The Lonesome Polecat (state variant): Oh, dear Gaia, it's time for BRACKETOLOGY (and other jibber-jabber)

Howdy,

The following is a true story based on truer events.

I stunk at long tests in high school (and college) because I have a short attention span. After 30 minutes-or-so, I’d look out the window, see a squirrel, start quietly giggling, and the next you know it, the exam was over.

The SAT, then, was destined to be a disaster for me. And it was because I scored a laughable 790 back during the days in which 1,600 was the max.

Another big part of my SAT fail was the math portion of the test, thus I got weekly tutoring for months leading into our second attempt at the SAT.

I worked a late shift the Friday night before taking the SAT again, so I was exhausted the next morning.

About an hour into the test, I blinked my eyes. .... and fell asleep.

I was awakened by the proctor bellowing, “one-minute left.” I looked at my sheet and realized that I had filled in very few questions before I passed out.

The number one thing SAT proctors stressed to you was to never guess at an answer. You were penalized more for a wrong answer than leaving it blank.

I, of course, furiously filled in the bubbles in some wacky pattern.

I scored 90 points better than the first test.

Folks insisted that the SAT was a poor gauge of intelligence and not to be discouraged by scoring well under 1,000. Didn’t believe it until I got to college and met some folks who scored far better than moi and didn't do too well in class.

One dude, a lovable lug, scored over 1,100, yet had to be given directions back to Long Island for the holidays because he couldn’t remember the way home.

I still stink at math and have the bank records to prove it, but at least I learned that I ain’t no non-undummy.

It’s with that in mind that I present the season-debut of BRACKETOLOGY~!

It’s dangerous to forecast sports (and the weather). It’s even more dangerous when you're a catastrophe with numerologies but, hey, I’m okay with doing stupid things.

GROUND RULES

1. A team is all but hosed if it has four losses. Law is the only team in the 42-year history of CIAC playoffs to qualify with that many (Class M, 2017)

2. We’re going to be wrong about a bunch of these predictions and that's cool. Surprises are (usually) FUN.

3. Just because we didn’t pick your team to qualify doesn’t mean we hate you. Hell, WE DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU, MAN.

4. Matt Fischer, the CIAC’s admiral of robotics, built the ROBOABACUS so that you may stay updated on all the playoff races. USE IT.

5. No one officially qualifies until the CIAC football committee says they qualified. They’ll give everything a big A-OK the day after the end of the regular season, whenever that is.

6. This is an exhibition, not a competition. Please, no wagering.

Remember, kids — the top eight teams in each division qualify, and bonuses are the 10 points a team receives for every win by an opponent it defeated.

The state quarterfinals (Tuesday, Nov. 27) and semifinals (Sunday, Dec. 2) are hosted by the higher seeds. The finals are on Saturday, Dec. 14 at Willow Brook Park in New Britain and Trumbull High.

State finals 10 days until Xmas. Hm-mmmm. We need a good blizzard so that they could be postponed to Xmas Eve.

Just imagine — four state finals in the morning and afternoon on Christmas Eve, followed by an evening with the family eating chicken, fish, soupie, and watching the young ‘uns rip into their presents (along with multiple viewings of "A Christmas Story").

• • • •

CLASS LL

WIN-AND-IN

1. DARIEN (8-0)

GAMES REMAINING: at Norwalk (4-4), Friday; vs. New Canaan (6-2), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: Lock.

2. NEWTOWN (8-0)

GAMES REMAINING: at Barlow (6-2), Friday; at Masuk (6-2), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: Lock.

SOON

3. SOUTHINGTON (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. New Britain (3-5), Friday; at Cheshire (6-1), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: It's in with the combination of a win Friday, a Shelton loss to Hand that same night, a Naugatuck loss to Holy Cross on Saturday, and either earning one bonus or having Hamden lose one (the bonus is a mortal lock).

4. SIMSBURY (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: at Glastonbury (3-5), Friday; vs. Avon (1-7), Thanksgrabbing Eve Eve.

WORDS: Some contenders must beat other contenders to make states. The Trojans have to beat two teams with a combined 4-12 record.

WORK TO DO

5. RIDGEFEILD (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: at Greenwich (7-1), Saturday; vs. Danbury (5-3), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: It doesn't have an ideal closing schedule, but c'est la vie. The Tigers will obviously quailfy with two wins. They more than likely can absorb another loss for a few reasons because they are so far ahead of the three-loss teams.

6. CHESHIRE (6-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Sheehan (6-1), Friday; vs. Harding (3-5), Nov. 15; vs. Southington (7-1), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: Rams are in nearly the same situation as Ridgefield, albeit with a higher ceiling because they haver three games left, two of which are against teams with lots of juicy playoff points.

JUST WIN OUT

7. GREENWICH (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Ridgefield (7-1), Saturday; at Staples (2-6), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: It has a far lower ceiling than its fellow one-loss teams and will would be on shaky ground with a loss to Ridgefield.

WIN OUT, GET HELP

8. HALL (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Wethersfield (6-2), Friday; at Conard (5-3), Nov. 23.

WORDS: The Warriors aren't a lock with two wins because they have a lower ceiling and floor than Naugatuck if they win out (not likely). Their floor is also the same as Shelton's if both win out (not likely), although the Warriors have a higher floor.

9. SHELTON (5-2)

GAMES REMAINING: at Hand (8-0), Friday; vs. Fairfield Prep (5-3), Nov. 22; at Derby (1-7), Nov. 28.

WORDS: Bad enough it has to play Prep, which is better than its record shows (it lost to No. 2 St. Joseph, 42-13, and No. 4 Newtown, 21-14). Worse, the Gaels go to Hand this week. Eep.

10. NORWICH FREE ACADEMY (5-3)

GAMES REMAINING: at Bacon Academy (6-2), Saturday; vs. New London (4-3), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: We wouldn’t have given NFA much of a chance a week ago because of history — only five three-loss teams have qualified for Class LL (or L) since the CIAC expanded to eight teams per division. Naugatuck’s second-straight loss last Friday changed things. So here’s the deal, NFA — if you beat Bacon this Saturday, and three of four teams lose this weekend (Hall, Greenwich, Shelton and/or Naugatuck), then the wheels are in motion. It will greatly help if Prep loses again, too, because its floor and ceiling will be very close to yours if you both win out.

11. FAIRFIELD PREP (5-3)

GAMES REMAINING: at Shelton (5-2), Nov. 22; vs. West Haven (2-5), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: That Shelton game is so, so crucial for both teams.

NOT GOOD

12. HAMDEN (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: at Sheehan (6-1), Nov. 22; vs. Notre Dame-West Haven (4-4), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: The Green Dragons beat Amity last Friday for their sixth win, clinching their first winning season since 2009. That’s great. Problem is that was accomplished against six teams with a combined record of 12-36, which means they gained fewer playoff points than all of its fellow 6-2 teams (as well as three-loss teams like NFA). Hamden will have a floor of 1,020 points if it wins out. NFA by comparison, will have 1,060 by winning out, and Prep will have 1,040.

13. NAUGATUCK (5-2)

GAMES REMAINING: at Holy Cross (6-2), Saturday; vs. Watertown (5-2), Nov. 21; vs. Ansonia (8-0), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: It’s pretty hard to have much confidence in the Greyhounds after back-to-back losses, injuries (leading rusher Malachi Gattison, for instance, is out for the season), and their annual Thanksgrabbing date with Ansonia looming.

NOPE

No. 14 Conard (5-3), No. 15. Danbury (5-3), No. 16 Fairfield Ludlowe (5-4), No. 17 Amity (4-4), No. 18 Norwalk (4-4), and No. 19 Glastonbury (3-5).

WORDS: They’re all too far back to be taken seriously at the moment. Example — Conard has the highest ceiling of this group (1,030), which is less than the floor for either NFA (1,060) or Prep (1,040) if the Chieftains win out.

THE EIGHT: No. 1 Darien (10-0) vs. No. 8 Ridgefield (8-2); No. 2 Newtown (10-0) vs. No. 7 Hall (9-1); No. 3 Southington (9-1) vs. No. 6 Greenwich (9-1) (neat); No. 4 Simsbury (9-1) vs. No. 5 Cheshire (8-2).

• • • •

CLASS L

WIN-AND-IN

1. ST. JOSEPH (7-0)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Staples (2-6), Saturday; at Stamford (3-5), Nov. 22; vs. Trumbull (2-6), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: Lock.

2. HAND (8-0)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Shelton (5-2), Friday; at Guilford (3-5), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: Lock.

WIN-AND (ALMOST) IN

3. MALONEY (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Windsor (6-2), Friday; at Platt (4-4), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: Qualifies with a win over Windsor and a New Canaan win over Wilton (the Spartans can qualify with a win and a New Canaan loss, too), or a loss by Newington, Wethersfield or Masuk.

4. BERLIN (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Bloomfield (8-0), Friday; at New Britain (3-5), Nov. 22.

WORDS: We'd be stunned if Berlin beats Bloomfield (ALLITERATION), so the Redcoats almost have to beat New Britain to qualify. They will be in good shape at 8-2 because all of the contenders below already have two losses, and some are playing head-to-head (New Canaan-Wilton, Newington-Wethersfield).

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY

5. NEW CANAAN (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Wilton (6-2), Friday; at Darien (8-0), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: The Rams have a higher floor and ceiling than any of the other two-loss teams IF they win out. Another loss obviously puts them on thin ice, but there will be other teams out there with them.

6. NEWINGTON (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Enfield (3-5), Friday; at Wethersfield (6-2), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: This has been a hard team for me to figure out. The Indians opened with a win over Windsor (30-22). Two weeks later, they lost to Amity (7-3). They lost two weeks later to Platt (35-33). Two weeks later, they knock off then-unbeaten Maloney in a shootout (42-35). They should pick up their seventh win on Friday. That Wethersfield game is shaping up to be a doozy and could be a Class L play-in game. Newington, like New Canaan, may be able to survive a loss to Wethersfield, but one never wants to cut things too close.

7. WETHERSFIELD (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: at Hall (6-2), Friday; vs. Newington (6-2), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: The Eagles close with one of the roughest schedules among contenders. Much like New Canaan and Newington, it might be able to absorb a third loss. Might.

8. WILTON (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: at New Canaan (6-2), Friday; at Trinity Catholic/Wright Tech (1-7), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: This Friday’s game is the biggest the Warriors have had in a long, long time. They’d all but punch their playoff ticket with a win given TC/W’s struggles (the Warriors might need a few playoff points to qualify, though).

9. MASUK (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Weston (7-1), Friday; vs. Newtown (8-0), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: Not an ideal schedule when one is fighting to make states. Upside is that two wins will earn Masuk a berth and a boost up the rankings. One loss gets it placed next to those other three-loss teams on thin ice.

10. WINDSOR (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: at Maloney (7-1), Friday; vs. Middletown (5-3), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: The Warriors have quietly rebounded from a 2-2 start (they also have a 28-27 win over Masuk). A third loss puts them on that ice.

WIN-AND-PRAY

11. EAST LYME (5-3)

GAMES REMAINING: at Killingly (7-1), Friday; vs. Waterford (7-1), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: The Vikings have a tough end to their season and must win out. Period.

NOPE

No. 12 Xavier (4-4); No. 13 Woodstock Academy (6-2); No. 14 Middletown (5-3); No. 15 Quinebaug Valley (5-3); No. 16. Fitch (4-4); No. 17 Notre Dame-West Haven (4-4); 18. Bristol Central (4-4); No. 19 New London (4-3); No. 20 North Haven (4-4); and, No. 21 Farmington (4-4).

Most of this group is too far back. Woodstock has the highest ceiling if it wins out (1,020), but that will require the Centaurs to beat Waterford this Saturday. Uh-uh.

THE EIGHT: No. 1 St. Joseph (10-0) vs. No. 8 Windsor (7-3); No. 2 Hand (10-0) vs. No. 7 New Canaan (7-3) (just like old times); No. 3 Maloney (9-1) vs. No. 6 Masuk (8-2); No. 4 Newington (8-2) vs. No. 5 Berlin (8-2)

• • • •

CLASS M

WORK TO DO

1. ROCKVILLE (7-0)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial (2-6), Friday; vs. Morgan (1-6), Nov. 21; at Ellington (3-5), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: The Rams need two more wins which, given how well they’ve played, and how much their opponents have struggled, makes them a lock.

2. WATERFORD (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: at Woodstock Academy (6-2), Saturday; at East Lyme (5-3), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: A second loss won't be fatal to the Lancers because a number of other one-or-two loss contenders have tricky schedules. There is also the matter of No. 5 Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby playing at No. 6 SMSA/University/Classical this Friday, thus guaranteeing someone a second loss.

3. ABBOTT TECH/IMMACULATE (5-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Vinal Tech/Goodwin Tech/Whitney Tech (2-5), Saturday; vs. Thames River (6-1), Nov. 23; at MCW United (0-7), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: It should win the first and last of those games. The Thames game can be the difference between a playoff home game and missing states entirely because wins over just VT/GT/WT and MCW won’t net THE UNITED many points.

4. KILLINGLY (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. East Lyme (5-3), Friday; vs. New London (4-3), Nov. 22.

WORDS: A second loss won’t ruin Team RPO (RUN PEOPLE OVER) because, again, there will be teams ranked below the Red Hawks who will pick up a second (or third) loss. They won’t be as safe as, say, Waterford. Just win ‘em both and take all the drama out of it.

5. WINDSOR LOCKS/SUFFIELD/EAST GRANBY (6-1)

GAMES REMAINING: at SMSA/University/Classical (7-1), Friday; at North Branford (5-2), Nov. 22; vs. Stafford/East Windsor/Somers (5-2), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: The Raiders have to weave through a horde of the Pequot’s top teams. We don’t think they're going to run the table, but their floor with wins in their last two games will be higher than, say, Killingly’s by winning just one of their last two games.

6. SMSA/UNIVERSITY/CLASSICAL (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby (6-1), Friday; vs. Stafford/East Windsor/Somers (5-2), Nov. 22.

WORDS: Did we mention how important the TIGERHAWKS’ game is this week?

7. THAMES RIVER (6-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Wilcox Tech (1-6), Saturday; at Abbott Tech/Immaculate (6-1), Nov. 23; vs. Quinebaug Valley (5-3), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: What did we write about for AT/I? Whelp, that AT/I game can make-or-break the Crusaders, too.

8. WESTON (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: at Masuk (6-2), Friday; vs. Barlow (6-2), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: Weston will shoot way up the ratings by winning out. Not sure it can beat Masuk, however.

DON’T YOU LOSE AGAIN

9. GRANBY/CANTON (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Gilbert/NW Regional (3-4), Friday; vs. Old Saybrook/Westbrook (2-5), Nov. 22.

WORDS: The Bears have a nice closing schedule to get them into states.

10. NEW FAIRFIELD (5-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Stratford (0-8), Friday; vs. Notre Dame-Fairfield (4-3), Nov. 21; at New Milford (3-5), Thanksgrabbing Eve Eve.

WORDS: The Rebels have been on a path of rage after an 0-2 start. We think they end the regular season on an eight-game winning streak.

11. BARLOW (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Newtown (8-0), Friday; at Weston (7-1), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: Newtown this week? AIYEE!

12. WATERTOWN (5-2)

GAMES REMAINING: at Crosby (1-7), Friday; at Naugatuck (5-2), Nov. 21; vs. Torrington (5-3), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: Watertown, in addition to winning this Friday, will also have to beat Naugatuck and Torrington in seven days. That's. ... going to be tough.

NOPE

No. 13 Wolcott (5-3); No. 14 Torrington (5-3); No. 15 East Haven (5-2); No. 16 CREC (6-2); No. 17 Tolland (5-3); No. 18 Cheney Tech (5-3); No. 19 Lyman Hall (4-3); No. 20 Foran (4-3). …. (stops to catch breath) …. No. 21 Platt (4-4); No. 22 Branford (4-4); and, No. 23 Gilbert/NW Regional (3-4).

Everyone is here is too far behind and need too many variables to break their way.

East Haven has the highest ceiling (1,130), which can get it close to qualifying, but that would require getting 11 bonuses to go its way. Nah.

THE EIGHT: No. 1 Rockville (10-0) vs. No. 8. Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby (8-2); No. 2. SMSA/University/Classical (9-1) vs. No. 7 Waterford (8-2); No. 3 Abbott Tech/Immaculate (9-1) vs. New Fairfield (8-2); No. 4 Killingly (9-1) vs. No. 5 Granby/Canton (8-2).

• • • •

CLASS S

IN

1. BULLARD-HAVENS (8-0)

GAMES REMAINING: at MCW United (0-7), Saturday; at O’Brien Tech (3-5), Nov. 23.

WORDS: Betcha’ didn’t think a tech school would be the first to (unofficially) qualify for states.

ONE MORE WIN

CLASS S

2. ANSONIA (8-0)

GAMES REMAINING: at Seymour (6-2), Thursday; at Naugatuck (5-2), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: Lock. Next.

3. BLOOMFIELD (8-0)

GAMES REMAINING: at Berlin (7-1), Friday; vs. Glastonbury (3-5), Thanksgrabbing Eve Eve.

WORDS: Same. Next.

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY

4. SHEEHAN (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: at Cheshire (6-1), Friday; vs. Hamden (6-2), Nov. 22; vs. Lyman Hall (4-3), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: We don’t like its chances against Cheshire. We do like its chances against Hamden and Lyman Hall, which will be more than enough to get it to states.

5. PLAINFIELD (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: at Montville (2-6), Friday; at Griswold/Wheeler (5-2), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: The Panthers, like Sheehan and Woodland, are in decent shape because everyone else below them already has two losses. And some of those teams have brutal games ahead that can result in a third loss, such as No. 8 Seymour vs. Ansonia, or No. 10 Bacon vs. NFA.

6. WOODLAND (7-1)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Oxford (1-7), Friday; at Seymour (6-2), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: If you can hang with Ansonia, then you can win out and make states.

7. HOLY CROSS (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Naugatuck (5-2), Saturday; at Wolcott (5-3), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: A win over Naugy will give the Crusaders a big bump because the Greyhounds are three classes larger, thus earning Holy Cross an extra 30 points to go along with the 150 for a win (100 points for the win, 50 points for the number of Naugy wins). It can lose to Naugy, beat Wolcott and still qualify based on some issues we’ve already talked about. Like the next team on this list.

8. SEYMOUR (6-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Ansonia (8-0), Thursday; vs. Woodland (7-1), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: The Wildcats have to beat the NVL’s top two teams. Guh.

9. PLAINVILLE (5-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Lewis Mills (5-3), Friday; vs. Farmington (4-4), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: The Blue Devils have been looking to build up their program. Whelp, two more wins gets them to the playoffs.

10. BACON ACADEMY (5-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. NFA (5-3), Saturday; vs. RHAM (1-7), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: It hosts NFA this Saturday? Boba Fett? BOBA FETT!

11. STAFFORD/EAST WINDSOR/SOMERS (5-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Haddam-Killingworth (1-6), Friday; at SMSA/University/Classical (7-1), Nov. 22; at Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby (6-1), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: Two wins aren’t going to cut it because the Bulldogs are too far back.

12. NORTH BRANFORD (5-2)

GAMES REMAINING: at Morgan (1-6), Friday; vs. Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby (6-1), Nov. 22; vs. Coginchaug/Hale-Ray/East Hampton (4-3), Thanksgrabbing Eve.

WORDS: Ditto.

13. WATERBURY CAREER ACADEMY (5-3)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. Wilby (3-5), Friday; vs. Gilbert/Northwestern Regional (3-4), Thanksgrabbing Eve Eve.

WORDS: Same.

14. GRISWOLD/WHEELER (5-2)

GAMES REMAINING: vs. CREC (6-2), Friday; vs. Plainfield (7-1), Thanksgrabbing.

WORDS: The Wolverines’ schedule has been like a whale strapped to their back (think about THAT visual). They've gained so few points because they've beaten five teams with a combined six wins, which has dragged them below every other two-loss team (and WCA). It's too bad as the playoffs can always use more GOD'S OFFENSE.

NOPE

No. 15 Lewis Mills (5-3); No. 16 Notre Dame-Fairfield (4-3); No. 17 Coginchaug/Hale-Ray/East Hampton (4-3); and, No. 18 Northwest Catholic (4-4).

Too far back.

THE EIGHT: No. 1 Ansonia (10-0) vs. No. 8 Holy Cross (7-3); No. 2 Bullard-Havens (10-0) vs. No. 7 Plainfield (8-2); No. 3 Bloomfield (10-0) vs. No. 6 Plainville (8-2); No. 4 Woodland (9-1) vs. No. 5 Sheehan (8-2).

• • • •

One can tell we’re late in the football season without looking at a calendar (or thermometer) simply by looking at how daffy the games have gotten.

Start with Ansonia. It had a pass intercepted by Woodland in the Hawks' end zone with under a minute left last Friday.

Woodland was forced to punt. Jadin Blackwell blocked it to give the Chargers the ball at the Woodland 3 with 21.8 seconds left.

Shykeem Harmon ran for a touchdown on the next play to give the Chargers a 26-20 win.

Harmon ran THIRTY-FOUR times for 184 yards and three touchdowns for Ansonia, which trailed 14-12 at halftime.

Jason Palmieri had six catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns for the Hawks.

Moments later in The Valley, Kevin Harmeling scored on a 3-yard run on fourth down to lift Seymour past Naugatuck in double overtime, 20-17.

Harmeling ran 31 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats and Curtis Dion had 23 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown for Seymour.

Jay Mezzo ran nine times for 101 yards and two touchdowns and completed 12 of 20 passes for 105 yards for the Greyhounds (6-2).

MORE Valley Friday night fun. Backup Chase Tyson threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Pat Giancarli on fourth-and-7 with over two minutes left to give Holy Cross a 14-7 win over Torrington. Crusaders starting QB Drevon Yeldell was knocked out of the game in the third quarter.

We’ve saved the best for last — Andrew Cote scored on a game-ending 32-yard hook-and-ladder play that gave NFA a bonkers 27-21 win over previously unbeaten Killingly last Friday.

The Wildcats never led until the final play.

Jacob Nurse ran for a 2-yard touchdown to give Killingly a 21-13 lead with 2:48 left in the game.

NFA struck right back. Jayden Desilus threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Cote with 1:52 remaining. The two hooked up again for the two-point conversion.

Desilus threw a pass to Max Pierre-Louis down to the Red Hawks’ 22 on the game’s final play. Pierre-Louis, running right, pitched it back a yard to Cote, who ran behind him from the left and went untouched for the touchdown.

YOWZAH.

Desilius completed 16 of 25 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns and Cote had five catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns.

Jack Sharpe ran THIRTY-NINE TIMES for 172 yards for Killingly. Come on, Chad Neal — get the dude a touchdown the next time you have him lugs the ball that much.

• • • •

On the opposite of the spectrum, Greenwich and Maloney had the weekend’s two most impressive wins last Friday.

James Tarver ran 36 times for 320 yards and five touchdowns as Maloney punished Wethersfield, 35-6.

THIRTY-SIX CARRIES — that’s a man-sized workload by Tarver.

Wethersfield’s defense had been tough this season against everyone not named “Hand” (which thrashed the Eagles, 56-13, on Sept. 27). The Eagles had allowed a combined 34 points in their wins.

It mattered not as the Spartans' offensive line and Tarver cleaved their way through them.

Maloney defensive back Kam Moreno also heald Connor Pace, Wethersfield’s ace 6-foot-3 receiver, without a catch.

Meanwhile, on the western side of the state, James Rinello completed 11 of 15 passes for 195 yards and SIX touchdowns as Greenwich mangled Fairfield Ludlowe, then dropped an ACME anvil on them, 58-0.

A.J. Barber had seven catches for 112 yards and three touchdowns for Greenwich and Evan Weigold scored on a 58-yard fumble return.

Ludlowe may not reside in the FCIAC’s high-rent district, but it has gradually built itself up from the ruins since former Darien OC Mitchell Ross took over as head coach in 2017.

The Falcons were 0-10 the season before Ross was hired. They finished 7-3 last year. Their other losses this season were to Darien (42-0) and Fairfield Prep (37-28).

• • • •

Behold, The Day's Top 10 state coaches’ poll: 1. Hand (11 first-place votes); 2. St. Joseph; 3. Darien; 4. Newtown; 5. Greenwich; 6. Bloomfield; 7. Southington; 8. Cheshire; 9. Ansonia, and, 10. Ridgefield.

• • • •

The GameTimeCT/New Haven Register/Hearst Inc. Monolith Top 10 media poll: 1. Hand (22 first-place votes); 2. St. Joseph (3); 3. Darien; 4. Greenwich; 5. Newtown; 6. Bloomfield; 7. Southington; 8. Ansonia; 9. Ridgefield; and, 10. Cheshire.

• • • •

Ned Freeman’s cold, calculating computer rankings for CalPreps: 1. St. Joseph; 2. Hand; 3. Darien; 4. Southington; 5. Greenwich; 6. Newtown; 7. Ridgefield; 8. Cheshire; 9. Bloomfield, and, 10. Shelton. Ansonia is No. 19.

West Haven (2-5) has the top-rated schedule with every opponent having four-or-more wins. It has wins over NFA (27-13) and North Haven (27-23). Its lost to two top 10 teams in Hand (37-0) and Newtown (21-14).

• • • •

Dig the ballot Polecat HQ filed for the aforementioned media poll:

1. St. Joseph

2. Hand

3. Darien

4. Greenwich

5. Newtown

6. Southington

7. Bloomfield

8. Ansonia

9. Ridgefield

10. Simsbury

11. Cheshire

12. Hall

13. Maloney

14. Fairfield Prep

15. New Canaan

• • • •

NOTABLES~!

Okay, let’s get this notable out of the way first, because it’s one of the most LUDICROUS performances, and in one of the most ridiculously lopsided games, we’ve ever heard. Bloomfield’s Anthony Simpson had one of the most ridiculous games we’ve heard of in an equally ridiculous game — he had eight touchdowns as the WARHAWKS. … did things to Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver last Friday, 74-0. He ran six times for 126 yards and five touchdowns, caught five passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns, scored on a punt return AND added two interceptions. Daron Bryden also completed 8 of 11 passes for 151 yards and four touchdowns.

Phoenix Billings threw a touchdown pass and ran for another as Hand smote Xavier last Friday, 46-6. Colin McCabe ran for 88 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers, who scored 20 unanswered points to start the second half after “only” leading 10-0 at halftime. ... Peter Graham completed 7 of 14 passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns as Darien downed Bridgeport Central on Saturday, 36-0.

Newtown junior Connor Breslin had just 11 carries and no touchdowns prior to last Friday’s game against Bunnell. He had a team-high seven carries for 44 yards and three touchdowns as the Nighthawks did what they wanted in a 42-0 win. ... Southington sure does defense well. It allowed just 100 yards as it choked out Glastonbury last Friday, 20-0. Billy Carr had 12 tackles for the Blue Knights and M.J. Bennett, who started in place of injured tailback Dillon Kohl, ran 11 times for 69 yards and two touchdowns.

It’s no secret that we love teams that run and run and run and run. It is for that reason and others that we’ll always have a soft spot for North Haven as long as head coach Tony Sagnella is around to keep his team committed to the Manly Discipline of the Running Arts. And run North Haven did in last Friday’s 28-14 win over then-No. 9 Sheehan. It ran FIFTY TIMES for 403 yards and four touchdowns. Yes, we’re drooling. Albert Hooks led the way with 18 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns and even had a sack. Joe Vitale added nine tackles. GOD FATHER’S OFFENSE. It didn’t help matters for the Titans that all-state running back Terrence Bogan missed the game with a concussion. They still had the equally dangerous Jordan Davis, though, who ran for 129 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Simmons also threw for 157 yards and a touchdown before being knocked out of the game in the second half.

Paul Brown bless you both, Canton/Granby and Coventry/Windham Tech/Lyman Memorial/Bolton for playing in the rain and the mud and even more mud last Thursday. Jackson Rome ran 14 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns as Canton/Granby won, 22-14. Sam Attianese added 21 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown for C&G. Jordan Smith ran for two touchdowns for the Patriots. We beseech thee to visit the Collinsville Press to check out the lovely muddy photos that C&G sent them.

Trey Bryant and David Dorn each had two sacks as Fitch stuffed East Lyme last Friday, 21-7. Tre’viont Mitchell had a sack and Savonne Mitchell JR. (yes, we got your Tweet) assisted on another, Greg Santora and Trae Johnson both recovered fumbles, and Ethan Mojica had an interception. Noah Charron also caught two touchdowns and a two-point conversion and Mitchell ran 15 times for 99 yards and a score.

Waterford ran SIXTY TIMES (what) for 216 yards in last Friday’s 35-12 triumph over Ledyard. Is it possible for a non-service academy to run that many times? Ryan Bakken ran 23 times and scored twice and completed 9 of 21 passes for 135 yards and two scores for the Lancers. Christian Hightower ran for a team-high 83 yards on 11 carries. ...  James Tarver wasn't the only Meriden back running wild last Friday. Platt's Roberto Salas ran 33 times for 275 yards and three touchdowns in a 39-13 pounding of Bristol Eastern. Joshua Rodriguez had seven catches or 148 yards and a score for the Panthers (4-4).

Jabez Cubiz ran 13 times for 168 yards and three touchdowns and Chino Grant had 15 tackles and a sack to help Wilbur Cross to its first win of the season last Friday, 25-13 over Guilford. Jayden Davis added 10 tackles and recovered a fumble for the Governors. ... Matt Constantinides completed 13 of 22 passes for 221 yards with three touchdowns and ran twice for 55 yards and a score as New Fairfield drubbed Brookfield last Friday, 42-24. Aidan Ford had six catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns for the Rebels and Chase Hamilton had 12 tackles.

Drew Pyne completed 15 of 23 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns and scooted for a 27-yard touchdown as New Canaan downed Trumbull last Friday, 48-28. New Canaan racked up 505 yards. Riley Simpson completed 18 of 28 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles. We remember the old days when Marce Petroccio teams ran the option with the quarterback under center. Those days are gone forever. I should just let 'em go, but ...

Davonte Mitchell ran 27 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns to lead Hamden past Amity last Friday, 15-8, thus guaranteeing the Green Dragons (6-2) their first winning season since 2009. ... Champ Long threw for 147 yards and a touchdown and scored on a 38-yard run as Fairfield Prep did a number on Notre Dame of West Haven last Friday, 49-19. Sean Nelson ran for 121 yards and a touchdown for the Jesuits, who held the Green Knights to 100 yards on the nose.

Simsbury had a record-setting 561 yards in last Friday’s 56-27 sacking of Enfield. Let’s see. Aiden Boeshans completed 20 of 27 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns, all of which were caught by Zach Gilbert (10 catches, 147 yards). Dan Sohn ran 19 times for 186 yards and two scores, Boeshans had nine carries for 94 yards and a score, and Caden Lill made all eight extra points for the Trojans.

IZZO Lizardi ran 19 times for 171 yards and three touchdowns and Gabe Salomans added two interceptions and a touchdown catch as Hall bested Manchester last Friday, 49-28. William West threw two touchdowns and ran for another for Manchester. ... Nick Pestrichello completed 9 of 13 passes for 126 yards and three touchdowns as Newington won at Bristol Central last Friday, 21-16. Victor Rosa ran 18 times for 163 yards and a touchdown for the Rams (4-4).

The Stafford/East Windsor/Somers co-op had a kooky 24-14 win over the co-op of Gilbert/NW Regional. G&R scored the game’s first 14 points on interception returns by Ryan Van Dyke (65 yards) and Hunter Sadane (40 yards). The Bulldogs had enough of that tomfoolery and rattled off three touchdowns and a 31-yard field goal by LINARDS BEKERIS. Mark McLaughlin ran 30 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a 9-yard touchdown catch for S/EW/S. Mike Russotto added five tackles, blocked a kick, recovered a fumble, did early planning for the team’s Secret Santa drawing, etc., for the Bulldogs who forced six turnovers in all.

Taji BLIZZARD (not of Ozz) had 137 yards receiving and a touchdown and scored on an interception as Crosby held on to beat Derby last Friday, 22-20, for its first win of the season. Tanner Leo threw for 240 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs and Lazarus Agda made a tackle on a Derby two-point conversion to preserve the lead. ... Eric Pino and Matt Raine both ran for two touchdowns in Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby's 34-0 triumph over Ellington last Friday. ... The SMSA/University/Classical co-op allowed just 47 yards in last Friday's 36-0 smackdown of Cromwell/Portland. Jordan Rivera rushed for three touchdowns rushed for three touchdowns for the TIGERHAWKS and Devin Hill ran for 120 yards and a score.

Jamie Palmese required seven carries to rush for 115 yards and three touchdowns as Berlin ran over East Catholic last Friday, 43-7. Johnny McGeever ran 10 times for 97 yards and a touchdown for the Redcoats. Also, and we don’t write this to be a jerk, rather we aims to edumicate, the Double Wing offense isn’t “built on disguise and deception.” GOD’S OFFENSE is designed to get the most bodies to the point of attack (power, its off-tackle runs, is the offense’s main play) and smash-and-bash. For more information on GOD’S OFFENSE, please do a web search for Don Markham, Hugh Wyatt, Jerry Vallotton, Tim Murphy, or Steve Calande (East Catholic’s coach). This has been a public service announcement. GOD’S OFFENSE.

Speaking of GOD’S OFFENSE, do you know who runs the Double Wing? Griswold/Wheeler, that’s who. Chris Thibidou, Logan Chappell, CJ Mattson, and Mike Sims combined to rush for a mas macho 311 yards and six touchdowns in last Friday’s 37-0 win over Windham. One of the Wolverines’ scoring drives took 17 plays and covered 95-yards. We just got very light-headed. All hail G&W’s offensive line of Zach Confer, Shane Rogers, Byron Scarpellini, Keith Cady, and Izayah Clark for doing all the dirty work.

MORE schools running GOD’S OFFENSE — Plainfield. Lucien Dube ran 19 times for 253 yards and three touchdowns for the Panthers in last Friday’s 36-0 win over Stonington. ... Connor Rich ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more as NW Catholic tipped over Lewis Mills last Friday, 34-7. … Israel Lopez threw three touchdown passes and ran for another in Conard’s 45-6 clubbering of South Windsor last Friday.

We’ve listed a lot of dudes who ran 30-times or more this weekend. Then there’s Ridgefield sophomore Kai Prohaszka who was more economical than a Prius in last Friday’s 48-0 jaunt over McMahon. Prohaszka ran a mere SIX times for ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-THREE YARDS and two touchdowns. Blazing downfield for touchdown runs of 65 and 84 yards will do that for a fellow. And since it’s been established that we stink at maths, our calculator tells us that Kai had 28.8 yards a carry. Peachy keen, that is.

Nazjhar Curry threw three touchdown passes to Marcell Robinson as Harding overthrew Law last Friday, 40-27. Hewitt Hoillet had three sacks, five tackles for losses, and blocked a conversion for the Presidents and Curry scored on runs of 19 and 45 yards. Curtis Murphy ran for three touchdowns and Rayshon Jacobs scored on a 70-yard kickoff return for the Lawmen, who were without head coach Erik Larka after announcing he was taking a leave of absence.

Jackson Moore had seven catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns and added five tackles in Coginchaug/Hale-Ray/East Hampton’s 32-14 win over Morgan last Friday. Dean Fontano added two interceptions for the Blue Devils. ... Anthony Fraiser ran 22 times for 83 yards and four touchdowns and added a sack as Abbott Tech/Immaculate downed Prince Tech last Saturday, 44-32. Tommy Fahey had five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown and had one-two-THREE interceptions for THE UNITED.

Dorrian Chaney threw five touchdowns passes, three to Tomico Williams, in CREC’s 32-18 win over Montville last Saturday. ... Jadyn Fleeting and Bernard Lee both ran for two touchdowns as Windsor trucked RHAM last Saturday, 55-0. Elijah Cromartie also threw two touchdowns for the Warriors.

Wilton’s Kyle Hyzy had three interceptions, one of which he returned for a 5-yard touchdown, in a 42-0 win over Stamford on Saturday. Jimmy O’Brien completed 22 of 32 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns for the Warriors and Hyzy also had eight catches for 60 yards and a TD. ... Christian Collin completed 15 of 21 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns and ran 16 times for 176 yards and a score as Plainville bedeviled Avon last Saturday, 34-7. ... Josh Silva ran 12 times for 93 yards and two touchdowns as St. Paul edged Kennedy last Saturday, 18-13. Max Peruta ran 20 times for 118 yards and a score for St. Paul, which attempted only three passes. Nice.

One more daffy game — Patrick Rosetti threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Bernie Delacruz with 1:58 left as Danbury rallied past Norwalk last Saturday, 37-33. D.J. Donovan scored on a 4-yard run with four minutes left to cut the Hatters’ deficit to 33-31. Danbury then got all tricky on the Bears and recovered an onside kick and went on to score the game-winning touchdown. Rosetti threw three touchdown passes and a two-point conversion for the Hatters. Norwalk’s Andre Robinson Jr., meanwhile, was ridiculous. He scored on touchdown catches of 72 and 6 yards and a 90-yard kickoff return and, because he was in ludicrous mode, added two interceptions. Dang, man.

• • • •

Thanks for reading. More soon.

Adios....

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