The Lonesome Polecat: CIAC quarterfinal previews for YOU
(Looks into mirror)
Repeat after me, self:
“I will not stay awake until 8 a.m. trying to write these previews. Less is more”
“I will not stay awake until 8 a.m. trying to write these previews. Less is more”
“I will not stay awake until 8 a.m. trying to write these previews. Less is more”
“I will not stay awake until 8 a.m. trying to write these previews. Less is more”….
• • • •
Much like BRACKETOLOGY ~!, we’re going to try to predict things.
Much like BRACKETOLOGY~!, we’re going to be wrong about a bunch of these predictions and that's cool. Surprises are (usually) FUN.
Much like BRACKETOLOGY ~!, Just because we didn’t pick your team to qualify doesn’t mean we hate you. Hell, WE DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU, MAN.
Sean Patrick Star and Pete P’s picks from the GameTimeCT/New Haven Register/Hearst Monolith are included. SMASH THOSE HYPERLINKS and solicit their copy.
The picks made by CalPrep’s cold, emotionless computer model are also included. The model, which starts picking games after a month’s worth of input, is 358-68 this year (84 percent).
Lastly, video from a Polecat minion’s taping at WFSB-3 are included. Thanks again to Joe Zone for being silly enough to let said minion on air.
YOU are also encouraged to follow all of tonight’s actions at the Twit at #cthsfb. Everything kicks off at 6:30.
• • • •
No. 1 SHELTON vs. No. 8 NEW CANAAN
WHERE: Finn Stadium, Shelton High.
RECORDS: Shelton 10-0; New Canaan 8-2.
LOOK/LISTEN: NHFS Network (but youse gotta’ pay for it, you cheapskate).
SHELTON DUDES: Sr. G-DT Jake Breton (25 tackles, 3 sacks); Sr. RB-DB Jack Carr (69 carries, 721 yards rushing, 10 TDs; 31 tackles); Sr. WR-FS Paul Ferrigno (40 catches, 530 yards receiving, 7 TDs); Sr. LB Tyler Janik (54 tackles); Sr. QB Jake Roberts (87-of-159 passing, 1,293 yards, 16 TDs, 5 INT; 87 carries, 593 yards rushing, 10 TDs); Sr.; Sr. OL-LB Ray Weiner (47 tackles, four sacks).
NEW CANAAN DUDES: Sr. OLB Garrett Braden (44 tackles, 3 ½ sacks); Sr. T-DT Jack Conley (6-foot-8, 290 pounds); Jr. RB-DB Drew Guida (39 tackles, 5 INTs); Sr. CB-WR Zach LaPolice; Sr. WR Quintin O’Connell (59 catches, 866 yards, 11 TDs; 30 carries, 167 yards, 4 TDs); Jr. QB Drew Pyne (144-of-227 passing, 2,045 yards, 25 TDs, 3 INTs); Jr. DE Matt Rigione (35 tackles, 10 sacks); Sr. T-DT Jack Stewart (6-5, 275 pounds, 36 tackles); Sr. WR-CB Wyatt Wilson (26 catches, 495 yards, 5 TDs).
WORDS: There are several games that are tough to call, starting off with this hoe-down between FCIAC and SCC megapowers. Shelton thinks it's played its best football of late and, over its last four games, has splattered Amity (46-7), Notre Dame of West Haven (42-12), West Haven (42-12) and Derby (62-6). The Rams are no doubt coming off their best game of the year, forcing four turnovers to beat then-No. 1 Darien on Thanksgrabbing (17-14) to earn the eighth and final berth in LL. Is their offense back, though? That group struggled mightily in early season losses to St. Joseph (28-0) and Greenwich (42-14). They did gain 243 yards against Darien, which has one of the state's top defenses. They got the short field on two scoring drives, though, thanks to a bad punt and later a sack and fumble. Perhaps seeing New Canaan twice when they lost is clouding our judgment, but we'll go with the home team in a close one.
CALPREPS SEZ: Shelton, 24-19.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: New Canaan.
PETE P’S PICK: New Canaan.
POLECAT SEZ: Shelton.
No. 2 GREENWICH vs. No. 7 NEW BRITAIN
RECORDS: Greenwich 10-0; New Britain 9-1.
LOOK/LISTEN: Fairfield LIVE.
GREENWICH DUDES: Sr. OLB Mozi Bici (61 tackles, 14 ½ sacks); Sr. DE Emilio Camou (45 tackles, 4 sacks); Sr. RB Tysen Comizio (81 carries, 536 yards, 12 TDs); Sr. MLB Jack Feda (105 tackles, 5 ½ sacks, 3 INTs); Jr. C-DT Edward Iuteri (38 tackles, 7 sacks); Sr. WR Lance Large (26 catches, 392 yards, 4 TDs); Sr. QB Gavin Muir (116-of-209 passing, 1,678 yards, 21 TDs, 6 INTs; 5 rushing TDs); Sr. CB Ryan Raybuck (36 tackles, 5 INTs); Jr. OLB Evan Weigold (57 tackles, 3 INTs).
NEW BRITAIN DUDES: Sr. RT-OL Devon Bishop (6-2, 315); Sr. LT-DL Oran Burnett; Sr. RB-DB Kaiyon Gunn; Sr. WR-DB Miguel Maldonado; Sr. LG-DL Juliano Morales; Jr. OL-DE Tyree Pinnock (5-11, 272); Sr. C-DL Brandon Rivera; Sr. RB-DB Shawn Robinson (162 carries, 1,486 yards rushing); Sr. RG-DL Jason Shumpert (5-10, 300); Sr. QB-DB Tahje Yopp (32-of-69 passing, 654 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INT; 128 carries, 952 yards rushing).
WORDS: Here’s a fun matchup — New Britain’s running game vs. Greenwich’s run defense. The Hurricanes are built to smash-and-bash with a big and physical offensive line and Yopp and Robinson, the latter who is one of the best backs we’ve seen this season. They’ve run 409 times at 8.1 yards per carry. The Cardinals have four shutouts and allowed the fewest points in the state. Then there’s this — teams have run 236 times against Greenwich this season. The Cardinals have allowed 271 yards. Sacks, of course, count towards rushing totals, but still, that’s nutty. 8.1 yards per carry vs. 1.2 yards per carry. WHO WINS? Greenwich will eventually force the Hurricanes into passing situations, and we’re not confident in their ability to do that consistently.
CALPREPS SEZ: Greenwich, 35-19.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: Greenwich.
PETE P’S PICK: Greenwich.
POLECAT SEZ: Greenwich (been voting it numero uno all regular season, but it still hurts to pick against the team with the mas macho running game).
No. 3 NEWTOWN vs. No. 6 DARIEN
RECORDS: Newtown 10-0; Darien 9-1.
NEWTOWN DUDES: Sr. RB Dan Mason (174 carries, 1,202 yards rushing, 27 TDs); Sr. QB Luke Melillo (78-of-137 passing, 1,316 yards, 10 TDs, 2 INTs; 41 carries, 338 yards rushing, 5 TDs); Sr. LB Easton Ricks (52 tackles, 4 sacks); Jr. LB Jared Dunn (41 tackles, 2 ½ sacks); Jr. DE James Knox (33 tackles, 4 ½ sacks); Sr. WR-SS Joe Pagett (19 catches, 263 yards; 4 INTs); Jr. WR-DB Riley Ward (21 catches, 342 yards, 6 TDs); Jr. CB-WR Jack Zingaro (4 INTs).
DARIEN DUDES: Jr. DE Will Bothwell (40 tackles, 6 sacks); Sr. WR Peter Bredahl (27 catches, 409 yards, 6 TDs); Sr. WR-CB T.J. Cornacchia (24 catches, 399 yards, 3 TDs); Sr. MLB-TE Connor Fay (79 tackles); Sr. CB-SB Bruce Ferguson; Sr. QB Cooper Hancock (136-221 passing, 1,886 yards, 19 TDs, 7 INTs); Sr. WR-SS Tyler Herget (31 catches, 385 yards, 3 TDs); Jr. RB Will Kirby (99 carries, 488 yards rushing, 10 TDs); Sr. Andrew Lucas (104 carries, 526 yards rushing, 9 TDs); Sr. DE-OLB Alex Quirk (44 tackles, 5 sacks); Jr. OLB Sam Wilson (79 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks).
WORDS: If you’re a fan of narratives. ... no one has had worst luck in Class LL opening round games the last few years than Newtown. It’s hosted its last five and lost four. So it makes perfect sense that it would be the team that has to host the three-time, three-time, three-time defending Class LL champion which was number one prior to last week and should be ornery as hell after a loss. What happened in, say, 2012, has no bearing on this game, though, because no one from this Newtown team was around then. The Nighthawks might be one of the most physical teams the Blue Wave faces as they want to pound the ball, and the FCIAC has become the home base for spreading defenses out and throwing, throwing, throwing to set up the run. Darien’s defense is so good though. That group did its job against New Canaan. It was the offense that went south. Reckon no one outside of Sandy Hook would’ve picked Newtown to beat Darien prior to last week, and one loss to New Canaan won’t keep us from taking the Blue Wave.
CALPREPS SEZ: Newtown, 27-21.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: Darien.
PETE P’S PICK: Darien.
POLECAT SEZ: Darien.
No. 4 SOUTHINGTON vs. No. 5 FAIRFIELD PREP
WHERE: Southington High.
RECORDS: Southington 10-0; Fairfield Prep 9-1.
SOUTHINGTON DUDES: Jr. LB Billy Carr (91 tackles, 5 ½ sacks); Sr. WR-DB Will Downes (46 catches, 792 yards, 5 TDs; 2 INTs); Sr. QB Jacob Drena (150-of-251 passing, 2,497 yards, 28 TDs, 7 INTs); Sr. WR Jacob Flynn (39 catches, 785 yards, 11 TDs); Sr. RB-DB Tanner LaRosa (141 carries, 946 yards rushing, 13 TDs); Sr. LB Kyle Messenger (86 tackles); Sr. DL John Miller (89 tackles, 6 sacks); Jr. DB-RB Angelo Plantamuro (105 tackles, 4 ½ sacks); Sr. DB Matt Thompson (39 tackles, 5 INTs).
PREP DUDES: Sr. LB Connor Boyle (51 tackles); Sr WR Finn Duran (25 catches, 605 yards, 14 TDs); Sr. OL-DL Campbell Halloran; Sr. RB Doug Harrison (139 carries, 878 yards rushing, 14 TDs); Sr. QB J.P. Iaropoli (106-of-157 passing, 1,547 yards, 21 TDs, 6 INTs); Sr. SS-WR Peter Kavanaugh (49 tackles); Jr. MLB Charles Wilcox (66 tackles).
WORDS: THIS is the toughest LL game to call. Both have hoss QB-RB-WR combos. Both can punish you defensively. The Jesuits have been challenged by passing games such as Southington (they held Shelton without an offensive touchdown in a 10-7 loss). The Blue Knights have dealt with burly power backs such as Harrison (they had to deal with New Britain's Shawn Robinson in a 27-24, come-from-behind win). Prep has played its best the last two games, however, rolling both North Haven (42-20) and West Haven (63-12). And while the SCC Tier I hasn't been at its usual terrifying, cutthroat level, Prep has played a slightly better overall schedule (Southington played, and beat, the best team either faced in New Britain). That's really the only thing we have as we're splitting hairs here.
CALPREPS SEZ: Fairfield Prep, 28-19.
PETE P’S PICK: Southington.
POLECAT SEZ: Fairfield Prep.
• • • •
No. 1 HAND vs. No. 8 BUNNELL
WHERE: Surf Club, Madison on the shores of Long Island Sound, a beautiful place that's always 69 degrees colder than the rest of New Haven County.
RECORDS: Hand 10-0; Bunnell 9-1.
LOOK/LISTEN: TIGERPRIDE on LiveStream. YAY TECHNOLOGY GIVING THE POWER TO THE PEOPLE~!
HAND DUDES: Sr. WR-CB Chris Bartosic (19 catches, 432 yards, 6 TDs); Jr. QB Phoenix Billings (71-of-105 passing, 1,432 yards, 16 TDs, 4 INTs; 26 carries, 455 yards rushing, 9 TDs); Sr. WR-CB Ian Butler (18 catches, 402 yards, 3 TDs; 27 tackles, 3 INTs); Jr. T-DE Ben Corniello (32 tackles, 6 ½ sacks); Sr. DE-G Jack Flanagan (45 tackles, 5 sacks); Jr. RB-OLB Colin McCabe (93 carries, 945 yards rushing, 24 TDs; 30 tackles, 4 sacks); Sr. OL-DT Macken McDonald; Jr. FS-K Isaiah McNeilley (4 INTs, 31-34 XPs).
BUNNELL DUDES: Sr. WR-CB Elijah Alexandre (29 catches, 572 yards, 6 TDs; 32 tackles, 4 INTs); Jr. QB Brian Carrafiello (76-of-125 passing, 1,322 yards, 12 TDs, 4 INTs); Jr. MLB Jovan Eggleston (50 tackles; 4 sacks); Sr. RB-CB Christ N'dabian (128 carries, 1,112 yards, 12 TDs; 32 tackles); Jr. MLB-RB Nick Ochoa (41 tackles); Jr. MLB-WR James Savko (83 tackles. 3 sacls); Jr. FS-WR Tyreek Smith (49 carries, 540 yards, 6 TDs).
WORDS: Bunnell has so much speed. That’s the only edge it has here. Its lone loss was to Newtown (48-6, Oct. 26) which, and, if you believe the coaches know what they’re talking about, Hand is better than the Nighthawks. Then there’s this — Hand took a 57-point lead in the first 18 minutes of last Wednesday’s game against Guilford even though it ran just 10 offensive plays. These Tigers are scary. Really scary. And they’re going to win Class L again.
CALPREPS SEZ: Hand, 42-13.
PETE P’S PICK: Hand.
POLECAT SEZ: Hand.
No. 2 MIDDLETOWN vs. No. 7 MALONEY
WHERE: Rosek-Skubek Stadium, Middletown.
RECORDS: Middletown 9-1; Maloney 8-2.
MIDDLETOWN DUDES: Sr. QB-DB Jonta'e Dempsey-Brown (68-of-140 passing, 900 yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs; 7 INTs); Jr. WR-DB Kenneth Fountain (21 catches, 327 yards, 5 TDs); Sr. DT-OL Tavien Harris (4 ½ sacks); Sr. MLB-TE Stephen Hill Jr. (71 tackles); Sr. RB-DB Dajaun Lomtey (50 carries, 353 yards, 7 TDs); Sr. RB-DB Tyreece Lumpkin (37 carries, 339 yards rushing, 5 TDs; 31 catches, 312 yards, 3 TDs); Sr. RB-LB Xzavier Reyes (123 carries, 989 yards rushing, 17 TDs; 42 tackles); Sr. DT-OL Osbourne Richards (50 tackles, 3 ½ sacks); Sr. DT-G Nygell Smikle (60 tackles).
MALONEY DUDES: Sr. QB Elliot Good; Jr. RB Freddy Hidalgo; Sr. WR-DB Victor Marquez; Sr. C Ryan Martel (6-5, 330); Sr. OL D.J. Posey (6-4, 290); Jr. OT-DT Trevor Santiago (6-5, 300); So. RB-DB James Tarver.
WORDS: No idea how to call this game because we don’t know which teams are going to show up? Will it be the Middletown team that took double-digits lead over Platt, or the Middletown team that couldn’t close the deal and needed a stop at its 1-yard line on the game’s final play to beat Platt, 21-18 (Nov. 8)? Or the Middletown team that gained just 92 yards last Wednesday in a 7-0 loss to Windsor? Will it be the Maloney team that opened the season with a 26-20, fourth-quarter win over Windsor, or will it be the Maloney team that couldn’t stop hated rival Platt last Wednesday, 36-20? Middletown was here last season, so give it the edge.
CALPREPS SEZ: Middletown, 34-27.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: Middletown.
PETE P’S PICK: Maloney.
POLECAT SEZ: Middletown.
No. 3 NAUGATUCK vs. No. 6 PLATT
WHERE: Naugatuck High.
RECORDS: Naugatuck 9-1; Platt 8-2.
LOOK/LISTEN: NFHS Network (PAY UP).
NAUGATUCK DUDES: Sr. SB-CB Nick Airall; Sr. RB-CB Doreon Chapman; Jr. RB-LB Malachi Gatison; Sr. WR-DB Zack Koslosky; Sr. OL-DL Derek McGrath; Jr. QB Jay Mezzo; Sr. LB-FB Michael Natkiel; Jr. WR-DB Isaiah Williams.
PLATT DUDES: Sr. WR-S Jake Baker (44 catches, 654 yards, 10 TDs; 33 tackles, 2 INTs); Jr. WR-CB Tremayne Carter (26 catches, 503 yards, 4 TDs); So. LB-TE Jasiah Cooper (66 tackles, 2 sacks); Jr. NG-G Jaylen John (50 tackles); So. RB-OLB Roberto Salas (162 carries, 1,166 yards, 10 TDs); Sr. QB-S Lorenzo Sanson (91-of-170 passing, 1,230 yards, 17 TDs, 9 INTs; 52 carries, 200 yards, 4 TDs).
WORDS: Ignore the score of Naugatuck’s 34-22 loss to Ansonia on Thanksgrabbing — the Greyhounds gave their nemesis fits. They rallied from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit. They rallied down 14 points in the third quarter and tied it at 22 with over seven minutes left in the game. We dare say that Platt hasn’t faced anyone of Ansonia’s caliber. The Panthers had a curious path to states. It lost to Bristol Central in Week 9, 21-20, to fall to 6-2. It lost the following week to Middletown to seemingly fall out of playoff contention. Central, however, self-reported the use of an ineligible player and forfeited two games, including its win over Platt. The Panthers took it from there by grinding down Maloney to win a playoff berth. They also made life difficult in losses to Windsor (21-14, double overtime) and Middletown.
CALPREPS SEZ: Naugatuck, 28-17.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: Platt.
PETE P’S PICK: Platt.
POLECAT SEZ: Naugatuck.
No. 4 WINDSOR vs. No. 5 NORTH HAVEN
WHERE: Jack O'Brien Field, Windsor.
RECORDS: Windsor 8-2; North Haven 8-2.
WINDSOR DUDES: Sr. RB-LB Chanty Adger; Sr. WR-DB Gabriel Bryan; Sr. OL-DL Dohnje Cassanova; Jr. WR-LB Torayl Dale; Sr. RB-LB Shaun Hunter; So. QB Courtenay Jackson; Jr. WR-DB Tishay Johnson.
NORTH HAVEN DUDES: Sr. RB-DB Devan Brockamer (65 carries, 596 yards, 5 TDs; 8 catches, 223 yards, 4 TDs; 45 tackles); Sr. DL-RB Vin DePalma (39 tackles, 2 sacks); Sr. RB-MLB Nick Dodge (87 carries, 711 yards, 9 TDs; 63 tackles, 3 INTs); Sr. RB-DB Albert Hooks (73 tackles); Jr. RB-DB Corey Hooks (85 carries, 505 yards, 5 TDs; 37 tackles, 2 INTs); Sr. G-DE-DT Darren Major (51 tackles); Jr. OL-DL Luke Maruca (35 tackles, 3 sacks); Sr. RB-DB Shamus Meehan (15-of-31 passing, 362 yards, 2 TDs; 34 carries, 242 yards, 5 TDs).
WORDS: This is not your typical Windsor team as it has fought through injuries, departures, offensive hiccups, and, gasp, regular-season losses. It has proven to be resilient, though. It held off Platt for a win. It fell behind with over a minute left at NFA, only to use a big kickoff return and two pass plays to regain the lead seconds later for a 28-21 win. It also stuffed Middletown, too. North Haven is as no frills as ever, using GOD’S FATHER’S OFFENSE (single wing) to slowly saw through opponents. Both teams are battle tested, but give North Haven the edge for facing tougher foes.
CALPREPS SEZ: North Haven, 28-20.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: North Haven.
PETE P’S PICK: North Haven.
POLECAT SEZ: North Haven.
• • • •
No. 1 ST. JOSEPH vs. No. 8 ROCKVILLE
WHERE: Penders Field, Stratford.
RECORDS: St. Joseph 9-1; Rockville 7-3.
ST. JOSEPH DUDES: Sr. WR Jesse Bike (26 catches, 423 yards, 6 TDs); Jr. LB Cole DaSilva (54 tackles, 6 sacks); Jr. WR Will Diamantis (34 catches, 748 yards, 12 TDs); Sr. LB Jesse Lawson (69 tackles); Sr. DB-WR Ace Luzietti; Jr. DE Michael Morrissey (51 tackles, 8 sacks); Jr. LB Alex Pagliarnini (72 tackles, 7 ½ sacks); Jr. RB Jaden Shirden (156 carries, 973 yards, 18 TDs; 20 catches, 154 yards, 3 TDs); Sr. QB David Summers (116-of-216 passing, 1,829 yards, 25 TDs, 10 INTs; 65 carries, 226 yards, 4 TDs); Jr. NG Jermaine Williams (5-11, 303, 28 tackles, 4 ½ sacks).
ROCKVILLE DUDES: Sr. QB Ben Ambro; Sr. Jr. WR-DB Jaquan Dufour; Sr. WR-CB Nick Foley; So. Kevin Foley; Sr. RB-DB Kejuan Greene; Jr. RB-LB Jonathan O’Coin.
WORDS: St. Joseph has won four of its last five opening-round games by a combined score of 62-19. It has beaten the likes of New Canaan and Staples and hung with Darien for a half. It is winning Class M. The end.
CALPREPS SEZ: St. Joseph, 48-3.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: St. Joseph.
PETE P’S PICK: St. Joseph.
POLECAT SEZ: St. Joseph.
No. 2 SHEEHAN vs. No. 7 WOLCOTT
RECORDS: Sheehan 9-1; Wolcott 7-3.
LOOK/LISTEN: WELI-960 with the gruff but lovable George DeMaio.
SHEEHAN DUDES: Sr. OLB-TE Nick Barbieri (76 tackles, 6 ½ sacks); Jr. RB-OLB-CB Terrence Bogan (190 carries, 2,049 yards, 30 TDs); Jr. WR Jordan Davis (22 catches, 328 yards, 5 TDs); Sr. OLB Tyler Ekstrom (84 tackles, 2 ½ sacks); Jr. FS-WR Mike Lemay (76 tackles, 2 INTs); Jr. MLB-TE Braedon McCarthy (79 tackles, 4 sacks); Sr. SS Ryan Paul (117 tackles, 2 INTs); Sr. G-DT Willie Seay (5-10, 290, 43 tackles); Sr. WR-CB Aaron Simmons (29 carries, 480 yards, 9 TDs; 2 INTs); Sr. WR-OLB Jake Smith (31 catches, 593 yards, 4 TDs); Sr. QB-CB Wes Terzi (98-of-160 passing, 1,529 yards, 20 TDs, 3 INTs; 3 rushing TDs); Sr. G-DT Luke Willette (5-10, 280, 49 tackles, 3 ½ sacks).
WOLCOTT DUDES: Sr. WR-DB Mason Desaulniers; Sr. OL-DL Jared Dunn; Sr. MLB-G Jake Filippone; Sr. T-DL Dean Howell; Sr. RB-FS Anthony Ligi; Sr. C-DL Logan Lussier; Sr. WR-LB Matt Olmstead; Jr. DB-WR Justin Pawlak; Sr. FB-LB Jake Sforza.
WORDS: Sheehan may not have great numbers, but it can sure hang numbers up on opposing defense. It’s averaged 44.9 points. It has an explosive offense that can beat a defense via the run or pass. The Titans trailed Branford by 20 points in the second quarter of a Nov. 9 game. They scored FIFTY SEVEN UNANSWERED POINTS to turn a deficit into a 64-27 rout. They also didn’t get mauled by Fairfield Prep early in the season (they lost, 23-14) which, if you’ve seen Prep’s scores of late, was an accomplishment. Wolcott showed resilience last Friday as it trailed Holy Cross in the fourth quarter and rallied for a 30-26 win. Anthony Ligi ran for three straight touchdowns in the fourth for the Eagles. Wolcott is dependent on the run, and while we love a mighty run-all-the-time offense more than the next mammal, you’re going to have to throw at some point, unless you’re 1999-2000 Fitch Falcons. Or Arkeel Newsome and the 2011-13 Ansonia Chargers. Or the almighty 1998 Bloomfield Warhawks, featuring Jermelle Lewis and the greatest engine of destruction in state running back history (or at least our lifetime), Andrew Pinnock.
CALPREPS SEZ: Sheehan, 48-17.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: Sheehan.
PETE P’S PICK: Sheehan.
POLECAT SEZ: Sheehan.
No. 3 BERLIN vs. No. 6 BROOKFIELD
WHERE: Sage Park, Berlin.
RECORDS: Berlin 9-1; Brookfield 8-2.
BERLIN DUDES: Sr. QB Kevin Dunn (98-of-157 passing, 1,708 yards, 22 TDs, 2 INTs; 24 carries, 246 yards, 2 TDs); Sr. Alex Halkias (73 carries, 734 yards, 13 TDs; 16 catches, 368 yards, 3 TDs; 48 tackles); Jr. RB-DL Zach Hrubiec (51 carries, 344 yards, 4 TDs; 17 catches, 191 yards, 3 TDs; 76 tackles; 6 sacks); Jr. RB-LB Larry St. Pierre (33 carries, 308 yards, 4 TDs; 23 catches, 501 yards, 7 TDs; 57 tackles); Sr. G-LB Domenic Scarano (81 tackles); So. Marco Scarano (25 carries, 321 yards, 6 TDs; 102 tackles); Sr. LB-OL Tyler Tralli (68 tackles); Sr. Giancarlo Tufano (22 catches, 374 yards, 5 TDs); Jr. CB-WR Tony Undercuffer (24 tackles, 4 INTs).
BROOKFIELD DUDES: Sr. DE-TE Gavin Borges (38 tackles, 5 sacks); Sr. FS-WR Baron Brown (61 tackles, 2 INTs); Sr. DE-FB Chris Comizio (35 tackles, 5 sacks); Jr. RB-LB Nick Henderson (143 carries, 1,265 yards, 15 TDs; 41 tackles; 4 sacks); Sr. RB-OLB Conor McVey (94 carries, 828 yards, 11 TDs; 12 catches, 125 yards, 1 TD; 73 tackles; 2 sacks); Sr. MLB-G Eric Reich (95 tackles); Sr. QB-CB Trevor Sterry (29-of-61 passing, 402 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 29 tackles).
WORDS: Ah, now this matchup is as enticing as any other quarterfinal. Brookfield wants to line up in the I-formation and bleed you slowly. The Redcoats have added a very efficient passing game to their already efficient run game. Both are well coached, too. That deserves mention. Berlin really impressed us the two times we saw them this season, even in a 33-14 loss to New Britain (it hung around with the latter for a quarter). We think its diverse offense will prove to be the difference. In a perfect world, Brookfield would win it all and send long-time head coach Rich Angarano into retirement with another state title. The man is a dang fine head coach and an even better human.
CALPREPS SEZ: Brookfield, 22-21.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: Berlin.
PETE P’S PICK: Berlin.
POLECAT SEZ: Berlin.
No. 4 KILLINGLY vs. No. 5 CHENEY TECH
WHERE: Killingly High.
RECORDS: Killingly 9-1; Cheney Tech 8-2.
LISTEN: WINY-1350 AM.
KILLINGLY DUDES: Sr. QB-CB-K Luke Desaulnier (43-of-80 passing, 740 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs; 57 carries, 205 yards, 7 TDs; 52-55 XP, 4-6 FG); Sr. DE-TE Quinn Gervasio (44 tackles, 8 sacks); Sr. RB-DE Nsaiah Harriet (111 carries, 755 yards, 12 TDs; 7 sacks); Jr. RB-OLB Jackson Lopes (90 carries, 603 yards, 8 TDs; 34 tackles); Sr. WR Josh Montpelier (23 catches, 451 yards, 6 TDs; 2 INTs); Sr. G-MLB Matt Phelan (100 tackles, 5 sacks); Sr. MLB-FB Dylan Sanford (45 tackles, 8 sacks); Sr. FB-ILB Derek Turner (58 carries, 303 yards, 4 TDs; 74 tackles).
CHENEY TECH DUDES: Sr. WR-CB Alquan Brown (16 carries, 358 yards, 5 TDs); Sr. CB-WR Devin Cardona (56 tackles); So. QB-WR-CB Ben Gendreau (48-of-108 passing, 906 yards, 9 TDs, 9 INTs); Sr. RB-OLB Jaden Jones (133 carries, 1,223 yards, 13 TDs; 12 catches, 218 yards, 1 TD); Sr. OLB-CB-WR Macken Laroche (62 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 INTs); So. DE-FB Dillon Hepton (63 tackles, 5 sacks); Sr. MLB-RB Nijzire Van Allen (64 tackles).
WORDS: A tech school has never won a state playoff game.
CALPREPS SEZ: Killingly, 42-7.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: Killingly.
PETE P’S PICK: Killingly.
POLECAT SEZ: Killingly.
• • • •
No. 1 ANSONIA vs. No. 8 PLAINFIELD
WHERE: Nolan Field, Ansonia.
RECORDS: Ansonia 10-0; Plainfield 8-2.
ANSONIA DUDES: Sr. OL-DL Martin Antoine; Sr. RT-DE Luca Belechia; Sr. RB-ILB Terjuan Burney; Jr. TE-DL Garrett Cafaro; Jr. LB Tyler Cafaro; Jr. RB-DB Shykeem Harmon (166 carries, 1,864 yards, 17 TDs; 10 catches, 175 yards, 2 TDs); So. WR-DB Jalen Johnson (17 catches, 210 yards, 4 TDs); Sr. WR-DB Noah Jy’Mere Jones; Sr. OL-LB Tyler Navarro; So. ILB Troy Sanders; Jr. QB Sheldon Schuler (39-of-73 passing, 540 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs).
PLAINFIELD DUDES: Jr. RB-DB Lucien Dube; Sr. RB-LB Kyle Holt; Sr. TE-LB Connor Peasley; So. DB Henry Russell; So. QB-DB Liam Smith.
WORDS: Plainfield fell backwards into states despite losing to Griswold for the 15th time in 16 seasons last Wednesday (13-6). Ansonia, after graduating nearly everyone from last season’s Class S runner-up, just knocked off previously unbeaten Naugatuck to finish 10-0 and has a coaching staff that has won more state titles than some programs. ‘Nuff said.
CALPREPS SEZ: Ansonia, 42-0.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: Ansonia.
PETE P’S PICK: Ansonia.
POLECAT SEZ: Ansonia.
No. 2 BULLARD-HAVENS vs. No. 7 HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH
WHERE: Kennedy Stadium, Bridgeport (if you want lights, you don't go to B&H).
RECORDS: Bullard-Havens 10-0; Haddam-Killingworth 9-1.
BULLARD-HAVENS DUDES: Jr. QB Cyrus Cotto (87-172 passing, 1,454 yards, 15 TDs, 8 INTs; 74 carries, 422 yards, 2 TDs); Sr. WR-OLB Lon-Iovell Dunbar (17 catches, 350 yards, 5 TDs; 21 tackles, 3 ½ sacks); Jr. MLB-RB Jamai Duncan (49 tackles); Sr. RB-CB Edward Holmes (172 carries, 1,577 yards rushing, 20 TDs; 14 catches, 226 yards, 3 TDs); Jr. MLB-WR Marcus Johnson (87 tackles); Jr. WR-OLB Barry Jean-Pierre (15 catches, 338 yards, 6 TDs); Sr. WR-OLB Cristian Pagano (19 catches, 300 yards, 2 TDs; 46 tackles); Sr. FS-WR Isaiah York (38 tackles, 6 INTs).
H-K DUDES: Sr. RB-MLB Tobey Callender (164 carries, 1,277 yards, 17 TDs; 70 tackles; 5 INTs); Jr. OL-DT Trey Callender (6-2, 285, 52 tackles, 5 sacks); Sr. Aiden Maher (6-5, 235, 37 tackles, 2 sacks); Jr. RB-CB Dalton Modehn (139 carries, 1,054 yards, 18 TDs; 46 tackles, 3 INTs); Sr. RB-LB Zach Kauffman (92 carries, 557 yards, 5 TD; 46 tackles).
CALPREPS SEZ: Haddam-Killingworth, 35-17.
PETE P’S PICK: H-K.
POLECAT SEZ: Haddam-Killingworth.
No. 3 STAFFORD/EAST WINDSOR/SOMERS vs. No. 6 CROMWELL/PORTLAND
WHERE: Enfield High (Stafford’s field isn't doing well).
RECORDS: S/EW/S 10-0; Crom/Port 9-1.
S/EW/S DUDES: Sr. QB-SS Colton Engel; Sr. RB-LB Cody Gebo; Sr. OL-DL Tyler Gilbert; Sr. WR-DB Jeff Kology; Sr. OL-LB John Kopek; Sr. OL-DL Kody Messier; Sr. RB-DB Julien Rivas; Jr. NG-TE Will Spellman.
CROM/PORT DUDES: Fr. OLB Owen Brunk (75 tackles); Sr. DB Zac Cyr (115 tackles, 2 INTs); Sr. WR-DB Kevin Hinkle (40 catches, 630 yards, 5 TDs; 4 INTs); Sr. DB Devon Kilham (65 tackles); Sr. QB Bryce Karstetter (134-of-239 passing, 2,584 yards, 28 TDs, 5 INTs; 47 carries, 113 yards, 4 TDs); So. DE Cam Latronica (57 tackles, 5 sacks); Sr. RB Bryan Lockwood (82 carries, 411 yards, 12 TDs; 9 catches, 117 yards, 2 TDs); Sr. DL Chase Lopes (5-10, 287; 37 tackles); Jr. RB-LB Justin Stergos (57 tackles); Sr. WR Nick Wright (57 catches, 1,425 yards, 17 TDs).
WORDS: The best S matchup. It’s also the de facto Pequot Football Conference championship game as it involves the two division winners (C/P won the Sassacus, the Bulldogs the Uncas). The only team to beat the Panthers this season was Old Saybrook/Westbrook, which used hammer-fist run game to power its way to a 34-20 win. S/EW/S likes to play football the way that OS/W does. C/P has the edge in the passing game because Karstetter to Wright has been nearly unstoppable (these Panthers can run, too). Struggling with who to pick here, so we’ll go with the team with the better passing game in a game played on Enfield’s turf instead of Stafford’s glorious grass and mud.
CALPREPS SEZ: Stafford/East Windsor/Somers, 27-26.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: S/EW/S.
PETE P’S PICK: S/EW/S.
POLECAT SEZ: Cromwell/Portland.
No. 4 BLOOMFIELD vs. No. 5 WOODLAND
WHERE: Phil Rubin Stadium, Bloomfield.
RECORDS: Bloomfield 9-1; Woodland 9-1.
BLOOMFIELD DUDES: Jr. DE-OT Kyle Barrow (66 tackles, 9 sacks); So. QB Daron Bryden (96-of-152 passing, 1,858 yards, 29 TDs, 8 INTs); Sr. RB-LB Ky’juon Butler (177 carries, 1,883 yards rushing, 18 TDs; 51 tackles); Jr. DL-OL Kyle Davis (5 ½ sacks); Fr. LB Aaron Jones (66 tackles); Fr. WR Jayvon Massey (24 catches, 461 yards, 12 TDs); Sr. WR David Robinson (26 catches, 446 yards, 7 TDs); Jr. WR-DB Anthony Simpson (8 catches, 298 yards, 3 TDs).
WOODLAND DUDES: Sr. LB Carter Amore (65 tackles); Jr. QB Tyler Bulinski (43-of-75 passing, 1,007 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs); Sr. RB-CB Edit Krivca (172 carries, 1,360 yards, 20 TDs; 57 tackles); Sr. WR-CB Justin Marks (14 catches, 339 yards, 4 TDs); Fr. RB-OLB Jason Palmieri (64 carries, 372 yards, 4 TDs; 17 catches, 436 yards, 1 TD; 42 tackles); Jr. OLB Alek Tolboe (45 tackles, 7 sacks).
WORDS: Bloomfield and Ansonia are on another level than the rest of Class S. The Warhawks arguably have the best athletes in the division, too. Butler is one of our favs, too, as he’s willing to run your face over if needed. We think the Hawks (the Woodland version) can hang around for a bit — they took a quick 14-point lead over Ansonia before the latter had enough of that and won, 36-20 (Nov. 2), but Bloomfield’s talent, size and speed will prevail.
CALPREPS SEZ: Bloomfield, 28-17.
SEAN PATRICK STAR’S PICK: Bloomfield.
PETE P’S PICK: Bloomfield.
POLECAT SEZ: Bloomfield.
• • • •
The thinking went this way:
Given that neither defense (East Lyme 257 points yielded; Waterford 308) stopped anybody all season, bet the over in the annual Thanksgiving game this season.
What happens? Both the Waterford and East Lyme defenses played their best games of the season Wednesday night in the Vikings’ 21-14 victory.
East Lyme’s Zack Todd spent ample time in Waterford’s backfield, while Scott Galbo had a key interception that set up a late score in the first half. T.J. Horner, among others, flew around as well.
“Those guys played very well,” East Lyme coach Rudy Bagos said. “We knew Waterford had a good offense. They showed that against Montville. To hold them to 14 is a great job.”
The Lancers, too, played very well. Linebacker Chris Smith may have been the team’s best overall player, while Marcus Lovell had an interception and Chris Silva was around the ball frequently as well.
“Their best game of the season,” Waterford coach John Strecker said.
Thanks to Mike DiMauro for this note for this here blog.
• • • •
BEHOLD, The Day of New London Top 10 state coaches' poll: 1. Greenwich (11 first-place votes); 2. Hand (two first-place votes); 3. Tie, St. Joseph and Shelton; 5. Darien; 6. Newtown; 7. Southington; 8. Ansonia; 9. New Canaan; 10. New Britain.
• • • •
The GameTimeCT.com/New Haven Register/Hearst Inc. Monolith Top 10 media poll: 1. Greenwich (22 first-place votes); 2. Hand (five first-place votes); 3. Shelton; 4. Darien; 5. St. Joseph; 6. Southington; 7. Newtown; 8. New Canaan; 9. Ansonia; and, 10. New Britain.
• • • •
Ned Freeman’s cold, calculating computer rankings for CalPreps: 1. Greenwich, 2. St. Joseph, 3. Shelton, 4. Newtown, 5. Darien, 6. Hand, 7. Fairfield Prep, 8. New Canaan, 9. Southington, and, 10. New Britain. Ansonia was 14th.
No. 1 Greenwich vs. No. 8 New Britain
No. 2 Shelton vs. No. 7 Southington
No. 3 Newtown vs. No. 6 New Canaan
No. 4 Darien vs. No. 5 Fairfield Prep
All eight teams also made states. How about that.
No. 1 Hand vs. No. 8 Wilton (6-4)
No. 2 North Haven vs. No. 7 Maloney
No. 3 Windsor vs. No. 6 Naugatuck
No. 4 Middletown vs. No. 5 Bunnell
No. 1 St. Joseph vs. No. 8 Weston (7-3)
No. 2 Sheehan vs. No. 7 Law (7-3)
No. 3 Brookfield vs. No. 6 New Fairfield (6-4)
No. 4 Berlin vs. No. 5 Killingly
No. 1 Ansonia vs. No. 8 Valley Regional/Old Lyme (7-2)
No. 2 Bloomfield vs. No. 7 Stafford/East Windsor/Somers
No. 3 Woodland vs. No. 6 Seymour (6-4)
No. 4 Cromwell/Portland vs. No. 5 Haddam-Killingworth
• • • •
Dig the ballot Polecat HQ filed for the GameTimeCT.com/New Haven Register/Hearst Inc. Monolith media poll:
2. Hand: Tigers are winning games by a state-best margin of 40.9 points.
3. Darien: Can’t vote it below St. Joseph after it beat the latter decisively on its turf.
4. St. Joseph
6. Fairfield Prep
8. New Britain
10. New Canaan: Been voting the Rams in the lower teens as it had lost to the No. 1 (Greenwich) and No. 4 (St. Joseph) teams in the state. Did not think it would both outplay and beat Darien, though.
11. Ansonia: Time to get on board with the Chargers. So much for this being the year to “get” Ansonia.
12. Staples: Still planting our flag as the Wreckers only lost to the state’s best — Darien (24-0), St. Joseph (17-14), and Greenwich (29-0). Gave Darien trouble for a half, too, and trailed 3-0. You know how many teams wouldn’t have lost to all three? NONE.
14. North Haven
• • • •
Thanks for reading. More soon.