NFA could spoil playoff chances for Fitch, New London

Norwich Free Academy became a longshot to qualify for the CIAC football playoffs after last Friday’s home loss to Windsor.

Now the Wildcats will try to ruin Fitch and New London’s playoff chances.

The odds are against NFA (3-3) qualifying in Class LL after Windsor stunned it with a last-minute touchdown and won, 28-21. There are 35 teams in Class LL. The Wildcats are ranked 17th.

NFA could spoil things up for Fitch on Friday. The Falcons are 4-2 and ranked 11th in Class L. The Wildcats end their regular season at New London (3-2) on Thanksgiving. The Whalers are No. 12 in Class L.

Three-loss teams have rarely qualified since the CIAC expanded to four, eight-team divisions in 2010. Just 18 out of 192 playoff qualifiers had three losses (9.4 percent) during 10-game seasons. Two three-loss teams have qualified in LL, and three in L.

NFA plays its final three games on the road against Waterford (1-5, Nov. 2), Killingly (5-1, Nov. 9) and New London.

Fitch has a favorable schedule after this week. It plays at Capital Prep/Achievement First (1-4, Nov. 2), hosts East Lyme (2-4, Nov. 9) and finishes at home on Thanksgiving against Ledyard (2-4).

New London plays its next three games on the road against teams with losing records  — East Lyme (Friday), Ledyard (Nov. 2), and winless Stonington (Nov. 9). The Whalers' final two regular season games should be their roughest. They play at Middletown (6-0) on Nov. 15, and end with NFA.

Here’s a look at the CIAC’s other two divisions involving area teams:

Class M

Defending champion Killingly (5-1) is fifth and appears to be the one Eastern Connecticut Conference team with a solid chance to return. The Redmen face a tough test against NFA at home (Nov. 9), but most likely could survive a second loss.

The Thames River co-op (4-1) is ranked ninth, but the Crusaders will be hard-pressed to stay in the race because their schedule is ridiculously backloaded. They host Bullard-Havens (6-0) on Saturday, play at O’Brien Tech (4-1) on Nov. 3, host the Abbott Tech/Immaculate co-op (4-2) on Nov. 11, plays at Cheney Tech (5-1) on Nov. 16, and concludes its regular season at Quinebaug Valley (3-3) on Nov. 21.

Class S

Valley Regional/Old Lyme (5-0) is ranked fifth and one of six unbeaten teams. It would clear a big hurdle with a win at home on Friday against No. 7 Cromwell/Portland (5-1). The latter had a stunning loss at Old Saybrook/Westbrook (2-3) last Saturday, 35-20.

The Warriors' final three games are at Rockville (4-1, Nov. 2), vs. winless Lewis Mills (Nov. 9), and home against Haddam-Killingworth (5-1) on Nov. 20.


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