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    Tuesday, November 29, 2022

    H.S. Football / Thanksgiving Week preview capsules

    NFA defensive players celebrate a safety that turned out to be the game-winning points in the Wildcats' 9-8 win over New London on Thanksgiving Day in 2021 at Cannamela Field in the 159th playing of the nation's oldest high school football rivalry. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    East Lyme´s Cannon Dean (26) kicks the game-winning 28-yard field goal as time expires to give the Vikings a 17-14 win over Waterford during their Thanksgiving Day game on Nov. 25, 2021, at Waterford High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Fitch head coach Mike Ellis hands the Colonel Ledyard Sword trophy to his players following a 9-0 win over Ledyard on Thanksgiving Day in 2021 at Mignault Field in Ledyard. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Tuesday’s Games

    Windham at Montville, 6 p.m.

    Records: Windham (8-1); Montville (1-8)

    Last game: Windham def. Weaver 35-6; Montville lost to Griswold/Wheeler 47-12

    Outlook: Windham, which has already qualified for the Class SS playoffs, plays it 10th straight road game as the finishing touches are being completed at Ferrigno Field, its renovated turf complex. That should be provide the Whips with some added incentive against Montville, a team it beat 70-26 in 2021, because a win will guarantee them a quarterfinal home game ... possibly their first of the season.

    Valley Regional/Old Lyme at Haddam-Killingworth, 6:30 p.m.

    Records: Valley/OL (8-1, 5-1 PFC Sassacus); H-K (6-3, 4-2)

    Last game: Valley/OL def. Old Saybrook/Westbrook 46-8; H-K def. Capital/Achievement 34-8

    Outlook: This game has major state playoff implications for both. The Warriors, despite having just one loss, currently sit ninth in the Class SS race and must win to keep their postseason hopes alive. H-K, which lost last year’s game to Valley/OL 22-17, is guaranteed a Class S berth with a win.

    Wednesday’s Game

    Quinebaug Valley at Thames River, 6 p.m.

    Records: Quinebaug Valley (5-4, 3-4 CTC) at Thames River (9-0, 7-0), 6 p.m.

    Last game: Quinebaug Valley lost to Bullard/Kolbe 32-18; Thames River def. O’Brien Tech 49-6

    Outlook: The unbeaten Crusaders will be heading to the state playoffs (Class MM) for the first time, but they will be motivated to beat the Pride on Wednesday night at Grasso Tech, their new home turf field. Thames River was on the verge of making the playoffs last year, too, until Quinebaug Valley ended its season by thumping the Crusaders 57-13. Thames still has a chance to host a state quarterfinal game with a win, too.


    Ledyard at Fitch, 10 a.m.

    Records: Ledyard (8-1) at Fitch (5-4), 10 a.m.

    Last game: Ledyard def. New London 35-0; Fitch def. East Lyme 34-20

    Outlook: The Falcons brought Colonel Ledyard’s Sword back to Groton last season after snapping a scoreless tie on a safety with 5:47 remaining and eventually winning 9-0. Fitch is still playing for a winning season while Ledyard is playing for a Class SS playoff berth. The Colonels are guaranteed a spot ... and possibly a quarterfinal home game ... with a win, but will have to sweat out other results should the Falcons keep possession of the sword.

    New London at NFA, 10 a.m.

    Records: New London (2-7); NFA (3-6)

    Last game: New London lost to Ledyard 35-0; NFA def. Woodstock Academy 21-17

    Outlook: The Wildcats host the Whalers in the nation’s oldest high school football rivarly, which dates back to 1875 and NFA leads 80-68-11. It’s rare that both teams will finish their season with losing records, but the Wildcats can go out with three straight wins and four of their last five. NFA won last year 9-8, scoring the go-ahead points on a safety with 3:39 left in the third quarter.

    Waterford at East Lyme, 10 a.m.

    Records: Waterford (5-4); East Lyme (4-5)

    Last game: Waterford def. Bacon Academy 33-14; East Lyme lost to Fitch 34-20

    Outlook: The Lancers lead this series 28-25, but East Lyme prevailed a year ago in one of the most dramatic finishes between the two rivals when Cannon Dean kicked his third field goal of the day, a 28-yarder as time expired, to give the Vikings a 17-14 win. East Lyme, despite its losing record, still has an outside shot of qualifying for the Class M playoffs, but must win and then get some help around the state.

    Bacon Academy at RHAM, 10 a.m.

    Records: Bacon Academy (1-8); RHAM (6-3)

    Last game: Bacon Academy lost to Waterford 33-14; RHAM def. Avon 28-14

    Outlook: The “Battle for the Rail” will take place on the field for the first time since 2019. The Route 85 rivals didn’t play in 2020 because of the pandemic, and then Bacon forfeited the 2021 game after administrators pulled the plug on the Bobcats’ season due to some off-the-field issues. RHAM, which will play in the state playoffs (Class M) for the first time in program history, will look to enter the postseason on a high note and take the overall series lead, which is currently tied 7-7.

    Plainfield at Griswold/Wheeler, 10 a.m.

    Records: Plainfield (1-5); Griswold/Wheeler (5-4)

    Last game: Plainfield lost to CREC 22-15; Griswold def. Montville 47-12

    Outlook: The Wolverines will be out to avenge a 14-6 loss to the Panthers on Thanksgiving Day a year ago and are playing to complete a winning season. It’s been a difficult season for Plainfield, which opted out as a football-playing member in the Eastern Connecticut Conference after the 2021 season but was only able to schedule seven games as an independent and will be playing for the first time since Nov. 5.

    Westerly at Stonington, 10 a.m.

    Records: Westerly (7-3); Stonington (2-7)

    Last game: Westerly lost to St. Raphael Academy 19-7 in R.I. Division II state semifinals; Stonington lost to Killingly 65-19

    Outlook: Westerly hasn’t played since a tough loss to St. Raphael in Rhode Island’s Division II state playoff semifinals while the Bears were thumped by at reigning Class MM champion Killingly in their last game. The Bulldogs won last year’s meeting in the nation’s oldest continuous Thanksgiving Day rival, 21-14, but still trail in the series 74-70-17 as they head into their 162nd overall meeting.

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