TEH LONESOME POLECAT: YOUR quarterfinal previews~!
It's 3:40 Tuesday morning and we just finally finished this sucker.
We already spent too much time working on this so let's get to it.
The majority of this blog is about the playoffs with state rankings at the end.
We included stats from MaxPreps.com in the previews wherever possible (if you see a hyperlink in the team's name with their top dudes, then hit it).
HATS OFF~! to all the teams that have been updating said stats. In a few cases, we added stats updated through a team's last game with those they posted for their final game at Hudl.com.
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 picked against you doesn’t mean we don't like you. Hell, WE DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU, MAN.
We included picks made by both Sean Patrick Star and Pete Papadapagoogaa of the GameTimeCT/Heart Inc. Monolith and CalPrep’s cold, emotionless computer model. You're not going to see much variation between the three entities and the staff at Polecat HQ becuse it's the quarterfinals and almost all of the winners seem like mortal locks (which, of course, means that at least one team will surprise).
Two quick things about the CalPrep computer model. It starts picking games after a month’s worth of input and is 360-94 this year (79.3 percent). That's a good percentage and much better one than any of the fine mammals taking part in the GameTimeCT staff picks despite said mammals predicting fewer games a week. However, the computer has struggled to correctly pick Connecticut games more than almost every state. The only states it has picked worse are Hawaii, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia.
(Should anyone believe we're mocking the GameTimeCT staff for their picks, then let us direct you to how our intern is doing with his best bets in TEAMDAY's~! college and pro picks.)
YOU MUST buy tickets online as they won't be sold at the game. Click HERE to get yours.
YOU are also encouraged to follow all of Tuesday night's madness on the Twit at #cthsfb. Everything kicks off at 6:30 except where noted.
The lovable George DeMaio will also be doing his version of wrap-around coverage on WELI-960 AM. Check him out if you're out at a game to keep track of things. He's a nice mammal.
No. 8 GREENWICH at NO. 1 FAIRFIELD PREP
WHERE: Rafferty Field, Fairfield University, 6 p.m.
RECORDS: Fairfield Prep 9-1; Greenwich 7-3.
PREP DUDES: Sr. RB Daniel Barnick (108 carries, 710 yards, nine TDs); Sr. DE Jack Mullen (52 tackles, nine sacks); Sr. LB Ryan O’Connell (77 tackles, five sacks); Sr. QB Connor Smith (112 of 208 passing, 1,471 yards, 16 TDs, four INTs; 73 carries, 373 yards, five TDs); Sr. WR Tim Pearson (47 catches, 587 yards, 11 TDs); Sr. DB-LB-WR Tymaine Smith (66 tackles, four sacks, one INT).
GREENWICH DUDES: Sr. WR Chason Barber (28 catches, 460 yards, eight TDs); Sr. S Tyler Cusimano (57 tackles); Jr. DE Dominic DeLuca; Sr. RB Thomas Foster (39 carries, 383 yards, seven TDs); Jr. WR Logan Galletta (17 catches, 238 yards, one TD); Jr. OT Jake Kiernan (6-foot-2, 256 pounds); Sr. DB John Scarlata (64 tackles); Sr. DT Michael Sinisi; Jr. QB Jack Wilson (109 of 188 passing, 1,534 yards, 18 TDs, six INTs; 48 carries, 229 yards, four TDs).
WORDS: It's the first of THE REMATCHENINGS~! — Greenwich edged the Jesuits, 14-7, on Oct. 2, and it was an odd game. Prep outgained the Cardinals, 298-220 (that included Prep’s D allowing just 3.7 yard per play). Greenwich won thanks to defense and hitting on two big offensive plays — Wilson scrambled for a 66-yard touchdown and threw a go-ahead 68-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Dixon. The Jesuits, meanwhile, had first down from the Cardinals' 10, 22 and 5-yard line on three separate drives but couldn’t score. No one has had more faith in Greenwich as a Top 10 voter this season than us but we believe Prep makes the plays the second time around to win.
PETE SEZ: Fairfield Prep.
SEAN SEZ: Fairfield Prep.
CALPREPS SEZ: Fairfield Prep 27-19.
POLECAT SEZ: Fairfield Prep.
No. 7 SOUTHINGTON at No. 2 NEW CANAAN
WHERE: Dunning Field, New Canaan High School.
RECORDS: New Canaan 9-1; Southington 8-2.
LOOK: NFHS Network.
NEW CANAAN DUDES: Sr. RB-S Conor Bailey; Sr. C-DL NED Brady (6-5, 250); Sr. Henry Cunney (94 of 149 passing, 1,212 yards, 12 TDs, two INTs; 80 carries, 264 yards, five TDs); Sr. RB-LB Vinny Cognetta (93 carries, 665 yards, six TDs; 71 tackles, six sacks, three INTs); Jr. K-P Ty Groff (33-of-33 XP; nine FGs); Sr. G-DL Stephen Luccarelli; Sr. WR-DB Dylan Murray (35 tackles, two INTs); Sr. TE-DL Chad Russo (58 tackles, 14.5 sacks); Sr. RB-DE Barrett Schmitz (63 tackles, 4.5 sacks); Jr. WR Mack Seelert (35 catches, 448 yards, six TDs).
SOUTHINGTON DUDES: Sr. WR-DB Gavin Anderson (31 catches, 469 yards, four TDs); Sr. QB-K Jack Barnum (131-of-217 passing, 1,690 yards, 17 TDs, four INTs; 40 of 45 XPs, four FGs); Jr. RB-LB Lincoln Cardillo (90 carries, 697 yards, 11 TDs; 47 tackles); Sr. WR-DB Ryan DelMonte (32 catches, 537 yards, seven TDs); Sr. DL Austin Pszczolkowski (79 tackles, nine sacks); Sr. DL Jackson Rusiecki (80 tackles, 10.5 sacks); Sr. RB-LB Javon Thomas (117 carries, 722 yards, 11 TDs).
WORDS: It's been fun watching the high-flying Rams morph into a team that relies so heavily on the run and defense with the latter being next level. Darien averaged a state-high 43.8 points through its first nine games. New Canaan limited it to 204 yards offense and had six sacks, a safety, two fumble recoveries and an interception. It's for that reason alone that we don't like the Blue Knights' chances.
PETE SEZ: New Canaan.
SEAN SEZ: New Canaan.
CALPREPS SEZ: New Canaan 20-14.
POLECAT SEZ: New Canaan.
No. 6 HAMDEN at No. 3 DARIEN
WHERE: Darien High School.
RECORDS: Darien 9-1; Hamden 8-2.
LOOK: DAF Media.
DARIEN DUDES: Sr. FS Christian Alliegro; Sr. RB Tighe Cummiskey; Sr. QB Miles Drake; Sr. DE David Evanchick; Sr. G Beau Hancock (6-3, 270); Sr. WR Matt Minicus; Sr. DT Cole Murphy; Sr. G Connor Sini.
HAMDEN DUDES: Sr. TE-FB-DE Julian Aguilar (37 tackles); Jr. WR-DB Anthony Bolden II (35 tackles, five INTs); Sr. OL-DL Daniel Chmielecki (6-3, 285); Jr. RB-LB Tyshaun Davender (66 tackles, two sacks); Sr. RB-LB Sam Doumah (145 carries, 767 yards, eight TDs); So. QB-LB JJ Gibson (40 of 90 passing, 738 yards, nine TDs, one INT; 32 tackles); Sr. TE-DL Raymond Morales (54 tackles, three sacks); Sr. RB-LB Camryn Winder (81 carries, 720 yards, 10 TDs; 18 catches, 350 yards, six TDs; 77 tackles, two sacks).
WORDS: HATS OFF~! to Hamden for making states for the first time since 2008, but it hasn’t faced anything like Darien this season playing mostly a Tier II Southern Connecticut Conference schedule. We’ll stop the analysis there.
PETE SEZ: Darien.
SEAN SEZ: Darien.
CALPREPS SEZ: Darien, 35-12.
POLECAT SEZ: Darien.
No. 5 SHELTON at No. 4 HALL
WHERE: Hall High School.
RECORDS: Hall 9-1; Shelton 8-2.
HALL DUDES: Sr. LB. Charles Dowd (65 tackles); Sr. WR Matt Farber (45 catches, 650 yards, six TDs; 51 tackles, two sacks, two INTs); Jr. OLB Hudson Hollander (55 tackles, five sacks); Sr. RB Leo Perreira (236 carries, 1,125 yards, 19 TDs); Sr. QB Eli Salomons (119 of 181 passing, 1,723 yards, 16 TDs, six INTs); Sr. WR Landon Traverse (28 catches, 417 yards, two TDs).
SHELTON DUDES: Jr. OL-DL Mike Camiglio; Jr. TE-DE Joey Giliotti (23 tackles, 10.5 sacks); So. QB Michael Kinik (64 of 123 passing, 894 yards, five TDs, six INTs); Sr. TE-LB Matt Lockavitch (69 tackles); Sr. K Cristiano Rosa (24 of 25 XPs, seven FGs); Sr. RB-WR-CB Shane Santiago (90 carries, 555 yards, seven TDs; 35 tackles, four INTs); Sr. OL-DL Matt Weiner (36 tackles, 5.5 sacks).
WORDS: Hall has arguably caused its coaching staff and fan base more agita than any other playoff team — the Warriors have won half of their games by six-or-less, sometimes rallying to do so, and given up 27.8 points per game. That’s not what one wants to do against the Gaels. They may not be as explosive as past teams but can grind you down with the run (led by the 6-foot-3, 315 pound Weiner). They’ve done that against against top defenses such as Greenwich and Newtown and should do the same here.
PETE SEZ: Shelton.
SEAN SEZ: Shelton.
CALPREPS SEZ: Shelton 31-26.
POLECAT SEZ: Shelton.
No. 8 HAND at No. 1 ST. JOSEPH
WHERE: Kennedy Stadium, Bridgeport.
RECORDS: St. Joseph 9-1; Hand 7-3.
LOOK: NFHS Network.
ST. JOSEPH DUDES: Jr. LB Tyler daSilva (57 tackles, eight sacks); Jr. DL Ryan DeMarco (28 tackles); Sr. T George Hallas; Jr. WR Brandon Hutchison (38 catches, 441 yards, seven TDs); Jr. RB Riley Jordan (144 carries, 746 yards, eight TDs; 13 catches, 142 yards, two TDs); So. Ethan Long (50 tackles, seven INTs); Sr. DE Mark Morrissey (81 tackles, five sacks); Sr. QB Matt Morrissey (141 of 252 passing, 1,875 yards, 22 TDs, 12 INTs; 70 carries, 311 yards, five TDs); Sr. WR Maxwell Warren (46 catches, 836 yards, 11 TDs).
HAND DUDES: Jr. WR-LB Alex Cushing (59 tackles); Sr. QB-DB Patch Flanagan (92 of 159 passing, 1,464 yards, 18 TDs, six INTs; 102 carries, 816 yards, 12 TDs); Jr. RB-LB John Hayden (66 tackles); Sr. RB-DB Ethan O’Brien (136 carries, 1,074 yards, 18 TDs); Sr. WR-DB Seth Sweitzer (53 catches, 883 yards, 13 TDs; four INTs); Sr. OL-ILB Brendan Walsh (91 tackles).
WORDS: Now THIS is intriguing — two proud programs which endured brutal regular-season schedules (we're big fans of teams that have had to battle through such a thing). Hand has rallied back after starting 0-2 and 2-3 and has been led by the dynamic offensive tandem of Flanagan, O’Brien and Sweitzer, the latter who should make every all-state team. Matt Morrissey has kept the Cadets’ offense on track during his first season as a starting quarterback and gets to throw to one of the state’s top receivers (Warren). We think St. Joseph has the better defense and believe that will be the difference.
PETE SEZ: St. Joseph.
SEAN SEZ: St. Joseph.
CALPREPS SEZ: St. Joseph 31-28.
POLECAT SEZ: St. Joseph.
No. 7 MASUK at No. 2 NAUGATUCK
WHERE: Veterans Field, Naugatuck High School.
RECORDS: Naugatuck 9-1; Masuk 8-2.
NAUGATUCK DUDES: Sr. QB Jibree Bartelle; Jr RB-ILB Mike Deitlebaum; So. RB-DB JETT Hall; Jr. RB-DB Cayden Martin.
MASUK DUDES: Sr. WR-LB Justin Briganti; Sr. WR Jake Dellapiano; Jr. QB Dylan Jackson, Jr.,Sr. RB-WR-DB Nick Saccu; Sr. WR-DB Ryan Saccu.
WORDS: Naugy should be flying high after knocking off ancient rival Ansonia on Thanksgrabbing Day, 14-7, snapping the latter’s 104-game Naugatuck Valley League winning streak dating back to 2010. It has multiple weapons to go to using its wing-T offense managed by first-year head coach Chris Anderson, who transformed then-fledgling Woodland into a small-school state power back in the early aughts. The Panthers aren’t flawless — they were lit up by Hand (49-21) and Notre Dame-West Haven (54-32) — but they can score in bunches and are the most explosive offense the Greyhounds have faced.
PETE SEZ: Masuk.
SEAN SEZ: Masuk.
CALPREPS SEZ: Masuk 34-22.
POLECAT SEZ: Masuk.
No. 6 BRISTOL CENTRAL at No. 3 MALONEY
WHERE: Falcon Field, Meriden.
RECORDS: Maloney 9-1; Bristol Central 9-1.
LOOK: NFHS Network.
MALONEY DUDES: Sr. QB Angel Arce (104 of 179 passing, 1,534 yards, 18 TDs, five INTs); Jr. RB-LB Josh Boganski (200 carries, 1,305 yards, 12 TDs); Sr. WR-DB Tylee Flowers Jr. (17 catches, 323 yards, five TDs; four INTs); Sr. WR-DB Joziah Gonzalez (35 catches, 411 yards, three TDs); Sr. WR-DB Ian Graham (33 catches, 42 yards, four TDs); Jr. RB-LB Kenny McMillan (55 carries, 267 yards, 10 TDs; 72 tackles, three sacks); Sr. OL-DL Daejon Nixon (64 tackles, three sacks); Sr. Rashawn Shelton (four INTs); Sr. WR-DB Austin STUDLEY (19 catches, 419 yards, six TDs); Sr. RB-LB Kuron Wiggins (56 tackles, three INTs).
BRISTOL CENTRAL DUDES: Jr. WR-DB Tre Blair (13 catches, 241 yards, two TDs); Sr. RB-LB Justin Despins (34 carries, 180 yards, four TDs); Sr. WR-DB Damion Glasper (18 catches, 341 yards, three TDs); Sr. QB-DB Victor Rosa (251 carries, 2,607 yards, 34 TDs; 44 of 86 passing, 737 yards, eight TDs).
WORDS: Rosa has been one of the state’s marvels this season and a new-age Tim Washington. The UConn commit has been involved in 337 of the team’s 433 offensive plays and accounted for 82 percent of the team’s offense (3,344 total yards). That’s LO-OOOODICROUS. The Spartans, on the other hand, are much more well-rounded offensively and been pretty dang good defensively, too. We’ll take them for both those reasons.
PETE SEZ: Maloney.
SEAN SEZ: Maloney.
CALPREPS SEZ: Maloney 31-28.
POLECAT SEZ: Maloney.
No. 5 WINDSOR at No. 4 CHENEY TECH
WHERE: Cheney Tech.
RECORDS: Cheney Tech 9-1; Windsor 9-1.
CHENEY TECH DUDES: Sr. RB-LB Alexander Alvarez (126 carries, 659 yards, four TDs; 36 tackles); Jr. RB-LB Kevin Briley (62 carries, 312 yards, seven TDs; 38 tackles); Fr. QB-FS Dazhaun Copeland (37 of 80 passing, 795 yards, 15 TDs; eight INTs; seven rushing TDs; two INTs); Jr. WR-SS-KR-PR Rashaun Harrison (43 tackles, five INTs); Sr. WR-DB-K-P Xavier McCall (24 catches, 587 yards, 10 TDs; 41 tackles, seven sacks; 17 of 2 0 XPs); Sr. TE-RB-LB THEOPHIL Uznanski (71 carries, 461 yards, three TDs); Sr. NT David Webb (64 tackles, four sacks).
WINDSOR DUDES: Sr. RB-LB Shawn Bell (144 carries, 1,008 yards, 12 TDs; 23 catches, 314 yards, one TD; 32 tackles, two INTs); Jr. QB Elijah Cromartie (125 of 231 passing, 2,251 yards, 19 TDs, nine INTs; 29 carries, 176 yards, nine TDs); Jr. RB-LB Quincy Davis (57 tackles); So. WR-DB YAYO Rodriguez (17 catches, 317 yards, two TDs); Sr. WR-DE Prince Samuels (70 tackles, 14 sacks); So. WR-DB Damion Sparrow (23 tackles, four INTs); Jr. RB-DB Chili White (14 catches, 454 yards, four TDs); Jr. WR-DB Jaion Williams (65 tackles); Sr. WR-DB Jaevion Wolcott (18 catches, 254 yards, one TD).
WORDS: A technical school has never won a state playoff game. Next.
PETE SEZ: Windsor.
SEAN SEZ: Windsor.
CALPREPS SEZ: Windsor 35-7.
POLECAT SEZ: Windsor.
No. 8 GILBERT/NORTHWESTERN/HOUSATONIC at No. 1 KILLINGLY
WHERE: Killingly High School.
RECORDS: Killingly 9-0; G/N/H 6-2.
KILLINGLY DUDES: Jr. OL-DL Terrence Allen (47 tackles, four sacks); Sr. OLB Seth Dootson (51 tackles, two sacks); Jr. QB Thomas Dreibholz (37 of 69 passing, 837 yards, 13 TDs, two INTs); Jr. WR-S Ben Jax (19 catches, 551 yards, seven TDs; 34 tackles, three INTs); Sr. TE-DE Nate Keefe (eight catches, 202 yards, three TDs; 52 tackles, three sacks); Jr. FB-LB Keith Perry (84 tackles, three sacks); Sr. C-DL Noah Russell; So. FB-ILB Soren Rief (83 carries, 857 yards, 13 TDs; 50 tackles, three INTs); Sr. WR-CB Trevin Russ; Sr. RB-OLB Jack Sharpe (167 carries, 1,126 yards, 19 TDs).
G/N/R DUDES: So. RB-MLB Aiden Avenia; Sr. RB-MLB-K Austin Bayer; Jr. RB-WR-CB Freddie Camp (100 carries, 1,078 yards, 18 TDs); So. QB-DB Nolan Risedorf; Jr. WR-CB Colby Sanden; Jr. QB-FS Greyson Ursone.
WORDS: Now this is OUR kind of game because both teams are dedicated to the Manly Discipline of the Running Arts. Killingly, as you know, believes in the RPO — RUN PEOPLE OVER. It’s done that all season with no one being able to slow down Sharpe or Rief. The Yellowjackets have thrown just 49 times and relied a lot on the legs of Camp. No one has been able to stop Killingly’s offense and we don’t think G/N/H is the team to do it.
PETE SEZ: Killingly.
SEAN SEZ: Killingly.
CALPREPS SEZ: Killingly 40-8.
POLECAT SEZ: Killingly.
NO. 7 ELLINGTON at No. 2 ROCKVILLE
WHERE: Rockville High School.
RECORDS: Rockville 8-2; Ellington 7-3.
ROCKVILLE DUDES: Sr. RB Travon Edmondson; Jr. WR-DB Hason Green; Fr. RB-LB; Amir Knighton; Jr. OL-LB Malachi Mapp; Fr Sr. RB-DB Deshaun Perry; Sr. QB Matt Ryan.
ELLINGTON DUDES: Sr. G-LB Zach Abbruzzese (83 tackles, 11 sacks); Sr. WR-DB Mike Bontempo (39 catches, 603 yards, nine TDs; 78 tackles, six INTs); Sr. QB-DB Zach Killoran (110 of 180 passing, 1,370 yards, 14 TDs, 11 INTs); Jr. RB-LB Dante Mangiafico (17 catches, 178 yards, one TD; 107 tackles, four sacks); Sr. RB-LB Dominic Mangiafico (87 carries, 655 yards, five TDs; 146 tackles, six sacks); Sr. RB-LB Phillip Vrakas (71 carries, 457 yards, five TDs; 23 catches, 245 yards, two TDs; 97 tackles).
WORDS: The second of THE REMATCHENINGS~! Matter of fact, they played last Wednesday with Rockville winning the Battle of Route 83, 27-7. Perry threw two touchdown passes and scored on a 36-yard interception return while the Rams held the Purple Knights to 190 yards (including 51 yards on 14 carries). There’s no reason to believe Rockville won’t win again.
PETE SEZ: Rockville.
SEAN SEZ: Ellington.
CALPREPS SEZ: Rockville 24-14.
POLECAT SEZ: Rockville
NO. 6 TORRINGTON at NO. 3 GRANBY/CANTON
WHERE: Granby High School.
RECORDS: G/C 7-3; Torrington 7-3.
G/C DUDES: So. RB-TE-LB Will Attianese (71 tackles, two INTs); Sr. QB Michael Bronson (65 carries, 201 yards, four TDs); Sr. LB Malik Brown-Smith (111 tackles, 4 sacks); Jr. RB-LB Luke Maher (110 carries, 565 yards, seven TDs; 42 tackles); Jr. QB Will Migliaccio (82 of 152 passing, 727 yards, two TDs, seven INTs); Sr. RB-SB-CB Mark Thomas (23 tackles, three INTs); Sr. DL Malique Thompson (63 tackles, 4.5 sacks).
TORRINGTON DUDES: Sr. RB-DB Sean Clinkscales; Sr. OL-LB Josh Coleman; Sr. OL-DL Mike Iszczak; Sr. OL-DL Brendan McGowan; Sr. RB-DL-LB Devin Morales; Sr. OL-DL Aden Rivera; Sr. RB-LB EXODUS Rosado; Sr. QB-OLB-DB Tyler Semonich.
WORDS: The NVL won’t be confused with the SEC West but Torrington has faced better competition against the likes of Naugatuck (a 27-19 win, Sept. 17), Holy Cross (34-18 loss, Sept. 10), Seymour (35-22 loss, Sept. 24) and Ansonia (35-15 loss, Oct. 29). Torrington also run’s GOD’S FATHER’S OFFENSE. Neither are analytical reasons for us to side with Torrington but it’s enough for us. Actually, GOD’S FATHER’S OFFENSE is more than enough.
PETE SEZ: Torrington.
SEAN SEZ: Torrington.
CALPREPS SEZ: Torrington 28-19.
POLECAT SEZ: Torrington.
NO. 5 BRANFORD at NO. 4 AVON
WHERE: Avon High School.
RECORDS: Avon 7-2; Branford 8-2.
AVON DUDES: Sr. WR-CB Tyler Brokenshire (17 catches, 264 yards, three TDs); Sr. RB-LB Cameron Dawiczyk (four rushing TDs); Sr. QB-DB Tabor Engle (1,657 yards rushing, 17 TDs).
BRANFORD DUDES: Sr. RB-CB Nate Chieffo; Sr. RB-LB Nate Florio; Sr. WR-CB John Frawley; Sr. OL-DL Nate Mathis; DL-DL David McDonald; Sr. RB-LB Cameron Paleski; Sr. QB Zachary Turbert.
WORDS: Yet another REMATCHENING~! Chieffo ran 16 times for 92 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-7 win at Avon on Nov. 5. The Falcons actually outgained Branford, 243-174 but fumbled five times and lost three of them inside Hornets’ territory. Engle, who has been an absolute workhorse, ran 32 times for 131 yards and a score in the loss. Avon is another team that wisely runs GOD’S FATHER’S OFFENSE but, despite our love for that glorious system, we’re siding with Branford. It edged Notre Dame of West Haven, 15-12, on Sept. 24 and while the Green Knights had a very atypical season (they finished 3-7), they had talent and knocked off the likes of Wilton on the road (36-35, overtime, Sept. 24). The Hornets have had our attention ever since.
PETE SEZ: Branford.
SEAN SEZ: Branford.
CALPREPS SEZ: Branford 20-19.
POLECAT SEZ: Branford.
NO. 8 MORGAN at NO. 1 BLOOMFIELD
WHERE: Phil Rubin Stadium, Bloomfield High School.
RECORDS: Bloomfield 10-0; Morgan 8-2.
BLOOMFIELD DUDES: So. QB Darrien Foster (96 of 136 passing, 1,358 yards, 20 TDs, four INTs); Sr. DE-LB Jakar Jenkins; Jr. WR-LB Trey Ortiz; Jr. RB-LB Conellius Patrick; Sr. RB-LB Dallas Rose.
MORGAN DUDES: Sr. OL-OLB Jordan Armstrong (59 tackles, two sacks); So. LB Tyler Baldwin (50 tackles); Sr. WR-LB Alexander Fratamico (74 catches, 1,012 yards, 14 TDs); Sr. WR-LB Garrett Garbinski (69 catches, 1,123 yards, 16 TDs; 19 tackles, two sacks); Sr. QB Drew Nye (230 of 336 passing, 3,168 yards, 44 TDs, nine INTs); Sr. WR-DB Ethan Ranaudo (41 catches, 404 yards, seven TDs).
WORDS: Morgan has gone gaga with the forward pass this season and used it to rally back from a 28-point deficit on Oct. 16 to beat Sport and Medical Sciences Academy, 44-42, tying the state-record for the largest comeback. The WARHAWKS’ defense has allowed a state-low 44 points and hasn’t let an opponent score over seven points in a game. They’re also the only defense that held Bristol Central’s Rosa under 200 yards — he ran for 99 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in Bloomfield’s 7-6 season-opening win on Sept. 10. We don’t like the Huskies’ chances against this defense. Or against the rushing tandem of Patrick and Rose.
PETE SEZ: Bloomfield.
SEAN SEZ: Bloomfield.
CALPREPS SEZ: Bloomfield.
POLECAT SEZ: Bloomfield 44-14.
NO. 2 CROMWELL/PORTLAND vs. NO. 7 NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD
WHERE: Pierson Park, Cromwell.
RECORDS: C/P 10-0; ND-Ffld. 7-2.
LOOK: NFHS Network (They've got a camera set up at the park? Impressive.)
C/R DUDES: Jr. QB Cole Brisson (100 of 168 passing, 1,755 yards, 22 TDs, four INTs); Sr. RB-LB Owen Brunk (55 carries, 457 yards, six TDs; 82 tackles); Jr. RB-DE Alex Hair (104 carries, 765 yards, 10 TDs; 40 tackles, four sacks); Jr. WR-LB Ryan Rozich (24 catches, 326 yards, four TDs; 77 tackles, 2.5 sacks); So. C-DL Jack Williams (26 tackles, six sacks); Sr. WR-LB Teddy Williams (38 catches, 797 yards, 14 TDs; three rushing TDs; 80 tackles); So. WR-DE Emeka Yearwood (32 tackles, 5.5 sacks)
NOTRE DAME DUDES: Jr. WR-DB Bailey Coleman (19 catches, 414 yard, five TDs; 38 tackles, five INTs); Sr. OL-DL Jaidyn Cummings (61 tackles, three sacks); Sr. QB-DB Jailon Denny (48 of 91 passing, 904 yards, 10 TDs, one INT; 65 carries, 758 yards, nine TDs; 44 tackles, two INTs); So. WR-DB Jose DeJesus (31 tackles, three INTs); Sr. RB-LB Tayshawn Dixon (73 carries, 961 yards, 12 TDs; 11 catches, 196 yards, one TD; 77 tackles); So. OL-DL Ariel Hanley (45 tackles, nine sacks); So. RB-LB Raijon Pettway (86 tackles, four sacks); Sr. OL-DL Rakaigh Pettway (72 tackles, four sacks); So. RB-LB Jonathan Williamson (77 carries, 744 yards, nine TDs; 52 tackles, three sacks).
WORDS: We were unaware that ND has just 26 players. TWENTY SIX. And it made states. Wow. The trio of Denny, Dixon and Williamson have been something else and allowed the Lancers to hang with the likes of New Fairfield (a 29-20 loss on Nov. 5). The Panthers have punished nearly everyone they played in the Pequot and won by an average of 33 points. The stats show that they’ve gotten a lot of contributions. Not many teams in the Pequot could match the Panthers’ explosiveness. The Lancers have a few dudes who can.
PETE SEZ: Cromwell/Portland.
SEAN SEZ: Cromwell/Portland
CALPREPS SEZ: Cromwell/Portland 28-27.
POLECAT SEZ: Notre Dame-Ffld.
NO. 3 ANSONIA vs. NO. 6 SEYMOUR
WHERE: Nolan Field, Ansonia.
RECORDS: Ansonia 9-1; Seymour 8-2.
ANSONIA DUDES: Jr. FB-LB David Cassetti; So. TE-DL Preston Dziubina; Sr. RB Joshua Dobbs; Sr. OL-DL Louis Gripper; So. WR-DB Machi Ingram; Jr. QB Chris Kaminski; Sr. RB-DB Darell McKnight; So. WR-DB Paul Palmer; Sr. OL-DL Carlos Pinto.
SEYMOUR DUDES: Sr. OL-DL Robert Benor; Sr. LB AJ Deicicchi (101 tackles); Jr. QB Caden Drezek (99 of 166 passing, 1,640 yards, 20 TDs, four INTs; three rushing TDs); Sr. WR-CB-K-P Sean Foster (38 catches, 646 yards, 11 TDs; 34 tackles, four INTs); Jr. TE-LB Colin Frey (10 catches, 129 yards, one TD; 35 tackles, three sacks); Sr. RB-CB Caleb Nimo-Sefah (166 carries, 823 yards, seven TDs; 13 catches, 234 yards, one TD).
WORDS: The fourth and final REMATCHENING~! — Ansonia won, 33-8, on Oct. 21. Seymour had its chances early in that game but were done in by both the Chargers’ defense and its own mistakes. McKnight also ran wild in that game as he had 23 carries for 258 yards and four touchdowns. He set up one of those touchdowns with a 29-yard halfback option pass to Ingram down to the Wildcats’ 4-yard line. Ansonia should both be spitting fire after its Thanksgrabbing Day loss and beat Seymour again.
PETE SEZ: Ansonia.
SEAN SEZ: Ansonia.
CALPREPS SEZ: Ansonia 28-13.
POLECAT SEZ: Ansonia.
NO. 4 HOLY CROSS vs. NO. 5 NEW FAIRFIELD
WHERE: Municipal Stadium, Waterbury.
RECORDS: Holy Cross 8-2; New Fairfield 8-2.
HOLY CROSS DUDES: So. RB-DB Marques Campbell; Fr. QB Drew Caouette; Sr. WR Luke Daddona; Jr. LT-DT Josh Holland; Jr. QB David Kaczprzyski; Jr. RB-LB Thomas Ligi; So MLB Roehn Maldonado; Jr. WR-DB-K Kevin Matiz; Sr. WR-LB Mahkai Wilson.
NEW FAIRFIELD DUDES: Sr. RB-DB Jason Caswell (219 carries, 1,621 yards, 16 TDs; 10 catches, 137 yards, one TD); Sr. SB-DB Ryan Fata (15 catches, 260 yards, four TDs; 24 tackles); Jr. RB-WR-LB Thomas Leary (88 tackles, four sacks); Jr. HB-DE Kevin Martinson (74 tackles, six sacks); Jr. QB Justin McCormack (54 of 112 passing, 790 yards, nine TDs, five INTs; 68 carries, 366 yards, 10 TDs); Sr. HB-DE Shane Rattigan (40 tackles, three sacks).
WORDS: Ligi is a tough dude who put on a show in a 35-6 rout over Seymour on Nov. 18 (he ran for 230 yards and four touchdowns). Wilson is an inviting target (6-foot, 210 pounds) with Caouette and Kacprzyski both taking snaps at quarterback of late. The REBELS prefer to wear defenses out, a staple of head coach Anthony Fata’s teams, and Caswell can be a workhorse if needed. McCormack can fling the ball around, though, with Ryan Fata being a slippery target. New Fairfield’s two losses were close ones against the two best teams in the South-West Conference — Masuk (29-28, Oct. 29) and Newtown (10-6, Nov. 12). It showed it could hang against those two teams which means it can beat any team in this division.
PETE SEZ: New Fairfield.
SEAN SEZ: New Fairfield.
CALPREPS SEZ: New Fairfield 27-21.
POLECAT SEZ: New Fairfield.
• • • •
Behold, The Day's Top 10 state coaches’ poll: 1. New Canaan (five first-place votes); 2. St. Joseph (two first-place votes); 3. Darien (three first-place votes); 4. Fairfield Prep (three first-place votes); 5. Maloney; 6. Windsor; 7. Greenwich; 8. Bloomfield; 9. Killingly; 10. Shelton.
Figured it would be a mess after New Canaan knocked off Darien and that the former would ascend to No. 1. Didn't expect four teams to get number one votes but, hey, this has been the screwiest season we've ever covered (and we're old enough to have covered Dan Orlovsky when he was just a gangly, albeit, promising sophomore at Shelton High).
Did not expect the Blue Wave to fall below St. Joes based on their 42-14 rout over the latter on Oct. 30. Especially not after the Cadets dropped one spot from first to second.
That written, it's a bit confusing figuring out which team to rank where when (clears throat) New Canaan beat Darien, which beat St. Joseph, which beat Greenwich (24-20), which beat Fairfield Prep (14-7), which beat Notre Dame of West Haven (28-22), which beat Wilton (36-35, OT), which beat New Canaan (20-17).
Hunch is that whoever wins LL will finish No. 1 but won't be unanimous.
Shelton moved back into the Top 10 after formerly ninth-ranked Ansonia dropped out due to Thanksgrabbing loss to Naugatuck.
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The GameTimeCT/New Haven Register/Hearst Inc. Monolith Top 10 media poll: 1. New Canaan (10 first-place votes); 2. Darien (six first-place votes); 3. St. Joseph (three first-place votes); 4. Fairfield Prep (one first-place votes); 5. Maloney; 6. Greenwich; 7. Killingly; 8. Shelton; 9. Hall; 10. Windsor.
The coaches have Hall No. 12
The media voted Bloomfield No. 11.
• • • •
Ned Freeman’s cold, calculating computer rankings at CalPreps.com: 1. St. Joseph; 2. Darien; 3. Fairfield Prep; 4. New Canaan; 5. Maloney; 6. Greenwich; 7. Shelton; 8. Hand; 9. Southington; 10. Bloomfield.
Very surprised that the computer moved St. Joes over Darien based on the head-to-head but, hey, you do you, Number Eight.
The coaches voted Hand No. 13.
The media voted Hand No. 15.
The computer ranked Windsor No. 11 and Killingly No. 18.
Cheshire (4-6) is the NEW owner of the state’s hardest schedule, so sayeth the computer. Its opponents are a combined 62-38. The Rams beat Staples (42-14) and lost to Newtown (34-13), Norwalk (25-15), Shelton (13-0), Southington (17-10), West Haven (21-14) and Xavier (21-20.
• • • •
Dig the mess Polecat HQ filed for the GameTimeCT/New Haven Register media poll:
1. New Canaan
3. St. Joseph
4. Fairfield Prep
• • • •
That's all for now.
The plan is to post something late night after the quarterfinals with hyperlinks to game stories from across the state. Plans do often change, though.
Thanks for reading.