Connecticut High School Football

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Thanksgiving Day 2012: The State Playoff Field quickly, quietly comes together

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Staples coach Marce Petroccio gets a dousing from Brian Book after the Wreckers won back-to-back FCIAC titles with 48-30. Staples earned the top seed and a date with No. 8 West Haven in the Class LL playoffs.

Only — what? — five, maybe four years ago figuring out the state playoff pairing became a Thanksgiving game unto itself. Without the benefits of Twitter and the genius of the CIAC’s information maven Matt Fischer, we lowly reporters used do anything and everything to get the results and then calibrate the playoff rankings.

Sitting in our running cars and our stomachs rumbling, we’d text each other, call each other, scribble in our notepads, call our sources. Once we thought we had a firm grasp of the scenarios, we’d go on on the air with ‘The Coach’ George DeMaio of WELI and then argue about the results.

Nowadays, it’s a cinch. We punch the scores into Fischer’s playoff calculator and (voila!) we know who’s in and who’s out.

Sure, we may still sit in our cars, but now getting the information is quick and easy.

Heck, I was able to accurately tell Weston coach Joe Lato that his team had qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in 23 years while he was addressing his football team.

It took me slightly longer to figure out if Barlow had lucked out, but that was only because its last hope — Hillhouse — was still playing. Hillhouse was burying Wilbur Cross 35-0 by the time I’d retreated to my car in Redding.

It was only after a quick check of Fischer’s supercomputer that I realized Hillhouse’s impending victory was going to keep Barlow out.

I didn’t bother going back into the school. I’m sure coach Rob Tynan already knew.

We had the Class LL state playoff field set by 1 p.m. We knew the Class M and S playoff fields set just 15 minutes later. Class L needed to await the result of the day’s final game — Darien-New Canaan — but we knew that field by 1:20.

I think it’s a record.

Anyway, while playoff dreams for teams like Barlow, Darien, North Haven, Fairfield Prep and Ridgefield came to a screeching halt on Thanksgiving morning, 11 regional teams had an extra happy holiday. Trinity Catholic is in for the first time since 1993. Weston, for the first time since 1989. Despite its SWC Championship loss the night before, Masuk still managed a home playoff game (at Bunnell, where else?)

Here are the final playoff standings.

And here’s the quick breakdown:

The SCC-FCIAC challenge for 2013-14 is being held up due to continued grumblings about Amity opting to play Seymour Week 1. Thankfully, the state playoffs of 2012 have forced-fed these leagues to each other. In the first round the heavyweights will clash in the first round: Staples-West Haven, Greenwich-Xavier, St. Joseph-Hillhouse. Only Hand and New Canaan avoided each other… for now.

Yes, Hillhouse and St. Joseph would have been a nice championship. We’re sure the rest of Class M will disagree.

The monstrous CCC got seven bids and is guaranteed at least one victory (whew!) when Glastonbury gets a rematch with Southington in Class LL. The NVL, SWC, ECC and CSC were tied with the least with three.

Two of the CSC schools will match up with two NVL schools in the Class S first round. The other, Bullard-Havens, travels to Berlin in Class M.

Southington missed out on some points when Manchester-East Hartford was canceled due to a tragic drowning death of a Manchester student on Wednesday. But it didn’t matter once all the points came in. Staples still would have clinched the No. 1 seed, regardless.

NFA is the only unbeaten team that didn’t earn a home game. Damon Outlow and the Wildcats travel to Blue and Gold stadium to take on the new SWC Champions, your Newtown Nighthawks.

Masuk inched up and claimed a home game in Class L thanks to losses by New Canaan and Fitch. Masuk will host Middletown at Bunnell. New Canaan travels to Simsbury to play Avon, since Avon doesn’t have lights.

St. Joseph-Hillhouse will play at East Haven since Bowen Field doesn’t have lights.

The 2012 Playoff Field

CLASS LL

  • No. 8 West Haven (8-2) at No 1. Staples (9-0)
  • No. 5 Norwich Free Academy (10-0) at No. 4 Newtown (10-0)
  • No. 6 Greenwich (8-1) at No. 3 Xavier (9-1)
  • No. 7 Glastonbury (9-1) at No. 2 Southington (10-0)

CLASS L

  • No. 8 Platt (8-2) at No. 1 Hand (10-0)
  • No. 5 Middletown (9-1) vs. No. 4 Masuk (9-1) [at Bunnell]
  • No. 6 New Canaan (8-2) at No. 3 Avon (10-0) [at Simsbury]
  • No. 7. Fitch (8-2) at No. 2 Windsor (9-0)

CLASS M

  • No. 8 Montville (8-2) at No. 1 Wolcott (9-1)
  • No. 5 St. Joseph (8-2) at No. 4 Hillhouse (8-2) [at East Haven]
  • No. 6 Weston (8-2) at No. 3 Ellington/Somers (9-1)
  • No. 7 Bullard-Havens (8-2) at No. 2 Berlin (9-1)

CLASS S

  • No. 8 Prince Tech (8-2) at No. 1 Ansonia (11-0*)
  • No. 5 Hyde Leadership (9-1) at No. 4 Rocky Hill (9-1)
  • No. 6 Trinity Catholic (8-2) at No. 3 North Branford (10-0)
  • No. 7 Woodland (7-3*) at No. 2 Capital Prep/Classical/Achieve 1st (10-0)

Jack Hunt

Ansonia loses a legend on Thanksgiving morning

While Thursday’s games didn’t offer much in the way of upsets, there certainly was plenty of drama.

The games began beneath a pall when word spread through word-of-mouth at Jarvis Stadium and to the rest of the state via the Twitter game updates that Ansonia patriarch Jack Hunt had died just hours before kickoff.

Even the furthest reaches of Connecticut knew of Hunt, who starred at Ansonia in the 1960s and returned as coach to win seven state championships and almost 200 games from 1987-2005.

His death, from cancer at age 66, to come on the biggest sporting day in Ansonia and Connecticut, suddenly made everything else that happened seem insignificant. He will be missed. Our thoughts are with the Hunt family and everyone in the Ansonia community.

Read our own Mike Mayko’s exceptional obituary of the Ansonia giant.

That said, we’ll return to discuss Hunt and recap the rest of the nuttiness later. For now, here’s how the final day of the regular season shook out:

Thursday’s Local League Results / Story Links

Thursday’s State Results

Sean Patrick Bowley

Leave a Reply

67 Responses

  1. tommymac says:

    Weird way to spend Thanksgiving, focusing on high school football.

  2. Weasel says:

    Hate to be an I told you so kinda guy, except today…eat it Barlow. Weston Trojans ruled today! Hahahahaha!

  3. @tommymac – You must not be from around here? This is a Connecticut tradition.

  4. Brian says:

    Congrats to all the teams that made the state playoffs. Job well done. As an FCIAC guy it’s nice to see 5 teams in. I went to the Stapls/GHS game and the size upfront and speed of the skill positions was very lopsided. I give the cards a a lot of credit for coming back when they were down 34-14. I thought the play calling for GHS was disgraceful (like usual in big games) espcially the bubble screen pick 6 out of their endzone right before the half. Then down 34-30 and driving moving it on the ground with all kinds of momentum they throw an east west pass on 1st down and lose 5 yards then get sacked on 2nd down. Drive stalls and game over a few plays later. Terrible job by Albonizio there. With that said Staples is a much better team.

    Lastly, As a cards fan, its to bad they ended up in the 6 spot to get Xavier. I think they would would beat NFA/Newtown/or Southington. Oh well, it is what it is. If they kind find away to beat Xavier the Semi vs Southington or Gbury will be more winnable than the qtr round.
    I don’t think they have much chance to beat Xavier.

    Happy for TC and Weston. Also a shame that Hillhouse and St.Joes play each other in first round. That should be the final.

  5. Josh Boone says:

    Avon High Schools website lists the game vs. New Canaan as being at Simsbury High.

  6. Brian says:

    I know there was a tragic event at Manchester High that cancelled the game with East Hartford. Southington was due 10 points no matter who won but even still they finish at 147.00 which would be under staples by decimal points.

    I was at the Newtown/Masuk game and I thought Newtown’s dline controlled the game and the kids Cooper Gold (fitting name) is tough. I have no idea why Masuk doesn’t showcase Milone more out of the backfield. When he touches the ball good things happen for them. In the 2nd half they hardly went to him except in odd situations like that 4th and 1 wildcat pass??

    I see a Xavier/Southington and a Staples/NFA semi with Staples beating X in the rematch.

  7. JB says:

    @Brian – Xavier too one-dimensional. Shutdown Berry and blitz Boyle; besides that they got nothing. Your great special teams will be the difference. Bounce back time. Good luck!

    p.s. McMurray is a stud. Rich needs to get 80 and 40 more into the offense to score on Xavier.

  8. RAY BROWN says:

    ANSONIA—-NAUGY GAME BETTER THAN EXPECTED IN FRONT OF BIG CROWD.A SAD NOTE ANNOUNCED BEFORE GAME THAT FORMER COACH HUNT HAD DIED.THE WHOLE ANSONIA FOOTBALL FAMILY IS HURTING.THE GAME WAS ALMOST A SIDENOTE.COACH HUNT CARRIED ANSONIAS TRADITION AND SUCCESS TO ANOTHER LEVEL.I WILL MISS HIM AS A FRIEND,A FAMILY MAN AND A GREAT COACH.REST IN PEACE JACK.

  9. RAY BROWN says:

    @ NO.1 —PEOPLE GOT TIRED OF CHURNING BUTTER AND EATING WITH PILGRIMS SO THEY DECIDED ON HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL.

  10. notfromridgefield says:

    What about Weston?!! They have a real chance to make it to the state semis. Don’t count them out, quirky offense and well-coached. Coach Lato may be one of the best coaches in the state. Knows how to get the most out of a very limited pool of players. Absolute gentleman and is coaching for the right reasons. Kudos – Coach Lato.

  11. Xhs says:

    Wow x loses 1 game because 4 out of 5 LBs were out for a 4 week stretch and everyone thinks they are beatable. We won’t get into other injuries as it’s part I the game. Without playing those JV players X rocks Hand and is still #1 in the State.and it’s not close. First the Cards then will blow out Staples just like last year.

  12. Observer says:

    @ JB. Yes, I am a Xavier fan. And no, I’m not a parent. And yes, I have seen all of their games this year. And no, I do not agree with your comment about them being one dimensional. Actually, you contradict yourself when you mention a running back and a receiver in the same sentence following the “one-dimensional” comment. Xavier is potent in the air and on the ground. And they have vastly improved on defense over the past three games (largely in part because their injured players have returned). Take a look at the stats.

  13. Chris Berman says:

    @JB – Xavier is anything but one-dimensional. 250 through the air, 250 on the ground most of the time since the Hand game. Hand proved if you play your absolute best game, their offense can be shutdown, but I’m not sure there’s another defense in the state that good. I fully expect a Staples-Xavier rematch in the finals, and it should be a much better game this year than last. And of course, good luck to all the teams who have made it this far!

    ps. Staples shouldn’t sleep on WH, that’s a tough draw for the 1 seed. I think Staples will win, but if they have trouble slowing down the Westies run game it will be a long day.

  14. Not from Southington says:

    After reading on here that the Manchester/East Hartford game was cancelled and Southington would have received 10 points either way, shouldn’t they be credited those 10 points. That is the difference between a 1 and a 2 seed and that is huge. It just seems right b/c they were going to get them anyways.

  15. Not from Southington says:

    Disregard my last post, I thought Staples was up by less than a point. That game does not factor into the seeding.

  16. mooncake says:

    If Staples doesn’t fix special teams (a problem all year) they are going no where.

  17. Dylan says:

    Really pulling hard for the Xavier kids this year. These players Berry and Luster did not play on offense this past two years and look at them now. they are 1-year starters and replaced guys who were 2x champs. The same goes for the defense many 1-year starters. How special will it be to win a title basically with an inexperienced team? Go XHS, but good luck to all of these young people that are in the playoffs. I hope everyone does their best and stays healthy throughout the playoffs!

  18. mooncake says:

    Was at Staples Greenwich game and was surprised how ineffective Greenwich passing game was. I thought the Liam guy was an effective passer?? McMurray was great running but they need to pass better. Staples’ pass defense has been their weakness for most of the year so I do not think it was Staples that stopped the pass…rather Greenwich could not execute.

  19. Bubba says:

    NC gets an easy road to the Semi’s. Avon doesn’t have lights, that why they will play at Simsbury. Windsor will get them this year. Masuk will have their hands full with Middletown, either way both teams will have to play solid to beat Hand. I predict Hand vs. Windsor Final. What are you folks thinking? Just curious!

  20. notfromridgefield says:

    Bubba, I like most of your predictions. Not sure about New Canaan vs. Avon, though.

  21. NorthernPride says:

    Spb, ct football really has no tradition, pretty pathetic state for football

  22. NBCoach says:

    @Xhs. Where have you been? You were awfully quite following Hand crushing X. Eating crow I guess. Must have ate too much turkey today. It is my understanding that Hand had one of their captains, starting left tackle and best O Lineman out, as well two other starters. JV backups where filling. I guess that is why Hand won. Hand made the proper 2nd half adjustments and romped all over X. Hand’s Bilcheck to dynamic duo receivers of Anderson/Ewald ate X alive. Bilcheck outplayed his Div.1 counterpart Boyle in all phases of the game: passing, rushing and control of the offense. That stats don’t lie. What happen to X’s great D line? Could say more but they are calling me for more dessert.

  23. Brian says:

    Hand over Masuk and Windsor over NC. I won’t be shocked if NC beats Windsor but after that game vs Darien today I’m not sure I can pick them to win this game. I do think they will kill Avon.

  24. GHS1973 says:

    Congratulations to Staples…They are a really talented team on both sides of the ball…I thought we had a chance down 34-30 with the ball, but questionable play calling (to be nice) and that drive ended on downs…Momentum switched back right there, and that’s all she wrote…

    Don’t know much about Xavier (never seen them live, just on video) but know that they are the 2 time defending state champs in LL…I definately think this is a better Staples team then last years, though…They are huge on their offensive line, just like Xavier, but with lots of options & weapons on offense, and a better defense then they really get credit for, because their offense is so good, IMO…Ought to be interesting & fun from here on out in states…

    I’m not giving up on the Cards…They just have to play to their real strengths to have a chance at an upset over X…I wish they had had a tougher schedule to be more “tested” leading up to the Staples game, but that’s someone else’s problem to figure out in the future…And really, Staples had an easy schedule too, so even that argument is probably lame..

  25. Facts says:

    First of all good luck to all the teams that qualified for the playoffs. It is curious how the whining from X fans about injured players started two weaks after they were beaten by a quicker more athletic Hand team. By the way in the hand game, the officials handed out ten penalties to Hand before you saw one. The Hand team beat 5 class LL teams and only played one M, Hillhouse. I also think the lame rationalization of first year starters for X is a phenenom the is true of Hand and every other quality program in the state. Muscle up, stop whining and make the SCC proud in the tournament. You already have a huge advantage with your ability to reload through recruiting talent every year.

  26. @NorthernPride – That’s a pretty dumb statement for a variety of reasons.

  27. The Dude says:

    Greenwich definitely has a chance to beat Xavier. No disrespect to any of these teams but the bottom half of the bracket Class M is pretty weak. Hard for me to imagine any of those teams playing in a state final.

  28. Brian says:

    “Muscle up.” Ha. We all know Hand has their ways of doing that.

  29. Facts says:

    #28, first you provide a bunch of excuses for losing than you defame 17 and 18 year old young men. I hope to God that is not what they are teaching at X. Good luck in the tournament and go to confession.

  30. Honus says:

    Thankfully it’s Class LL that’s stacked this year. Undefeated and you don’t get a home game? Wow. Props to Darien for pulling out all the stops to get a rare win over NC. No clue about (undefeated) Avon except that they’ve beaten five Class S schools, four from Class M, and only one from Class L which only won one game.

    BTW, to say Staples had an easy schedule is to devalue the FCIAC playoff contenders. Staples beat two of those teams convincingly, and trounced Darien who beat the other two. After today, I’m sure Greenwich now knows what it will take to beat Xavier and get another crack at Staples.

  31. Dylan says:

    @Facts to the victors go the spoils, Hand beat Xavier and there is nothing else that needs to be said. Hand thoroughly controlled the game in the second half. However, can you name one kid that was recruited by Xavier? These kids are not stars, only Xavier’s QB is a star. Outside of him there is not another kid with a major scholarship offer that I have read about. So where are these great players who are being recruited? Name a recruited kid from Xavier so we can call them out and separate them from the non-recruited kids.

  32. old man says:

    no one beats hand. the best high school defense in a very long time.

  33. Dave K says:

    Weird year in the FCIAC when you look at Darien and NC in particular. Throw the common opponent theory out the window. More like “any given Saturday”.

  34. Dave K says:

    Ray – condolences on the loss of Jack Hunt. Didn’t know him but surely know of him. Very symbolic that he would pass away on the morning that means so much to Ansonia football.

  35. PatPatriot says:

    Congrat’s to the Wreckers – back to back FCIAC champs!! A few comments:

    Special teams were a big problem yesterday, if not for that the game would have been a 4-5 TD differential. They are a big part of the game, especially at playoff time, and I’m sure will be tightened up. Prop’s to Greenich for not folding after the half. They turned it into a game in the 3rd qtr and showed a ton of heart.

    Mooncake – the Staples secondary is very very good, aided by two very good D ends who can pressure the passer.

    Can everyone please stop talking about injuries – PART OF THE GAME!

    Greenwich will have their hands full with X. Anyone who says they are one dimential hasn’t seen them play. They don’t run the ball nearly as well as Staples but will throw all over you if you sell out to stop the run – see West Haven game as an example. I think the slower track at Palmer will actually help Greenwich – especially if they try to get more sustained drives going (as stated by someone – get #11 & #40 into the offense more). If they try to drop back and throw, the results will be much the same as yesterday, X’s defense will chew them up and create turnovers/3 and outs.

    Congrat’s to Weston. Great coach who is building a real program there – the right way, from the youth program up. Good for him/them.

  36. Whopper16 says:

    @21..very dumb statement…Football practically started in CT with Yale.their rilvary with Harvard and other Ivies kept the game growing..
    Congratulations to all playoff qualifiers..SWC got 3 teams in, congratulations to Weston..Shame for Barlow..I think they win that game easy if Shaban plays..Oxford just missed a spot too..
    Saw Bethel/Brookfield..Bethel QB is a tough runner, will be something to watch next year. Disapointing year for Brookfield, not sure what happened, had the players to win 7 or 8 games this year, didn’t show up yesterday.
    What happened to Pacheco, anybody know? Good win for NF without him..

  37. Joe says:

    The QB over at St Joes (Vazzano) has big time arm and size…. As good or better than BC recruit over at Xavier…. Very good D on experienced SJ team

  38. jeb says:

    Darien finally brought their “A” game to the table against NC. This is how they could of played all year but just didn’t get it done. The only game Darien should have lost was Staples. New Canaan’s pass defense was non-existant. The Darien receivers were 10 to 15 yards open on every play. If Darien didn’t drop 6 wide open passes that would have led to touchdowns The fifty point rule might have come into play. That being said…Let’s go Rams. That game is over the most important games ae still left to be played. If Lou’s teams gets to the finals this year with this talent then a bronze { make that GOLD} statue should be built in his honor outside of Dunning Stadium.

  39. MXR says:

    Congratulations to all 32 Play-Off teams. Good luck to all on Tuesday. Hopefully we will have some great games, and hopefully no injuries.

    To my fellow Xavier fans, we really need to stop dwelling on Oct. 12. We had a very bad half during which we were out-coached and out-played. Period. Focus on what has followed and the game that comes next.

    For all, yesterday again proved why the Thanksgiving High School games are the best thing in CTHSFB. I wish I could have played in one back in the day. I loved going to the old Middletown-Woodrow Wilson games back then, and I love getting to see my team with family and old friends now. For all the ideas we have about making the sport better, changing this should not ever be part of the mix.

  40. Jay says:

    http://www.ncadvertiser.com/16126/in-darien-new-canaan-football-equipment-urinated-on-during-turkey-bowl/

    Darien keeps up their classless behavior,

    Marinelli genius to throw the game so he gets “out” of playing Hand in semi’s…playing 3 quarterbacks, 15 receivers, and 6 running backs…every kid played

  41. JB says:

    @MXR – you are 100% right and the greatest thing about the day isn’t the win on T-day … its about the players, former players, parents, relatives, the whole town … its about family. Rarely happens so completely in any other sport. Nothing could be better.

    Congratulations to all teams on their season and good luck to those moving on to states.

  42. Lewis says:

    Kudos to both teams O and D-lines in yesterday Staples v Greenwich slugfest. Approx. 4,000 people and you could hear the hitting at point of attack. These guys went at it on every play and showed great sportsmanship with nothing that looked to chippy or anything after the whistle. Greenwich deserves a lot of credit slugging it out with Staples front five who ended up winning the battle. These guys all left it on the field which I loved to watch. Good job Staples on the win and keep it going through States!

  43. another fan says:

    @28 yep, my nephew(played for Hand) told me that too…Are HS players tested?

  44. Brian says:

    just so everyone knows #28 Brian isn’t regular cardinal fan Brian who posts all the time on here.

  45. GHS1973 says:

    @#44-Brian…Geez, identity theft now on the CIAC football blog…Bummer…Don’t worry, I know you’re a Cardinal fan, and not a Hand hater…Who was Daniel Hand, anyway?…I googled him and came up empty…Anyone know?…Just curious…Maybe be a local guy from Madison, who “handed” over the land to build the High School?…

  46. JB says:

    @GHS1973 – Here is the history of the current Madison HS:

    In December 1877 Madison appropriated $500 for a high school to hold session in Lee Academy, open to all town pupils of 12 years or over at the rate of $4.00 for a term of 12 weeks. This historic building was moved to its present situation in the summer of 1923 at the cost of $700, this amount being paid by the Historical Society which arranged for the preservation of this well-known land mark. In 1884, the East Guilford philanthropist, Daniel Hand, erected a brick academy in his native town, situated on the same land as the present school building. The expense of this building and land was $15,110 and was presented to the town in November 1884 on condition that an academy always be kept there.

  47. Brian says:

    That’s impressive stuff JB, good history lesson.

  48. GHS1973 says:

    @JB…Thanks, as a history freak like me that was interesing, and informative…Nice & thoughtful guy, Mr Daniel Hand was…Need more like him today, IMO…

  49. MXR says:

    Speaking of history, can anyone recall a prior Greenwich-Xavier game? I cannot.

  50. Honus says:

    Been checking out Avon. They have this stud kid Colin Moore (listed at 5’10″ 185 lbs) who finished the regular season with 2,033 yards and 29 TDs. That’s only 173 yards off their school record– that Moore himself set last year. His 242 rushing attempts dwarfs that of Mitch Cappello, who has gotten just 51 handoffs for 279 yards. Eveyone else on the team is lucky to get the ball once a game.

    Avon rarely passes. Over 10 games, their QB, Noah Hahn, has completed only 43 passes out of 74 attempts, with two INTs. He has only rushed 17 times all year so Avon obviously doesn’t run the option much if at all.

    On defense, Avon has given up only 97 points over their 10 games. Quite impressive. For more information, check out: http://ahsfootball.homestead.com/home.html.

  51. GHS1973 says:

    @30-Honus…You’re right…I looked at Staples schedule and they did play St.Joe’s (tough game) & Darien (who they crushed), both whom I believe could have beaten Ridgefield, the Cardinals toughest opponent till Staples.

    I still can’t believe Darien beat New Canaan by that score on T-Day…Maybe comment #40-Jay has some merit?…I doubt it, though…I don’t think any coach “tanks it” just for the sake of seedings…I’d think that would go against their very nature to win every game, but who really knows what goes through a coach’s mind?

    Anyway, Thanks for your ongoing support for the FCIAC…

  52. Honus says:

    All that being said, and no disrespect to Avon, I think NC wins handily. I don’t think Avon has faced a team with as many looks at NC gives you on offense during a game, or with the defensive sophistication to shut down your #1 threat. I’m sure Moore will break off some big runs, but not enough of them to lead to enough points to overcome NC’s offense which is due to rebound in a big way this coming week.

  53. Brian says:

    2000 semi maybe? ghs won then lost to Shelton in final? could that be right? I know they played once at palmer before.

  54. Honus says:

    @Brian, good memory. #3 Greenwich beat #2 Xavier at Palmer 24-0 in 2000 in the semis before losing to #1 Shelton 22-8 (I looked it up). I guess Greenwich now has history on their side!

  55. GHS1973 says:

    Where’s JB?…Who is Palmer, anyway…lol

  56. Not JB says:

    Palmer Mills operated in Middletown from 1859 until 1946. They made hammocks and mosquito netting that were in demand throughout the world. This morning I shared the history of the mill and its founder, Isaac Emerson Palmer. 

    The I.E. Palmer Co. mill buildings, which covered most of the land on the north side of Bernie O’Rourke Drive (then known as Factory Street), remained well after the factory closed. At some point after 1946, a ball field was carved out from the easternmost end of the lot.

    Palmer Field was born.

    During the 1950s and 1960s, space in the old factory buildings was leased for a variety of purposes. Known as Palmer Mills Outlet, one could buy furniture or rubber Goodyear sneakers there. 

    In the mid-1970s, a fire destroyed the remaining buildings. The city, who owned the property at the time, cleared the site.  An outbuilding was converted to The Middletown Sports Hall of Fame and Museum,which opened in 1993. 

    Palmer Field has had some fine moments in its history, including a music festival to raise money for The Buttonwood Tree in 1995, try-outs for the Atlanta Braves (1994), hosting The American Legion Baseball World Series in 1988 and the last Middletown High School vs. Woodrow Wilson High School rivalry football game in 1984.

    Take a new look at that old space and stroll over to the river. The space holds many secrets of a busy past that are not readily visible at a cursory glance.

  57. GHS1973 says:

    @56-Not JB, but just as good with the history…Very interesting, indeed, thanks for that…I’m relieved, because I didn’t know anything about Palmer Field, and thought that I might have been very rude, and that it had been named after a young kid that had died, named Palmer…I should be more careful when asking questions about ball fields in towns I don’t know…Just my curiosity, no harm intended…Thanks for the explaination…Best of luck to the fine young men on both sides of the ball, come this Tuesday…

  58. Monroe resident says:

    I am still amazed as to what I saw the other night. Without the Hebert kid I thought we would crush Newtown. Instead they took it to us and we are lucky the score was as close as it was. There were some opportunities to score that ended up going our way (dropped INT at end of game, WR stepping out of bounds, and a fumble they were returning for a TD that ended up being ruled down). They came out like a team possessed and our kids looked shell shocked on the sideline during the 2nd half, almost intimidated as the Newtown team and crowd were going crazy. I tip my hat to that coaching staff and the kids over there. You played a great game and gave us our first regular season loss in awhile, it did not make turkey day fun. Best of luck to you in the playoffs, play like that and you can make some noise. We need to get our act together and regroup bc if we play like that against Middletown or Hand, we will make an early trip home.

  59. jeb says:

    Forget the theory that New Canaan dumped the Darien game. These two teams have been rivals for over 80 years and each teams season is not complete unless they win this game. Do you really think that Lou knew that Fitch would get upset by Ledyard thus enabling NC to move into the number six slot. Don’t take anything away from the Darien team…they whipped NC fair and square.
    By the way their was more people at the NC vs. Darien game then the Greenwich vs. Staples game.

  60. roto says:

    @Honus. I would take all those Avon stats with a grain of salt. They play in the Pequot conference, which was created so class S schools who had trouble finding enough bodies to field a team could play against similar competition. I’m not sure what a Class L school is doing in that league, but Avon is an easy win for NC (and probably every other team in the field).

  61. RAY BROWN says:

    @ 58——MASUK is quickly becoming the best team a blog can promote.soon as a team disregards the hype and punches back,MASUK folds.

  62. swc fan says:

    Ray you are correct. The Panthers definitely did fold. You could see them hanging their heads and with NO emotion on their sideline the entire 2nd half. Was a great game to watch. Newtown deserved the win, they outplayed and outcoached Masuk, especially in the 2nd half. Good job Hawks.

  63. MXR says:

    Brian and Honus, thanks for the reminder on 2000. I had completely forgotten the schools had crossed football paths before. The fun of the Play-Offs is getting to see these types of match-ups that we normally don’t get with the mega-conferences.

    Not JB, thank you for the Palmer history. That fire was a very big deal, sort of the equivalent for Middletown of what happened in Springfield yesterday. The area where the factory stood is now part of the gravel area of the main parking lot at Palmer.

  64. JB says:

    That is way more history than I could have produced, Not JB. Never been there, but Palmer Field seems like a cool place – kind of like a Fenway-type location of Middletwon. Throw back grass field which tends to favor a defensive-minded team. Should be a good game on Tuesday. Xavier seems to be firing on all-four since that Hillhouse comeback, but Greenwich hits hard and plays with a ton of pride. And Rich always finds a way to compete and over-achieve with his kids. We’ll see if they can find a way … X-men vs G-men in round one! That is a big time match-up early. LL is stacked this year.

  65. tj says:

    Re: posts 61 & 62 – Not what I saw, unless you call stuffing a fourth and inches late in the 4th quarter a fold. Or getting the ball back again for desperation drive, giving up!

  66. Xhs says:

    To all Masuk faithful. No real problems with Middletown. Qb is their best athlete and like to run. Not much of a passer. Their D is quick but is easily fooled. They played Windsor real well but I feel Windsor is the most over rated team (other then Avon) in the L field. My money says Masuk by 14 and you know I don’t have a ton of love downstate.

  67. Xhs says:

    I have to tell you easiest finals to predict in a long time:

    LL staples vs Xavier/Greenwich winner.

    L Hand vs NC (I know a shocker but 2&3 seeds are very weak.

    M qtr final winner st. Joe vs Hillhouse will be state champs enough said.

    S Ansonia vs No. Branford

    I really don’t see anyother team making a splash.

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