Darien joins The Day's H.S. football poll at No. 8

Darien makes its debut in The Day's Top 10 state high school football coaches' poll this week, while and Southington returns after a brief absence.

Darien (9-1) won at then-No. 10 North Haven last Friday (36-27). The win moved the Blue Wave to No. 8, but their final regular season game is a doozy - at top-ranked New Canaan (10-0) on Thanksgiving.

Southington (8-1) is ranked 10th. It does so thanks to Fairfield Prep routing then-No. 8 Xavier last Saturday, 46-270. The Blue Knights edged out Fairifled Prep (8-2) by five points for that final spot while Xavier dropped out of the Top 10.

New Canaan received nine of 13 first-place votes to remain No. 1.

Second-ranked Ansonia (10-0) earned the other three first-place votes.

Norwich Free Academy (8-1), the only local team in the Top 10, holds at No. 9.

Valley Regional/Old Lyme (9-0) and Ledyard (7-2) continue to receive votes while New London (7-2) also received a 15th-place vote, its first points since a Week 2 loss at unbeaten Capital Prep/Classical/Achievement (53-14).

- Ned Griffen

The Day of New London Top 10 state coaches' poll

First-place votes in parentheses, record, 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. New Canaan (10) 10-0 384 1

KNOW THIS: Head coach Lou Marinelli told Dave Ruden of The Ruden Report that quarterback Nick Cascione (concussion) is doubtful for Friday's FCIAC final. Well, that would make things interesting.

NEXT: FCIAC Championship vs. St. Joseph (9-1) at Trumbull, Friday, 7 p.m.

2. Ansonia (3) 10-0 368 2

KNOW THIS: It's really not wise to have teams play a league title game in an 11-game season as it could lead to playing 15 games. Then again, is there any good reason to play a league title game when teams could play three state playoff games in two weeks? ABOLISH LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES.

NEXT: NVL championship vs. Woodland (9-1) at Municipal Stadium, Waterbury, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.

3. West Haven 9-1 308 3

KNOW THIS: The Westies have qualified for the Class LL playoffs. A win on Thanksgiving Day would assure them a home game and knock Fairfield Prep out of the playoffs. The downside - a Prep loss could allow three-time Xavier to sneak into the playoffs. West Haven edged the Falcons in overtime, 35-34, in Week 6.

NEXT: at Fairfield Prep (8-2), Thanksgiving Day, 10 a.m.

4. Newtown 10-0 282 4

KNOW THIS: It plays Brookfield this week. Again. The Nighthawks already beat the Bobcats in Week 3 (35-7). ABOLISH LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES.

NEXT: SWC championship at Brookfield, Thursday, 7 p.m.

5. Glastonbury 9-1 266 5

KNOW THIS: Jalen Ollie completed 18 of 25 passes for 290 yards and five touchdowns in last Friday's 49-21 rout of Windsor, thus sending Glastonbury to the Class LL playoffs for the sixth straight season.

NEXT: vs. Simsbury (2-8), Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

6. St. Joseph 9-1 224 6

KNOW THIS: The Cadets play New Canaan this Friday. Again. They already lost to the Rams 62-21. ABOLISH LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES.

NEXT: FCIAC Championship vs. New Canaan (10-0) at Trumbull, Friday, 7 p.m.

7. Platt 10-0 211 7

KNOW THIS: The upside of the ankle injury to running back Tyzhan Leatherwood is that it forced the Panthers to use quarterback Andrew McBride more. McBride completed 8 of 13 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns and ran six times for 139 yards and two touchdowns in last Saturday's 48-8 rout of Northwest Catholic, which clinched the Panthers a second-straight Class L berth.

NEXT: vs. Maloney (1-8), Thanksgiving Day, 10:30 a.m.

8. Darien 9-1 172 NR

KNOW THIS: The Blue Wave finally crack the Top 10. They won at then No. 10 North Haven last Friday (36-27). They also thrashed Greenwich, the only team that's beaten West Haven, in Week 2 (42-21). Darien's loss was at No. 6 St. Joseph (28-14) in a game it led at halftime.

NEXT: at New Canaan (10-0), Thanksgiving Day, 10:30 a.m.

9. Norwich Free Academy 8-1 164 9

KNOW THIS: One more time - the Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points in 2 minutes, 44 seconds late in last Saturday's game to beat Stonington, 63-35.

NEXT: vs. New London (7-2), Thanksgiving Day, 10 a.m.

10. Southington 8-1 146 NR

KNOW THIS: The Blue Knights return to the Top 10 after their Week 6 loss to Hall (49-37). Hall (9-1) would like some Top 10 love, too.

NEXT: at Cheshire (4-6), Thanksgiving Day, 10 a.m.

Dropped out: Xavier (8), and North Haven (10).

Also receiving votes: Fairfield Prep (8-2), 141 points; Middletown (9-1), 116; Capital/Classical/Achievement (10-0), 99; Hall-West Hartford (8-1), 98; Brookfield (9-1), 75; Naugatuck (9-1), 55; Valley Regional/Old Lyme (9-0), 48; Staples (8-2), 44; Hand (7-3), 30; Ledyard (7-2), 24; Shelton (6-4), 19; North Haven (8-2), 14; Woodland (9-1), 10; Xavier (7-3), 9; New London (7-2), 8.

The following coaches voted: Tom Brockett, Ansonia; Jim Buonocore, Ledyard; Craig Bruno, Naugatuck; Scott Daniels, Glastonbury; Joe DellaVecchia, St. Joseph; Steve Filippone, Hand; Rob Fleeting, Windsor; Steve George, Newtown; Tanner Grove, Montville; Tim King, Valley Regional/Old Lyme; Sean Marinan, Xavier; John Murphy, New Milford; Marce Petroccio, Staples.


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