Connecticut High School Football

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

State Polls Week 10: But we’re not done with Week 9! (Ok, now we’re done)

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Week 9 will be over Tuesday night at approximately 9 p.m. Week 10 begins not 24 hours later when Central heads up to Tiger Hollow to play playoff hopeful Ridgefield.

Then we begin four consecutive days of postponed games, including the ill-advised NVL Championship game between Ansonia and Woodland on Thursday night. Anyone who watched Wolcott demolish the Hawks last weekend should agree.

Everyone’s still scrambling to catch up before the final week of the regular season. Including us.

We still haven’t even reviewed Week 9. We still have to talk about and show you the highlights from Monday night’s SCC ‘battle’ between West Haven and Xavier. Now we’ve gotta jump into Week 10? Foof. Somebody stop the world for a moment.

Everyone catch your breath because there’s no rest for the weary from here until the state championship games at Rentschler… if we ever survive.

Anyway, here’s the latest state polls (The Day will be released soon). Not much change except to see West Haven drop and Norwich Free Academy leap into the fray. So peruse and discuss. It’s back to work for us. The Guide to the Games for Week 10 will also be out shortly.

NHR Media Top 10

Dropped Out: West Haven (9).
Other teams receiving votes: Glastonbury (8-1), 228; North Branford (8-0), 220; Middletown (8-1) and West Haven (7-2), 203; Hillhouse (7-2), 172; New Canaan (7-1), 87; Berlin (8-1), 54; Hyde (8-0), 42; Wolcott (8-1), 35; Fitch (7-1), 28; Trinity Catholic (7-1), 17; New London (7-2), 9; St. Joseph (6-2), 8.
The following voted: Marc Allard, Norwich Bulletin; Bob Barton, New Haven Register; Bill Bloxsom, Hersam-Acorn; Sean Patrick Bowley, Connecticut Post; Don Boyle, Sporting News CT; Jim Bransfield, Middletown Press; Kyle Brennan, Waterbury Republican-American; Chris Brodeur, Danbury News-Times; Bryant Carpenter, Meriden-Record Journal; George DeMaio, WELI; Mike DiMauro, The Day of New London; Matt Doran, MSG Varsity; Tom Evans, Norwalk Hour; Noah Finz, WTNH-8; Ned Griffen, The Day of New London; John Holt, WFSB-3; Mark Jaffee, Waterbury Republican-American; Ken Lipshez, West Hartford News/New Britain City Journal; Mike Madera, Elm City Newspapers; Joe Morelli, New Haven Register; Dave Phillips, Shore Line Newspapers; Mike Pucci, New Haven Register; Dave Ruden, Stamford Advocate; Tom Yantz, Hartford Courant; Mike Wollschlager, New Haven Register; Jimmy Zanor, Shore Line Newspapers.

The Day Top 10 Coaches

Dropped out: West Haven (8), and Berlin (10)

Also receiving votes: Glastonbury (7-1), 98 points; Hillhouse-New Haven (7-2), 97; Middletown (8-1), 96; New Canaan (7-1), 88; West Haven (7-2), 64; Wolcott (8-1), 61; North Branford (8-0), 50; Berlin (8-1), 44; Avon (9-0), 43; Fitch (7-1), 26; St. Joseph-Trumbull (6-2), 18; Tie, Hartford Capital/Classical/Acheivement (9-0) and Trinity Catholic-Stamford (7-1), 7.

The following coaches voted: Tom Brockett, Ansonia; Jim Buonocore, Ledyard; Craig Bruno, Bunnell-Stratford; Dave Cadelina, Bridgeport Central; Steve Filippone, Hand-Madison; Rob Fleeting, Windsor; Tanner Grove, Montville; Jude Kelly, St. Paul-Bristol; Tim King, Valley Regional-Deep River; Sean Marinan, Xavier-Middletown; John Murphy, Masuk-Monroe; Marce Petroccio, Staples-Westport; Bob Zito, Maloney-Meriden.

Categories: State Polls
Sean Patrick Bowley

38 Responses

  1. MXR says:

    “Battle”?

  2. Dave Lib says:

    Here’s where the majority (not all) of my fellow FCIAC fans are misguided in their logic:
    Let’s say Staples beats Greenwich on Thanksgiving, but Greenwich goes on to win the Class LL state championship, without having to play Staples in that tournament (let’s say Staples was knocked out by Xavier or somebody other than Greenwich)
    Who had the better year?
    If you say “Staples”…..than you should never be allowed to discuss high school football again! States are everything.
    Reverse the situation….say Greenwich beats Staples on Thanksgiving, but the Cards are bounced in the quarterfinals or semifinals of the Class LL tournament by a team other than Staples. And Staples goes onto to win it all at The Rent. Who had the better season? If anybody says “Greenwich,” you really need to re-check your feelings.
    I can’t stand the FCIAC mindset, even though I follow the league very closely.

  3. Honus says:

    @Dave Lib, logically correct but not emotionally correct. Logically, of course winning a state championship is a higher achievement over winning a league title. However, emotionally, because the FCIAC has different size schools, the larger the school the more important an FCIAC title is. For example, for a small school like Trinity Catholic, they know beating a perennial Top 10 Staples or Greenwich is a longshot vs. beating schools their own size in the states. To them, while an FCIAC would be amazing, winning states is their goal.

    But for a school like Greenwich or Staples, where their competition in states is usually the absolute best teams Connecticut has to offer, FCIACs is a huge deal. If you don’t believe that, check out the video of Greenwich going crazy when they heard Darien beat TC in the final seconds. When you train that hard and that long as football kids do, and are trained to take one game at a time, you savor every win along the way, an FCIAC title being a proud accomplishment no one can ever take away even if your season ends the following week.

  4. Dave Lib says:

    @ Honus.
    Logic > Emotion.

    So you’re basically admitting (using your Greenwich/Staples example) that it’s easier to win an FCIAC title for those two teams (which is 100% true) than it is winning a state title. It’s like the FCIAC title is (correctly) the smaller prize. Nice to win, but not the ultimate goal.
    The game needs to be scrapped. Look at the SCC. the most dominate league in the state…..they don’t have a title game and seem to do just fine.
    The biggest reason the game needs to be scrapped is because the CRITERIA for getting to the FCIAC title game. Rigors of various schedules; Greenwich and Staples never having to play each other until AFTER the two teams selected to be in the championship have been decided; Title game being played 50% of the time over the last decade on Thanksgiving morning, while the other teams in the league can’t even watch the game.
    It is a glorified exhibition, which doesn’t even count toward a team’s record.
    Sometimes it’s wise scrap “traditions.” And the time is long past due, thanks to the advent of the States in the mid-70s. Before that, the FCIAC Title MEANT something and should be played.
    State Title> Conference Title. I don’t care what Division you’re playing in.

  5. Dave Lib says:

    and if the FCIAC title means more to the kids than the States, shame on the coaches for brainwashing them. Old habits are hard to break.
    You think Oregon cares more about winning the Pac 12 conference title or winning the national Title? People remember National titles. They stick. And believe me, Trinity Catholic had as much chance of beating Staples or Greenwich this year as they do Ansonia in Class S. Which is to say, NONE. Ansonia is a freak show this year and would beat Trinity Catholic by 40 points….same as probably Staples and maybe Greenwich.

  6. bb says:

    scrap conferences all together and do like they do in NY . play your size schools during the season qualify for your region playoffs and go from there

  7. Pat McGroin says:

    It’s harder to get into the FCIAC Title game than it is to get into the state playoffs… Because it’s hard, and because you play the same teams year in and year out, and you have that sense of bragging rights and rivalries, it makes it all the better.

    The FCIAC is harder to get into than States, States may be a harder road to travel 3 games compared to 1 FCIAC game, but it makes the FCIAC more coveted because the whole season is a playoff, like college. 1 loss can knock you straight out of it… Look at NC every year since they last won the FCIAC in 2008 – 1 loss every year and no FCIAC berth – however they’ve either won States, or made it to the finals those years…

    Don’t do away with it, SEC, ACC, Pac 12, they all have these games and more conferences are doing it!! Everyone wants something new… BCS isn’t perfect, CT high isn’t perfect, neither is Texas! Get rid of it? One less game for us to talk about and discuss, instead we will have pollings on this blog and vote for the champion of each league…

    Keep the games, let the kids play, just scramble the schedules a little better so the game is played friday night.

  8. Dave Lib says:

    @Pat.
    I respectfully disagree. Ask any coach or player (outside of the FCIAC) which they’d rather have…a conference or a state title…….I can promise you that 100% of them would pick states over conference.
    Harder to get into to? Not for some teams…they don’t play the best team on their schedules until AFTER the game has been played.
    If the FCIAC Title was sao important, why wouldn’t they play that last! All tournaments in every sport are the last thing played every year.
    The SCC produces state champ after state champ….and they still play the toughest schedules…WITHOUT having to play a conference title game.
    Look at two years ago….Darien beat Trumbull in the FCIAC Championship game….then Darien played its final regular season game against New Canaan and they got DEMOLISHED. New Canaan was the best team in the league that year. So don’t go telling me that the winner of the FCIAC CHampionship game is the best team in the league. The terrible FCIAC scheduling differences often come into play.
    Again, how can you play a conferecne title game BEFORE your conference regular season in over?! Makes no sense. That is like Alabama playing georgia in the SEC Championship game, and then having to go out and play LSU the following week. It simply doesn’t happen anywhere outside of Fairfield County. Scrap the game because it is not determined fairly (by its faulty scheduling and criteria). If there were two divisions and with equal scheduling, the game played as a stand-alone, and no state tournament, then the game would be important. How could NC play Darien at Boyle in front of 10,000 NC and Darien fans AT THE SAME TIME all the other teams in the league are playing?! That’s telling you right there that the game’s importance is not what it used to be.
    @BB….I agree with you.

  9. Lewis says:

    I’m in agreement that State Titles are the ultimate goal but no way should a League Championship be downplayed. Grudge matches build up between neighboring towns and some kids have even played each other in the youth leagues. Ask a player and he may say beating a rival on Thanksgiving for the League Title was more memorable than a State Championship game played in front of thousands of empty seats at the Rent.

  10. UNLESS IT CAN BE DONE FAIRLY — AND RIGHT NOW, IT CAN’T — TO HELL WITH LEAGUE TITLE GAMES.

    ANYONE WHO SAYS A LEAGUE TITLE IS BETTER THAN STATES NEEDS TO HAVE BRAIN SURGERY.

  11. Pat McGroin says:

    Well if you’re biggest argument starts with… outside of fairfield county… then it’s not a good one. You can disagree all you want but only two teams can play in the FCIAC Champ, and and 32 can make it to the state playoffs. You may not like that some teams, coaches, and players in the FCIAC care a lot about the FCIAC championship but that’s the case… League titles mean everything, you play these teams year in and year out which is whats exciting… What makes states exciting is new opponents, new looks, new uniforms, and the chance to get outside your league and see competition.

    You can disagree, but it is what it is, and the SCC doesn’t have title games which is their choice, some college conferences don’t either, it’s a league choice. I love the FCIAC, SWC, NVL and others for having one, I think it’s a great thing for the kids. Scheduling doesn’t always work out but it seems to be more of a pain for the fans , especially on this blog, than it is for the kids.

  12. PatPatriot says:

    Anyone who argues that something is not important because on a relative basis there is something more important ought to have brain surgery. That just doesn’t make sense!

    Until we moved to 8 team formats – the state playoffs definately did NOT guarantee you were even the best team in your class. Thankfully that has been fixed.

    Having said that – the process of creating a death march for your best team by making them play an extra game against top flight competition (before your regular season is even over) also makes zero sense. 5 games in 22 or so days is just plain dumb. Between that and a refusal to split the FCIAC into 2 divisions one really has question the intelligence of those who run the FCIAC. Its not “tradition” its not “league pride” it seems more like they can’t handle the task of dealing with the issue.

  13. Brian says:

    The only way the FCIAC title game should hang around is if the get back to 2 divisions and the game is played on the Friday before Thanksgiving when ALL the teams that fight for it all year can come watch it on a stand alone basis. Then play crossovers on thanksgiving where those games would not have factored into the division winners prior to the title game. The Thanksgiving day opponents will not be known until after the previous weeks are played.

    A1vs B2 and B1 vs A2. This avoids a rematch of the title game but it would give the top teams fighting for states a good hard opponent on Thanksgiving of something clsose to their equal. Then let A3 play B3 and A4 vs B4 and so on. They have to merge 1 school (Either Both fairfields for footall only or Harding/bassick for football only. This way it doesn’t affect all other sports either. OR they can go find another school for all sports which really should be Fairfield Prep. They have all boys sports needed for a full FCIAC schedule and they located much closer to the FCIAC schools than the SCC schools.

  14. The league championships mean nothing because the road to get there is skewed and unfair.

    Case in point: Darien was the 2010 FCIAC champion by beating one-loss Trumbull. Next week, New Canaan bludgeoned Darien 42-7 (or whatever). New Canaan finished with 1 FCIAC loss (to St. Joseph). Darien with 1 FCIAC loss. …who was the best team in the FCIAC?

    Anyone who says Darien should go out on a Snipe hunt with me.

  15. bb says:

    as long as you have 19 teams in the fciac then get rid of the title game and split the league into 2 divisions large schools and small schools
    large division
    greenwich , staples ,stamford ,westhill , ,norwalk, ridgefield ,danbury , new canaan , darien , ridgefield .

    small division
    wilton , trinity , bassick , ffld ludlowe , ffld ward , st joes , harding , central ,trumbull

    i relize that some of the schools in the smaller division are L/ LL schools but i think this break up is the most fair and it keeps all the thanksgiving games in division that may or may not be for a division title
    the large division would have 9 division games and have to pick up either a cross over game ( not toward division records ) or schedule a out of confrence game ( which is sometimes more difficult for the larger schools in the fciac ) while the smaller division teams would have 8 division games and could either pick up a crossover game or schedule out of confrence which is easier for the smaller fcaic schools to do anyway

  16. bb says:

    btw ridgefield shouldnt be in the divison twice i somehow erased mcmahon which would be in the large division

  17. Dave Lib says:

    SPB GETS it. And believe me, he knows what he is talking about. Go back and read his post in all caps. Now rinse. Repeat.

  18. JB says:

    Last time I checked the FCIAC “faulty criteria” was the same power point system as the CIAC. So up to that point in the season, it is the best two FCIAC teams and usually both are undefeated. It creates huge theatre and an awesome atmosphere for the two teams. Check out that video of the Greenwich players finding out that Trinity lost. Tell me that isn’t cool and worth it.

    Could we start the season a week earlier and move those T-day rivalry games up to week 1 and then have the FCIAC championship on T-day … yes, that could help eliminate the odd year you described above (with NC/Darien). But I just don’t think folks want to give up their T-day games. And with 19 teams, the two conference setup is not feasible and doesn’t eliminate the “what if” scenario anyway. That stuff also happens in the SCC – example is last year when Xavier did not have to play Hand because of the scheduling rotation. But in the FCIAC that would not have occured, they would have met in the championship game regardless of rotation. This year Hand/Xavier met in week 4 … seems like an eternity ago, doesn’t it? And some could argue that Xavier is currently playing better than Hand given how much it has improved during the year … they demolished that “clear #2 team in the state” (West Haven) which Hand barely survived. Would would happen in a rematch? In the FCIAC, they would have to play again. Not something Madison would be wishing for …

    So I agree with PatPatriot and respectively disagree with Dave Lib. The FCIAC finals is based upon the same power points as the state playoff system. The FCIAC finals is the closest thing to a district championship as a result. And there is no poll at the end. The FCIAC champion is typically the only undefeated team left in the league – a great achievement. Yes, a harder task than qualifying for states. It is not always perfect, but it is an awesome event if you have ever qualified to play in one. Winner take all, from the field of play, with no twitter pleas for votes at the end.

  19. FauxRealism says:

    In addition to the Darien loss in 2010, in 2006 Greenwich beat NC to win the FCIAC title, and then got beat by Staples 20-0 on TG.

    It makes no sense to crown a champion before the season is over. If you can’t figure out a way to finish the season first, then forget the title game.

    TG games are popular, give a big game feel to every team regardless of record, and generate large gates. TG games aren’t going anywhere.

  20. Dave Lib says:

    #Faux. You are 100% correct. The best team in the FCIAC often doesn’t win its Title game. That is an absolute embarrassment. How can you play a title game before your regular season is complete?!!
    Here’s a quick story…I am friends with a head high school baseball coach at an FCIAC school. For years, he would always have the mindset that “I’d rather win an FCIAC title than a state title.” For years I argued with him, but he wouldn’t budge.
    His team, which never won an FCIAC title, but came close a few times, made it all the way to the Class LL finals a few years ago.
    After his team lost a one-run game in the Championship of the states, I saw him a few days later, and his tune changed entirely…”Dave, you are right. States ARE more important.” True story.
    It’s a complete slap in the face to any team not in the FCIAC that some FCIAC kids/coaches feel that their LEAGUE title is more important than a STATE title….you’ll nebver convince me otherwise.
    A former famous FRCIAC basketball coach always used to say “The FCIACs are just a few days of extra practice for us, while we prepare for the BIG prize….the state title.”
    Truer words have never been spoken.

  21. Honus says:

    OK, I see the disconnect. As adults (and sportswriters) we have the benefit of a broad perspective. The kids all have it drilled into them ad nauseum to go *one game at a time*. In the FCIAC, kids don’t think “it’s OK to lose this week because we might still make states with one loss or even two or three.” No, they think “one loss and we don’t get to play for a chance to be called FCIAC Champs.” And when they get that one loss, it really hurts because one dream just died.

    It’s the adults (and sportswriters) who say “whoop-ti-do, who cares, because the season of games you were given to play is a scientifically invalid joke.” Try telling that to a Greenwich kid who doesn’t care if it meant dancing through daisies of slithering naked over crushed glass to get to the league championship. They set a goal, they worked their ass off for an entire year after a bitter loss to Staples, did exactly what was asked of them, and here they (almost) are again. Only an adult (or sportswriter) would dare take that away from them or whoever they face. Rather, adults (and sportswriters) should care because the players — who this is all about — care. When the players stop caring, only then is it time to scrap the system. Until then, let’s all enjoy what we have, and fuss and tinker about it when it’s all over.

  22. Dave Lib says:

    Final point I’ll make about the FCIAC Championship Game….There IS a thing as too much football, even though we all love the game.
    If the FCIAC Championship was so important, why don’t they ever play the game (instead of just calling the Thanksgiving morning game ‘The Title game.’ The FCIAC basically “cancels” it Title Game if the two teams that are schjeduled to be in it are also scheduled to play on Thanksgiving morning? If it’s so important, why don’t they play the game twice? Why combine the two games together? I’m not saying I agree with this, but this just shows how unimportant the game actually is….when they cancel the game and count the regular season game as a de facto Title Game. They are robbing the kids of a game…which most of you love! Ha!
    Anyway, I’ll be at the Staples/Greenwich game on Thanksgiving morning because it a matchup of two great teams with HUGE Class LL playoff seedings on the line. Not because the winning team wins a “league title.”
    Enough about that. Either you get it or you dont. And I’m glad my favorite sportswriter (SPB) does. He keeps things in perspective.

  23. @Honus – It’s candy. Take it away and they’ll still practice and play hard to make states and celebrate that and go nuts when teams lose to give them a chance. Hasn’t lessened anybody’s season in the CCC, SCC, ECC, Pequot.

  24. Brian says:

    I thought the Masuk/Weston was in weston. Either way masuk rolls em

  25. JB says:

    Without a title game, why have a conference at all? No seriously, just blow the suckers up. The CIAC could easily develop a playoff system like NJ or Ohio. It could work. The SCC, CCC, ECC, Pequot mean nothing anyway. No champion, so what is the purpose? Just carve up the state into four districts and end these regular season traditions. Five game playoffs in two divisions – Large and Small. The CIAC determines the regular season schedules (8 games) and enough said. Develop a computer ranking model like Ohio and away we go. Playoffs start in early November and dump the T-day games. Also, no need for that NH Register poll any longer. Nirvona.

  26. @JB – Huh?

    Look, dude. The leagues are too big, unbalanced and there are only so many football games, that’s the problem. Can’t accurately, fairly do it right.

  27. JB says:

    Sean, just being facetious. But doesn’t that version above sound really boring? Kind of like the old Soviet Union. The point is – why all the problems with the FCIAC title game? Not saying it is more important than States, but still important to us. We love it and would go to war to keep it. Signing off now so I can get home in time to watch replay of Xavier / West Haven.

  28. @JB – Why all the problems? Because the league did some dumb things just to preserve it. It’s unfairly determined because the schedules are all out of whack. It takes place before the end of the regular season… so many problems just for a glorified exhibition. I love the idea. If they could do it right, I’d be all for it. But they can’t right now and they go out of their way for it.

  29. Bubba says:

    JB I get a kick out of your rationale: How is Xavier playing better than Hand, based on what? Did you stop to think, that Westhaven played 4 cupcakes in a row, then played their best game of the year against Hand and almost won, almost. Xavier had 3 cupcakers following the Hand game, then the Westsies. I know I’m getting a oh I see what he means. FCIAC scheduling is a joke, not their teams. Just their week to week schedule. Hand played the toughest schedule in the
    State. Comments like, Madison doesn’t want to play Xavier now is full of envy, and honestly it’s plain ol’ stupid. I also laugh at the Ansonia guys making the arguements that their team is #1, again based on what. Because they score alot of Touchdowns and win games against totally inferior opponents. Ansonia reminds me of of BiFF in back to the future.

  30. RAY BROWN says:

    THE NVL TAKES A BEAING WITH ITS SUPPOSED WEAK SCHEDULE—THEN YOU READ A FCIAC DIVISION MADE UP OF BASSICK,LUDLOWE,WARDE,CENTRAL,WILTON
    AND TRINITY LOL —WOW

  31. Trophies for Everyone says:

    I think the FCIAC should make a “FCIAC champion of the month” award, that way more teams can feel the elation of playing for the league championship! Why should only 2 teams get to be called FCIAC Finalists? Recognizing mini-league champs along the way (say, in Sept, Oct, & Nov) isn’t any sillier than crowning a champ the week before the season is over & the huge rivalry games on Thanksgiving are played.

  32. Brian says:

    The FCIAC game would be and used to be one of the premier games in the state and still would be IF and only IF they have 2 balanced divisions where the division winners could play the Friday before Thanksgiving. Then the Thanksgiving day games should have equal seeded crossover games where better teams play better teams for state points and lesser teams can have a chance at playing a competitive game on the biggest day of the year. Until they can get to 18 or 20 teams it won’t work. Until then, they should use the large/small format the SCC uses.

  33. MXR says:

    Hey Bubba, great points on FCIAC scheduling and Ansonia. On your lead item, I’m not sure I follow. Is it Madison is likely to struggle if it has two tough play-off games in a row, particularly against teams that rolled through all those SWC and CCC cupcakes? Or something like that?

  34. JB says:

    @Bubba – just watched that “#2″ West Haven team that your Madison crowd thought was so great. They are like a carbon copy of McMahon in the FCIAC, except without good coaching. Not impressed at all with what I witnessed on TV. Flustered, RBs pointing the finger at OL teammates, totally over-matched. Xavier has there act together, but the thing that struck me the most was how poorly West Haven played – undisciplined on offense and terrible on defense. Not very physical or very fast. Now I am totally confused about Hand. My guess is that all three – Xavier, Hand and West Haven – are just not any where near as good as the hype. Just a bunch of bluster; can’t wait for the playoffs to begin. Love JB.

    p.s. totally changing my view – Prep will beat West Haven.

  35. Reggie Palmer says:

    @ JB
    I’m not a WH fan by any stretch, but let’s not overreact.
    1, Sometimes teams play a bad game (Xavier vs Hand, WH vs. Xavier).
    2, Ed McArthy has, oh, 300+ wins than whoever the McMahon coach is.
    3, WH will definitely bounce back with a vengeance vs. Prep.
    4, As for being overrated and “bluster” – time will tell, let’s enjoy the games.
    Good luck!

  36. Tony says:

    I’m surprised to hear that the WH coach has that many wins. Didn’t seem that hard to make adjustments to stop the screen and to put a body on that #55 MLB that kept blitzing on every play. The WH players and coaches seemed shell-shocked right from the start and it showed. X is very good though but Staples is deeper and more experienced so I’m going that direction but LL should be a dog fight to the very end.

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