The Lonesome Polecat (state variant): YOUR quarterfinal previews
This is all you're getting for an intro — we started writing this Monday night around 7 with a few breaks.
You'll get the point as you peruse these here ramblings.
Remember — everything we do, we do it for you.
• • • •
No. 1 GREENWICH vs. No. 8 FAIRFIELD PREP
RECORDS: Greenwich 10-0; Fairfield Prep 8-2.
WORDS: Fairfield Prep vs. Greenwich. Now THIS a playoff game drenched in tradition. The following teams have scored more than Greenwich — Ansonia (531 points) and Bullard-Havens (480). And that’s it. The Cardinals scored 467, including games in which they scored 57, 60 and 70. Gavin Muir has completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 2,158 yards with 27 touchdowns and six picks and run for 205 yards and four touchdowns for the NEW No. 1 team in The Day's state coaches' poll. Tysen Comizio has rushed for 1,034 yards and 17 touchdowns and has 28 receptions for 345 yards and four scores. Jael Negron leads the team in receiving yardage (518) and touchdowns (10). End Mozi Bici (81 tackles, 11 sacks) heads up an opportunistic defense. Prep deserves extra credit for making states after the injuries it’s overcome. Running back Doug Harrison, the Jesuits’ best offensive threat last season, tore his ACL in Week 2. QB Will Lucas missed three games to an ankle injury. Yet Prep persevered. It prefers to run (a lot), but doesn’t have anyone with more than 78 carries. That's how many totes Justin Keith has (team-high 441 yards, 7 touchdowns, and we promise NEVER to use 'totes' again). Lucas has rushed for 428 yards and two scores, and completed 31 of 69 passes for 537 yards with 7 touchdowns and 3 INTs. Middle linebacker-running back Anthony Mastroni is a large dude (6-foot-3, 245 pounds) and has 75 tackles. Prep has some large mammals up front, but it may need four 10-minute drives to stop Greenwich’s offense. And even that might not be enough.
CALPREPS SEZ: Greenwich, 35-14.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Greenwich.
POLECAT SEZ: Greenwich.
No. 2 SHELTON vs. No. 7 WEST HAVEN
WHERE: Finn Stadium, Shelton.
RECORDS: Shelton 9-1; West Haven 8-2.
WORDS: The first of four REMATCHENINGS. Jake Roberts threw for 168 yards and a touchdown and ran 18 times for 76 yards and three touchdowns in the Gaels' 38-28 win over the Westies on Oct. 27 during SCC Alphia Tier play. Jack Carr added 19 carries for 120 yards and caught a 41-yard touchdown pass for Shelton, ranked fifth in The Day's poll. The most impressive part of the win may have been Shelton’s defense holding the Blue Devils to 83 yards and no points in the second half and forcing three turnovers. End Michael Casinelli (8.5 sacks), tackle Jaryd Witkowski (6-1, 275 pounds), and linebacker Ray Weiner (55 tackles) were All-SCC Alpha Division defensive picks. The craziest part of Shelton's season is that it has just one loss playing teams that combined for a 59-41 record. That includes wins over four playoff teams — Hand (21-19), North Haven (31-20), Fairfield Prep (19-15) and West Haven. Can Shelton hold the Westies’ fleet of running backs in check again? Easier said than done. Kyle Godfrey (the co-SCC Alpha Division Player of the Year), Chris Chance and Zach Conlon can stop, cut and accelerate like feral cats. Offensive tackle Mekhi Geter (6-1, 244) pushes people around, while linebacker Mike Charlton lays them out. These two have had a long, brusing and fun rivarly for two decades in the SCC, so, yeah, this is one of the marquee games tonight.
CALPREPS SEZ: Shelton, 28-27.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Shelton.
POLECAT SEZ: Shelton.
No. 3 DARIEN vs. No. 6 EAST HARTFORD
WHERE: Darien Stadium Field (it's located in Darien).
RECORDS: Darien 9-1; East Hartford 9-1.
WORDS: Man, how quickly everything unraveled for the Blue Wave. They were in full Brock Lesnar mode, ripping and tearing through the FCIAC and looked to be well on their way to winning a third straight LL title. That all went to hell when three Darien students turned themselves into police the day before Thanksgiving in connection with a Nov. 6 assault at a New Canaan home. Jack Joyce (quarterback) and Brian Minicus (defensive back-receiver) were both suspended from the New Canaan game. The Blue Wave's offense was snuffed out by the Rams, 27-0, ending their 34-game winning streak. There's no word if the players will be reinstated. Darien managed just 72 yards against New Canaan with its quarterbacks throwing four interceptions and getting sacked five times. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns. The Blue Wave defense may have to shoulder a heavy burden from here-on-out. They’ve been among the state’s most dominant and did what they could against the Rams by holding them to 239 yards. Kevin Grune (outside linebacker), Connor Fay (middle linebacker) and Drew Evanchick (end) are among Darien’s best defenders. The Hornets are making their first playoff appearance since winning the 1987 LL title (3-0 over Hamden) and have the best player on the field in UConn recruit Kevon Jones. He’s 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds, thus he’s used in multiple ways on offense (14 touchdowns) in addition to scaring opponents at linebacker. QB Raquan Tompkins can beat you with his legs (six touchdowns) or his arm (15 TDs). David Ortiz has rushed for four touchdowns, including the game-winner in East Hartford’s 26-25, come-from-behind win over Manchester on Nov. 22. The Hornets have faced some good defenses, but nothing like Darien's, even if it's not at full strength.
CALPREPS SEZ: Darien, 35-7 (the computer model doesn’t factor in the Blue Wave’s personnel matters).
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Darien.
POLECAT SEZ: Darien.
No. 4 SOUTH WINDSOR vs. No. 5 NAUGATUCK
WHERE: East Hartford High (South Windsor doesn't have those lighty things — mighty neighborly that some East Hartfordians are going to hang around to man operations while their Hornets head to Darien).
RECORDS: South Windsor 9-1; Naugatuck 9-1.
WORDS: South Windsor has been absent from the playoffs almost as long as East Hartford (it lost to Bristol Eastern, 22-19, in the 1988 Class MM final). It's been one of the state's best success stories this season as its gone from 1-10 to 9-1 in four seasons. The Class of 2018 is used to winning as they won a youth league title as seventh graders and were unbeaten on the 2014 freshman team. QB Connor Kapisak (13 TD passes) and RB Julian Ibes (16 rushing TDs) have paced the Bobcats’ offense. Hassan Azeem (6-1, 270) was an all-state tackle for South Windsor last season. He’s annoying opponents as a defensive tackle this season, too. The Greyhounds kept it as close as humanly possible against Ansonia in their 46-28 Thanksgrabbing Day loss. Doreon Chapman ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries in a losing effort. Third-year starting QB Mike Plasky brings the veteran presence to Naugatuck. Defense has been the Greyhounds strength under first-year coach Dave Sollozzo, a former assistant at Maryland and Villanova.
CALPREPS SEZ: South Windsor, 31-21.
GAMETIME SEZ: South Windsor.
POLECAT SEZ: South Windsor.
• • • •
No. 1 MIDDLETOWN vs. No. 8 NEW CANAAN
WHERE: Rosek-Skubek Stadium, Middletown.
RECORDS: Middletown 10-0; New Canaan 8-2.
WORDS: Behold, the most interesting game in the worldwemean today.
Oh, man, what must Middletown have been thinking on Thanksgiving Day. They’d dominated nemesis Windsor the night before, 24-7, to win the CCC Division II East title and clinch the top seed in Class L. Less than 24 hours later, four-time defending Class L champion New Canaan sacked Darien to qualify as the eighth seed. Whelp. Middletown would probably run all day if it could. Bruiser Xzavier Reyes is the lead back (182 carries, 1,144 yards, 12 touchdowns) with Tyreece Lumpkin (362 yards, 10 TDs) and STONE Belzo (463 yards, 9 TDs) contributing to the running cause. Belzo has also give the Blue Dragons a passing threat they’ve lacked the last few seasons. He’s completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 1,011 yards with 12 touchdowns and four INTs. DeAndre Lawrence has been Belzo’s top target (42 catches, 565 yards, 11 TDs) and Nico Cavaliere kept so many drives alive against Windsor (five catches, 49 yards). Stephen Hill Jr. (OLB) has 70 tackles and defensive lineman James Johnson has 43 tackles and 7.5 sacks.
The Rams were an overwhelming preseason No. 1 in the GameTimeCT/New Haven Register poll as coaches and media were agog. And then they opened the season with a 38-35 loss to St. Joseph. They were 3-2 after a 36-21 loss to Greenwich (Oct. 14). Ah, but you should know by now to never count New Canaan out (it's only made states 13 straight years). No one in the state has had as consistent a passing game for as long as the Rams as they’ve become the state standard for the Tony Franklin System. Second-year QB Drew Pyne has completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 1,926 yards with 22 touchdowns and 8 INTs and was getting FBS offers before he arrived at New Canaan last year. More than likely, he’s throwing to Quintin O’Connell (46 catches, 680 yards, 13 touchdowns). The Rams abandoned their no-huddle against Darien and ran (41 attempts) far, far, far more than they threw (16). Now THAT’S different. They rode Owen SHIN hard, who had a season-high 27 carries with 119 yards and a score. New Canaan has some large dudes up front. You don’t see players like Grant Morse every day in Connecticut high school foot balls. He has a team-high 85 tackles with four sacks at middle linebacker, and has made 49 of 51 extra points and all eight of his field goals (including a 44-yarder against Darien).
Middletown hasn’t made it past the state semis the past five seasons and is sick and tired of it. It's aching to reach the level of schools such as New Canaan, which have won a ridiculous 10 state titles in the aughts. To be The Man, you've got to beat The Man.
CALPREPS SEZ: Middletown, 28-27.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Middletown.
POLECAT SEZ: New Canaan.
Man, we've got to start tightening these suckers up. Brevity, you fools. BREVITY.
No. 2 HAND vs. No. 7 NORTH HAVEN
WHERE: Surf Club, Madison on the shores of Long Island Sound, making it one of the state's purdiest #cthsfb venues, and also one that's always 69 degrees colder than anywhere else.
RECORDS: Hand 9-1; North Haven 8-2.
WORDS: Oh, man, this should be a SLOBBERKNOCKER. Hand's varsity D is punishing and hasn't given up more than a touchdown since a Week 2 loss to Shelton (21-19 — h/t Patrick Star). North Haven wants to beat teams up with the run using GOD'S FATHER'S OFFENSE. PHOENIX Billings has run the show for Hand as a sophomore as he’s thrown for 1,314 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and rushed for 470 yards and 7 TDs. Delvantae Hutton has given the Tigers a consistent rushing threat (109.8 yards per game, seven touchdowns). Sophomore lineman Ben Corniello (6-2, 220) is already a hoss. Defense has been where Hand has done its best work, and few do it better in the state than linebacker Brian Casagrande (93 tackles). The SCC Tier 2 Player of the Year (6-1, 225 pounds) is nasty. DE Macken McDonald (4.5 sacks), linebacker Ryan Coady (50 tackles) and cornerback Ian Butler (school-record 9 INTs) help add the nastiness. The SCC Tier 1 is perhaps the state’s best. Two of its five all-conference offensive linemen were from North Haven (Eric Milliard. Henry Pearson). You’d expect nothing less from a team that wants to run through your face over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. The Indians have run FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY NINE TIMES times (gets warm, glowing feeling) with a robust 6.8 yard average. Co-SCC Alpha Tier POTY Mark Montano has, at times, carried North Haven’s ground game (1,309 yards, 16 TDs). He’s listed at 180 pounds, but runs like a 230-pounder. He’s also completed 15 of 22 passes for 409 yards with four TDs and two INTs on those rare times the Indians want to throw (BLEH). Fellow running back Zach Orth is no fun to tackle, either (877 yards, 14 TDs). He’s no fun to be tackled by, either (team-high 108 tackles). These two didn't play during the SCC regular season as Hand dropped to Tier 2 while North Haven remained in the Alpha Tier. It's sure swell that everyone has the chance to see them hook 'em up tonight.
CALPREPS SEZ: Hand, 31-27.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: North Haven.
POLECAT SEZ: Hand (feel so unclean picking against GOD’S FATHER’S OFFENSE).
No. 3 WINDSOR vs. No. 6 MALONEY
WHERE: Jack O'Brien Field, Windsor.
RECORDS: Windsor 9-1; Maloney 9-1.
WORDS: The night’s second REMATCHENING. Unlike Shelton-West Haven, it was a no contest the first time around as Windsor made the Spartans one of its five shutout victims, 28-0, on opening night (Sept. 9). The Warriors held Maloney to 44 yards on 27 carries. Second-year QB Larue Graham completed just 9 of 30 passes for 72 yards for the Spartans. It doesn’t give us much hope for Maloney the second-time around as Windsor’s defense is nasty (two special teams miscues put the Warriors' D in a tough spot aginast Middletown and resulted in two touchdowns). Factor in, too, that the Warriors are coming off their first regular-season loss since 2013 (to Middletown, 13-6, Nov. 26). Since then, almost no one has done to the Warriors what Middletown did to them last Wednesday. Far be it for us to assume anything, but we reckon chaps such as Tomasz Johnson (1,307 yards rushing, 17 TDs), Ljay Wolcott (42 catches, 1,024 yards, 11 TDs), Joe Russell (89 tackles), Shayne Manson (52 tackles, 10 sacks), and Jerry Woodard (7 INTs) ought to be furious by the time Windsor storms the field.
CALPREPS SEZ: Windsor, 26-13.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Windsor.
POLECAT SEZ: Windsor.
No. 4 FITCH vs. No. 5 MASUK
WHERE: Dorr Field, Groton U-S-A~!.
RECORDS: Fitch 10-0; Masuk 9-1.
WORDS: Fitch has been one of the state's happiest surprises this year after going 4-6 last season and 5-5 the season before that. It’s hasn’t had an unbeaten regular season since it played for the 2001 Class L title. Tyler Nelli has run the Falcons’ FLEXBONE offense like a champ and has so many friends who he can share the ball. FULLBACK Hollis Scott ain’t the biggest, but he’s tougher than shoe leather. Wingback Hamear Stephens brings the speed. And split end Antonyo Figueroa can break off a long play those rare times that Fitch throws. NG Nick Helbig and linebackers Luke Letellier and Scott have a way of being where the action is. One concern about the Falcons is their schedule. So many of its opponents had bad seasons (some uncharacteristically so) and they combined for a 37-65 record. East Lyme (7-3) was the only winning team Fitch beat.
No one outside of Newtown could fathom how Masuk could’ve lost to the latter on Thanksgrabbing Eve, 14-7. The Panthers won by an average of 40 points as it blitzed through the South-West Conference, including a 42-13 win over Bunnell on Sept. 9. Bunnell, it should be noted, wasted Newtown in the latter’s last game (40-0, Nov. 10). And then the Nighthawks (7-3) go and beat Masuk. FOOTBALL. The Panthers were one of just three teams that hung with New Canaan last season and has a talented, veteran core. Matt Hersch has somehow completed 70.7 percent of his passes for 2,513 yards with 30 TDs and 3 picks and run for four touchdowns. Jack Roberge has somehow rushed for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns on a meager 90 carries (he also has 19 catches for 302 yards and two scores). Hersch has too many inviting targets for one QB in Ryan Shaw (41 catches, 742 yards, 10 TDs), Nick LoRusso (29 catches, 655 yards, 10 TDs), Peter Fox (31 catches, 486 yards, 5 TDs), and Michael Zuk.
Masuk has some experience against against the option as it played Barlow on Sept. 22. The latter ran 42 times for 241 yards (5.7 average), but the Panthers won, 36-13.
CALPREPS SEZ: Masuk 35-20.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Masuk.
POLECAT SEZ: Masuk (pains us to pick against the team that runs that sexy FLEXBONE).
• • • •
No. 1 KILLINGLY vs. No. 8 LAW
WHERE: Killingly High.
RECORDS: Killingly 10-0; Law 6-4.
WORDS: Ah, Killingly. Did you know you have a the special place in everyone’s heart here at Polecat HQ? Of course you know we’re crushing on you — because you’re an elebenty degree black belt in the MANLY DISCIPLINE OF THE RUNNING ARTS. You passed just 39 times this season. That’s 39 times too many, but that was still among the lowest among over 100 state teams that inputted stats into MaxPreps.com. Killngly has run 481 offensive plays. Spencer Lockwood has run on 52.2 percent of those plays (251 carries, 2,373 yards, 32 TDs). And when he needs a break, FULLBACK Zach Caffrey has muscled his way for 8.6 yards a carry and 10 TDs. Let’s have a round of applause for the dudes who’ve made the magic happen — LT Brandon Cacciapuoti (6-1, 270 pounds), LG Ethan Canova (5-10, 240), C Michael Diruscio (5-5, 175) (yes), RG Matt Phelan (5-7, 175), and Alex Fontaine (6-1, 285).
The LAWMEN are the surprise entrant into states because they needed a last-minute win over Foran, a Wolcott loss, and other good fortune to make it. They won their last three games to finish 6-4, making them the first team to make states with four losses. Law has relied on RB Michael Plaskon a lot (1,209 yards, 11 TDs). By comparison, the Lawmen have thrown it just 11 more times than Plaskon has run it (168). WR Ethan Saley, like Plaskon, was an All-SCC Tier 3 pick. He caught 20 passes for 528 yards and 8 TDs (that’s a 26.4-yard average — NICE). Hayden Hulme has thrown for 960 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven INTs. Law’s defensive line should be a good match for Killingly’s offensive line. That group is led by DE Sheldon Gargano (64 tackles) and DT Justin Abe (48 tackles).
CALPREPS SEZ: Killingly, 42-13.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Killingly.
POLECAT SEZ: Killingly.
No. 2 COVENTRY/WINDHAM TECH/BOLTON/LYMAN MEMORIAL vs. No. 7 SPORTS & MEDICAL SCIENCES ACADEMY/UNIVERSITY SCIENCE & ENGINEERING/CLASSICAL MAGNET (ow-ow, hand cramp, hand cramp)
RECORDS: C/WT/B/LM 10-0; SMSA/U/C 7-3.
WORDS: It's tonight's third REMATCHENING. It happened, like, 10 daze ago. C/WT/B/LM rallied back from a 20-7 deficit in the third quarter and stopped a two-point conversion for the win. C/WT/B/LM is a crazy success story because it has just 15 varsity players on its 26-man roster. WHAT. The MIGHTY PATRIOT BULLDOGS are another team the Polecat Worldwide staff can embrace as they've attempted fewer passes (30) than any other playoff team listed in MaxPreps' database. THAT'S THE WAY YOU DO IT. QB Jacob Carlson steers that sexy option offense and has thrown for 341 yards with 9 TDs and 1 INT, and rushed for 921 yards and 11 TDs. Shaun O’Connell has run a team-high 164 times for 924 yards and nine TDs. Nick Pronovost is FREAKY. He’s rushed for 627 yards and a team-high 14 TDs — on FIFTY FOUR CARRIES. He’s also caught six passes for 170 yards and four TDs, scored on three kickoff returns (including the opening kickoff in back-to-back weeks), and has 36 tackles and 7 interceptions. He’s a DUDE.
The TIGERHAWKS are the polar opposite of C/WT/B/LM because they want to throw, throw, throw (yes, TIGERHAWKS is their real nickname. No, we're not joking). Soph Devin Hill has completed 125 of 221 passes for 2,175 yards with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions (he’s also run a team-high 118 times for 486 yards and 6 TDs). Hill has two workhorse receivers in Naseim Harrison (43 catches, 904 yards, 12 TDs) and Hayden Jordan (47 catches, 702 yards, 9 TDs). Jordan had six catches for 146 yards and a score in the loss to the MIGHTY PATRIOT BULLDOGS. MLB Devon Daniels sure gets around (79 solo tackles, 105 total tackles, 3 sacks). OLB Jordan Rivera has 99 tackles and 5 sacks, and Harrison has 8 picks at free safety.
CALPREPS SEZ: C/WT/B/LM, 38-21.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: C/WT/B/LM.
POLECAT SEZ: SMSA/U/C (pains us to pick against the triple option team).
It's 5:20 a.m.? Crap. We're failing at the brevity. And we want to go to bed. HURRY THIS UP.
No. 3 SHEEHAN vs. No. 6 BARLOW
RECORDS: Sheehan 9-1; Barlow 7-3.
WORDS: It's been 22 years since the TITANS made states, and they've got a crew that could win the program's second title (they beat Montville for the 1985 SS title). Sheehan shouldn’t be a one-year deal, either, as it’s playing a lot of underclassmen. Junior Wes Terzi has thrown for 1,444 yards with 19 TDs and 5 INTs and run for three scores. The Titans also found themselves two fine soph running backs in Terrence Bogan (1,024 yards rushing, 13 TDs) and Jordan Davis (857 yards rushing, 11 TDs). Barlow’s defensive backs should key on senior Evan Mansfield because he had 41 catches for 547 yards and 7 TDs (the rest of the tea had 67 catches). Guard Luke Willette (5-10, 255 pounds) is a junior, but has enough stroke to be a co-captain. Senior DT Stephen Zenisky (6-0, 275) will push some poor o-lineman around. Senior MLB Will Terzi has a ludicrous 115 tackles.
We hope you remember from the Fitch-Masuk write-up that Barlow runs that sexy triple option. And it runs. A lot. It has run FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THREE TIMES, more than anyone else who bothered to upload stats to MaxPreps. We like the cut of your jib, Falcons. Anydizzie, Barlow should be celebrated for its commitment to the run as it’s accumulated 4,026 yards at 8.3 yards a carry. ADORABLE. QB Trevor Furrer is a busy fella’ as he leads the team in carries (152) and rushing yardage (1,255) and run for 10 TDs. He’s also thrown 3 touchdowns when the coaching staff had rare moments of weakness and called a pass (ICK) play. Calvin Peterson (997 yards, 10 TDs), Alex Stillman (654 yards, 8 TDs), and Will Cusick (526 yards, 10 TDs) also get in on the running fun. Stillman also plays linebacker and has 93 solo tackles and 123 overall tackles and how is that even possible?
Barlow and Sheehan have two common opponents — Bassick and Weston. Sheehan (62-8) and Barlow (47-6) both overwhelmed Bassick. Sheehan beat Weston in overtime, 28-27 (Sept. 15), with a walk-off two-point conversion. The Falcons ransacked Weston on Thanksgrabbing, 50-14, in the equivalent of a Class M qualifier They ran 59 times for SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY THREE YARDS and seven TDs. Someone get us a cold drink.
CALPREPS SEZ: Sheehan, 34-31.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Sheehan.
POLECAT SEZ: Sheehan.
No. 4 BERLIN vs. No. 5 WATERTOWN
WHERE: Sage Park, Berlin.
RECORDS: Berlin 8-2; Watertown 8-2.
WORDS: Berlin was merrily knocking off one team after the next through eight games this season. Life was peachy. And then came its final two games. It was beaten by Rocky Hill, 26-10, featuring a 21-play, 80-yard touchdown drive by the latter (sweet). The worst was yet to come. New Britain kicked the Redcoats all the way back to Berlin, 51-6. We cannot tell you the last time anyone beaten the Redcoats that badly because it just doesn’t happen. That game was on Nov. 17, so they’ve had time to get rested, healthy, and angry. Berlin prefers to run more (291) than it throws (165) and has done so in the most democratic way possible. Alex Halkias led the team in carries (87), rushing yardage (614) and rushing TDs (8). QB Kevin Dunn has been efficient (66.5 percent completion rate) while throwing for 1,512 yards with 15 TDs. He did throw 8 picks, though.
Add the Indians to the list of teams returning to states for the first time since the eighties (it beat Platt for the 1986 SS title). Watertown alumnus (and resident) Luigi Velardi has righted the program in four seasons. QB Nick D’Elia has put up some ridiculous numbers at times. To wit, he threw for 173 yards and four touchdowns and ran five times for 73 yards and a score in the first half of 68-27 Thanksgrabbing mauling of Torrington. Adam Alenckis added 13 carries for 264 yards and four touchdowns in that win. Joe Deptula (tight end) and Dan Graziano (receiver) are two guys that D’Elia trusts.
CALPREPS SEZ: Berlin, 28-21.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Watertown.
POLECAT SEZ: Berlin.
• • • •
No. 1 ANSONIA vs. No. 8 SEYMOUR
WHERE: Nolan Field, Ansonia.
RECORDS: Ansonia 10-0; Seymour 8-2.
WORDS: The fourth and final REMATCHENING. It’s also the worst of the lot as the Chargers scored 55 points in its 61-6 decimation of Seymour on Oct. 26. They ran 26 plays in the first half for 472 yards and eight touchdowns. Ansonia has been the undisputed masters of the Manly Discipline of the Running Arts for a while now. Central Connecticut-bound Markell Dobbs rushed for 1,293 yards and 23 touchdowns. In his first eight games. On SEVENTY THREE carries. He was given the ninth game off to rest (a 50-6 smashing of Holy Cross). Dobbs ran 36 times for 404 yards and six touchdowns against Naugatuck. So 36 plus 73 is 109. 1,293 plus 404 is 1,697. Divide 1,697 by 109. That equals 15.6 yards per carry for Dobbs this season. Kudos to offensive linemen Mike LaRovera, Kevin Rasco, Colby Ortiz, Alex Hernandez and Martin Antoine.
What, oh what, could the Wildcats possibly do the second time around to stop the Chargers' PATH OF RAGE? Beats us. The versatile Bobby Melms has been a fun player to watch for Seymour (94 carries, 1,136 yards rushing, 14 TDs; 15 catches, 345 yards, 5 TDs; 3 sacks). QB Ian Sadick has grown into his new job this season, throwing for 1,411 yards with 23 touchdowns and just 5 INTs. Tyler Ganim has turned 18 catches into a team-high 435 yards and 7 TDs. LB Cade Klarides-Ditria has 111 tackles and that’s a lot.
CALPREPS SEZ: Ansonia, 40-20.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Ansonia.
POLECAT SEZ: Ansonia.
No. 2 ST. JOSEPH vs. No. 7 O’BRIEN TECH
WHERE: Trumbull High (St. Joes has a fine athletic complex, but it ain't illuminated).
RECORDS: St. Joseph 9-1; O'Brien Tech 8-2.
WORDS: EVERYTHING one needs to know about this matchup can be found HERE. That will take you to a CIAC webpage that lists the rosters and game results for both teams. Take a look at both rosters. See how many players St. Joseph has? Now see how few players the Condors have? Oh, boy. O'Brien has been a cool surprise this year because they've made states for the first time in just its seventh season. They've also done it with spartan facilities. This game won't go well as the Cadets are ranked third in The Day's poll and are hellbent on winning their 13th CIAC state title.
CALPREPS SEZ: St. Joseph, 62-0.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: St. Joseph.
POLECAT SEZ: St. Joseph.
No. 3 ROCKY HILL vs. No. 6 VALLEY REGIONAL/OLD LYME
WHERE: McVicar Field, Rocky Hill.
RECORDS: Rocky Hill 10-0; Valley/OL 9-1.
WORDS: Rocky Hill played in last year's state final and lost. It wants to win the whole dang thing this year. The Terriers are one of the state's finest examples of GOD'S OFFENSE. Their mas macho running attack has been paced by the Joes, Joe Catania and Joe Ferreira. Rocky Hill will throw when it sees an edge with second-year QB Dan Cavallaro being quite efficient. He threw two touchdown passes to Matt Osgood in last Wednesday’s 35-7 thrashing of Cromwell/Portland. Osgood also threw a TD to Diamante Baker.
The WARRIORCATS will look to find advantages using their deep group of receivers. Ernest Jean-Pierre is all-state quality (31 catches, 633 yards, 4 TDs). Jason O’Brien has 25 catches for 477 yards and 4 TDs, and Jae’len Arnum has 16 catches for 264 yards and a team-high 5 TD receptions. First-year QB Mike Cullina has fit nicely into his new role this year and completed 60.1 percent of his passes for 2,020 yards with 22 TDs and 10 picks. He’s also run for five touchdowns. Valley/OL has spread out the running attempts with Nick Braga having the most carries (69) for a team-high 587 yarsd with 5 TDs. Center Ian Neviaser is a hoss. Linebackers Blair Allen (80 tackles) and Roan Sullivan (61 tackles, 7 sacks) and cornerback Jake Kruszewski (56 tackles, 5 INTs) look to slow Rocky Hill down.
CALPREPS SEZ: Rocky Hill, 31-10.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: Rocky Hill.
POLECAT SEZ: Rocky Hill (the WARRIORCATS are 3-0 in quarterfinal play when we've picked against them).
No. 4 BULLARD-HAVENS vs. No. 5 STAFFORD/EAST WINDSOR/SOMERS
WHERE: Penders Field, Stratford (if you want lights, you don't go to B&H).
RECORDS: B-H 9-1; S/EW/S 9-1.
WORDS: A football pet peeve of ours is when that damned right-wing media hypes up a football game saying it's this quarterback against that quarterback. WRONG. They both play offense. This isn’t the foot balls of yore where manly men such as Slingin’ Sammy Baugh played offense, defense, special teams, stiched together the foot balls, etc. They’re not going to face one another. They do in Class S where the ‘S’ stands for ‘small’ as in ‘small schools.’ They don’t have a whole lot of players to choose from (unless you’re St. Joseph), so many start on offense and defense. And that brings us to Colton Engel of S/EW/S and Tyrese Wright of Bullard-Havens. Engel has thrown for 890 yards with 10 TDs (and 7 INTs) and rushed a team-high 209 times for 1,682 yards and 21 TDs. He also plays strong safety and has 22 tackles and three picks. Wright has put up some of the nuttiest stat lines you’ve seen this season. He’s thrown for 1,328 yards with 17 TDs and just 2 INTs. He’s run for 1,675 yards (15.5 per carry) and 25 TDs. He’s caught four passes for 181 yards and 3 TDs. He’s run for 11 two-point conversions He has 110 tackles (WHAT) and 4 interceptions at cornerback. So, yeah, Engel and Wright do many, many things (and well).
Linebackers Jonathan Kopek (93 tackles) and Cody Gebo (56 tackles, six sacks) had made things happen on defense for S/EW/S. Tigers’ LB Tavon Smith-Brown has 136 tackles (WHAT) and Elijah Martin has 104 tackles and four sacks as a cornerback. They must be running some exotic blitz schemes at B-H.
CALPREPS SEZ: B-H, 28-21.
GAMETIMECT SEZ: S/EW/S.
POLECAT SEZ: S/EW/S.
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GAWK SLACK-JAWED at The Day’s Top 10 state coaches’ poll: 1. Greenwich (eight first-place votes); 2. Ansonia (four first-place votes); 3. St. Joseph (one first-place vote); 4. Middletown; 5. Shelton; 6. Darien; 7. New Canaan; 8. Hand; 9. Windsor; and, 10. Masuk.
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The GameTimeCT.com/New Haven Register/Hearst Inc. Top 10 media poll: 1. Greenwich (10-0, 18 first-place votes); 2. Ansonia (two first-place votes); 3. Middletown (10-0, two first-place votes); 4. St. Joseph; 5. Darien (9-1, two first-place votes); 6. Shelton; 7. New Canaan; 8. Windsor; 9. Masuk; and, 10. South Windsor. Hand was 11th..
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Ned Freeman’s cold, calculating computer rankings at CalPreps.com: 1. Darien; 2. St. Joseph; 3. Greenwich; 4. Shelton; 5. Middletown; 6. Hand; 7. New Canaan; 8. West Haven; 9. Ridgefield; and, 10. Masuk. Ansonia was No. 17.
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It's 7:52 a.m.
Hello, you stupid sun.
Thanks for reading.
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