It’s that time of year again… the Greatest Sporting Day of the Year in Connecticut.
Rivalry Week. Thanksgiving Week.
A day where every game means something — be it pride, a winning season, a .500 season, precious playoff points, bragging rights — and it’s played in front of, most likely, your largest crowd of the year.
For most of you seniors, it’s your last game. Go out in a blaze of glory.
For a few others, it’s an unofficial playoff game. You win or go home.
And for a select precious few, it’s the start of what you hope to be a glorious championship season.
And for everybody, it’s time to tell us who’s going to win the games.
Pretty straightforward. Just read the preview, and pick ‘em. (Most of the statistics provided are via teams on Maxpreps.com, many teams do not provide statistics.)
For complete state playoff scenarios, give the Mad Playoff Scientist a visit. He’s got all the goods for you:
To get you started, we’ve published previews for Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s games. The full Thursday breakdown will be published before noon on Tuesday.
Here we go…
Bullard-Havens at Bassick
WHERE/WHEN – Kennedy Stadium, Bridgeport, 6 p.m.
RECORDS — Bullard-Havens 7-2, Bassick 1-8
T-DAY SERIES — Bullard-Havens 5-2
LAST YEAR — Bullard-Havens 20-0
KEY STATS — Bullard-Havens has allowed just 99 points all year in the CSC, Bassick has allowed 3 1/2 times that amount in the FCIAC. …Bassick QB Vochan Fowler is 4th among reported FCIAC passing and rushing leaders. He has thrown for 1,107 yards and 7 TDs, run for 831 yards and 7 TDs. …Behind John Shannon’s 1,143 rushing yards, Bullard-Havens averages almost 300 rushing yards per game. …Tech sophomore Chris McNamara has accounted for 500 yards of total offense and 6 TDs since taking over for injured QB Equan Brooks vs. Capital Prep on Nov. 10. …After a 5-0 start, Bullard-Havens is 2-2 in its last four games. …The Tigers average 38 points per game, Bassick averages 16.9.
AT STAKE — A shot a qualifying for the Class M playoffs for Bullard-Havens. The Tigers need to win and get some help. Bragging rights.
Oxford at Pomperaug
WHERE/WHEN – Edward Arum Athletic Complex, Southbury, 7 p.m.
RECORDS — Oxford 7-2, Pomperaug 4-5
T-DAY SERIES — Pomperaug 4-0
LAST YEAR — Pomperaug 10-7
KEY STATS — At 7-2, Oxford is having its finest season since its varsity program began in 2008. Seven wins is a school record and the the school’s first winning season. …Pomperaug is trying to avoid its first losing season since going 4-6 in 1995. The last time Pomperaug was 5-5 was in 2005. …Oxford QB Brennan Diaz is No. 9 in the SWC in total yards with 1,746 and has accounted for 10 TDs. Teammate Chris Vankamerik leads SWC in receiving yards with 903 and 9 TDs. …Pomperaug averages 21.8 points per game and has won two straight. Senior RB Dylan McAllister is the grandson of former Ansonia coach Bill McAllister.
AT STAKE — A (razor-slim) shot at the school’s first state playoff berth for Oxford. A three-game win streak and a 5-5 season for Pomperaug.
Ridgefield at Danbury
WHERE/WHEN – Crotty Field at Clapboard Ridge, Danbury, 6 p.m.
RECORDS — Ridgefield 7-2, Danbury 2-7
T-DAY SERIES — Ridgefield 7-3
LAST YEAR — Ridgefield 56-14
KEY STATS — Danbury has lost six straight games since beating Central 36-30 on Nov. 29. The Hatters have been outscored …Elijah Duffy has played quarterback the last three weeks due to injury to starter Anferny Ith. …Ridgefield’s Connor Rowe is ranked No. 3 among FCIAC passers with 1,216 yards. He leads the Tigers in total yards with 219 yards per game… Rowe and LB Andrew Barton are committed to Bryant. …Sr. WR/RB Sam Gravitte has scored 20 touchdowns, Aiden Mauro has made 7 interceptions. …Danbury hasn’t won in Thanksgiving series since 2007.
AT STAKE — An outside shot at a state playoff berth for Ridgefield (the Tigers need Prep to beat West Haven and then major bonus help). Danbury’s third victory.
Woodland at Seymour
WHERE/WHEN– Woodland Football Field, Beacon Falls, 6 p.m.
RECORDS — Woodland 6-4, Seymour 5-4
T-DAY SERIES — Seymour 6-4
LAST YEAR — Woodland 28-7
KEY STATS — Tanner Kingsley is one of the NVL’s elite passers. He’s thrown for over 2,000 yards and 34 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. Anthony Scirpo is his top target with 45 catches for 624 yards and 15 TDs, followed by Brian Reiss (40 catches, 6 TDs) and Ramhil Rountree (34 catches, 87 TDs). …QB Mike Conlon leads Seymour, averaging 134 total yards per game. RB Jim Vartelas lead team in rushing and scoring. …Woodland averages 383 total yards a game, Seymour 274. …Seymour hasn’t had a winning season since its last playoff appearance in 2008. …The Hawks lost last week’s NVL title game to Ansonia, 56-26.
AT STAKE — A Class S playoff spot for Woodland. A win and some help get Hawks into the field. Seymour’s first winning season under coach Tom Lennon. Bragging rights.
Notre Dame-Fairfield at Immaculate
WHERE/WHEN – Westside Athletic Complex, WCSU, 7 p.m.
RECORDS — Notre Dame 0-9, Immaculate 0-9
T-DAY SERIES — Notre Dame 11-5
LAST YEAR — Notre Dame 57-16
KEY STATS — Notre Dame hasn’t won since edging Immaculate a year ago. The Lancers have lost nine straight. Immaculate has lost 35 straight games dating back to 2009, when it beat Barlow 28-21 on Oct. 10 of that year. It hasn’t defeated Notre Dame since a 22-18 victory in 2008.
AT STAKE — First win of the season for either team.
Stratford at Bunnell
WHERE/WHEN– Bulldog Field, Bunnell High School, Stratford, 7 p.m.
RECORDS — Stratford 2-6, Bunnell 2-6
ALL-TIME SERIES — Bunnell 36-20
LAST YEAR — Bunnell 50-19
KEY STATS — Bunnell has won five straight in the series and 11 of the last 12 dating back to 2000. Stratford’s only win during that stretch was a 40-8 victory in 2006. …Bunnell quarterback Bryan Castelot has thrown for 1,600 yards and 14 TDs vs. 14 interceptions. Teammate Devante Teel has 676 receiving yards and 6 TDs. …Bunnell has allowed 35.7 points per game, while scoring just an average of 24.3 points. …Stratford averages 23.3 points per game and allows almost 30 per game.
AT STAKE — The Manning E. Harvey Trophy; Bunnell’s sixth straight series win. Stratford’s first win since 2007. Bragging rights.
St. Joseph at Trumbull
WHERE/WHEN– McDougall Stadium, Trumbull, 7 p.m.
RECORDS — Trumbull 4-5 5-4, St. Joseph 7-2
T-DAY SERIES — Trumbull 21-6
LAST YEAR — St. Joseph 35-24
KEY STATS — Trumbull has dominated the series, but St. Joseph has won three of the last five meetings. …QB Jordan Vazzano is second in the FCIAC in passing with 1,804 yards and 23 TDs against 9 interceptions. …13 TD throws have gone to leading receiver Jake Pelletier. …St. Joseph averages 39 points per game, giving up an average of 18. …Trumbull has been outscored by opponents by an average score of 36-26. Its 325 points allowed is the second-worst in the FCIAC. …Trumbull earned a fifth victory with Westhill’s forfeit.
AT STAKE — A Class M playoff spot and possible home quarterfinal for St. Joseph. The Hogs must win to clinch their third playoff berth in four years. The Jerry McDougall Thanksgiving Trophy. Bragging rights.
Masuk at Newtown
WHERE/WHEN– Blue and Gold Stadium, Newtown, 7 p.m.
RECORDS — Newtown 9-0, Masuk 9-0
T-DAY SERIES — Masuk 9-6-1
LAST YEAR — Masuk 46-7
KEY STATS — Masuk the No. 6-ranked team in the state, outgains Newtown in total yards per game 515-327. It also averages more points: 49-38. …Newtown, the No. 10-ranked team in the state, is undefeated heading into Thanksgiving for the first time since 1996, when it eventually lost in the Class LL semifinals. Masuk coach John Murphy was in his final year an assistant on that team, coached by Bob Zito. …Masuk’s Thomas Milone, a UConn baseball commit, has amassed over 1,600 yards of total offense and is tied for third in state with 29 TDs. …Masuk QB Malik Cummings has thrown for 1,800 yards and 19 TDs vs. just two interceptions. …Masuk is No. 1 in the state in total offense with 500 yards per game. …Newtown QB Drew Tarantino has thrown for 1,387 yards and 19 TDs vs. just two interceptions… Cooper Gold has run for 727 of Newtown’s 1,534 rush yards. …Soph. WR Julian Dunn leads the team with 515 yards and 8 TDs. …Senior WR/DB Dan Hebert was lost for the season with a broken arm vs. Bunnell two weeks ago. …Masuk has won two straight since Newtown’s 2009 upset that knocked Masuk out of the playoffs.
AT STAKE — The SWC Championship: Newtown’s first since 1997; Third-consecutive for Masuk. Class LL seeding for Newtown: Hawks can get a home game with victcory. Class L seeding for Masuk: a win gives Panthers a ‘home’ game and the No. 3 seed.