Connecticut High School Football

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The Clinch Is In: Newtown joins Class LL and the Week 10 playoff breakdown

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The Mad CIAC Playoff Scientist has awoken from his year-long slumber and — hey, what’s this? Not only do we have the CIAC’s H.A.L. Supercomputer, we actually have some RIVAL young scientists out there making their way up the wacky ladder.

Mr. Polecat’s been on the case for a few weeks, as usual. But now Rep-Am/NVL Blog football maven Kyle Brennan has gone from apprentice to full-blown Mad Scientist this season. He’s buried himself deep in his Valley-style laboratory (don’t even want to guess what that might mean) for the last few weeks to the point where he’s Madder than Mad, he’s plain insane. Here are his wacky-wild scenarios.

Thankfully, because of this His Madness has been able to check our work three times over this year with those ahead of the game. So it’s a group effort around here to make sure we know what you need to know. (Unfortunately, this makes His Madness a little — ahem — less mad.)

Ah, but aren’t we all a little mad? This year’s been a little nuts with the storms, more storms and even more storms. All of our precious games have been pushed up a week, adding the the typical madness of those infernal Pequot and ECC teams that usually have two games remaining around this time.

Well then… what to do?

We press onward. That’s what.

First off: Newtown clinched a Class LL playoff berth Wednesday night with its 40-8 victory over Immaculate. Greenwich, Staples and Glastonbury can join them this weekend, giving class LL seven qualifiers before Thanksgiving.

New Canaan and Fitch can clinch in Class L if they win this weekend.

Berlin and Weston are in line to clinch in Class M this weekend, but it isn’t likely. That division will be a show on Thanksgiving, we can tell you.

Hyde, North Branford and Trinity Catholic can clinch three more spots in Class S with wins this week, leaving that playoff class with three spots remaining before Thanksgiving.

So let’s start taking a look at the scenarios.

Remember, we have four classes, top eight get in.

The Point System:

  • Teams get a 100 points for a victory, and then 10 points for every opponents’ win. This last part is referred to as “bonus” points. [Example: a team that beats 9-0 Hand will get 190 base points.]
  • Teams also get 10 points for beating a team in one higher class, 20 for two higher classes and 30 for three higher classes. [Example: St. Joseph, a Class S school, gets 130 points for beating Trumbull, an LL school. Derby, an S school, also gets 130 base points for beating LL Shelton.]
  • Large teams aren’t penalized for beating smaller teams in their own league. But in non-league games, larger teams are penalized 10 points for defeating a team in one lower class, 20 for two lower classes and 30 for three lower classes. [Example: Class LL Xavier only gets 90 base points for beating Class L Middletown; Shelton only gets 70 for beating Derby. Yikes.]
  • It’s added up and divided by the number of games played. That average is a team’s playoff point total.

If any of you other apprentices out there notice anything amiss, His Madness would love to know.

These are broken down into four categories: ‘They’re In‘ (self-explanatory); ‘Just Win, Baby‘ (controls their own destiny); ‘A Little Help Here?‘ (needs to win out and get outside help) and ‘False Hope‘ (mathematically alive, realistically not).

Class LL

They’re In

Southington (9-0), Xavier (8-1), Norwich Free Academy (9-0), Newtown (9-0).

Seeding is far from over since the winner of the Staples-Greenwich Thanksgiving Day game likely puts that team into a home quarterfinal. If you’re Staples, it probably means the No. 1 seed. Xavier has a good shot at the No. 3 seed if it beats Middletown. And you know what that means…

Just Win, Baby

Staples (8-0), Greenwich (8-0), Glastonbury (8-1), West Haven (7-2).

Even if these teams lose the rest of their games, they’re all still in line for a playoff spot. Staples, Greenwich and Glastonbury will clinch this week if Hartford Public loses to Windsor, which is likely. Staples will likely get the top seed by winning out vs. Westhill and Greenwich.

West Haven will merely need to beat Fairfield Prep on Thanksgiving and have Hartford Public lose to Windsor (likely) or Weaver (unlikely) to clinch. If not, the Westies should have enough bonus points to outpoint 8-2 Hartford Public, anyway.

A Little Help Here?

Hartford Public (6-2) — The Owls must win out and pray West Haven loses to Fairfield Prep. That would put them in line to grab the final playoff spot. They’re unofficially-officially toast if they lose to Windsor (likely).

Ridgefield (7-2) — They’re in trouble. But the Tigers aren’t quite finished. First, they’ll need to beat Danbury. Then they’ll need Hartford Public and West Haven to lose. After that, Ridgefield can top out with a 103.0 average with bonus help, but aren’t likely to get that high. A 100.0 average is more realistic. That would be enough to beat Manchester, Fairfield Prep or Cheshire, should those teams win out.

Fairfield Prep (6-3) – The Jesuits are in big, big trouble. They’ll need to beat West Haven, then have Hartford Public lose. That’ll put them in a footrace for bonus points with Ridgefield and/or Cheshire. Unfortunately, the Jesuits are counting on some pretty unlikely wins for bonus help, for example: Hamden over Amity, Notre Dame-West Haven over Hand, East Haven over Branford, Wilbur Cross over Hillhouse… yeeeaah.

Cheshire (6-3) — See Prep, Fairfield.

Manchester (6-3) – They should beat East Hartford. But their five bonus games needed to get them to a solid 99.0 are shaky, at best. Even then, they would need a lot of teams to lose ahead of them for that to even remotely be an issue.

False Hope

Simsbury (6-3), Westhill (5-3), Naugatuck (6-3)

Class L

They’re In

Hand (9-0), Windsor (9-0), Avon (9-0), Masuk (8-0), Middletown (8-1).

The top four are all in line for a home quarterfinal. Masuk has to beat Weston and Newtown. Middletown would need to beat Xavier one of those above to lose.

Just Win, Baby

Fitch (7-1: at Bacon Academy, at Ledyard); New Canaan (7-1: at Trumbull, at Darien); Platt (7-1: at Maloney).

Fitch and New Canaan can clinch this week with victories, or victories on Thanksgiving Day. Platt will also clinch with a victory on Thanksgiving.

That would seal this division up pretty nicely.

A Little Help Here?

Farmington (7-2: vs. Plainville) — Once again, Farmington finds itself in a precarious spot because of its relatively weak schedule. The Indians will need one of the teams above it to lose all of their remaining games to have a shot. Most likely, they’ll be rooting for Maloney to upset Platt. There’s virtually no shot Fitch or New Canaan lose twice.

North Haven (6-3: vs. Amity) — Same goes for North Haven, but the Indians would need double Farmington’s help. A win, and two teams above it to lose all of their remaining games.

Darien (6-3: vs. Bassick, vs. New Canaan) — Since Darien plays New Canaan it has the advantage of holding at least one ace. It just must pray for four-of-a-kind. New Canaan must also lose to Trumbull for that to be of any benefit. Fitch losing twice is unlikely, so Platt losing to Maloney would also help the Blue Wave. Then, it would have the advantage in a tight bonus race vs. North Haven and Farmington.

False Hope

Wethersfield (6-3), Platt Tech (5-3).

Class M

They’re In

Wolcott (8-1)

Wolcott’s a good bet for the top seed.

Just Win Baby

Berlin (8-1: at New Britain); New London (vs. NFA); Ellington/Somers (7-1: vs. Housatonic/Wamogo; vs. Coventry/Windam Tech/Bolton); Weston (7-1: at Masuk; at Barlow); Barlow (7-1: at Brookfield, vs. Barlow).

All of these teams can clinch by winning out. Sounds easy, right? Well, not quite. Many teams still have two, tough games to play. Weston and Barlow’s Thanksgiving Day game could wind up being a win-or-go home scenario. With the exception of Berlin, which might clinch this week if enough dominoes falls its way during its bye week, or the unlikely chance Weston upsets Masuk, almost this entire division will come down to Thanksgiving. We’ll know more Saturday where these teams actually stand.

A Little Help Here?

Hillhouse (7-2: vs. Wilbur Cross) — The Academics must beat their cross-city rivals and then hope just enough bonus points are dropped on its doorstep. They’re in good shape, and will be in even better shape as the SCC plays some final pre-Thanksgiving Games. House is a good bet to qualify with a victory.

St. Joseph (6-2: vs. Trinity Catholic, at Trumbull) Updated: – The Hogs will clinch with victories over Trinity Catholic and Trumbull. They’ll get at least 115.0 point average without bonuses, not enough for other contenders to catch them.

A loss to either team would pretty much finish St. Joseph as a playoff contender. There are plenty waiting to take their place, or the places of Barlow, Weston and New London.

Most of the following other teams all have a decent chance to sneak in if they can win their final few games and chaos ensues around them. In this division, everything’s possible and we’re not ruling anything out. We’ll definitely know more this weekend. If you’re on the following list, have faith.

Bullard-Havens (7-2); Montville (7-2); Coventry (6-2); Ledyard (6-3); New Fairfield* (5-3)

Updated: Polecat is going “All-In” on New Fairfield. We’re less bullish, but hey — if Barlow, Weston, Bullard-Havens and St. Joseph lose…

False Hope

Updated: Brookfield (5-3 – just too many teams to overcome); Windham (5-3); Gilbert/Northwestern (5-3).

Class S

They’re In

Ansonia (9-0), Capital Prep/Classical Magnet (9-0)

Ansonia will also likely be home for the quarterfinals as the top seed. Shocker.

Just Win, Baby

Hyde (8-0: vs. Nonnewaug; at North Branford), North Branford (8-0: at Lewis Mills; vs. Hyde), Rocky Hill (8-1: vs. Northwest Catholic), Trinity Catholic (7-1: at St. Joseph; vs. Wilton); Prince Tech (7-1: at Platt Tech; at Capital Prep)

Every team except Prince Tech is within one victory of clinching.

Prince Tech will clinch by winning its final two games or by getting some unlikely bonus help to clinch with a win over Platt Tech. They’re favored over Platt Tech. They’re not against mighty Capital Prep.

A loss by Rocky Hill or two losses from Prince Tech will certainly muddy this field and open the doors for some lucky survivor. Then again, both teams can still survive one loss.

A Little Help Here?

Northwest Catholic (7-2: vs. Rocky Hill) — Did we mention this Thanksgiving Day game with Rocky Hill is major? Well it is. The winner of the game will be in a great spot (real great for Rocky Hill, since it will clinch). A Northwest Catholic win will put it in good position to clinching a spot. NWC would need is Prince Tech to lose and some bonus games or, failing that, a loss by Stonington (to Westerly, R.I.) and some bonus games. NWC is cooked with a loss.

Woodland (6-2: vs. Seymour) — Like Stonington, the Hawks are praying Rocky Hill dumps NWC from the race. That would free up one spot from competition. They’d also prefer if Westerly beats Stonington. Woodland (which can earn between a 122.2 average and 116.7) has a miniscule point edge over both Stonington and one-loss Prince Tech. Luckily, Prince Tech’s bonus games are not good compared to Woodland’s. Neither are Stonington’s.

The following teams can start dreaming with victories and some extra help, especially if Rocky Hill beats NWC (that would eliminate NWC) and Prince Tech loses twice (that would eliminate Prince) or Woodland losing to Seymour: Cromwell (7-2), Woodland (6-2), Oxford (6-2) and — yes — even Derby (6-3). Derby will get mondo points if it can beat Shelton. It would need plenty of bonus help or everyone to start losing.

Of course, these teams also have to contend with each other. It’ll be tight.

False Hope

Holy Cross (6-3), Bloomfield (6-3), Canton (5-3), Plainfield (5-3)

Sean Patrick Bowley

6 Responses

  1. Just Saying says:

    Not sure about the math here:

    I don’t think St. Joe’s needs any help if they win out.

    SJ currently has 790 with 20 pts. guaranteed…790+20=810
    With win over Trinity add 170pts…810+170=980
    With Win over Trumbull add 160 pts…980+160==1140

    ****With Trinity Win the Trinity vs. Wilton game becomes guaranteed add 10…1140+10=1150(This takes into account no other bonuses.

    Bullard Havens max pts is 1140
    Montville max points is 1120
    Coventry max pts is 1140

    No one else below is even close to 1150 in max points.

    That puts SJ no lowewr than 8th even assuming everyone ahead of them wins.

  2. Ah, yes! You are correct. I didn’t add the damn guarantees. Fixed.

  3. JB says:

    Sean, awesome recap … thanks!

  4. BHS10alum says:

    If Brookfield wins out (Barlow and Bethel) and New Fairfield wins out (Pomperaug and New Milford) will Brookfield possibly get in being NF lost to Barlow or will the head-to-head NF beat Brookfield give NF in and Brookfield out? Prob answered own question, but wanted to confirm. If Brookfield wins out and NF possibly (wont happen) loses one or both of their last games then could Brookfield slide in?

  5. @BHS10alum – They’d have to be tied in points (and there’d have to be a spot available due to a bunch of other teams losing) for that to even remotely come into play, but head-to-head trumps all.

    Overall, Brookfield has an extremely (extremely!) remote chance and it involves a ton of teams losing.

    BY THE WAY: Here’s the tiebreaker scenarios, since we always seem to come down to it in one division:

    via the CIAC:

    The following five steps will be used in breaking ties in pairings if two or more schools finish with the same
    point value in the same division.
    1) In the event there are exactly two schools tied at the point value and the two schools have met during the
    regular season, the winner wins the position in question (head-to-head).
    2) The wins and ties of each of the opponents are added (2 points per win and 1 point per tie) and the team
    with the greatest number of points wins the position in question. This includes each opponent regardless
    of whether the game was won or lost.
    3) The team that defeated the highest rated (CIAC point system) team wins the position in question.
    4) The team with the best winning percentage wins the position in question.
    5) Each team will be assigned a computer-generated random “tiebreaker number” two weeks prior to the
    end of the season. If there is still no winner after the first ten criteria in this section are applied then the
    team with the highest random tiebreaker number will be the winner of the position in question.

  6. MXR says:

    Nicely done Sean — informative and understandable. What is not understandable to me is the whole addition and deduct methodology for playing up or down in Class. I get it is a reward for small schools playing bigger ones and vice versa, and I have always thought that was a good idea. But why are conference games treated diffently for deducts for the larger schools? I don’t think that was the case when the play-offs were first created. When did it come in? Is this just a carry-over from when there were a lot more and smaller conferences, and therefore more out of conference games? Is it a policy to promote geographic proximity in conferences regardless of school size? I am not suggesting a different approach to it, just trying to understand the reasoning behind it.

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