State Quarterfinal Primer and Live Updates: The FCIAC-SCC Challenge [Updated]

The SCC and FCIAC will face off in three state quarterfinal games, beginning tonight. Above, left column: Hillhouse's Harold Cooper; Xavier's DeAngelo Berry; West Haven's Ervin Phillips. Right column: St. Joseph's Mike Pulaski; Greenwich's Joe Kelly; Staples' Joey Zelkowitz.

For a good part of the last year, the good folks from the state’s two biggest and mightiest leagues — the Southern Connecticut Conference and the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference — have been attempting to help each other out.

Beginning next year and concluding in 2014, the CIAC will allow teams to schedule an 11th regular season game.

So naturally, someone quickly came up with the idea that the 19 teams from the SCC and the 19 from the FCIAC could matchup and play together in a massive crossover arrangement designed to fill the extra date and spark interest among fans.

The FCIAC-SCC Challenge.

Ooooh. Ahhhh.

Thirty-eight teams, 19 games, spread out over the first few days of Week 1. You’d get Xavier-Shelton, Greenwich-West Haven, Hand-New Canaan… and on down the list. MSG Varsity would pump money into broadcasts and promotion, and a way we’d go.

Alas, it’s never that easy. After some initial handshakes between the proud conferences, hammering out the format and getting the actual deal done has been plagued with smalls issues.

Then there was the Amity conundrum. A good year before the FCIAC and SCC began figuring this out, Amity athletic director Paul Mengold reached out to his schools old Housatonic rivals at Seymour and scheduled a Week 1 game. When the SCC later requested he ditch his Seymour agreement in favor of scheduling an FCIAC school, Mengold refused to renege his agreement with Seymour.

That caused about three months of wrangling until finally, finally the two league agreed to a deal (right around the same time as we published this post.)

Due to Amity’s agreement with Seymour, two FCIAC schools opted out and will play each other. That left Branford, which also agreed to look elsewhere for a game.

So it’s finished.

Ladies and gentlemen: The FCIAC-SCC Challenge is done.

Here are your matchups.

New Canaan vs. Daniel Hand | Staples vs. Xavier | Darien vs. Hillhouse | Ridgefield vs. Cheshire | Greenwich vs. West Haven | St. Joseph vs. Notre Dame-WH | Central vs. North Haven | Trumbull vs. Shelton | Stamford vs. Fairfield Prep | Danbury vs. Hamden | Wilton vs. Guilford | Fairfield Warde vs. Foran | Trinity Catholic vs. Sheehan | McMahon vs. Wilbur Cross |Fairfield Ludlowe vs. Lyman Hall | Bassick vs. East Haven | Harding vs. Jonathan Law

But we don’t have to wait for 2013 to see these two mega-league match up.

Divine intervention — results, playoff points and formatting — has pitted three FCIAC teams and three SCC teams in the state quarterfinals.

Staples takes on West Haven, Greenwich plays Xavier in Class LL. St. Joseph plays Hillhouse in Class M.

If things shake out the right way, there’s also potential for New Canaan-Hand in Class L Maybe even Staples-Xavier (or Greenwich-West Haven).

This has happened a lot over the years, especially in Class LL and L.

For those scoring at home — and we know you are — since the CIAC expanded the playoffs to include quarterfinals (a year into the leagues’ current configuration):

  • The SCC has beaten the FCIAC 15 times in 25 meetings (15-10).
  • The SCC is 12-5 in Class LL
  • The series is tied 3-3 in Class L.
  • The FCIAC was 2-0 in the now-defunct Class MM division.
  • The SCC is 7-1 in the Class LL championship game and 3-0 in the Class L championship game.
  • Greenwich’s LL win in 2007 and New Canaan’s MM win over Hand in 2007 are the FCIAC’s only state title victories over the SCC.
  • Overall, the SCC dominated the proceedings from 1996-2005, winning 10 of 13 games and five state championships over the FCIAC.
  • The FCIAC turned it around from 2006-2010. It won five straight playoff games, won two state titles over the SCC (Greenwich, New Canaan) and was 7-2 overall.
  • Last year, the SCC dominated with three victories and two state championships (Xavier, Hand).
  • The SCC has won the last three Class LL championships (all against the FCIAC)
  • The SCC has won two of the last three Class L championships (one against the FCIAC).
  • The SCC has won one of the last three Class M championships.

Clearly, it’s been the SCC’s playoffs. Especially recently.

And now we go again. Staples is the favorite to play for a Class LL championship. But West Haven, which has one of the state’s top backs in Ervin Phillips, lost only to Xavier and Hand. St. Joseph takes on Harold Cooper, Andre Anderson and the explosive Hillhouse Academics.

And finally, Greenwich, playing in its first state playoff game since beating Shelton in the 2007 Class LL final (the last time the FCIAC took home an LL trophy), takes on Boston College QB recruit Tim Boyle and two-time defending champion Xavier.

It’s the FCIAC-SCC Playoff Challenge. Playoff Edition.

You wanna ring the bell, Apollo?

(Ding. Ding.)

WELCOME TO PLAYOFF CENTRAL

The live blog is below. Of course there’s lots to tell you. Three quarters of the playoff field have been postponed until tomorrow, with semifinals getting pushed to Sunday. (Not sure why the CIAC would allow the remainder to play, giving them an extra day’s rest to recover and scout), but that’s where we are.

Two games are being broadcast: Hyde-Rocky Hill is on CPTVSports (check your local listings); St. Joseph-Hillhouse will be broadcast on WELI 960-AM.

Full Live Updates

Sean Patrick Bowley