H.S. football / Week 12 preview capsules
Montville at Windham, 6:30 p.m.
Records: Montville (4-5); Windham (2-7)
Last week: Montville was idle; Windham lost to Fitch 42-6
Outlook: Montville coach Tanner Grove scouted Windham last week at Fitch. And despite the Whippets' thin numbers — they dressed under 25 players — they managed to get Grove's full attention. The reason: How to stop Windham junior Nate Barbosa, the 230-pound fullback? He ran for more than 100 yards against Fitch's defense. Montville has been idle since its win over Waterford in overtime, when Ryan Douchette found Greg Clark with the game winner from third and goal at the 18. Windham has won the first two games in this new holiday series.
Fitch at Ledyard, 10 a.m.
Records: Fitch (9-0, 3-0 ECC Division I); Ledyard (2-7, 0-3)
Last week: Fitch defeated Windham 42-6; Ledyard was idle
Outlook: It wasn't quite Jim Mora and the iconic "playoffs?!" rant. But Fitch coach Mike Ellis told his team after last week's game that Thanksgiving has significance beyond enhancing Fitch's playoff seeding. The Falcons, who went nine straight years without a win over the Colonels, won back the Colonel Ledyard Sword last year. And they want to keep it. If they do so, they'll complete an undefeated regular season and contend for a home playoff game next Tuesday in Class L.
New London at NFA, 10 a.m.
Records: New London (3-6, 1-2 ECC Division I); NFA (5-4, 2-1)
Last week: Both teams were idle
Outlook: While Stonington and Westerly is the oldest running Thanksgiving rivalry, this is the oldest high school football rivalry, dating back to 1875. New London has won two straight, defeating Montville and Ledyard. NFA, playing perhaps the state's toughest schedule, can earn a winning season with a victory. NFA has played at Xavier, at No. 5 Windsor, at No. 9 West Haven and home vs. Cheshire while quarterback Jack Raba was healthy. A winning season would be an accomplishment under first-year head coach Jason Bakoulis. NFA leads the series 77-62-11.
Waterford at East Lyme, 10 a.m.
Records: Waterford (0-9); East Lyme (6-3)
Last week: Waterford was idle; East Lyme defeated Guilford 21-6
Outlook: This would complete a 7-win season for the Vikings, likely the most improved program in the ECC this season. Their win over Guilford last week featured a 27-play, 99-yard drive that chewed most of the second half. Isaac Tomblin (power running) and Dylan Hatajik (one of the league's fastest players) are difficult to contain. Waterford, which was a play away from winning at Montville two weeks ago, needs to win this to avoid a winless season. Waterford has one of the league's top receivers in Max Mazzella.
Westerly at Stonington, 10 a.m.
Records: Westerly (5-6); Stonington (3-6)
Last week: Westerly lost to Moses Brown 17-13; Stonington was idle
Outlook: Stonington could have won the outright title in ECC Div. II with a win over Bacon Academy two weeks ago. The loss sent the Bears into a disappointing 3-way tie for the title. However, there's always a win in the 158th renewal of the oldest Thanksgiving Day rivalry in the country that qualifies as redemption. Westerly, which has lost five straight in the series, can finish .500 with a win. The Bulldogs are coached by former Bacon/St. Bernard/New London coach Duane Maranda and reached the semifinals of the Rhode Island Div. II playoffs a week ago before losing to Moses Brown. Stonington leads the series 74-66-17.
Quinebaug Valley at Thames River, 10 a.m.
Records: Quinebaug (2-7); Thames River (4-5)
Last week: Both teams were idle
Outlook: After beginning the season slowly, Thames River (Grasso Tech, Norwich Tech) can finish at .500 with a win here. That would be quite an accomplishment under first-year coach Darin Jones. Not only is this the final home game of the seniors, but it is a true home game. The game will be the first of the season played on the Norwich Tech campus.
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