CIAC playoffs: No. 2 Waterford to host Granby/Canton, NFA to visit No. 1 Newtown

Waterford saved itself some playoff travel with its heart-stopping overtime win over rival East Lyme on Thursday.

Norwich Free Academy, on the other hand, goes west.

The Lancers (9-1) clinched the second seed in the CIAC Class M football playoffs, thus guaranteeing themselves at least two home playoff games. Waterford will host No. 7 Granby/Canton (8-2) in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round.

The Wildcats (7-3) are the eighth and final seed in Class LL. They will play at top-seeded and unbeaten Newtown (10-0) that same night.

All quarterfinal games are at 6:30 p.m.

The semifinals are Sunday, Dec. 8 at the higher seed (12:30 p.m.). The finals are Saturday, Dec. 14 at Willow Brook Park in New Britain and McDougall Stadium on the Trumbull High campus. Two finals will be played at each site with times tentatively scheduled for 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The seedings won’t be official until the CIAC football committee approves them Friday morning.

The Lancers have been to the postseason three times before and have yet to win a game. They would have been seeded seventh had they not rallied to beat East Lyme, 35-34, and would’ve played at Killingly.

Instead, Waterford faces Granby/Canton from the Pequot Football League. It is the first season for the co-op. One of its two losses was an overtime loss to Rockville (14-7, Sept. 27), the top seed in Class M.

The winner of that game plays the winner of No. 3 Killingly (9-1) and No. 6 New Fairfield (8-2).

NFA is making its eighth postseason appearance and has played in three state finals (1998, 2012, and 2014). It rallied back from a 3-3 start and is a rarity in the Class LL playoffs. Only six three-loss teams have qualified in Class LL since the CIAC added a quarterfinal round in 2010.

Newtown (10-0) is from the South-West Conference and reached the semifinals last year.

The Nighthawks and NFA have three common opponents this season — Fairfield Prep, West Haven and Shelton from the Southern Connecticut Conference. The Wildcats lost to all three teams.

Waterford, NFA and Killingly are three of four Eastern Connecticut Conference teams to qualify for the playoffs. The other, Plainfield (8-2), is the No. 8 seed in Class S and will play at No. 1 Ansonia (10-0) on Tuesday at Nolan Field.

The other playoff games are:

CLASS LL: No. 2 Southington (9-1) vs. No. 7 Ridgefield (9-1); No. 3 Darien (9-1) vs. No. 6 Greenwich (9-1) in a match-up between the previous four division champions; and No. 4 Simsbury (9-1) vs. No. 5 Cheshire (8-2).

CLASS L: No. 1 St. Joseph (10-0) vs. No. 8 Wilton (7-3); No. 2 and defending champion Hand (10-0) vs. No. 7 Newington (7-3); No. 3 Maloney (9-1) vs. No. 6 Berlin (8-2); and No. 4 New Canaan (8-2) vs. No. 5 Wethersfield (8-2).

CLASS M: No. 1 Rockville (10-0) vs. No. 8 SMSA/University/Classical (8-2); and No. 4 Abbott Tech/Immaculate (9-1) vs. No. 5 Weston (9-1).

CLASS S: No. 1 Ansonia (10-0) vs. No. 8 Plainfield (8-2); No. 2 Bullard-Havens (10-0) vs. No. 7 Plainville (8-2); No. 3 and defending champion Bloomfield (10-0) vs. No. 6 Stafford/East Windsor/Somers (8-2); and No. 4 Sheehan (8-2) vs. No. 5 Woodland (9-1).

n.griffen@theday.com

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