Now that the NVL has allowed its schools to play one (1) out-of-league game per year, it should come as no surprise that Ansonia was the first to find a game.
And it should be a good one.
The Class S runner-up Chargers will travel to play Hillhouse, one of the best SCC programs in recent years, in Week 1 of next year, Ansonia coach Tom Brockett confirmed.
Ansonia has gone 37-2, been to three state title games and won championships over the previous three years. Hillhouse has gone 29-6 with two playoff appearances and a state championship over the same span.
“We went looking for the best team out there…,” Brockett said. “We think this game should generate a lot of interest. It should be a lot of fun.”
Ansonia will travel to New Haven, but part of the condition was that the teams not play at Hillhouse’s Bowen Field, since it doesn’t have lights. Instead, the game will be played at a neutral site to be determined.
“We though it makes no sense to play at 3:30 when you’re trying to promote high school football,” Brockett said. “They agreed.”
Brockett said the game preferably will be played Thursday night, in order to showcase the game apart from the normal Friday night schedule.
The game is a direct result of Derby’s defection from the SCC to the NVL. The Red Raiders’ move to the NVL forced that league to reconfigure its schedule to allow outside games. The loss of Derby left holes in nine SCC Division II schedules.
This effectively squashes any official crossover arrangement between the FCIAC and SCC. If teams from those leagues are going to fill byes, it will be at their own discretion. There are also 11 NVL teams looking for non-league games in week 1.
2009 won’t be an 11-game season, but it suddenly sure feels like one.
Update 3 p.m.: When notified of the agreement, SCC commissioner Al Carbone said he is disappointed that the NVL has decided to play all of its non-league games in Week 1, and not staggered to allow for a crossover agreement between some of his schools.
“We’re obviously happy that Hillhouse will play Ansonia, albeit a year late in my opinion,” Carbone said, referring to the NVL’s unpopular decision to keep Ansonia from playing outside the league last year. “But when all this Derby stuff was going on, we did ask the NVL how they were going to schedule their non-league games. One of our requests was that they stagger their open dates to mirror ours, so maybe some of our teams could schedule NVL games. But they decided to go in a different direction.”
Even though FCIAC has a staggered schedule of nine byes, Carbone said that league has been looking for a two-year commitment. The SCC home office is discouraging two-year agreements because it hopes to get another school into the league by 2010.
(Updated 2:01 Truncated and clarified first Brockett quote: he meant Hillhouse hasn’t lost a lot of games recently, not starters.)