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.
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.
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.