Connecticut High School Football

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Super Wednesday: Attack of the ECC! NFA, Montville serve notice

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CLASS LL: NFA 63, Newtown 21 | Xavier 55, Greenwich 14 | Glastonbury 23, Southington 14
CLASS L: Hand 55, Platt 26 | Masuk 21, Middletown 14 | New Canaan 16, Avon 7 | Windsor 38, Fitch 7
CLASS M: Montville 32, Wolcott 14 | Weston 29, Ellington/Somers 22
CLASS S: Ansonia 53, Prince Tech 16 | North Branford 49, Trinity Catholic 28 | Woodland 37, Capital Prep 35

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Newtown's Cooper Gold is grabbed by Norwich Free Academy's Tuzar Skipper during their Class LL state quarterfinal game at Newtown High School on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. N.F.A. won, 63-21. Photo: Jason Rearick / The News-Time

With every Twitter update, you could just sense the exasperation and frustration coming from the losing team.

Touchdown after touchdown after touchdown after touchdown…

When would it stop, this avalanche of points? Would this frightening state quarterfinal display ever end?

No, we’re not talking about Prince Tech vs. Ansonia.

We’re talking about Newtown.

The newly-crowned SWC champs got a first-hand glimpse at the team that’s sure to be the talk of Connecticut over the next four days leading up to Sunday’s Class LL quarterfinals at Ken Strong Stadium.

[State Semifinal Schedule]

The Nighthawks ran into a buzzsaw Wednesday night.

Buzzsaw, thy name is Norwich Free Academy.

The SWC champions weren’t just cut in half. They were sliced and diced, turned into mulch, 63-21.

[Related: Dizzying proportions: NFA offense lights up - theday.com]

Yes, NFA was unbeaten. Yes, they’d already got our attention down here in Shangri La when coach Jemal Davis voluntarily suspended himself for beating Stamford 51-0 under score management back in October.

At 10-0, NFA was clearly a good team with an outstanding tailback in Marcus Outlow.

Just how good? Well that’s what these playoffs are all about.

Now we know.

“That’s an outstanding football team,” Newtown coach Steve George said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make it all the way through to the finals.”

Wait. …The Finals, Steve? But the reservations I’m seeing for the Class LL playoffs are for Xavier and Staples. You know, Rentschler Field. Party of Two?

Well, pull up another chair because Outlow and the Wildcats are crashing this date and, already the fans are out in full attack mode.

Did you hear it?

“We want Staples! … We want Staples! … We want Staples!”

Yes, we were all impressed Tuesday night. Staples looked practically invincible in thrashing West Haven, 42-20. The Wreckers scored four times on six plays.

NFA didn’t quite score that quick, but — hello — it looked just as dominant.

Khaleed Exum-Strong scored twice to make it 14-0 before anyone could blink. It was 21-0 before Newtown scored its first touchdown.

The Nighthawks got within 28-14, but NFA exploded for 35-points in the third quarter.

Thirty. Five.

NFA scored on runs, passes, interception returns, punt returns.

What? No kickoff returns?

“We come in as the underdogs because we come from the Eastern Connecticut Conference,” said Outlow, a junior who’s been getting offers from a bunch of Division I powerhouses, to WFSB’s John Holt.

“We like it because it gives us a boost and just motivates us more to prove to everybody that we’re the real deal.”

So don’t start buying up those cozy Rentschler Field suites, Westportians (or is it Westportites?).

You have a game to play.

Greenwich's Austin Longi is taken down by a pair of Xavier defenders during Wednesday's quarterfinals

We’ll see if Glastonbury, which righted the score against No. 2-seeded Southington, wants to make this a foursome.

But Xavier’s 55-14 thumping of FCIAC runner up Greenwich looked just as scary as Staples and NFA’s victories.

Since trailing Hillhouse 49-21 in Week 6, Xavier has now outscored its opponents 216-52.

Beating the two-time defending champions will be a tall order for the Tomahawks. (Though we are wondering about the status of Xavier back DeAngelo Berry, just as we’re awaiting word on Staples’ Nick Kelly.)

So forget that game for the moment.

Everyone’s eyes are fixed on Staples-NFA.

It’s this year’s Hand-Masuk.

Who thought that would be the case when they got up this morning?

(No, you don’t count NFA).

Attack of the ECC II!

NFA wasn’t the only ECC team sending shockwaves through the state.

How about Montville? The No. 8-seeded Indians, who squeaked into the playoffs a week ago, derailed the Mike Nicol Express at Wolcott for good with a surprising 32-14 road victory.

Jeremiah Crowley, who’s come out of nowhere for the Indians this season, ran for a pair of touchdowns, including a 50-yarder that put his team up 25-14 late in the third quarter.

And now Montville, not Wolcott, will get a crack at the 2012 Class M cham… (er, scratch that)… No. 4-seeded Hillhouse Academics.

On the other half of the draw, Tyler Hassett and Justin Schaffer did it again. They teamed up to rally Weston over Ellington/Somers to win the school’s first playoff game, 29-22.

Weston won this game the way it’s won most of its games: by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins.

“These are the games we play — it’s an ulcer every time we play,” Lato said. “I know it going into it, it’s going to be a roller-coaster ride, but I’m super proud of our kids.”

Weston faces No. 2 Berlin in the semifinals.

‘Rock’ hammer

Masuks Frank Barcarella chugs upfield during the Class L quarterfinals vs. Middletown

After a season’s worth of routs, Masuk’s been living on the edge of late.

It lost to Newtown in the SWC championship game a week ago and, against Middletown in the Class L quarterfinals, found itself down two touchdowns for the first time since last year’s semifinal clash with Hand.

The usual stuff wasn’t working, so coach John Murphy switched to his goal line, double-wing offense, ‘The Rock,’ to rally and then salt this one away, 21-14

“It’s worked for us all year, so we went back to it and jammed it down their throats,” guard Stergios Koutikas said.

In addition to the usual suspects, we saw a few new names, Brandon Charney at QB and Joe DaMota at back, but the result was the same.

“Once we started having success, I wasn’t going to beat my head against the wall and go back,” Murphy said. “It was the best way to get the ball to Thomas (Milone) and Frank (Bacarella). Our offensive line played so well.”

Masuk advances to play — who else? — No. 1 seeded, No. 1 ranked and defending champion Hand in a rematch of last year’s anticipated semifinal, won by Hand 35-14. It doesn’t have the same teeth as a year ago, but it’s still a match-up to watch.

On the other half of the draw, another Class L rematch. New Canaan got a fright from Avon, but advanced with a 16-7 victory. Meanwhile, Windsor was the only state team to handle the ECC. The Warriors took out Fitch 38-7.

New Canaan won last year’s game in a nailbiter, 26-24. Windsor is no doubt looking to settle the score.

The NVL-Pequot Challenge

Trinity Catholic's Sean Brown evades two North Branford players on his way to the endzone for a touchdown, during CIAC Class S boys football quarterfinals. Photo: Christian Abraham / Connecticut Post

Finally, Ansonia, Woodland and North Branford joined Hyde in the Class S semifinals, or as it will be now known, ‘The NVL-Pequot Challenge.’

Ansonia, as expected, hammered Prince Tech and advances to face Hyde.

Tanner Kingsley and Woodland survived a shootout with clearly talented Capital Prep/Classical Magnet/Achievement First etc, etc.

North Branford ended Trinity Catholic’s dream season with an impressive, 49-28 victory. The T-Birds couldn’t stop senior Sean Brown (242 yards, 4 TDs), but Trinity had little success stopping Brandan Basil, Dale Hausman and, especially, Joe DeLucia.

Down by 13 points in the fourth quarter, Trinity Catholic rallied to within 34-28 and had the ball in North Branford territory. But then a fumble, a North Branford recovery and DeLucia’s fourth touchdown of the day.

That iced it.

“I wish we could have gone farther,” Trinity’s Peter Stokes said. “I really wanted these kids to experience what I and some of my assistants experienced here, winning championships.

“But hey, that’s a great freggin football team. Coach (Mark) Basil should be really proud. He’s got a heckuva son playing quarterback. I hope my son can turn out like him. Give them credit.”

SCORE-BOARD! SCORE-BOARD!

As SCC Commissioner Al Carbone was so quick to send through the Twitter waves following Wednesday night’s proceedings, the SCC was one of the top leagues to emerge from the quarterfinals.

The mighty SCC saw three of four teams advance in different divisions (Xavier, Hand, Hillhouse).

But they have company.

Though it went 3-4 overall, the CCC also sent three teams into the semifinals (Windsor, Glastonbury, Berlin), the most since the CIAC expanded the playoffs in 2010.

The SWC, NVL, ECC and Pequot League sent two teams apiece. Despite a stronger effort this year (bravo), the CSC saw all of its teams eliminated.

As for the FCIAC, five teams went in, only two remain.

League Scoreboard (by winning percentage): SCC 4-1 | SWC 2-1 | ECC 2-1 | NVL 2-1 | Pequot 2-2 | CCC 3-4 | FCIAC 2-3 | CSC 0-3

SEMIFINAL SCHEDULE

CLASS LL: NFA (11-0) vs. Staples (10-0) at West Haven, 12:30 |
Glastonbury (10-1) vs. Xavier (10-0) at Cheshire, 12:30

CLASS L: New Canaan (9-2) vs. Windsor (10-0) at Bunnell, 12:30 |
Masuk (10-1) vs. Hand (11-0) at West Haven, 5

CLASS M: Weston (9-2) vs. Berlin (10-1) at Bunnell, 5 |
Montville (9-2) vs. Hillhouse (9-2), at Middletown, 5

CLASS S: Woodland (8-3) vs. North Branford (11-0), at Falcon Field, Meriden, 12:30 |
Hyde (10-1) vs. Ansonia (12-0), at Middletown, 12:30

Highlights
(We’ll find and post more highlights as they become available)

Greenwich vs. Xavier

Sean Patrick Bowley

Leave a Reply

83 Responses

  1. Pardits says:

    can’t wait to see NFA smack staples

  2. Eastern CT Guy says:

    We play football out here near RI Border.. If that is the SWC Champs, I cant imagine how soft the rest of the league is. That Newtown team played scared, wanted no part of hitting anyone. They played soft, bottom line. NFA on a roll.

  3. mr fciac says:

    Eastern Ct Guy newtown is overrated and always will be LL school
    in the swc its a joke they actually waste a LL spot but be careful
    come sunday staples is not newtown

  4. Jake says:

    “Since trailing Hillhouse 49-21 in Week 6, Xavier has now outscored its opponents 216-52.” Also note – four of those five opponents were playoff teams this year (you can make your own judgements regarding those teams now that the first round is through, but either way, they weren’t preying on the weakest). And was it just a month ago, somebody pointed out that we were trying to figure out if X could squeak into the playoffs as an 8-seed? I sure didn’t see this coming, but somebody flipped a switch somewhere…

  5. CTdude says:

    Hey mr fciac, u better hope Kelly is in good shape for Sunday. If not, your big mouth will be full of crow.

  6. Rob says:

    Wait, there can’t be any doubt about who is going to win the Staples-NFA game, can there?

    This Staples team has been lauded all season as one of the best teams to ever come out of Fairfield County. Sean Bolwey has had them firmly atop his Elite 8 for the entire season. After getting whipped by the Wreckers, Fairfield Warde coach Duncan DellaVolpe called them the best FCIAC team he has seeen since he has been involved with the conference. Dave Ruden (prominent FCIAC scribe) while not using language quite as strong as DellaVolpe’s, has come pretty close in his tweets and blogs throught the year and has basically proclaimed them unbeatable.

    The FCIAC has won state championshops before. They are considered the second best league in the state. So therefore, it stands to reason that (arguably) the best FCIAC team ever would win a state championship.

    I have not seen Staples or NFA play this year. So I am just going by all the evidence cited above. Based on that, how can there be an argument about who is going to win this game?

  7. Capitol Region says:

    Glastonbury Defense looked awesome last night. Bot much coverage here but they held Barmore, who is prob top 3 qb in state, to an 8-25 night with under 75 yds passing…Xavier will be a great challenge..lets do it again boys!

  8. mr fciac says:

    Ct dude who ever staples comes in with it will be a real football game
    they don’t play immaculate

  9. Hsfan says:

    NFA fans need to calm down staples destroyed a good west haven team except their coach doesn’t have to run up the score to get respect. That is going to be a tough game on three days rest I will be surprised if it is close.

  10. mr fciac says:

    SPB always has the touch, just saying what nfa did was remarkable against an average team. They have to do something on the swc point system a LL team in the swc come on. Put Danbury in the swc and they will make the states

  11. HSFBFAN says:

    Will be fun to see how good NFA is. Good to see some talent from the East showing up

    Also interesting to see NCs defense carry them in a game. That’s been a rarity over the last decade. This might be the least explosive NC offense in a long time. Have not been impressed with them

  12. @mr fciac – Though that might prove to be the case, gotta give them credit.

    Btw, your comment on the SWC is ridiculous.

    That is all.

  13. CTdude says:

    re#13 and SWC. True dat!

  14. XHS2010 says:

    Sean,
    Xavier was absolutely unbeatable last year.

  15. @XHS2010 – Nobody’s unbeatable.

    Add: They were awesome. And nobody beat them. I’m just speaking more existentially.

  16. mr fciac says:

    spb explain to me whats the up side on the swc.
    1-bottm half teams non competive thus these over inflated scores
    2-two LL schools one is terrible 28 wins in 10yrs the other up and down and plays s schools!!!
    3-Weston is the class M repentation another mid to bottom end of the m schools in the swc

  17. JB says:

    Sean is right, the SWC has produced some really strong teams over the years. Masuk 2010/2011. Bunnell in its prime. It is a function of whatever these towns deliver to the program in regards to players, the coaching is always solid at these good programs. Newtown has a good program as well, but it has never really proven itself outside of the SWC … at least in recent times. My only experience watching Newtown was last year in the LL semifinals. The OL was big/strong and Fenorali was a handful. But Staples’ coaches figured it out and the game was over quickly (before halftime). Newtown not nearly as physical this year as last year and same goes for Masuk. Out of the SWC we are starting to see the differences. Although, having said that, Masuk’s comeback was a great showing and more typical of its program toughness.

    NFA is good and they will be a challenge for Staples. Should be an awesome playoff game and can’t wait until Sunday. Good luck to all teams.

  18. @mr fciac – 1. Every league has a bottom half. Every league has an upper half. They’re called ‘standings’ …half of the FCIAC was just as dreadful.
    2. The league has consistently produced state champions over the last 8 years, and not against chumps, either.
    3. The SWC’s record vs the FCIAC over the last 7 years is above .500 …
    …. I could go on … shall I?

  19. gur says:

    Sean, don’t feel bad, NFA fans and team just felt disrespected by other parts of state and conferences.. the seniors on this team have been on a mission since their freshman year. You do a great job from where you are…Ned griffen however, should have know better. He deserves a smackdown not you.

  20. @gur — “Oh… you’re probably looking for that big donut, uh …. It’s at Ned’s house.”

  21. footyfan says:

    Sean, don’t take it personally from the NFA fans. The team and there fans just felt disrespected by other conferences and parts of the state. This team and its seniors have been on a mission since freshman year. You do a great job from afar. Ned griffen on the other hand should’ve know….he deserves the smackdown!

  22. X_Fan says:

    @X2010 – agree with SPB here. Fact is X is 43-3 in the last 4 years so far. So they’re not unbeatable. But it’s a pretty fantastic record. This year’s team was a departure from smash mouth style, but from a talent standpoint this team had better players, specifically Boyle, Berry and Luster. Early in the year, they hadn’t fully adjusted to this. Hand game, had they not turned the ball over right before half, and had been up 2 scores, I think they would have won (which is what happened last night vs. Greenwich). Hillhouse game was when they finally turned it over to Boyle. Which freed up Berry and allowed for more delay draws (as we saw in Middletown game). Credit to Coach Marinan for adjusting his system to the talent mid-season. And credit to Boyle for gaining his confidence game over game and taking control. Which in turn has helped the defense. JV team was undefeated and rolled over Hand, Hillhouse, so it looks like things are going to continue.

    There’s been a lot of smack talk esp. when we haven’t seen all the teams (myself included). NFA certainly opened some eyes last night. Interested to see now that X is firing on all cylinders, if NFA or Staples has really closed the gap. At this point, I think we’re the best team, but if Hand, Ansonia or Windsor wins out, even if X wins LL, we’ll finish #2. That said, amazing win over Hillhouse, 3 straight LL’s would be a tremendous year. One to be celebrated. Actually, no matter what happens from here on out, to see this team right itself, change itself and become a true, but different kind, of juggernaut has been a sight to behold.

  23. footballfan says:

    I love how every week, a team talks about how they’re going to take it to Staples, then end up telling the reporters at the end of the game how they were shell shocked in the first quarter. The Wreckers have the most explosive offense that I have ever seen at Staples.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I have respect for NFA. They definitely made some form of statement against Newtown. It will be a little more competitive but Staples is too fast on both sides of the ball. I’m predicting Staples wins it by 3 TD’s

  24. Paul says:

    Hey Gur,you want some respect beat Staples….You want even more respect beat Xavier.Don’t care about your seniors on a mission…..You have won nothing yet….Again,you want some respect down here take down both of the Big Dogs in LL.Best of luck but Staples is a different animal than Newtown.

  25. No offense taken! I’m a pro.

  26. Dylan says:

    @X_Fan agree with much of what you said. However, Xavier was getting gashed last night by a team with one dynamic player. That is not going to hold up against Staples. Xavier has to improve on defense or a multi-dimensional team will clobber them, especially a team with players the caliber Staples and NFA has on both sides of the ball.

  27. No Ax to Grind says:

    LOL….Homer….he kills me.

  28. @No Axe – “Or Moe… Go kill Moe.”

  29. Frank says:

    Paul@25: Either have you or your team. How about your Staples win a LL title, never happened in history of CIAC tournament. It’s not like your team has done anything. When the last time they won a title?

  30. Ray Brown Jr. says:

    If Ansonia continues its domination throughout Class S, we should be #1 in the state, regardless of other outcomes. Total domination of Prince Tech last night. Hyde should be a good matchup, but I expect the Chargers will come ready to play his time. See you at the rent – where I’ll be pciking up the 18th ring, one for each finger and toe – including the 3 I lost in the machine shop accident and the fact that my father’s mutant gene left me born with 6 fingers on my left hand.

  31. Rich says:

    @Frank, that’s a moot point. Staples just moved up to LL in the last 4 or 5 years. I believe they won the state title in ’05, although I think they were in M or L at the time.

  32. Paul says:

    @Ray Brown Jr…..LOL….You left out all them CAPITAL LETTERS…Funny though the only thing I would of added is it is to bad Ansonia could not beat Capital Prep with its 15 coop schools with them.That would of surely justified a #1 ranking..

  33. Rich says:

    Did some research, Staples played in the L championship game every year from 2003-2006, winning in ’04 and ’05 and losing in ’03 and ’06. In 2009 and 2011 they lost in the LL finals after they moved up. They also won the MM title in 2002.

  34. Brian says:

    AND that game between Rich and Frank is over. Staples has a history of winning some state titles and playing in a bunch. When did NFA last play for one? I know they lost to Trumbull a few years back and that Trumbull team and coach is/was still awful.

  35. gur says:

    not buying into the hype on staples….they are overrated. we will find out soon enough though! best of luck to all teams who are still alive

  36. mooncake says:

    Hey Sean, did you say Staples “has a game to play”… Really? Never knew you were such an Einstein.

    By the way…I’m sure you spend a lot of time mooching in on those suites at the Rent keeping yourself warm. Don’t appreciate that rip on Westport. If Staples makes it to the Rent and you come knocking on my door: no hot cocoa for you.

  37. X_Fan says:

    @Dylan – respectfully disagree. I’ve been to a lot of X games this year. Everybody knew how fast Longi was. Marinan actually kicked to him. Why? Because he wants his kids to see what may be coming and adjust. He could’ve just squib kicked it. Later in the game, he went onsides and had his team run the hurry up. Again, because it may come in handy later. X had 5 sacks in 1st qtr last night & Greenwich had negative yardage. Longi, despite a 67 yd run ended up with 90 yards on 11 tries. Take away the long run and it’s 2.3 per clip.

    Had nothing to do with Greenwich being one dimensional. I was at Middletown game and Marinan did much the same thing. Tried a 2pt conversion, did all sorts of things. They are toying with teams right now IMHO. Their offense may not always get rolling right out of the gate, but when they do, look out. Then the D starts playing meet you at the quarterback. They beat Greenwich up bad last night. 500 yards TO – 240 running, 260 passing. And not just screens, they threw it down the field, as they did against Middletown. And take away Longi’s 67 yard run, and Greenwich had < 200 yards and 7 pts.

    Problem was, they found out very early, they couldn't protect the QB, which is why they got conservative. Trust me, the QB was getting killed on first few series. I THINK ths team has found its identity and should roll, but who knows. If I remember correctly, Glastonbury was tough down at Southern before they dominated Staples at the Rent. I don't THINK anybody can stop them right now. But who knows? I haven't seen Staples this year and CERTAINLY haven't seen NFA. In any case, it's been a sight to behold and I am a proud and respectful fan.

  38. The Dude says:

    I’m pretty sure the last Staples team that was seen as unbeatable ended up losing to Bunnell.

  39. @mooncake – Why yes, you see the duality of light as a particle and a wave is a fundamental aspect of the Theory of Relativity. Also: Under said Theory, gravity isn’t so much a force, but the warping of spacetime so that objects with mass fall into the warp of another object with great mass. Hence why moons orbit planets, planets orbit stars and stars orbit dense concentration of stars and black holes. We’re also able to determine, through the Theory of Relativity and Edwin Hubble’s calculations that the Universe is expanding.

    [Aside: It's interesting that, although his breakthrough theory predicted this, Einstein for years refused to believe it. He added a 'cosmological constant,' (basically inventing a number out of thin air) to make his theory explain a static universe. It wasn't until Einstein observed Hubble's redshifts that he acquiesced and joined the mainstream which had left him behind.]

    We can actually trace back these expanding galaxies almost all the way to the beginning of time, theorized as the Big Bang. Determining what happened at the exact moment of the Big Bang (or BEFORE) is the cornerstone of modern physics research today.

    Pretty amazing stuff.

    The point of it all is: I think people kinda figured Staples had a nice easy road to the Class LL finals to face Xavier. After NFA, I think we’ve learned otherwise, or at least we understand better.

    Also: The CIAC sold a lot of those suites a year ago, and let’s just say the majority were sold when the FCIAC teams were playing.

  40. Honus says:

    Per comparison shopping, Windsor crushed a Fitch team that gave NFA a struggle, while Hand takes on a team that lost to a Hebert-less Newtown that got crushed by NFA. Therefore, Hand really shouldn’t need to break a sweat in this one. NC beating Avon boiled down to stopping one kid. Windsor is way more balanced run/pass and out for blood given last year, but the game is hardly clash of the titans this year. I’m not ready to concede Class L to Hand, but the sizzle just ain’t there like last year.

    Class LL is shaping up to be an epic battle. NFA, like West Haven, barely throws the ball. The formula to beat Staples is to keep their offense off the field. Problem is, allowing them to score in three plays or less doesn’t count. Gonna be interesting to see if Staples can score a knockout in the first round without Kelly. Speaking of knockouts, I can’t see any doctor in this day and age allowing a kid with a concussion to play football without at least three weeks of rest. With Berry out, the door opens (albeit slightly) for Glastonbury.

  41. Frank says:

    Ok, Staples has been absent from “Title Contention” for 6 years, and has never beaten a school in the largest class in the tourney, Hardly a reason we need to show them so much them all “RESPECT”. Stop drinking Bowley Coolaid, and have your backbone.

  42. @Frank — Oooh! Bowley Coolaid! Yes, folks, STEP RIGHT UP! It’ll put hair on your chest and a spring in your step!

    [Glug! Glug! Glug!] Whooooeeeeee!

    Before drinking Bowley-Brand Coolaid, I was voting Hand No. 1 every single year. Now, with the advanced formula, I say STAPLES IS THE GREATEST PROGRAM OF ALL TIME.

    Even when they don’t win championships…. y’know, they win championships. They’re the champions of your heart.

  43. Rich says:

    @Frank, “title contention” means you are contending for a title. Seeing as they played in the LL title game last year your statement is completely false. And it’s been 7 years since they won a title, not 6.

  44. Rich says:

    And just to play devil’s advocate, you state that Staples has never “beaten a school in the largest class in the tourney.” That is also factually incorrect. They have won several games in the LL tourney since they moved up, just no championships.

  45. spike says:

    The last great Staples team lost to Shelton in the title game. Staples played that game without its best player HUGHES Three games prior to that with Hughes in the line-up Staples scored on the last play of the game to beat a mediocre New Canaan team. This Staples team might go into the semi-finals and finals without its best player…aka MR KELLY.

  46. imballin says:

    Not to mention before Xavier lost to Hand the last team to beat them was staples 2009 team who was 2 yards short of a perfect season. lighten up SPB, your starting to sound like a virgin who follows HS football for a living.

  47. @imballin – Hahaha. Keep ‘em comin’ boys!

  48. gur says:

    i pray nick kelly plays…i dont want to hear any excuses from the westie fans

  49. jasper says:

    Can we talk about how people need to have some respect for the Avon football program? No they aren’t contending for a title yet but they have shown they can compete with good teams outside of the PEQUOT.

  50. mooncake says:

    I am a Staples fan…losing Nick Kelly is a big loss (and I am sure he will not play). But he is replaced by #32 Strauss and #25 Lesch. Both are able subs. The two players Staples cound not afford to lose are QB Massie #16 or WR Frucsiante #4. Still have Zelokwitz #22. No excuses if we lose without Kelly.

  51. Rob says:

    Agreed on comment #50

    As an NVL advocate on this blog, I know what its like to root for and constantly have to defend an inferior conference(aka any conference that is not the FCIAC or SCC Div I).

    If you read this blog long enough, one gets the impression that these “other” teams and conferences do not even really exist. That the games in these conferences are more like flag football games played against cardboard cutouts.

    Ask a New Canaan player today if they feel the Peqout is a joke. Ask a Weston player if they are sore today. Ask Trinity how many wins North Branford would have in the FCIAC this year.

    That is all. Now back to fighting about Staples-NFA and peppering SPB with increasingly weird insults.

  52. Dave says:

    I’m going to side with Mr. Bowley here.

    Look at some of the teams NFA beat this season. NFA beat six teams with under .500 records, including two teams that didn’t win a game and three teams that won two games. NFA only faced one team that made the state playoffs (Fitch) and that team got blown out in its quarterfinal.

    On the other hand, Staples played two teams that made the state playoffs (St. Joe’s and Greenwich) and only three teams below .500. Yes, Westhill is listed as winning just 2 games, but they won 4 others on the field, but were nailed for using an ineligible player.

    Staples ended up with almost as many points as NFA and played one less game.

    In closing, Staples beats NFA by 2-3 TDs, but then Xavier beats Staples in a tight game. Xavier right now is playing like the best team in the state and will three-peat.

  53. jasper says:

    Exactly. Obviously the Pequot isn’t on the level of the better conferences in state. But Avon as a town has only been serious about football for less than 10 years. It’s an elite soccer town. Considering that, ask the 2008 Brookfield State champions if they were that much better than Avon. Ask the 2009 State champions Berlin if they weren’t fortunate to survive against Avon. And ask New Canaan, one of the elite football programs in the state, if Avon is simply a product of a weak schedule. They’ve done all of this without ever having a passing game. They just simply have never had a kid come up who could win a game for them at QB. All Im saying is that they aren’t that far away from getting to the point where they will win games in the playoffs and compete for a title

  54. jim says:

    Hasn’t staples been in the LL state title twice and semis twice since moving up not long ago…how do you say theyve never beaten a team in the LL tourney and never been in “title contention”?

  55. Peter S says:

    “Staples never beat anyone in LL”…hmmm
    2006 Semis beat West Haven
    2009 Semis beat mighty Xavier-lost Cheshire OT
    2011 Qtr Ridgefield, Semis Newtown
    2012 Qtr Beat West Haven

    Staples has been in State Playoffs 11 out of the 12 years!

  56. buttermaker says:

    I was at the NFA game last night and I would not be stunned if they beat staples. Staples is clearly the favorite but this is a very very good team. They toyed with a good but not great Newtown team. They are big strong and fast. Number 21 is a beast a man among boys. Number 7 and number 11 are also very good. On defense number 80 is quick of the ball at defensive end in number 51 is a good linebacker. This was a wake up call this should be a very good game.

  57. Tim says:

    @56 Are you including Rippowam in your Staples history of playoff appearances? Just Jokin!

  58. NorthernPride says:

    Swc is a joke, nvl might be better. If I was Danbury or st joes or Trumbull, I would be begging to get into that league. Lets see how many swc teams win a state championship this year

  59. SCC fan says:

    @59, SWC is probably the weakest league in the state overall. The bottom half of SCC or FCIAC would challenge for a title every year. Went to a few Masuk games this year and wasn’t even competitive. just bad football.

  60. Lewis says:

    Vaughn, Patrick, Spear, Ward, and Turdify. Let’s not forget the offensive line Staples brings to the party. Can blow the doors off of any team out there, protects Massie long enough to free up Frusciante and they pretty much dictate the game. Like they have done all season long. This will be the difference.

  61. GHS Fan says:

    Greenwich is the only team that Staples and Xavier have as a common opponent.

    That said, Greenwich was without Liam O’Neill vs Xavier. So GHS was not at full strength.

    Score of FCIAC game was, in my opinion, not indicative of game. GHS looked VERY impressive vs Staples in Q3 of that game, then GHS defense made some stupid mistakes in Q4.

    Can anyone explain the touchdown being called back after the big Greenwich/Xavier fight? Was the facemask call thrown prior to the TD being scored? I did not see a flag thrown on TV.

    Generally speaking I am critical of refs for calls against GHS, but it appeared to me that all the penalties in the big brouhaha occourred AFTER the TD was scored. Therefore it was unfair to call back Xavier’s TD.

    Prognostication – Xavier wins LL over Staples in tight game. Xavier looked just a little tougher/stronger/faster to me. But I would not bet a lot of money on it.

  62. Brian says:

    Greenwich didn’t have the studs in the trenches this year or that breakaway back though it looks like they have one coming in the kid Longi. Tough break for them that their 2 losses came to possibly the best 2 teams in CT. Even in “bad” years GHS usually goes 7-3 or 8-2 but with the tradition they have its like Notre Dame and the yanks, if they don’t win FCIACS or LL’s it was a lost season. For schools like Ansonia, Hand, NC, Masuk, Staples and a few others the same can be said.

    As a cardinal fan the future doesn’t look that good as they graduated 30 plus kids. With Staples, NC and West HAven on the schedule next year a birth in the LL seems unlikely. We shall see.

    Good luck to all the teams this weekend. Fun time of year for players, coaches, parents, fans and students to still be playing football. Only ones not happy are the hockey and or hoop coaches lol.

  63. Jack says:

    dont sleep on the New Canaan Kids! If you give them the extra doughnuts you know theyre gonna glaze them! #Rams

  64. FCIAC Football follower says:

    @GHS fan – you guys have to know what Staples objective was after being up by 35 at half;show nothing and make the clock your friend. They did not do anything in terms of offense except throw a few passes which went for TDs in the 2nd half. Marce is too good a coach to lose a game after being up by 35. It is like the Prep people saying how they beat Staples in a scrimmage – it was clear to people that know the program that his objective is not to win or see his starters but to see how the 2nd and 3rd team plays. I have a ton of respect for Xavier but Staples should win due to overall team speed, trenches and having the best coach – BTW I am not a Staples person just have watched plenty of football. As for NFA, we will see how it goes but I think 3 TD difference after a slow first half.

  65. GHS1973 says:

    @Brian….You were right…The Cards were just not big enough to handle the size of Xavier on both sides of the ball…And, next year is a question mark with all the seniors gone…However, they are never a bad team, and I expect them to be at least respectable next year…They do have big kids on the way up…Hard to keep up with the X’s of the world, though, when you can only play the kids who reside in town and want to play a rough/tough game…If only we could get the swimmers & water polo players out of the pool & on the gridiron, then that would make it a different story..

  66. SJ Alum says:

    @GHS West Haven was also a common opponent to Staples and Xavier. Xavier sacked their starting QB numerous times, injuring his shoulder, he was an incredible athlete and it’s too bad he didn’t get to play against Staples. As far as the Facemask call, it was more of a stiff-arm, and I don’t agree with that call. Numerous flags were thrown but they all came after the touchdown was made. In the end it didn’t make a difference. Last year at Renchler I said Staples is a year away from greatness however the reloaded Xavier Team is on fire and as physical a team as I saw all year. Can’t look past NFA or Glastonbury but a rematch may be in the cards, should that happen I predict a Xavier win 36-24.

  67. GHS1973 says:

    @SJAlum…I agree…Staples is bigger than Greenwich, but not bigger than X…I think X wins a rematch (barring an upset in semi finals) but closer than last years 42-7…I’m hoping you & I are both wrong, of course..It’s just so hard to know for sure…That’s why I love CT High School Football…After the finals, it’s a let down for me, and it’s back to the reality of Christmas shopping for all the kids & grandkids…LOL

  68. mooncake says:

    Dear @SJ Alum, Please do not evaluate X and Staples by West Haven. Staples was up 35-0 before I could blow my nose. Staples defense was in snooze mode the whole game.

  69. PapaDags says:

    I’m laughing my ass off how all the FCIAC’ers are talking bout Staples and X in the final……Mostly the Westpotters….I hope to God NFA gives them the bell ringing they are capable of…..Don’t really see NFA winning in all honesty but will be at that game rooting like hell for that northeastern team as I can’t stand the WESTPORT arrogance….and trust me , if you do win, it won’t be by much…..Good luck to both sides….Wish Staples and Ansonia could play someday.

  70. SJ Alum says:

    Common Mooncake, Let’s be honest Staples is a good team, but their strength of schedule was weak, Staples hasn’t been behind all season and hasn’t faced an opponent who will go the entire 4 quarters regardless of the score. Xavier’s strength of schedule and lesson’s learned in the Hand game will give them the edge in the finals. I predict that Staples gets softened up in the NFA game Sunday and when they go down by 2 scores against Xavier they don’t know how to respond. I watched the Thanksgiving game against Greenwich and they were as physical as a powderpuff match. After Renchler and the next two years playing out of conference starting the season 0-1, they’ll rethink that decision. At least Xavier should get the #1 votes currently going towards Staples. And again Mooncake the West Haven vs Staples game must of reminded you of last years LL Championship game. See you at the Rent.

  71. NFA Historian says:

    I would really encourage people in this area to learn more about NFA at http://www.norwichfreeacademy.com. NFA is a 160 year old private high school administered by a Board of Trustees, but it is one of the designated public high schools for nine urban, suburban and rural towns in eastern connecticut including Norwich. There are a few dozen private tuition students, but the rest of the 2400 students have their tuition paid by their town of origin. It was a school of choice long before such schools were in fashion. The school has a beautiful campus with about 12 different buildings including the well known Slater Museum, a restaurant and an art school. The school offers 250 separate courses (50 of which carry college credit), 65 clubs and activities and 30 interscholastic athletic programs. It also has an endowment which matches many private colleges. Now to football. Despite having the oldest high school football rivalry in the country with New London, NFA has been an above average performer in recent decades until the past few years. With a brand new synthetic field and a dynamic coach, the team has a record of 29-4 since the beginning of the 2010 season and may be ready to become a statewide competitor. I haven’t seen the teams downstate so I can’t compare, but I can say that I have watched over 100 NFA games since I was a boy. My father was an assistant coach at NFA in the 1950s and dragged me along to games beginning in the 1970s. Now I go to a few games each year on my own in his memory. He would certainly have been proud of this team. It has more skill players, better balance and more team unity than any NFA team I have seen except for perhaps the 1969 team. The 2012 Wildcats would have beaten the 2002 and 2010 teams that went to the LL final and semifinal respectively. So is this the year? We will see. But if not this year, both of the running backs, the talented junior Marcus Outlow and improving sophmore Khaleed Exum-Strong, will be back next year. Beating an undefeated conference champion like Newtown on the road by 42 points in the playoffs suggests you may be seeing more of NFA in coming years. Regardless of whether NFA becomes the champ, you should take a drive to NFA sometime when you get out this way. You will see a different kind of high school.

  72. jeb says:

    Dear MOONCAKES

    Those three players you mentioned are all great players but not in Kelly’s class. Several years ago Jimmy Hughes was injured in the semis and Staples was no match for Shelton in the tittle game becasue Hughes did not play. . That doesn’t mean they can’t win without him. They have great talent and speed on both sides of the ball. What most people don’t realize is that kelly is a terrific defensive player. Let’s hope he plays and Staples goes on to win the CLASS LL title. They will beat NFA but will have trouble with XAVIER.

  73. dave k says:

    Jeb
    Shelton would have won that 2003 championship game even if Hughes played. They had scouted Staples for weeks and had a plan to shut him down. Shelton won because Staples couldn’t stop Jeff Norko.

  74. Teamguy says:

    Staples fans: Every team deals with injuries; enough already; coulda shoulda woulda. Kinda like you got a built in excuse already in case you lose to NFA; they got you nervous? they should.

  75. Tony says:

    To the last 5 posts here – What are you guys talking about? Where do you see any Staples fans whining about who is going to play and who isn’t? Last I heard there was no formal announcement or decision on who will be suiting up for Staples. Do you really think excuses are being made now in case they lose? Total joke and you guys have no idea what you are talking about.
    PapaDogs – Arrogance? Your post disrespects the team, conference and area that we live which is pretty darn arrogant. Staples does things the right way so I don’t know why you are popping off like that but we’ll see how things shake out tomorrow. Please check back on Monday so we can continue the conversation.

  76. GHS Fan says:

    Well, apparently Staples knocked GHS starting QB out for Xavier, and Xavier knocked West Haven’s starting QB out for Staples? One good turn deserves another I suppose. So we have neither team facing a common opponent at full strength.
    Thanks for the info on NFA. It sounds suspiciously like a school voucher program, but you can color me crazy I guess. I just do not want to hear crapola out of the anti-Catholic crowd that Xavier “recruits” and therefore has an unfair advantage when there are clearly publicly funded schools which would seem empowered to stack their team using taxpayer money. Not saying they WOULD do that of course, but they clearly COULD do that. Yes? Meantime Xavier has to pay to keep their doors open relying strictly on parents who are willing to pay both local property taxes to fund crummy public schools and then pay twice to get their kid a decent education. Just saying. So if Xavier wins again, I hope all you Catholic bashers keep your stupid comments to yourself.

  77. JB says:

    Folks – #2 for WH played in the quarterfinal game against Staples. I watched him run the offense. Maybe #2 was banged up but he definitely played. However, the WH 3-back offense did nothing. Later EP went in at QB and ran more of a wildcat type of offense, WH actually moved the ball better. EP even tossed two nice looking touch passes for TDs in the second half. The issue for WH wasn’t offense. Their defense couldn’t come close to matching up to Staples … OL was to big/quick, too many skill weapons to defend with equal speed and better size, fueled by great team execution. It was 35-0 in like 16 minutes of clock time. There was no arrogance from Staples. Explosive yes, but they don’t trash talk. Nothing but business, got a mission this year.

  78. Fred G. Sanford says:

    SCCFan(atic)

    You see Freddie is a joke hence my moniker, misspellings, and mojo. I came on to poke,prod, and stir and to get a rise out of folks like you. As Coach Mac used to say rather appropriately….”be a fan, not a fanatic” Some of you men; and I use the term loosely, should pay more heed to this credo.

    The coach of X is clearly a very solid coach who has done a great job while at Xavier. His quotes about Greenwich might have been a bit off, but then again, they are but a sliver of what he said.

    However, my comments were simply made to poke fun and provoke discussion not so much rancor. Do yourself a favor in the future SCC supporter, stop taking yourself and the beautiful game of high school football so serious and read between the lines if Fred Sanford or Archie Bunker show up on the blog.

    Enjoy the weekend and don’t let who wins and loses consume you, regardless if they reside in the SCC!

    You big dummy!!

    Fred G. Sanford
    The Xavior Savior

  79. RAY BROWN says:

    i didnt realize GREENWICH got blown out because their water polo players didnt play—-good point GHS1973

  80. mooncake says:

    RAY BROWN : LOL :)

    Hey GHS1973: You have to admit, you tossed Ray-boy a softball!

  81. PapaDags says:

    @76 Tony, you seemed to misinterpret my post….In no way was I disrespecting the conference,..(It’s probably the best in the state), nor was I disrespecting the team or it’s coaching staff…They also, yr in and yr out are at the top of the heap along with Xavier, Hand ,and Ansonia…4 schools with the LONG traditions of pride. Now , personally, if I offended any of the residents with my comments..” Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”

  82. GHS1973 says:

    @Ray & Mooncake…Yeah, Ray got me good…Those swimmers are big and strong, though…They just chose a non-contact sport to dominate..

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