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    Tuesday, March 05, 2024

    HS football playoffs begin Tuesday for 4 ECC schools

    Fitch’s Benjamin Perry (8) runs the ball fallowing behind teammate Devin Cook (42) during the Thanksgiving day football game Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023, at Ledyard High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Four schools from the Eastern Connecticut Conference begin playoff participation Tuesday night, including a home game for ECC Division I champion Fitch in the Class MM division.

    The fourth-seeded Falcons (9-1) will play No. 5 North Haven, which handed Fitch a 58-28 loss earlier this season at Dorr Field. The Nighthawks, the defending state Class MM champion, amassed more than 500 rushing yards in that game.

    “We have a very competitive division,” Fitch coach Mike Ellis said after his team’s Thanksgiving Day victory over Ledyard. “But one of the things we’ve been telling the kids is that we think we still have room to improve.”

    The Falcons will need to improve significantly to combat North Haven’s single-wing scheme, led by seniors Adam Pandolfi, Trystan Dos and Cam Thompson.

    North Haven has endured a bizarre season, which included a forfeit in week one to Darien for what school officials have called “inappropriate student conduct.” Later in the year, coach Tony Sagnella was suspended for what became a 24-7 win over Cheshire, but has since returned, although the Department of Children and Families is still investigating the incident(s) that led to the forfeit against Darien.

    Fitch has won seven straight since the loss to North Haven in late September.

    “The teams are all good now,” Fitch senior Calvin McCoy III said. “But we have faith in our coaches and they’ll have us ready.”

    In other playoff games:

    No. 5 Griswold/Wheeler plays at No. 3 Cromwell/Portland in Class S. The Panthers eliminated Ledyard in last season’s playoffs and lost by five in the semifinals to eventual champion Joel Barlow. This is Griswold/Wheeler’s first trip to the playoffs as a cooperative and Griswold’s first playoff game since 2006. The Wolverines have won eight straight since a loss to Class SS playoff participant Windham.

    No. 6 Sheehan plays at No. 3 Windham in Class SS. The Whips have a home game and will need every advantage against Sheehan, which played a very competitive schedule in the Southern Connecticut Conference. The Titans opened the season with a 42-10 win at Ledyard and were competitive with playoff teams North Haven (31-21 loss) and Hand (28-18 loss). Brady Rosacci leads the Titans with more than 1,800 yards rushing.

    No. 7 Killingly plays at No. 2 New Canaan in Class L. Killingly boasts the state rushing leader in Soren Rief (2,362 yards), but plays at the defending Class L champion, making its 17th straight playoff appearance. Killingly qualified by winning its last four games, following a mid-October loss to Fitch.

    All games begin at 6:30 p.m. GameDay will stream North Haven at Fitch.

    m.dimauro@theday.com

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