The pieces are all in place now. All that’s left is a precious few weeks of summer vacation and we gear up for the start of the 2012 season.
We’ve been pretty lax here on the football blog, perhaps more than most outlets. There has been a lot going on and we’re going to get you up to speed as fast and as efficient as possible.
We start today with the CIAC’s June announcement of the official 2012 playoff classes and a quick break down of each one.
Spoiler alert: Ansonia, the 2011 Class M champion, is taking its talents to Class S. New London will fill the void, moving from Class L to M. Other local moves: Ludlowe is now a Class LL school (wow). Pomperaug moves down to Class L alongside Masuk and New Canaan. Stratford moves up to Class L from M. St. Joseph and Weston move up to Class M.
Here’s the full breakdown.
Staples' James Frusciante catches a pass in the Class LL championship game.
Range: 682 and over
2011 playoff teams: 8
Gained: Fairfield Ludlowe (from L), Kennedy (from L), Naugatuck (from L), Wilby (from L)
Lost: Bristol Eastern (to L), Harding (to L), Pomperaug (to L).
Total: 37 (up from 36)
2011 playoff teams in bold
TEAMS: Amity, Bridgeport Central, Bristol Central, Cheshire, Conard, Crosby, Danbury, East Hartford, Fairfield Ludlowe, Fairfield Prep, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hall, Hamden, Hartford Public, Kennedy, Manchester, McMahon, Naugatuck, New Britain, New Milford, Newington, Newtown, Norwalk, Norwich Free Academy, Ridgefield, Shelton, Simsbury, South Windsor, Southington, Stamford, Staples, Trumbull, West Haven, Westhill, Wilby, Xavier (2011 state champion).
Synopsis: Of all the shuffling, Connecticut’s largest class was least affected. All of last year’s playoff teams, including two-time reigning champion Xavier and runner-up Staples (basically its entire 2011 team), return to duke it out with the rest of the usual suspects in 2012. The overall strength of LL dipped only slightly with the loss of Pomperaug (8-2). Naugatuck (6-4) is the strongest add. Oh, and hello Fairfield Ludlowe. Lotsa luck. Class LL is as strong as it’s been.
Bunnell quarterback Bryan Castelot
2011 playoff teams: 6
Gained: Bristol Eastern (from LL), Harding (from LL), Pomperaug (from LL), Stratford (from M), Windsor/Locks/Suffield/East Granby (from M), Woodstock Academy (from M)
Lost: Fairfield Ludlowe (to LL), Kennedy (to LL), Naugatuck (to LL), Wilby (to LL), Coventry/Windham Tech (to M), East Hampton/Vinal Tech (to M), New London (to M),
Total: 35 (down from 36 in 2011)
TEAMS: Avon, Bassick, Branford, Bristol Eastern, Bulkeley, Bunnell, Daniel Hand (2011 state champion), Darien, E.O. Smith, East Lyme, Fairfield Warde, Farmington, Fermi, Fitch, Guilford, Harding, Maloney, Masuk, Middletown, New Canaan, North Haven, Notre Dame-West Haven, Platt, Platt Tech, Pomperaug, RHAM, Rockville, Stratford, Torrington, Wethersfield, Wilbur Cross, Wilton, Windsor, Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby, Woodstock Academy
Synopsis: Relatively speaking, Class L had some muscle extracted and appears weaker than in seasons past. Only six of last year’s playoff teams remain. Losing New London hurts the division’s overall competitiveness. There are still heavy hitters in Hand, New Canaan, Masuk, North Haven, Notre Dame-WH, Darien and Bunnell. Adding Pomperaug gives the division a nice boost. Class L is strong, but with many of the aforementioned teams suffering significant graduation losses, it doesn’t look as boss as it once did.
Dan Rogers and Weston have moved up to Class M.
2011 playoff teams: 9
Gained: Coventry/Windham (from L), East Hampton/Vinal (from L), New London (from L), O’Brien Tech (from S), St. Joseph (from S), Weston (from S),
Lost: Ansonia (to S), Nonnewaug (to S), SMSA/University (to S), Stratford (to L), Windsor Locks/Suffield (to L), Woodstock Academy (to L).
Total: 36 (down from 37 in 2011)
TEAMS: Abbott Tech, Bacon Academy, Berlin, Bethel, Brookfield, Bullard Havens Tech, Cheney Tech, Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton, East Hampton/Vinal Tech, East Haven, Ellington/Somers, Enfield, Foran, Gilbert/NW Regional, Hillhouse, Joel Barlow, Jonathan Law, Ledyard, Lewis Mills, Lyman Hall, Montville, New Fairfield, New London, O’Brien Tech, Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech, Sheehan, St. Bernard/Norwich Tech, St. Joseph, Tolland, Waterford, Watertown, Weston, Wilcox Tech, Windham, Wolcott, Wolcott Tech.
Synopsis: Class M always has been the ugly duckling of the four playoff divisions and, with 2011 champion Ansonia’s drop to Class S, it has been weakened even further this year. The division’s overall strength did get a boost from the addition of New London. Class M also added Class L playoff squad Coventry/Windham Tech and features perennial powers Hillhouse, Ledyard and Berlin. Locally, Weston and St. Joseph have joined the fray. With no slam-dunk favorite in sight, this should be a pretty competitive class.
Arkeel Newsome and 2011 Class M champion Ansonia have dropped back to Class S to compete with defending champion and NVL rival Holy Cross.
Range: Up to 390
2011 playoff teams: 9
Gained: Ansonia (from M, state champion), Nonnewaug (from M), SMSA/University (from M)
Lost: O’Brien Tech (to M), St. Joseph (to M), Weston (to M).
Total: 37 (same as 2011).
TEAMS: Ansonia (Class M champion), Bloomfield, Canton, Capital Prep/Classical/Achievement First, Coginchaug, Cromwell, Derby, East Catholic, Granby Memorial, Griswold, Haddam-Killingworth, Holy Cross (Class S champion), Housatonic/Wamogo, Hyde Leadership, Immaculate, Killingly, Morgan, Nonnewaug, North Branford, Northwest Catholic, Notre Dame-Fairfield, Old Saybrook/Westbrook, Oxford, Plainfield, Plainville, Prince Tech, Rocky Hill, Sacred Heart, Seymour, SMSA/University, St. Paul Catholic, Stafford/East Windsor, Stonington, Trinity Catholic, Valley Regional/Old Lyme, Weaver, Woodland.
Synopsis: Now we’re talking. Two state champions, nine playoff teams from 2011. A strong small-school playoff division gets even stronger.
Questions, comments, observations welcome (of course).