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    Tuesday, December 06, 2022

    H.S. football: Ledyard, Valley/OL still in the mix to join Windham in Class SS playoffs

    The 2022 high school football season has been as unpredictable as any past several seasons because of parity. There’s no great or legendary teams like West Haven in 1968, Trumbull in 1977 or Fitch in 1999 ripping through opponents.

    The ensuing chaos has left so many CIAC playoff races up in the air — even after the addition of two divisions this season — meaning that 48 teams will qualify across six divisions.

    Last week’s losses by Maloney and Cromwell/Portland caused further disarray.

    No team has officially qualified for the playoffs yet and won’t until the CIAC’s football committee approves the brackets the day after the regular season ends, but it appears that 28 teams have unofficially earned spots, including Windham in Class SS.

    The likes of Killingly, Ledyard, Thames River and the Valley Regional/Old Lyme co-op will all qualify if they win out.

    East Lyme, Fitch, Waterford and Woodstock Academy, on the other hand, are need more than a few lucky breaks.

    Valley/Old Lyme (7-1) is eighth in the Class SS rankings and can take another step towards joining the Whippets with a win at home against winless Old Saybrook/Westbrook on Wednesday night. The Warriors also play at rival Haddam-Killingworth (4-4) on Nov. 22, with H-K needing to win out to stay afloat in Class S.

    Ledyard is fourth in Class SS and has a week off to prepare for Fitch (5-4) in the annual battle for Colonel Ledyard’s sword. The Colonels will earn a top four seed and could clinch a home quarterfinal game with a win.

    Ledyard and Valley/Old Lyme could be in trouble with losses because Class SS is the only division in which two losses could mean doom.

    Waterford (5-4) is No. 11 but would need to beat East Lyme and have Valley/Old Lyme lose its final two games.

    Foran (9-0) and Cromwell/Portland (8-1) have both unofficially qualified in, leaving five spots available.

    No. 5 Barlow (7-2), No. 6 Granby/Canton (7-2), No. 7 Gilbert/Northwestern/Housatonic (7-2), No. 9 Ellington (6-2) and No. 10 Rocky Hill (5-3) join Ledyard and Valley/Old Lyme in the race for those five spots.

    Here’s a look at the other divisions:

    Class MM

    This is the most wide-open race. Only the Sports and Medical Sciences co-op (9-0) has unofficially clinched.

    Killingly (8-1), last year’s Class M champion, is third and will clinch a home quarterfinal with a win over Woodstock Academy (4-4) on Thanksgiving Day at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass.

    Thames River (8-0) is fifth and would qualify with a win over O’Brien Tech (2-6) on Friday and a loss by Windsor on Saturday.

    Fitch is way back at No. 13. The Falcons must beat Ledyard on Thanksgiving, and it can only catch No. 9 Windsor (6-3). Windsor plays at Bloomfield (7-2) on Saturday in the one of the biggest games of the week.

    Class M

    No. 1 Berlin (9-0) has unofficially clinched the top seed and is joined by No. 2 Law (8-1), No. 3 Rockville (6-2), No. 4 Notre Dame-West Haven (6-3), No. 5 Abbott Tech/Immaculate (7-1) and RHAM (6-3).

    It’s still quite possible that a 5-5 team could qualify.

    Woodstock is tied with Branford (3-5) in points for No. 8 but is ninth because of tiebreakers. The bigger problem for Woodstock is, of course, that it plays Killingly.

    East Lyme is No. 10 despite a 4-5 record and has a reasonable chance to qualify if it beats Waterford on Thanksgiving and a few teams ahead of the Vikings lose.

    Class LL

    The field is filled as Greenwich (8-1), West Haven (9-0), Southington (8-1), Staples (8-1), Hamden (8-1), Trumbull (7-2), Fairfield Prep (6-3) and Glastonbury (7-2) have all unofficially qualified.

    Class L

    St. Joseph, Naugatuck, Newtown, New Canaan and Maloney have all unofficially qualified. All are 8-1.

    Class S

    Ansonia (9-0) has unofficially clinched the top seed and is joined by Holy Cross (7-2), Bloomfield (7-2), Woodland (7-2) and New Fairfield (7-2).

    n.griffen@theday.com

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