Movement, lots of movement in ye olde Elite 8. Let’s hop to it:
TRINITY CATHOLIC (6-0, This week: at Bassick, Friday, 7)
After six weeks, a victory over New Canaan, and rapidly improving ever since, it’s time to give the Crusaders their due. Sorry, coach Stokes. We’ve ignored the Crusaders long enough. They don’t blow you away with their offensive innovations, but they do blow you a way with brute strength from a variety of different sources, not just standout tailback Shaquan Howsie.
Y’know… how football is meant to be played.
ST. JOSEPH (4-2, This week: vs. Fairfield Warde, Saturday, 2)
The Hogs lived up to their hype for a half, and then came out looking like Cadets in the second half. They took their foot off the pedal, and basically flubbed their way to a 27-21 loss. A playoff berth is not lost, far from it. But their margin of error just got a lot smaller. QB Jordan Vazzano should return vs. Warde.
FAIRFIELD PREP (5-1, This week: at Amity, Friday, 7)
Maybe not enough credit has been given to Hamden for showing up and giving the Jesuits their best game of the year against a fellow Division I school. The Dragons, who’ve been left for dead, deserve applause for making this excitement. Still, Fairfield Prep has routed stronger football teams. The experience will do them good, but last week’s 27-20 win sends up warning signs of midseason fatigue.
They should win their final three games — Amity, Branford and rival Notre Dame-WH — before Thanksgiving. But nothing’s a given.
STAPLES (5-0; This week: vs. Darien, Saturday, 1:30)
When this team is on, it’s incredible. Trumbull had no chance. Now comes one of their biggest tests of the season before Thanksgiving: Darien.
ANSONIA (6-0; This week: at Crosby, Friday, 7)
Arkeel Newsome returned and the Chargers crushed Watertown. Good luck with that, Crosby. One week until Mike Nicol and Wolcott comes to town.
GREENWICH (5-0; This week: at Westhill, Saturday, 1:30)
Like Staples, the Cardinals haven’t played a close game since Week 1. Every game story reads like they’re in training camp. Now comes Davell Cotterell and upstart Westhill. Do the Vikings have any shot against this FCIAC juggernaut?
MASUK (6-0; This week: at Notre Dame-Fairfield, Saturday, noon)
Thomas Milone and Co. turned it on in the second half to brush back a modest challenge from Brookfield. They travel to Notre Dame for what should be another Masuk-style barnburner. After that, the team will play two of the league’s best small school teams — Weston and Barlow — before the SWC Championship.
WEST HAVEN (5-1; This week: vs. Cheshire, Friday, 7)
The Westies gave No. 1 Hand their best shot and almost won, only to see a bold 2-point conversion throw slip through their grasp. With one loss in the books, it’s only going to get tougher to claim a spot in the Class LL playoffs. Cheshire’s no slouch and, two weeks later, West Haven has to go to Palmer Field before a showdown with Fairfield Prep.
NEWTOWN (6-0; This week: vs. Bethel, Friday, 7)
The Hawks swept Notre Dame-Fairfield away. They wrap up their regular season with Bethel, Immaculate and Bunnell, teams that have just three wins between them. We’ll go out on a limb and say Newtown, now No. 10 in the statewide rankings, will win out and play in the SWC title game for the third consecutive year.
NEW CANAAN (5-1; This week: vs. Wilton, Saturday, 2)
By no means were the Rams perfect vs. St. Joseph, and this isn’t a vintage New Canaan squad, but that was a season-defining victory last week. New Canaan won on sheer determination. They’re back on-target to make a push for the Class L playoffs.
RIDGEFIELD (5-1; This week: at McMahon, Friday, 7)
The Tigers just go about their business, beating the teams on their schedule. We suspect they’ll continue to do this until it’s time for the state playoffs.
BARLOW (6-0; This week: vs. New Milford, Saturday, 1)
The Falcons remain one of the region’s best stories. Down by 8 points, they triple-optioned Bunnell to death with 22 fourth-quarter points. This is looking like Barlow’s best team since the 1970s. You heard that right.