Area football teams aren't out of the playoff race just yet

It has been written here many times over the past few weeks how history hasn’t favored three-loss teams getting into the CIAC Class LL or L playoffs.

There have been only five three-loss teams that have qualified for either Class LL or L since the CIAC expanded to eight teams per division in 2010.

It’s improbable, though, not impossible.

Norwich Free Academy (5-3) still has a chance to qualify in Class LL. Ditto East Lyme (5-3) in Class L even after losing to Fitch last Friday, 21-7.

All is not lost yet because other contenders have either been upset and/or will be playing other contenders in the future.

NFA is 10th in the Class LL ratings with games left at Bacon Academy (6-2) on Saturday and at home against New London (4-3) on Thanksgiving Eve (Nov. 27).

There’s almost no way the Wildcats could catch the top three teams — No. 1 Darien (8-0), No. 2 Newtown (8-0), and No. 3 Southington (7-1).

Mathematically, NFA could catch No. 4 Simsbury (7-1), but it’s unlikely based on the latter's schedule.

No. 5 Ridgefield (7-1) plays at No. 7 Greenwich (7-1) on Saturday. It ends the regular season at home on Nov. 27 against Danbury (5-3), which nearly knocked off Darien during Week 8.

No. 6 Cheshire (6-1) hosts Sheehan (6-1) on Friday and Southington on Thanksgiving.

A Greenwich loss to Ridgefield would give NFA a shot at catching it if it wins out and collects enough bonuses (the 10 point a team received for every win by an opponent its beaten).

No. 8 Hall (6-2) hosts Wethersfield (6-2) on Friday and visits Conard (5-3) on Nov. 23.

No. 9 Shelton (5-2) plays at unbeaten Hand on Friday and hosts No. 11 Fairfield Prep (5-3) on Nov. 22.

Here’s a look at the other classes:

CLASS L: East Lyme is rated 11th, Fitch (4-4) is 16th and New London (4-3) is 19th.

East Lyme plays at Killingly (7-1) on Friday and hosts Waterford (7-1) on Thanksgiving.

Fitch is a longshot because it has four losses. Law is the only team to ever qualify for states (2017, Class M) since the CIAC began playoffs in 1976.

The Falcons win out against New London this Friday and Ledyard (1-7) on Thanksgiving.

New London plays at Killingly on Nov. 22, in addition to games against Fitch and NFA. Its schedule has also dragged down its ranking because it hasn't beaten a winning team, thus giving it fewer points.

All that written, here's a quick sampling of the challenges facing other L hopefuls:

• No. 5 New Canaan (6-2) hosts No. 8 Wilton (6-2) on Friday and finishes with Darien on Thanksgiving.

• No. 6 Newington (6-2) plays at No. 7 Wethersfield on Nov. 27.

• No. 9 Masuk (6-2) hosts Weston (7-1) on Friday and visits Newtown on Nov. 27.

• No. 10 Windsor (6-2) plays at No. 3 Maloney (7-1) on Friday.

CLASS M: Waterford is second in what is the least imposing playoff division in a long, long time. Top-ranked Rockville (7-0) is the only unbeaten team left.

Waterford plays at Woodstock Academy (6-2) on Saturday and closes at East Lyme. Ideally, it needs to win out. Another loss wouldn’t be fatal, thought, because other contenders will pick up their second loss (or more) based on their schedules. Fifth-rated Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby (6-1), for instance, plays at No. 6 SMSA/University/Classical (7-1) this Friday./

Thames River (6-1) is ranked seventh and has less margin for error. It hosts Wilcox Tech (1-6) on Saturday, plays at No. 3 Abbott Tech/Immaculate (6-1) on Nov. 23, and hosts Quinebaug Valley (5-3) on Nov. 27.

CLASS S: The Griswold/Wheeler co-op (5-2) is 14th but is still in the race because all but the top six teams have two losses-or-more. It hosts CREC (6-2) on Friday and No. 5 Plainfield (7-1) on Thanksgiving.

n.griffen@theday.com

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