Connecticut High School Football

High School Football news, analysis, commentary and features from the reporters of the Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

The Elite 8: Week 10


Lots to do today. And, since there’s been no movement, lots of playoff talk in this week’s Elite 8.

We delve into state playoff scenarios for some of these teams. For the full breakdown, click here to head over to the Mad CIAC State Playoff Scientist’s laboratory, for the best, most comprehensive scenarios in the state .

We’ve combed through them thoroughly, and no one (save for the Lonesome Polecat with whom we check frequently) comes close.

Onto the Elite 8.

No one.

No one.

MASUK — Handled Weston as expected. Now the cards are all on Masuk’s table for Thanksgiving. Win and it gets an SWC championship trophy and a chance to defend its state championship. Lose and they’re in big, big trouble.

ANSONIA — They’re heavy favorites to win tonight, against Naugatuck on Thanksgiving and then the Class M title. No pressure, guys.

STAPLES — If you haven’t seen (and how could you not?), there was an off-week incident involving an assistant freshman coach, who allegedly gave out a password for a porn website to some of his players. That coach has been relieved. It’s undoubtedly been a distraction for a team trying to win a second FCIAC title in three years without two of their best players, Joey Zelkowitz and Kevin Kearney. Luckily, the Wreckers have already qualified for the Class LL playoffs. So the pressure’s off, somewhat.

Updated: Staples coach charged with giving freshman players porn access

GREENWICH — Wasn’t the greatest of offensive performances against Danbury. But the defense was outstanding. “We’re back as a program,” coach Rich Albonizio said after the 17-7 victory that turned this Thanksgiving Day game into the FCIAC championship. Greenwich, however, hasn’t participated in the state playoffs for almost four years. They need to win this game.

NOTRE DAME-WH — Took care of business quickly vs. Fairfield Prep. Now the Green Knights set their sights on the 61st Green Bowl and a well-deserved spot in the Class L playoffs.

NEWTOWN — Won an absolute classic vs. Bunnell. Their reward? a guaranteed Class LL playoff berth (when was the last time Newtown clinched before Thanksgiving? Anyone?) and a chance at the SWC title. They’ve got nothing to lose on Thanksgiving Eve vs. Masuk except a home playoff game (which might mean a date with Xavier. So scratch that sentiment). An upset win would knock Masuk out for the second time in three seasons.

DARIEN — Things were good when QB Henry Baldwin set a school passing touchdown record with 24 in a season with the Blue Wave’s win over Bassick. Then, while they were thinking about ways to beat New Canaan for the first time since 2011, came news of  coach Rob Trifone’s father’s death. No doubt there are heavy hearts in Darien and, maybe, some divine inspiration for the task ahead. The story is similar to last year: A win and they’re in the playoffs for the third time in four years while sending their arch rivals home. Unlike last year, a loss will probably end Darien’s season.

NEW CANAAN — QB Matt Milano made a triumphant return to the field as the Rams bounced struggling Trumbull. Once again, they’re in a winner-take all game against Darien in the Turkey Bowl. Win, they’re in. Lose, they’d be out of the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Batten down the hatches.


Norwalk (7-1) — Just one eentsy-weentsy-wittle victory over McMahon, and the Bears are dancin’ for the first time since 1998. … Bunnell (7-2) — The pain of their heartbreak from losing to Newtown figures to endure on Thanksgiving Day if things break the way they should in Class L. … Pomperaug (7-2) — If they beat Oxford, expect to see Pomperaug jackets in Westport or Norwalk Thanksgiving morning. A Greenwich or Norwalk loss will give these guys playoff hope. As would a Thanksgiving Eve loss by Ridgefield. … Shelton (7-2) — Any chance the Gaels can get Derby an emergency admittance back into the SCC? Those 30 lost playoff points for the Red Raiders’ recent move to the NVL are already costing them dearly. …Ridgefield (7-2) — I’d be pretty confident about the playoffs if I’m wearing Orange and Black. I’d be even more confident if my team beat Danbury and heard these words: “McMahon upsets Norwalk” or “Staples beats Greenwich.” …Stamford (6-2) — Had the Black Knights completed that comeback vs. Ridgefield, they”d be talking playoff possibilities right now. As it is, they’ll have to settle for their upset of New Canaan as the top 2011 memory. And that’s not bad.

Categories: Elite 8
Sean Patrick Bowley

41 Responses

  1. R-MAC says:

    Masuk is riding on Casey to keep the winning streak alive and well. The plus side to having a easy scedule is that the team is healthy and well rested without being tested. Newtown will be a good tune-up and wake-up call getting ready for the states. I don’t expect to see a shoot out like the Bunnell game. Masuk has a capable defense that can and will keep the Nighthawks grounded. I did not find the game with Newtown/Bunnell game as entertaining as most people did. It was kinda of embarrassing that both teams had no defensive discipline through out the game.

  2. MasukRules says:

    Masuk will beat Newtown by at least 40 points and get that SWC championship trophy.

  3. ND Jim says:

    @spb – Sean, you have obviously have bought into the statement that “Greenwich is back”. Classic case of a”program” ranking. Why else would you rank them as high as #4 and leave Norwalk out of the Elite 8. Norwalk DEFEATED Greenwich last year and Norwalk returned all of their key players this year. Also, Norwalk has defeated everyone Greenwich has plus Norwalk beat Stamford. New London hung 51 points on Greenwich. Norwalk’s only loss is to New Canaan 28-14. Finally, both Newtown and Norwalk are ahead of Greenwich in the LL standings. Let’s see Greenwich beat Staples before you give them such a lofty ranking.

  4. It’s pretty easy. If Greenwich loses to Staples, then they won’t be here for long.

  5. Pat McGroin says:

    THANK GOD we don’t base rankings on last year – let’s be serious, last year that Norwalk victory over Gwich was a fluke…. they had everyone back this year and what was their record last year???

  6. ND Jim says:

    Fluke or not, they beat them when all their key players were Juniors. Stands to reason those players are now better as Seniors. Regardless, beating them last year was only 1 reason why they should be ranked higher. Read the entire post. By the way, what was Greenwich’s record last year? Did they had FIVE fluke losses.

  7. GHS Fan says:

    Another Greenwich basher. What a surprise. Well, ND Jim, I saw the New London game. and Greenwich did plenty of things right. And BTW – what happened against New Canaan?
    SPB is no friend of Greenwich, I assure you. He refused to rank them #1 in Connecticut the year they had to go to Florida to find a team that would give them a game. He had some sort of bizarre reasoning that Greenwich did not beat their opponent badly enough in the state LL championship game. So he ranked An-slow-nia #1 after they played a bunch of cupcakes all season and won their little-bitty divison championship (was it “SS” at the time?) in a more “convincing” manner. I am sure he is eagerly waiting to drop Greenwich out of his little list.
    These rankings mean nothing. Take it from someone who has watched legitimate teams get dissed.

  8. SWCJoe says:

    Newtown over Masuk. Pomp drove on Masuk. Newtown’s o-line will dominate masuk’s and give 44 a big day.

  9. Pat Mcgroin says:

    That’s not nearly the point – your statement is outrageous – that in week 10 of the 2011 football season, you believe that Norwalk should be ranked higher than Gwich because of a loss in week 1 of the 2010 season!

    Windsor is ranked higher than Masuk – should Windsor be ranked higher in the polls than Masuk? I’ll answer that for you – no, better yet, Coventry Tech is ranked higher in the Class L than Masuk – and based on ND Jim’s statement they should be ranked higher in the polls than Masuk –

    And yes, their only loss to New Canaan 28-14, the only valid argument to that entire statement – and from what I remember about that game was that Norwalk never had a chance to begin with – New Canaan cruised and let off the gas pedal in the second half, Norwalk made it a “game” with a late touchdown to make the score respectable.

    But back to my first paragraph – please don’t say that Norwalk should be higher than Greenwich because some 400 days ago Norwalk beat Greenwich. It’s an outrageous statement.

  10. George says:

    Ansonia would have smacked Greenwich that year, too bad they aren’t a rich town they would of went to Naples and smoked them! You had steroid boy on your team, you really do t realize how dominant their line was for Ansonia. That team buried a kid whose starting for Florida right now that New London team would of beat Greenwich! Get over yourselves your daddy probably bought you a Mercedes when you were 13 doesn’t mean that if he tells you you’ll beat Ansonia you really would!

  11. Weasel says:


    Newtown did jack vs. Pomp. Pomp did jack vs. Masuk.

    Masuk per game average score is 56 – 10 this year. Doubtful that this will change much; they’re still pissed about ’09 vs Newtown, who’ll have to score a lot mre than 10 if they hope to win.

    In any event, we’ll see on the field…Frazier beat Ali, Foreman beat Frazier, Ali beat Foreman. Styles matter.

  12. Bub A. Buhai says:

    @ Weasel- and others. No doubt Masuk is loaded with weapons but they have their weaknesses. Pomp suceeded against Masuk in spots, even Weston had their moments. In my opinion, both of those teams lost their will– after a few quick TDs by MHS – they collapsed mentally.

    Having seen Masuk a bunch of times, I can say their D is not as strong as last years. O-line is not the solid wall of 2010.
    The spirit/heart on this team is also not as strong this year. Murph’s tag line last year was “Finish”- and last year those Seniors SAW that trophy.. they would not ponder any other outcoume. This year the tag line is “Better” (as in if you want to win this year, you have to BETTER that last years team).

    Yes they have the skills, but do they have that indominable determination of the 2010 champs?? THAT has not been tested this year. The similarities to the 2009 team are startling (minus the d1 QB of course) — 2008 champs, loss to newtwon in 2009.. cyclical? I think not.

    There is no love between Newtown and and Masuk (quelle surpise). But the Knights knocking out MHS again might be Newtowns swan-song of the season; I bet that upset (on MHS Senior night AND Homecoming) is motivating the Knights more than the Masuk’s swagger of walking through SWCs. If as SWCJoe says the Knights can pound the ball with 44 and (i Think) also blitz Cochran all night– they might have a shot (and yes, I know a blitz would free up 22, 1 and 32)

    If Masuk is the Death Star, then #12 is that tiny Exhuast port. IS Fenaroli playing RB and LB the Newtowns Jedi Knight?

    Is the Force strong in 44?
    LOU… I am your Father (insert weazy breaths in here)

    5 days and counting.

  13. jeb says:

    Dear George #10,

    Ansonia vs. Greenwich would have been a terific game that year. Please don’t tell me that Ansonia would have beaten Naples. Too much spedd on both sides of the ball.

  14. The Voice says:

    Bub A- I think you underestimate the heart/spirit of this year’s Panther squad. The heart/ spirit/ will to win doesn’t begin and end with Casey. They are deep in captain and non-captain leadership across the lineup on both sides of the ball. Duignan, Flynn, Coleman,others rally the defense while Cochran, Markus, Milone, Cuzmano bring a lot of fire and emotion to the offense.
    Weasel is definitely correct that no one has forgotten Newtown ’09 and how expensive that stumble was- won’t happen again, not this year anyway.

  15. Pat Mcgroin says:

    @ George – Sounds like you should be on Wall Street right now a part of the 99% – didn’t realize we were bringing in demographics into the equation –

    What do you want towns with money to do? Not go to Florida and play Naples – I for one, win or lose, give a lot of respect to Greenwich for making that game happen – it helps put Connecticut on the map.

    Again, you should be ashamed of yourself for bringing that conversation to another level, you sound bitter, you sound pathetic. Go by a lottery ticket if you feel that snubbed

  16. Let’s ease back on any notion Ansonia would have beaten Naples. Greenwich-Ansonia would have been tremendous.

  17. Brian says:

    Back up George. In 2007, GHS would have beat Ansonia and I saw both teams play numerous times. Alex Thomas was great and I liked him, but he was not carrying it 40 times for 400 yards against them. Before u go accusing someone of being on drugs, don’t u think he could have carried it 40 times a game for 300 plus yards week in and week out??

    Also, don’t be upset that Greenwich has money and the valley doesn’t. If u want to go to Naples or anywhere else to play a hard game u can do fundraisers. They do work. I would be happy if Ansonia booked a game in CT against someone good nevermind Florida. Lastly, the steriod boy had 37 D1 offers. How many did Thomas or Erik Kurzouha the big lineman have?? I was glad to see AT go to yale and play and graduate. Myers will do same at Princeton. I beleive your lineman went to uconn and got dismissed. Dobbs can’t even get eligible. Currently the 17 year old waterbury product seems to be on his way to d1. Hopefully he can get there.

    I don’t live in Greenwich but this one hit a nerve. I believe the Greenwich and Staples faithful would say this about the valley. “It’s alright it’s ok they will end up working for us someday”.

  18. GHS Fan says:

    I think that George’s comments, along with SPBs final rankings of Greenwich that year are proof of pervasive anti-Greenwich bias that is fed by anybody with a media outlet. It is a shame because the kids playing football likely come from the same socio-economic backgrounds as every other kid in Connecticut. I am not rich, believe me, and my kid played next to a cop’s kid, who played next to a small business owner’s kid, who played next to kid who lived in public housing, etc. etc.
    Rooting against the kids who play for Greenwich because rich people happen to live in Greenwich is every bit as hateful and hurtful as any other kind of bias. But I guess it is ok because some guy drove by Cardinal stadium in a Lamborghini – right?
    And Ansonia would have gotten their collective butts kicked by Greenwich that year.

  19. yoda says:

    I have watched teams try to defend Masuk and they all sit back in zone coverage and chase those receivers all over the field. That is just not going to work. Listen, Casey and crew scores nearly every time anyway so take some risks. Go man on each receiver (22 & 1) and jam at the line – take them out of their comfy, assigned routes. And then stunt and blitz to get Casey to move his feet and feel the pressure. But MLB-44 needs to shadow RB-32 all over the field. Pound him on every play, even when he does not have the ball. Help him up, smile and tell him “get use to seeing my face”. Masuk is beatable, but not if you are passive. They are like a finely-tuned machine that will pick you apart. So throw a wrench in there. What is the worst thing that can happen? Good luck Jedi and may the Force be with you.

  20. GO NOLES!! says:

    Let’s cut the “rich man, poor man” crap on what is supposed to be a high school sports blog. We hear enough populous rhetoric on a daily basis from Obama and the OWS protesters.

    I watch a LOT of high school football, and saw a lot of games in 2007. Ansonia/Greenwich might have been somewhat competitive, but Ansonia was clearly the state’s dominant team that season. The line was huge, and there was speed and talent all over the field. And yes, there was Alex Thomas, one of the most unstoppable high school running backs I have ever seen.

    Remember, New London was loaded, even bigger than Ansonia along the line, and had an SEC-bound talent at QB. A number of people picked the Whalers to win that game. It wasn’t close; it was complete domination. New London was held to a little over hundred yards of offense. I’m not sure that Greenwich team would have beaten New London-the Whalers had much more team speed.
    In fact, the 2007 Holy Cross team (led by Dan Mulrooney) may have been the second-best team in Connecticut that season.

    Ansonia fans are notorious for getting carried away. The Chargers are shockingly good year after year for a small school. But they play in a weak conference, and most years it is just guesswork as to how they would fare against elite teams in the state. But in 2007, they WERE Connecticut’s best.

    So no more class warfare on this blog. And no more revisionist history.

  21. Bub A. Buhai says:

    First– Stop hatin– I lived in both Greenwhich and Ansonia– none of ya’ll have anything to crow about..

    So– Never said leadership was a problem.. never said Casey WAS Masuk’s spirit. Just sayin if you take the passing out of the game, you’ve put one huge dent in the armor.

    Duignan Flynn and Coleman are leaders- no doubt– Casey, Colin, Thomas and Cusmano are too, the difference is in the rest of the stormtroopers… do THEY hunger for it like Duignan does?

    This is eerily reminiscent of 2009… just sayin. If this team takes it all this year, you can wrap the crow up inside the hat like a burrito and I will eat it in the MHS cafetria.

    But hey– in fairness— I AM just sayin MHS is beatable- and not even easily — thats it. Team Last year, unbeatable they were..mmm..

    Unlike the movie– we don’t know the ending — Newtown STILL has to hit that 2 meter wide exhaust port… like Master Yoda says above.. Panthers are beatable — BUT Newtown needs the force… (and hope their off-season conditioning was BETTER than Masuks)

    I’m predicitng 42-35 Masuk in a nailbiter

    And if Murph could have gotten Fenaroli to come to the dark-side–
    He would have become Emperor..

    lol its a slow week inthe SWC, we have to make our own heat!! I give thanks!

  22. CTHSFootballRocks says:

    55-28 Masuk.

    Play press coverage vs 22…… toast, see ya… is that your strap laying on the ground?
    Take 32 out of his game…… good luck, let me know how that works out. He runs by you, over you, around you, might be the best blocking back around, and has great hands.
    Blitz Casey…… see Pomperaug score. O line has done a nice job protectig Casey… underrated line.

    Wednesday night cannot come around fast enough.

  23. tp says:

    One big factor in 09 was Newtown’s ability to get to Cochran. They were able to do this with the DL not by blitzing for the most part. If Cochran has a weakness it is his lack of mobility. Heck, even in a blow out last year Newtown hit him pretty good. IF Newtown makes this a game they will need to do the same and put pressure without sacrificing coverage….way easier said than done.

  24. yoda says:

    “Lou…Lou…Do not…Do not underestimate the powers of the Emperor, or suffer your father’s fate, you will. And what secret, shall I tell you? Grand Master of Jedi Order am I. Won this job in a raffle I did, think you? … “How did you know, how did you know, Master Yoda?” … Master Yoda knows these things. His job it is.”

  25. GHS Fan says:

    We will never know what migh have happened had Greenwich and Ansonia played. Thye will never play because Ansonia plays little tiny cupcake schools while Greenwich has to play in the LL. It is truly annoying that the teeny-weenies get themselves there own cute little division, win it, and then insist that they “could have” done this or that against the big, powerful schools based on big windbags shooting off their mouths, or media types with an agenda against certain schools. Oh well, as long as you are happy with your little trophy, I am happy with the fact that Greenwich did not need to resort to some absurd “pound for pound” argument – they simply defeated the best of the biggest schools.
    Good luck to the Cards against Staples!

  26. Captainobvious says:

    Pound for pound Ansonia is bigger than just about all (maybe all) of your power schools! How did Greenwich do this year against another teenie weenie school? You think you know something, but you don’t.

  27. another fan says:

    GHS fan just jealous of Ansonia , should have been Ansonia #1 then Holy Cross #2 in 07 but babies like you would have stomped and cried and acted like spoiled lil’ brats…so they gifted GH to make you happy.

  28. jonesy says:

    Newtown d and o line is better than masuk’s and with Lou if they pound the rock all day and keep their offense off the field they have a chance

    And newtown didn’t do “Jack” against pomperaug, in fact they outplayed them and lost with 2 pick sixes that were thrown from a qb who hasn’t started since that week

    I’m not saying newtowns going to win, but the game will not be a blow out like masuks used too.

  29. Weasel says:

    @27…pound for pound…

    Roberto Duran was pound for pound the best fighter in the 1970’s.

    How do you think he would have done against George Foreman when they were both at their peak in 1974?

    I’m waiting…..

    That’s right, pound for pound is a BS argument for rationalizers and wishful thinkers.

    Not to say that there aren’t good teams in the smaller divisions, maybe even the best in the state, but cut the pound for pound crap out. It’s not a valid argument.

    The only argument that matters is who wins on the field.

    We’ll never know for 2007 and we’ll never know this year either, if X and M keep winning.

  30. another fan says:

    @#30 Pound for pound would certainly benifit football better than boxing (Mr. Duran),but good point non-the-less it’s more about skill and heart and being good athletically…#27 was refering to the other blogger as being called small ,real small as in tini weenie ,so in essence you really are targeting your comment towards the idiot GHS fan who is useing words like cup cake ,tini weenie, and cute….it sounds to me like GHS fan needs some sort of medication and or therapy

  31. Honus says:

    @jonesy – Class LL Newtown has faced one decent LL team so far, Pomp, and lost. Six of their wins are over class M or smaller. In the one Class L game they played, their defense was shredded and they won in OT. Masuk is going to destroy Newtown who is then going to be cannon fodder for the other Class LL schools.

    @Weasel – Yes, credit to Ansonia for being the best small school football power in the history of CT football. But don’t start arguing you can beat the heavyweights until you have a track record of doing so. That being said, I think they would at least beat Newtown this year, in a close one. Also, Sugar Ray Leonard was better than Duran.

  32. Captainobvious says:

    Seriously, Honus?! A least beat Newtown in a close one? If that’s your honest to God opinion on Ansonia I will always look at your comments as uneducated, uninformed, waste of time, bias hate mail.

  33. 2007 Bulldogs says:

    All this 2007 Ansonia and Greenwich talk. Remember, there was a 3rd 13-0 team that year, that was just as good and would have created more exciting matchups for both teams. Bunnell was voted #3 in all polls for one reason, not the same name recognition as Ansonia or Greenwich. Any one of these teams could have beaten each other, on any given day.

  34. Weasel says:

    @32 Honus, not in Duran’s prime he wasn’t. Leonard was good, I saw his whole career. Leonard Duran I was a great fight, Duran outright outfought him. Leonard arguably was behind in his Hearns fights and while getting the victory probably didn’t deserve it against Hagler. And his fight with Benitez was too close for comfort too.He’s a HoF fighter, but he wasn’t better than Duran. Certainly not in the ’70s…Leonard, if not for his eye, was athis peak in the early 80’s. All said though, he did rip out Duran’s heart in the no mas fight, but that wasn’t the 1970’s.

    We are on the exact same page with Masuk v Newtwon. Smack down time.

    Nothing better than CT HS sports.

    Now…as a Greenwich resident, I resent the rich boy comments some have made – if you look at income levels, Weston, NC, Darien, Wilton are higher income towns, and I see as much or more pretension there than in Greenwich (lived in each of those towns too), BTW – I like Greenwich, but I’m not jingoistic about it, and while I live here, I’m not rich. Ansonia is great, but they’re not the only great program in the state….and like many say about Masuk, they need to play an actual schedule instead of middle schools.

    By the way, there’s a certain GAME today….



  35. NMfan says:

    A solid team the new milford green wave playing the new fairfield rebels is always a great game, playing for the candlewood cup. Also the jv teams are playing monday night at 6pm in new fairfield. NF won round 1 as the frosh teams played and the final was 28-0.

  36. shooter says:

    To all the Masuk and Ansonia fans:

    You both have tremendous teams that would do well against all competition in the state. Counting Thanksgiving out of a possible twenty games between you only Masuk will have played a half-decent team. That’s Newtown. Lets be honest here.

  37. bulldogs5 says:

    In the 2007 season, Bunnell was the best team in the state. greenwich was ranked #2 because they got sympathy votes for losing to a florida team. Bunnell was faster then any other team, and had better athletes than any team. Greenwich or Ansonia were really really good teams, but that bunnell team was on another level that year. i know the greenwich people and valley people dont like to hear it, but its true. it was the year before that (06 season) that holy cross was really good. those were the good days, bunnell beat owned masuk, 5 times in two years. LOL

  38. GHS Fan says:

    Once again, when discussing Greenwich Championships, I say to people “‘LL champs’ – that means ‘largest of the large’ schools” and people say “Wow!’.
    I am so happy I do not have to say “”SS champs’ – which means “Largest of the small schools””, and then desperately follow up with “But we got VOTED #1 in the state by media types, and pound for pound we were the best… etc. etc.” as my audience’s eyes glaze over and they realize they have to hear some complicated formula for why your cute little title stacks up. But good luck with that.
    I think size envy is a fairly common affliction.

  39. Rob says:

    GHS Fan operates under the assumtption that the size of your school determines the strength of the football team. We have seen this proven false time and time again in this state.

    Go through the CT high school record book sometime and take a look at the history of state finals and the history of the Top 10 polls. You will find that there have been an inordinate amount of dominant teams from the MM, M, SS, and S divisions. I am not referring to the random SS or MM winner that the writers begrudgingly vote as #7 just because they won a title. I mean powerhouse teams that struck fear in their opponenets. Teams that the state writers all agreed would beat up on everybody and anybody they faced.

    I am known as an Ansonia fan on this blog, but I am not just referring to Ansonia with these comments.

    Look at:
    St Joes throughout the entire 80s
    Derby in the late 80s and early 90s
    Bloomfield in the late 90s and early 00s was absolutely dominant
    Hand who was MM and M for most of their titles
    Stratford in 1988 as a SS school was awesome
    Hillhouse in 1985
    New London in the late 80s and early 90s
    Darien which used to be an SS or S school in the 90s

    Once you accept the fact that the strength of the teams does not directly correspond to LL, L, M, and S in descending order, then it is all up for debate.

  40. Devil's Advocate says:

    @ Rob
    If enrollment doesn’t matter, then why does the CIAC define classes at all?