Valley/Old Lyme moves into Class S football playoff picture

The Valley Regional/Old Lyme co-op football team didn’t have promising playoff odds prior to last weekend.

The Warriors were ranked 15th in the CIAC Class S rankings with a slew of unbeaten teams ahead of it, including Cromwell/Portland, last Friday’s opponent.

Man, how things got so much better for Valley/Old Lyme.

The Warriors stunned unbeaten Cromwell 34-28 in overtime on the road, while a number of Class S contenders lost.

Valley/Old Lyme (6-1) shot up to eighth in this week’s Class S rankings. The top eight teams qualify for states in all four divisions.

There were seven unbeaten teams prior to last weekend. Now there are four as Plainfield and Stafford/East Windsor/Somers also lost for the first time.

Capital Prep/Achievement First, O’Brien Tech and St. Paul all lost their second game, too.

The Warriors have very good odds to qualify, their schedule being one reason. They play host to winless Rockville on Friday, and play at Lewis Mills (1-6) on Nov. 11.

The tricky game for Valley/Old Lyme will be at rival Haddam-Killingworth (4-3) on Nov. 17. The Warriors have the better record, but H-K will be motivated to snap its five-year losing streak to the latter and spoil their playoff chances.

The schedules for other Class S hopefuls also works in Valley/Old Lyme’s favor as they have difficult games ahead and, in some cases, they play against other contenders.

A look at the other divisions of local interest:

CLASS L: Fitch (7-0) is fourth and one of four unbeaten teams. The Falcons are great shape with No. 10 East Lyme (5-2) being the only team left on its schedule without a losing record. It plays host to Windham (1-5) on Nov. 16 and at rival Ledyard (2-5) on Thanksgiving.

East Lyme is on shaky ground and likely needs to win its final three games — vs. Fitch, vs. Guilford (3-3, Nov. 16) and vs. Waterford (0-6, Thanksgiving). All those games are at home.

There are just two teams with one loss in the division (No. 5 Hand and No. 6 Maloney are both 6-1), thus the odds are better that a three-loss team could qualify. What hurts East Lyme is that it has beaten only one winning team (Barlow, 4-3), so it might not pick up many bonus points to beat out other three-loss contenders (a team earns 10 points for every win by an opponent it beat).

CLASS LL: Norwich Free Academy (4-3) is way back at No. 17 and must win out and get a lot of help. It plays host to winless Waterford on Friday, at Windsor (6-0) on Nov. 16, and at home against New London (1-6) on Thanksgiving.

CLASS M: Odds are against an area team qualifying in this division. Thames River (3-3) is the highest rated team at No. 14 and still must play Prince Tech (Nov. 11) and at Stonington (Nov. 16). Killingly (6-0) is atop the rankings and one of just three unbeaten teams. All but four teams have at least two losses, too.

n.griffen@theday.com

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