Oxford (7-2); 13. Derby (6-3); 14. Holy Cross (6-3).

The eight: No. 1 Ansonia v. No. 8 Prince Tech, No. 2 Hartford Capital/Classical/Achievement v. No. 7 Woodland; No. 3 North Branford v. No. 6 Trinity Catholic; No. 4 Rocky Hill v. No. 5 Hyde.

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Brian and Kyle, The NVL Blog: "Thanksgiving Predictions".

Sean Patrick Bowley of Hearst Inc. provides his own dissertation on CIAC playoff scenarios, and writes previews today and Wednesday's games.

Kyle Brennan, Waterbury Republican-American: "It's Thanksgiving: Gimme 10!".

Bryant Carpenter, Meriden Record-Journal: "The Big Apple".

Joe Chik, Hearst Inc.: "New Canaan and Darien football squads prepare for Turkey Bowl".

Gerry deSimas Jr., Collinsville Press: "A new tradition growing with Thanksgiving football in the Valley".

Mark Jaffee, Waterbury Republican-American: "Secret to football success: Unsung heroes", and, "Woodland on edge of playoffs".

Pooch Diggity-Dogg, New Haven Register: "Hyde returns to Class S state playoffs", and, "Tuesday Morning Quarterback".

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1. We advise you to follow the action of Wednesday and Thursday's games on Twitter at #cthsfb. There will be a lot of jibber-jabber going on there.

2. A member of Polecat HQ will be making his yearly post-Thanksgiving appearance on WFSB-3 to discuss the playoffs. Said appearance will take place on Friday's 11:15 p.m. news. As always, it will send WFSB's ratings skyrocketing amongst females 18-to-40.

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The Day of New London Top 10 state coaches' poll

First-place votes in parentheses, record through Saturday, points tabulated on a 30-28- 26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis, and last week's ranking:

1. Hand-Madison (9) 9-0 380 1

KNOW THIS: The Tigers have owned the Thanksgiving series with their shoreline rivals. They've won the last five games by an average score of 36-13. NEXT: vs. Guilford, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

2. Ansonia (2) 10-0 352 2

KNOW THIS: The Chargers pounded Woodland for the second time this season, 56-26, in Thursday's unnecessary NVL final. Great news for the Hawks — they could meet Ansonia for a third time in the Class S playoffs. NEXT: vs. Naugatuck, Thursday, 10:30 a.m.

3. Staples-Westport (2) 8-0 346 3

KNOW THIS: "Hello, Grandma? Yeah, I'm going to be a little late to Thanksgiving dinner. I need to go see Staples at Greenwich. ... Don't you give me that attitude." NEXT: FCIAC Championship at Greenwich, Thursday, 10 a.m.

4. Windsor 9-0 292 4

KNOW THIS: The Warriors so thoroughly thrashed Hartford Public on Saturday that running clock began with five minutes, 18 seconds left in the third quarter of their 47-6 win. NEXT: CIAC Class L quarterfinals, Nov. 27, 6:30 p.m.

5. Masuk-Monroe 9-0 266 5

KNOW THIS: The Panthers have pummeled Newtown by a combined score of 88-7 in the previous two South-West Conference title games. NEXT: SWC Championship at Newtown, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

6. Xavier-Middletown 8-1 265 6

KNOW THIS: This might be the best Middletown team the Falcons have faced in several Thanksgivings, but will it be enough to stop the latter's four-year winning streak?. NEXT: vs. Middletown at Palmer Field, Thursday, 10 a.m.

7. Greenwich 8-0 244 7

KNOW THIS: True story — after Greenwich reserve Nick Schepis ran for a 35-yard touchdown to give his team a 54-0 lead over Danbury Thursday, coach Rich Albonizio had his team allow the Hatters' Tysheen McCrea to return the ensuring kickoff for a 75-yard touchdown so that he wouldn't be suspended for breaking the 50-point rule. NEXT: FCIAC Championship vs. Staples, Thursday, 10 a.m.

8. Southington 9-0 220 8

KNOW THIS: Cheshire has won the past five Apple Classic games. More minutia — Southington had the better record in three of those five games, as it does again this season. NEXT: vs. Cheshire, Thursday, 10:30 a.m.

9. Norwich Free Academy 9-0 143 9

KNOW THIS: The Wildcats meet their old friends from New London for the 151st time, and they'd deny the Whalers a playoff berth with a win. NEXT: at New London, Thursday, 10 a.m.

10. Newtown 9-0 133 10

KNOW THIS: The buzz around the SWC this season was that Newtown had a chance to be its best team. And then quarterback Dan Hebert suffered what turned out to be a season-ending injury two weeks ago. Eep. NEXT: SWC Championship vs. Masuk, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Also receiving votes: Hillhouse-New Haven (7-2), 110 points; Middletown (8-1), 102; Glastonbury (9-1), 98; New Canaan (8-1), 91; Wolcott (8-1), 55; West Haven (7-2), 48; Avon (10-0), 41; North Branford (9-0), 40; Berlin (8-1), 30; Tie, Fitch (8-1) and St. Joseph- Trumbull (7-2), 26; Hartford Capital/Classical/Achievement (9-0), 7.

The following coaches voted: Tom Brockett, Ansonia; Jim Buonocore, Ledyard; Craig Bruno, Bunnell; Dave Cadelina, Bridgeport Central; Steve Filippone, Hand; Rob Fleeting, Windsor; Tanner Grove, Montville; Jude Kelly, St. Paul; Tim King, Valley Regional; Sean Marinan, Xavier; John Murphy, Masuk; Marce Petroccio, Staples; Bob Zito, Maloney.

The New Haven Register Top 10 media poll with first-place votes in parentheses: 1. Hand (18); 2. Staples (eight); 3. Ansonia; 4. Xavier; 5. Xavier; 5. Windsor; 6. Greenwich; 7. Masuk; 8. Southington; 9. Newtown; and, 10. NFA.

Ned Freeman's cold, logic computer rankings for and 1. Hand; 2. Xavier; 3. Ansonia; 4. Staples; 5. Greenwich; 6. Masuk; 7. West Haven; 8. Hillhouse; 9. Southington; and, 10. Newtown. Windsor is 11th and NFA 14th.

Vaya con dios….

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