State Tournament Central: CIAC football semifinal updates

Five regional teams will by vying for state championship game berths today in the CIAC semifinals. From left: Weston's Tyler Hassett; Masuk's Thomas Milone; Ansonia's Andrew Matos; New Canaan's Nick Cascone; Staples' Joey Zelkowitz


Welcome to the War Room.

Welcome to our own personal NORAD for the Connecticut high school football world, the place where you can track everything happening in today’s state football semifinal round.

Today the hard-working staff of Connecticut Post, Stamford Advocate and Westport News will be covering six state semifinal games involving our regional teams, complete with stories, photos and videos as the day goes on and complete recaps at the end of the evening.

If you’re stuck at home, can’t get to some of the games, just stick with us. We’ll get you all the information you’ll need, plus any links necessary to either listen to or watch the games online.

You can always follow the live blog at the bottom of the page for updates and analysis on every state playoff game and see what everybody’s talking about.


State semifinal preview capsules

As all the games finish head over to our high school football page to get game details, including photos and videos.

12:30 P.M. GAMES


at the Maclary Complex, Cheshire

Radio/Internet: None? (maybe CNX radio)

Xavier is the two-time defending Class LL champions. Glastonbury hasn’t been to the state final since 2009, nor has it beaten Xavier in the last two playoff meetings. Can Ben Berey and the Tomahawks even keep up with QB Tim Boyle, Kris Luster or DeAngelo Berry? Not if the Xavier defense plays the way it typically does: bone-crushing.

at Ken Strong Stadium, West Haven

WELI 960-AM ( | WWPT 90.3-FM (Wreckers radio)
MSG Varsity
Live Twitter updates: @DougBonjour |

Is this the best Staples team ever to grace a football field? Nobody’s touched the overwhelmingly talented Wreckers so far. Now here comes RB Marcus Outlow and the unbeaten Wildcats. Fresh off a 63-21 pasting of SWC champion Newtown in the state quarterfinals. NFA would love nothing more than to make believers out all Connecticut by munching on the FCIAC champions.


at Bulldog Field, Bunnell High School, Stratford
TV: MSGVarsity
Live Twitter updates: @DaveRuden |

A year ago, New Canaan broke Windsor’s heart by rallying from 17-points down and beating the Warriors on a last-second field goal. Robert Quinn Fleeting and his teammates remember. They want to even the score and get back what they lost a season ago. These Rams want to extend their string of seven straight state championship game appearances.

at Middletown High School, Middletown

CPTV Sports (check local listings)
Live Twitter updates: @WSPaxton

A matchup that pits two of Class S’ most successful programs. Hyde is good, but Ansonia is Ansonia. Will the Howling Wolves stop Andrew Matos, Arkeel Newsome and the Ansonia juggernaut? Twenty six of Ansonia’s previous opponents have all tried, but failed.

at Falcon Field, Meriden, 12:30 p.m.

Internet/TV: none
Live Twitter updates: TBA (follow updates on live blog below)

The second half of the Class S draw features two of the top passers in the state, Woodland’s Tanner Kingsley and North Branford’s Brandan Basil, who have almost 6,000 passing yards between them. Which defense will make the big stop and propel their team into the state championship?



Internet Video: CIAC NETWORK
WELI 960-AM (

Live Twitter updates: @CTPostCardillo

It’s another rematch between the last two state champions from this class. But now the tables are turned. Masuk comes in as the decided underdog and Hand the defending Class L champion, not to mention the state’s No. 1 ranked team. Can Masuk do what Hand did to it a season ago?


at Bulldog Field, Bunnell High School, Stratford

TV/Internet: None
Live Twitter updates:
TBA (follow on live blog below)

Fresh off the first state playoff victory in school history, the Tyler Hassett and the cardiac Trojans take their act to Bunnell to face No. 2-seeded and playoff veteran Berlin.

at Middletown High School, Middletown

CIAC NETWORK | CPTV Sports (check local listings)

Eight-seeded Montville turned the bracket upside-down by defeating No. 1 Wolcott in the quarterfinals. Their challenge now is to stop Hillhouse’s one-two punch of Anderson-Cooper (the tailbacks, not the CNN personality). Can the Indians pull off another upset and reach their first state final since 2009? Or will Hillhouse make its second trip to Rentschler Field in three years?


Sean Patrick Bowley

120 Responses

  1. MXR says:

    Thank you SPB (and team) for brilliant coverage again this year. My predictions are on another thread. Good luck to all 16 teams today — best for eight great and injury-free games.

  2. GHS1973 says:

    Wow…Watching Ansonia vrs. Hyde on CPTV, and listening to Staples-NFA on WELI…Great game b/tw Staples-NFA…Ansonia is up 21-0 at the half…Ansonia’s QB impresses me with his passing ability…It’s tied up between NFA-Staples at 21 at the half…

  3. You can watch NFA-Staples streaming on MSG Varsity

  4. Hoop says:

    Good news is you re trying to cover all of the games this week. Bad news, except for a limited time during the Tuesday Hillhouse game was I able to access the scoring tweets. Ct post should have planned for more followers during the tourney . Tried tonight at noon from west haven without success again

  5. GHS1973 says:

    Wow…Staples just literally shot themselves in the foot…

  6. GHS1973 says:

    @Ray…Watched your team on CPTV…Very impressed, not only with Newsome & Matos, and your defense, but really impressed with your QB, and the nice ball he throws…Good luck next round against North Branford…I am still all for the Bridgeports to the NVL…They will give you a game in all sports, and it’ll even out the FCIAC to go back to 2 divisions…

  7. NFA Historian says:

    NFA’S win over Staples reminds me of Howard Cosell’s famous call: “Down goes Frazier”! As previously noted in several blog posts here since the minor controversy over NFA’s 51-0 win over Stamford a month ago, this is an excellent, well coached team with four or five skill players and strong teamwork throughout the offensive and defensive units. I have watched them develop the past three years. I also noted that this was the best team I had seen at NFA in 45 years of attending games off and on. Now NFA is 30-4 since the beginnng of the 2010 season and has one more opponent to overcome after beating the no. 2 and no. 7 ranked teams in the state. I am thinking there will be enough momentum from these two big wins for NFA to overcome no. 4 Xavier at the Rent. That won’t be an easy game either but we are now quietly confident. Once that happens, all of the coaches and experts who follow high school sports should do the right thing and rank NFA no. 1 in the state. And also, as previously noted, you guys in Fairfield County got to remember the state doesn’t end at the Connecticut River and get out here more often. You do a great job objectively reporting and analyzing but NFA wasn’t even ranked most of the year. Just sayin.

  8. ciacfollower says:

    Ok, goin on a limb…NFA will dominate Xavier.

  9. GHS1973 says:

    Oh, And congratulations to NFA…You knocked off one of the top dogs, and the last of the FCIAC’s…Good luck next weekend against X…You’ll need it, but I’ll be rooting for a good, and exciting game again…This last one was cool..One of the better ones in a while..

  10. Brian says:

    Could not make the game today so thank u to MSG V for streamlining. Watched the whole game between NFA/Staples and the NFA team is much more skilled and physical than anyone in the lower half of the state knew. Their schedule was very easy so its hard to tell each week just how good they are. I still think X will win but their size matches up well. If they can play ball control and keep Boyle off the field they have a shot.

    Staples missed Kelly today. Not so much at RB but in the secondary where some of those passes were completed and som tackles missed. Good luck to NFA. I would like to see someone new win the title.

  11. GHS1973 says:

    @NFA Historian…Fairfield County actually ends at the Housatonic River, not the Connecticut River…

  12. buttermaker says:

    This was a great high school football game. I sat on the staples side and their fans handled this loss with much class. Hats off to them and their kids.

  13. GHS1973 says:

    @ciacfollower…Maybe, but don’t think so…X will wear you down with their size, and Boyle to Luster is hard to stop..You may hang with them for a while, but they are too good in the end, IMO…
    But, I’m often wrong, and didn’t see the upset over Staples coming, to be honest..

  14. Dave Lib says:

    Here are two things you can count on in the coming days on this blog: 1- Fans of their favorite teams will make excuses as to why their teams lost (bad luck, officials), and 2- Fans of their favorite team who lost will now say that the team who beat them is the best team in the state.
    Ready. Set. Go…..

  15. Dave Lib says:

    By the way…I hope it doesn’t come to that…..just congratulate the opponent for winning and not anoint them the best team CT has ever seen.

  16. JB says:

    Ugh, mission thwarted. NFA played a great game, really flawless. Staples pretty much shutdown Outlow and the NFA offense in the 2nd half, but made too many mistakes in the 4th quarter. Staples had them gassed at the end. No excuses, but NFA touched the ball on the last punt – I was there and was probably more obvious from the stands. Just confirmed – watched the MSG Varsity replay and the refs blew the call – #65 for NFA reached down to grab it and clearly hit the ball. Should have been dead ball and Staples in business at the 50 with 3:00 minutes left. Tough way for it to end for the Wreckers.

    But congrats to NFA, they played really hard and have a good football team with a legit shot against Xavier in the finals.

  17. NFA Historian says:

    @GHS1973 We certainly know that the Connecticut River divides New London County from Middlesex County rather than from Fairfield County. The point is that all of the reporting is on teams in the Hartford, New Haven, Stamford triangle, and people forget about teams from Eastern Connecticut. I hope that Xavier underestimates NFA just as Newtown and Staples did. NFA is still too sloppy on penalties but I believe they had a plus 5 or so turnover ratio during the last two games which speaks to the depth of their lineup, talent of the special teams and discipline. Those qualities as well as skill players win playoff games.

  18. the fciac says:

    just got back from staples game if it matters nfa has the size
    in all posistions and you better figure out how to stop the Qb

  19. the fciac says:

    p.s nfa coaches act like a bunch of pop warner coaches the way they jump up and down on big plays

  20. SJFan says:

    Windor and NFA looked pretty impressive against their wins against New Canaan and Staples today. One common denominator for both teams: not only are they good football team, they have a lot of speed. Speed indeed kills. The FCIAC does not have a lot of speed across the board, even the top teams.

  21. Weasel says:

    This is the best, most fun, blog I visit at any time of the year. Thanks, to Sean and to all of you guys!!!!!

  22. JB says:

    Sean, I now you need to confirm my account above … but the blown call at the Staples game is big. Should have been Staples ball at the 50 with 3:00 minutes left.

    Check out film time 141:19:

    I am sure the game film will confirm. The ref who called the play was obstructed by Staples player #2.

    Most amazing thing … no ref conference to get it right for such a big situation made essentially by one guy. Blown call. Players work to hard for such a weak effort by the crew at such an important point of the game.

  23. SC says:

    Staples lost the game. they were not beat. without kelly it was to easy to stop frusciante and silly errors at the end of the game cost them. NFA is good dont get me wrong. Lost respect when after the game a few NFA players flipped off the staples crowd.

  24. SJ Alum says:

    Congratulations to NFA on their win, see you at The Rent. To Staples, Congrats on your winning season, There’s no shame in leaving it all on the field. To the seniors good luck in your future endeavors the life lesson’s you learned on the field will carry you through your future successes. Exciting time of year!

  25. KPS says:

    Wrong. As usual.
    Even the Staples players reaction (including the player it hit) show you that it hit him

  26. JB says:

    @SC – the officiating crew cost Staples a chance at the end. NFA team was fine all game and played really hard. Kids will be kids when they celebrate, so I have no problem with NFA. But Staples had them gassed at the end and primed for the knock out punch, but too many errors let the game slip away. In tight games it comes down to luck – Staples got nothing today.

  27. JJJJ4 says:

    Was at the NFA- Staples game. A few observations
    1. Staples ran option play 1 too many times in 4thQ which NFA Adjusted to and came up with big fumble recovery
    2. Staples Frusciante was open alot in 4Q but Massie never looked his way. Frusciante was obviously frustrated as throwing his arms up after each play he was open
    3. NFA Coaching was horrendous. With 3:50 left in 4Q and ball never gave Outlow a touch AND threw on 2nd & 3rd down
    4. NFA QB Paparelli’s style reminded me alot like Tebow.
    5. NFA DE Skipper (90) was on sideline alot in 2Q and Staplescwas able to move the ball. When he returned he was a factor
    As you all know im a SWC fan but NFA IS THE REAL DEAL.

    Class LL FINAL NFA 28 Xavier 21

    Good luck to both teams

    SPB Thanks for a great year. Since it is almost basketball season what r the chances Hearst will pay you to follow basketball??

  28. Dave Lib says:

    There should still be a statue of Lou Marinelli outside NCHS for guiding this edition of the Rams within 6 points of the Class L final. As I’ve said many times here this year, this is not vintage New Canaan. But here they were. And the kids never quit, either.

  29. I have film of it… I thought it did.

  30. Xhs says:

    Anyone have a leak on the final game times?

  31. Dave Lib says:

    Staples deserved a better fate. Outstanding program and a freakishly awesome team this year. Hats off to the kids from NFA. They took an early shot and went down 7-0, but didn’t buckle. Excellent team. I’ll go with Xavier in the finals…but wouldn’t be shocked if NFA won.

  32. Xhs says:

    I’m hearing XHS will not be Friday but can’t confirm

  33. mooncake says:

    This is a bitter loss for Staples. I think it was, and might be for a while, their best chance for a LL Championship.

    Congratulations to NFA. They played really well, made no (zero) mistakes, to Staples’ several mistakes. All season long I posted about Staples special teams, and it did them in today.

    NFA is a worthy LL finalist and I wish them the best of luck against Xavier.

  34. Xhs says:

    I also expect every non SCC follower to be routing against the SCC.

  35. Brian says:

    When u look at the streamlined video clip it does look like the NFA kid touched it first. The bottom line is the staples player HAS to know where the ball is in that situation. The ball rolled forever it seemed before it hit him.

    I am very comfortable in saying that all 3 SCC teams and Ansonia will win this weekend. Bank on it!

  36. SC says:

    106th minute. 3rd and ten deep in own territory NFA qb clearly infront of line of scrimmage. no call. threw it for 60 yards. game changer. see for yourself.

  37. JB says:

    Sorry guys – hit #65 in the foot and the butt. Ball even skidded forward before it hit Staples #42 in the foot. Game film will confirm. Crew blew the call.

    Check the rules … a ball touched by the kick team renders it a dead ball – it can’t be advanced or cause a turnover after it has been touched.

  38. SJFan says:

    #28 -New Canaan is definitely a well-coached team. I like the fact that he is the two quarterback tandem, with both Bossidy and Cascione bringing a different dimension to the game. They should be a force next year in the FCIAC.

  39. Don says:

    The FCIAC and SWC should just stay south of Bridgeport and keep telling themselves how good they are. Wow, another SCC whitewash!

  40. GHS1973 says:

    @historian….GHS needs another Dunster Tailback..And you forgot New Haven County, if there is one…lol

  41. Reggie Palmer says:

    Marinelli deserves his statue – his teams are always superbly prepared and incredibly resilient. That said, part of getting within 1 score of the L finals surely was due to a favorable FCIAC schedule.

    What was the difference b/t Darien missing t he playoffs and NC making it? Once team played Staples, the other did not.

    Word is next year NC plays both Staples and Greenwich… that hasn’t happened in at least 10 years. ‘Bout time.

  42. KPS says:

    No 2 blocked the ref’s view.
    It hit no 65 in the butt.
    It skidded due to lack of tread’s.
    It was like that when I got here.

    Anything else?

    Still waiting for the the “Saw NFA/X/Hand/Ansonia play. Not impressive at all. Staples or Greenwich would be them by 2-3 TD’s” post.


  43. JB says:

    NFA is way bigger than the MaxPrep roster. Their DL is is going to get to Boyle. Would not shock me if NFA is LL champs this year.

  44. Xhs says:

    This is also our last chance for a few years. We only have a hand ful of juniors who even play. Our sophomores are better. Believe me when I tell you Fairfield Prep has a lot of young talent and will be a force the next couple of years. Gulp! WH and Phillips will also be a tough out along with Hillhouse. Well I will worry about that after this weekend.

  45. Jim P says:

    I was in the stands at the 50 yard line on the Staples side and had a clear view of the play. I thought that the player from Staples(#42) who touched the ball with his heel on the punt with a little over 3 minutes left was pushed by a NFA player into the ball. Not sure of the rule, but wouldn’t that negate NFA from being able to recover the ball?

  46. Dave Lib says:

    @Reggie Palmer
    NC has one of the toughest schedules in the state next year. It’s going to be tough for them to get back, but I think they’ll be a better team next year. And Lou always finds a way.
    Also, blame the FCIAC for its schedule…not NC or any other team.
    The SCC does its scheduling right…and it shows by how well its teams do in the state playoffs.
    The SCC is like the SEC!

  47. JB says:

    @KPS – yep, one more to add to your list, NFA might be sitting at home next weekend. NFA was gassed. Staples blew it, period. 3 minutes from the 50 could have been enough. NFA played great and is an excellent football team, so congratulations, but was very fortunate to get that break at the end.

  48. Dave K says:

    Will the FCIAC move to a big school and small school division?

  49. CTdude says:

    Hey mr fciac! How was that crow you had for dinner?
    Next time just brag about how good your guys are not how bad the SWC is…LOL.

    Karma sucks doesn’t it?

  50. KPS says:

    If they were gassed, Staples wouldn’t have had to punt with 3 minutes left.
    And they won’t be sitting home. They may get crushed, they may crush, whatever, but they won’t be sitting home. Others will.

  51. MXR says:

    Congrats to the 8 winners, and good luck to each of them next weekend at the Rent.

    Seeing nothing on the “other LL Semi,” and being a Xavier fan, I say kudos to Glastonbury. They were outmanned, but played their hearts out. That is a well-coached football team that plays intellingently and with passion, and a very worthy CCC representative.

    Before saying anything more, let me be clear that I was at the X-GBury game and did not see the NFA-Staples game or, as of yet, any highlights of it. I make no judgments on the accuracy or wisdom (or lack thereof) of any official’s call or other matter related to the game. I do, however, subscribe whole heartedly to prong #1 of Dave Lib’s comment @14. With that prologue:

    –As an X fan I have been hoping for a year for the re-match, and am very sorry that it will not happen.

    –I tip my hat to NFA for a job well done. You don’t need me to say it, but welcome to the big show. Good luck this coming week.

    –To those thinking NFA has served notice to “the southern part of the State,” I suggest a quick look at a map. Norwich is not “up north.” It is south of Middletwon, and therefore in the southern part of the State. Perhaps not the southewestern part of the State. But that’s okay: it’s still playing.

    –As to Dave Lib @14, point #2 (perhaps turned upside down a bit) — In the Finals last year Staples was taken apart by one of the great teams in State history. No doubt Staples ’12 > Staples ’11, and X ’11 < X '12. That, however, does not make Staples '12 the greatest team ever in the FCIAC, let alone an all time great CT team. Perhaps no one should stake a claim like that early to mid-season. I think it was during the week between Semis and Finals last year that SPB described X '11 as a "mother mover" — that seems about the proper time for those typse of pronouncements,

    –Nor does it mean Xavier cannot threepeat, though NFA has a very large say on that.

    It's gonna be a fun week.

  52. KPS says:

    My bad….Too gassed to drive for a (game winning) touchdown 1/2 way through the 4th qtr.
    The whole “they’ll be there next week, others won’t..” still applies though.

  53. JB says:

    @KPS – are you high or what? NFA punted with 3:15 minutes left in the game after a 3 and out.

  54. ciacfollower says:

    @#10, 13 – Size does NOT matter in HS football.

  55. NFA Historian says:

    Staples did a good job keeping the game close considering they had 4 turnovers and NFA had 0, and also had several penalties. Staples’offense suffered one interception by Outlow and lost one fumble on the 3 yard when the NFA defense blocked a lateral. The other two turnovers were by special teams – the “fumble” turnover by the long snapper and the turnover when the NFA punt bounced backwards and hit the defender’s leg (at least according to the two refs who were ten feet away rather than the people in the stands who were about 150 feet away or are now trying to interpret a long camera shot with a magnifying glass). Other than too many penalites, NFA came ready to play and avoided mistakes. They also used Outlow as a decoy and blocker for Papperelli and Exum-Strong quite effectively. It would be interesting to know what the time of possession was for each team.

  56. PapaDags says:

    OK, great, great game today, no doubt…one of the best in yrs…tough loss for Staples…would have been very interesting to see how they responded if the muff-punt doesn’t occur…regardless whether it hit this one or that..would have liked to see what they may have done with a couple minutes to go….NOW > the real question…It’s nice to see that the CIAC is allowing the FCIC and SCC play a game the next 2 yrs..there will be great matchups…one of the best things that could happen to Ct HS football…..HOWEVER, damn it, they are missing the most important factor here…Why let a LL fciac team play a LL Scc team…Use your so called brains boys…these 2 ( if at all worthy of playoffs) will meet anyway in the playoffs….Let a M play an LL or L…You see my logic…theoretically they could play twice in the same yr…at playoff time…Don’t allow 2 LL’s to play that coveted game…a chance to show yourself…Be sure Hand plays a LL team next yr in the Fciac…using this yr as an example to my point..It’s a great thing for HS football in Ct , just needs to be fine tuned..It can only help determaning the TRUE #1 team at the end of the year….After all, that’s where the real prize is…sure it’s nice to hand out 4 champions each yr…But we all want to see the ultimate champ for the year with no argument…I realize it’s not the ultimate and defining answer but it could bring us closer…..the real answer of course is a BCS type format as done in college…What will one more week of football hurt??? It sure as hell will make the CIAC richer…..and us fans a little more satisfied….

  57. High School FB Fan says:

    Not an Xavier fan, but having seen them, and as of today, NFA play… Xavier wins by 3 scores. NFA’s whole jet motion/Q trap package is not going to get it done against them and they can not pass well enough to beat them in the air. Additionally Xavier should be able to pick apart NFA through the air. I can’t believe I just wrote all this about Xavier…I feel sick

  58. PrepFan says:

    FCIAC teams got beat by better teams. Maybe they’re too fat from all the cupcakes they get during the regular season.

  59. JB says:

    Signing off for the year. Good luck to all the teams in the finals. It is a great time in your lives, so make the most of it.

    To the Wreckers, in high school football it only ends in elation if you go undefeated and win it all – a tough fact of life … however, elation of the win or the agony of defeat is a fleeting thing. It is your hard work, effort and dedication that is the most important measure of success. In that regard, few teams have an equal. Your fans enjoyed every minute of the ride and look forward to next year. To the seniors, thank you for an outstanding career and passing on your legacy.

  60. MXR says:

    And now I have looked at “the play” 5 times via the film JB posted. Who touched it first? I have to say I still have no idea. It is about as clear an example of “inconclusive evidence” as I can imagine. And sorry, I am not going to slow it down, zoom in and otherwise Zapruderize it any further. The best team in the history of a proud conference does not let a Final’s berth turn on getting a call like this in order to try to score in the last minute to come from behind against a team it is at leaqst a 2 TD favorite over. Maybe there were other bad calls. This was a call at a very sensitive time, but from that film I can’t say it is a bad call.

  61. SCC says:

    Ummm, Prep Fan, I’ll give you the “quality wins” against Hamden, Shelton and East Haven. But you lost to Amity. And NDWH. Congrats on the 6-4 year, but your probably not redy to throw stones just yet.

  62. KPS says:

    Thanks for signing off for the year. Your insights are useless anyway. Gems such as:
    “just watched that “#2″ West Haven team that your Madison crowd thought was so great. They are like a carbon copy of McMahon in the FCIAC, except without good coaching. Not impressed at all with what I witnessed on TV. Flustered, RBs pointing the finger at OL teammates, totally over-matched. Xavier has there act together, but the thing that struck me the most was how poorly West Haven played – undisciplined on offense and terrible on defense. Not very physical or very fast. Now I am totally confused about Hand. My guess is that all three – Xavier, Hand and West Haven – are just not any where near as good as the hype. Just a bunch of bluster; can’t wait for the playoffs to begin. Love JB.
    p.s. totally changing my view – Prep will beat West Haven.
    Comment by JB — November 14th, 2012 @ 10:11 pm”

  63. MXR says:

    My final comment of the night. I am very sorry to see JB @ 59 saying he is signing off for the year, as he is one of the most reasonable and intelligent posters on here. I love the sentiment of his message in #59. What he says is completely true. I hope the players can take it to heart.

  64. SCC says:

    Good grief PrepFan, I forgot Wilbur Cross. Who exactly did you bet this year? You have over 1000 boys. Find some athletes.

  65. Dave Lib says:

    @ #56…
    You are 100% correct. The SCC-FCIAC challenge should have had Class LL schools play Class L Schools. This way there could be no potential rematches in the states. We’ve seen X vs. Staples. We’ve seen Hand vs. NC. They need to mix it up with two teams playing that never see each other.
    I wish it was Xavier vs NC, Staples vs. Hand, Hillhouse vs Greenwich, etc.

  66. Dave Lib says:

    I watched the replay of the Ansonia game………I would LOVE to see Hand vs. Ansonia. That would be a classic. Two GREAT teams. I’ve seen Ansonia play before, but today its defense was in the backfield on every other play.
    This Ansonia team can compete (I didn’t say beat) with anybody out there.

  67. jeb says:

    MOONCAKES…As I mentioned in a former blog I don’t think you personally realized what an impact Nick Kelly has on this Staples football team. Staples had a terrific year and i think this was the best team they have ever produced…but when you lose a game and don’t win the state championship you can’t be recognized as Staples best team. Those are the cold facts.

  68. jeb says:

    I realy admire the decision of the NFA coaching staff going for the first down on fourth and one from the 47 yd line. No doubt in my mind that Staples would have taken the ball down the field an scored.

    This Staples team can score from anywhere on the field at any time..they are that good.

  69. Dave Lib says:

    I couldn’t believe NFA went the previous 7 plays without handing the ball off to Outlaw. They smartened up and gave it to him on that fourth-and-one to ice the game.

  70. GHS1973 says:

    Sorry, But Staples blew it on the center’s snap out of the end zone for the safety…That was dumb.

  71. ciacfollower says:

    @jeb – Staples lost.


  73. GHS1973 says:

    That’s all right young man, those things happen..Suck it up, and play on…

  74. GHS1973 says:

    @sbp…not talking about the kick play…talking about the safety..

  75. GHS1973 says:

    IMO…X will beat them…

  76. Football Fan says:

    @ Dave Lib
    Whats are you basing your Ansonia evaluation on ?
    They have not met 1 team that would be classified as a top 10 team.Greenwich looked like the real deal,check out their scores week #1-#8,before they Played Staples and Xavier.DOD{degree of Difficulty}They play NOT ONE team that can compete with them.How would Staples fare in the NVL and Class S this year ?

  77. Honus says:

    Just getting to review the game film starting at about 139. If I were Staples, I’d be livid.
    1. On 2nd and 11, to avoid a sack, though the QB may have been outside the tackle box and though there was a receiver somewhere nearby, the ball thrown out of bounds never crossed the line of scrimmage (it was caught by a bystander on the 17, two yards shy of the line of scrimmage), hence obvious intentional grounding.
    2. On 3rd and 11, NFA #7, after the play is signalled in, leaves the field of play then returns; that’s illegal substitution even though NFA had only 10 players on the field.
    3. On the punt, NFA #65 sees the ball is bouncing backwards and makes a concerted effort to stop it, though it’s unclear if he touches it. However, a better case could be made that NFA #44 lowers his shoulder into Staples #42 at the 39.5 and drives him back six yards, then pushes off him right before the ball bounces back to hit his leg.

    I can see one call going against Staples, but all three– in a row? Wow.

  78. Dave Lib says:

    What am I basing that Ansonia is a great team on? The “eye-test.”
    I’ve seen all the top teams this year–some more than once. Ansonia is legit. I don’t care that they’re in Class S or the NVL. An excellent football team is an excellent football team. Size, speed, Newsome.
    I never said Ansonia would BEAT anybody in the state this year (like Staples, Xavier, Hand, NFA)–I’m saying they can PLAY with any of those teams. Yes, Ansonia is that good. Just my opinion.
    You asked “How would Staples fare if they played in the NVL and Class S this year?” My answer: Staples would smash everybody in Class S and the NVL… fact, Staples would smash everybody in Class S and the NVL. Except Ansonia. Staples might be Ansonia…but I doubt it would be lopsided. Ansonia would score on Staples. But I would give the edge to Staples.

  79. Dave Lib says:

    I meant to say Staples would 50-point rule very team in Class S and the NVL….other than Ansonia. I think Staples would beat Ansonia, but it would be a great game. Cou;d Ansonia beat them? Yes…if Staples played poorly and Ansonia played very well.
    BTW…I am not from Ansonia or from the NVL…so I have zero bias.

  80. Xhs says:

    I don’t mean to crank up Mr. Ray Brown this morning but I’m sure this will make him throw his coffee. I have a lot of friends (who are Middletown High Supporters) who decided to go to MHS and watch the Ansonia game rather then make the trip to Cheshire. All of them say they have a nice team but a different brand of football in class S. Said they would lose by 30 to a quality LL or L team because of size and depth. I believe the size and depth is a fair statement but I’m not sure of the 30 but these are very knowledgeable fans. This is no disrespect to Ansonia but to put them in the same class with the Hand, Xavier, Staples teams year in and year out is just not right. I have not seen them this year but have against Cromwell years past and I left those games with the same impression. A GREAT program quantified (for it’s size)

  81. GO NOLES!! says:

    Football Fan-it is obviously going to be impossible to evaluate how Ansonia would fare against teams in other playoff divisions. But it is dumb to measure Ansonia by how Staples would perform in the NVL or Class S. Of course the Wreckers would demolish many of the NVL teams, just like Ansonia would whip up on most of the clearly overrated FCIAC or the SWC. And Staples would do just fine in Class S…until they met, well, Ansonia.
    Look at the individual teams, not the conference, because that’s all that matters in the playoffs.
    All season long we heard and read about Staples’ speed. I’m sure they are “FCIAC fast”. But Ansonia or Hillhouse fast? Highly doubtful.

    Actually, after watching a lot of high school football this season, I think Ansonia could beat anybody in the state. Their line is very young and undersized this season, but they have speed and skill all over the field. Not to mention that this season the offense is multi-dimensional with a number of weapons, and would very difficult for even the very best defenses to hold in check for long.

    Xavier’s size and physicality would make for a great match-up. And Hand is not only very talented,but arguably the best-coached team in the state. I’d also have to throw the athletic and fast Windsor and NFA squads into the mix.

    Damn! Wouldn’t an “Open” division with an 8-team playoff be awesome?

  82. Garf says:

    Post 76. Maybe it has something to do with Dave Lib knowing football – you look at size, speed, execution, strength, balance, etc., sure a lack of competition can skew variables to an extent but if you observe with an open mind – and that’s a helluva lot easier said than done because most people see only what they believe instead of believing what they see. Case in point: NFA…you’re telling me if you’d seen NFA beat up their weak schedule all year you wouldn’t have been able to recognize that they were an extremely talented team?? C’mon man.

  83. Rob says:

    Yes yes, Ansonia would be an underdog to Staples.

    Just curious though, would they be more or less of an underdog than NFA was?

  84. JB says:

    @KPS – a man eats his crow and I had mine for breakfast. The WH team Staples played was no where near what I wintessed on CPTV vs Xavier. Great coach, great kids who played with heart and were very disciplined. I had the wrong impression and learned that watching them firsthand.

    Wrecker fans would have loved the chance for a rematch with Xavier in the finals but was not meant to be. MXR said it best, Staples should have never been in that position at the end. NFA is an excellent football team and deserved the victory with a flawless team effort.

    Good luck to all teams in the finals. The SCC is proving itself with 3 teams at the Rent. They could make a clean sweep of LL, L and M.

    Sean is prolithic in his coverage of CTHSFB … look forward to his wrap of the finals and the season. And you have to trust Sean’s camera angle … it actually makes me feel better that it was not a blown call. Thanks for being on the spot and calling it straight up, as always.

  85. PatPatriot says:

    Honus #77 – you forgot the 3rd and 9 play from deep in NFA’s own end in the 3rd quarter. QB dumps the ball over the cornerback for a 50+ yard gainer. Look at the sticks on the MSG video – 2 full yards past the line of scrimmage. Even the TV announcers caught it.

    As they say “it is what it is”. Staples plays a clean game they win. Noone to blame but themselves. NFA is a very good football team but I think its a bad matchup versus X. Neither team will be able to run the ball well (sloppy field and 2 very good run defenses). Boyle will be the difference and X ends up winning 28-14.

    Congratulations to the Staples seniors. Back to back FCIAC titles and a 21-2 record. Once again Marce produces a tremendous group of student athletes who will go on to some great schools including Fordham, Penn, Amherst, Middlebury, Trinity, and Bowdoin to name a few.

    Good luck to all who made their division finals.

  86. Ray Brown Jr says:


  87. spike says:

    HONUS, Sorry to bust your bubble but an FCIAC title means nothing. The same as an NVL title or SWC title Win the states and we can talk.

  88. UBilly says:

    First, Great games this weekend and congratulations to every player out there, winning or losing. The commitment needed to excel at the ultimate team game of football will serve you all well in your future life endevors. If you can pursue excellence in everything you do the same way you have in the game of HS football, you will be successful in the “game” of life!

    I think I made the point earlier this season that wracking up lots of points against lesser teams does not make you the best team. Staples was an excellent team this year. But JB, Honus, Dave Lib, mueller, Ho Hum, Yeah, and Moomcake etc, to crown them king was now obviously premature. The comments about beating this or that team by 2 -3 TDs is just guess work and fun, but winning alone is what counts.

    Maybe the coaches and writers voting in the polls know that the “eye-test” isn’t always the best. Strength of Schedule does matter. And to minimize the impact that the loss of a team leader makes on the entire game plan and psyche of the team is just wrong. WHHS lost their QB and was out of it at the start of the Staples game. GHS had a similar situation losing a team leader v XHS. You saw it again with Staples last night. Not an excuse, but very impactful to the outcome. It IS difficult to just plug in the next guy, and that is why you really have to tip your hat to the teams that are successful doing it. That is why it is fools gold to say that b/c you beat up a team in your game, you must be better than a team that did not score as big a win points wise when they played the same opponent.

    Looking at familiar names in my predictions for State Championships from the SCC and NVL again this year. But, let’s play the games and not crown the king before the victory is earned!

  89. jeb says:

    Hand was beating Masuk 35-0 with 5 minutes and change remaining in the first half. The coach of Hand should be complimented for keeping the score down. The starting qb for Hand did not play in the second half. This is the best team in the state by far. They will beat a good Windsor team ….Ansonia, Xavier, NFA and Staples roung the top five. Ansonia will be scarry good next year…speed,power and talent along with great coaching. Mark them down right now as the number one team in Connecticut at years end next year. Simply awesome.

  90. Garf says:

    Xhs: No “knowledgable” fan would arrive at that conclusion, lol. Hillhouse and Ansonia are extremely similar on both sides of the ball and in terms of size and depth (Ansonia is actually bigger)… those knowledgable Middletown fans see Hillhouse as not being able to compete with L and LL teams?? Haters gonna hate actually translates to haters gonna see only what they believe.

  91. Observer says:

    Re: 77

    I believe there is no “outside the box” exception in high school for intentional grounding. No receiver in the area= intentional grounding. Intentionally thrown out of bound, even with a receiver in area=intentional grounding. The only allowable grounding is the spike to stop the clock. The pass you saw was clearly intentional grounding. There was a receiver in the area, but the ball was thrown intentionally over his head. By about 12 feet.

    BTW, I need to find the replay on MSG, but one of the most “odd” officials action was at the NC/WIndsor game, when the refereed shooed the NC sidline personnel away from the first down marker before he went out to mark the ball. Maybe this was so he would know whether it was a first down, but he should have gone out and put his foot down to mark the ball first, and not create the impression that his mark was going to depend on where the first down was. (I don’t remember who had the ball, only that it looked non-kosher as an officiating practice. Happy to hear a different reason.)

  92. Garf says:

    Xhs: No “knowledgable” fan would arrive at that conclusion, lol. Hillhouse and Ansonia are extremely similar on both sides of the ball and in terms of size and depth (Ansonia is actually bigger)… those knowledgable Middletown fans see Hillhouse as not being able to compete with L and LL teams? Guess all the voting writers and coaches who scout and network are wrong. Haters gonna hate actually translates to haters gonna see only what they believe.

  93. Dave Lib says:

    My highly unofficial top ten, heading into the state finals:
    1- Hand
    2- Ansonia
    3- Xavier
    4- NFA
    5- Staples
    6- Windsor
    7- Berlin
    8- Hillhouse
    9- North Branford
    10- Glastonbury

  94. Baron says:

    I am glad that the Masuk faithful decided to keep their mouths shut!!! Again, “B SLAPPED” against a real team. I wish I played in that Pop Warner league so I can be considered all everything.

    The Masuk big gun got another education to real football!!!!!

  95. MXR says:

    If Madison wins, it should be a unanimous #1, with an interesting but irrelevant discussion about the ordering from #2 down. If Madison doesn’t win, then we may have a debate for the ages depending on what happens in the other games.

  96. Xhs says:

    Garf / Ray brown, believe me I’m not here to dis Ansonia. Great program and Great history. You should be proud. Call me crazy but other then the Xavier / NFA game, I see all Saturaday games as 25 point blow outs!

  97. Honus says:

    @PatPatriot – To the naked eye at full speed, I’m shocked that play didn’t draw a flag. But freezing the picture, it’s more like a half yard over the line of scrimmage, not two yards. It’s one thing to overcome personnel disruptions and turnovers, both of which you have control over, but pile on “unfortunate” calls and it’s usually see ya. You hate to see it, but until there’s replay at the HS level, it is what it is.

    @Spike – An FCIAC title obviously means nothing to *you*. Fair enough. To a top team from NJ, they probably think their JV can beat our best. Bowl games are essentially meaningless, but the kids love playing in and winning them. It’s all perspective.

    @UBilly – Absolutely right. In CT HS football, the loss of one star can make your “best team ever” look like pure hype, or worse, a choker. Again, let’s keep perspective and be kind to the kids.

    BTW, I’m wondering how many SCC schools are rooting for X to beat NFA. If I’m Amity, Cheshire, Fairfield Prep, Hamden, Shelton, or W Haven, the last thing I want is a 42-3 team continually attracting and grooming D1 talent in my league and class. Any fans of those teams still out there following along care to comment?

  98. anotherfan says:

    RAY, I think he(noles) was saying Staples was not as fast as Ansonia and Hillhouse, that he refered to Staples compared to the rest of the FCIAC.

  99. Dylan says:

    @Honus SCC teams will not pull against Xavier. NFA has a roster full of great talent and last I looked, only our QB has a major college scholly offer, and deservedly so. I suspect one or more of our linemen will get an offer as well, other than that I have not heard of any of these players with D 1 offers. As a matter of fact, these kids would ave benefited elsewhere from playing time, as it is they were all largely backups last year save 4 or 5 of them. Xavier has good coaching that make guys D1/2 talent. The guys come there as regular Joes and it is the program that makes them special.

  100. Xhs says:

    As you know what kind of fan I am. And yes I want Hillhouse to crush!

  101. Xhs says:

    And yes if Hand wins they s/b #1 as they won on the field

  102. FCIAC Football follower says:

    Xhs – what if NFA wins it going away? What if it a close game since everyone one is saying that Xavier is playing so much better now – if NFA wins – shouldn’t they be number #1 for beating a better team than Hand? Is it so that if NFA wins it stays with the SCC team? Its high school football – no carryover from last year – you are the best team on the field you should be ranked higher – if NFA wins – they should be #1 beating Staples and Xavier.

  103. MXR says:

    @FCIAC Football follower — I am not by nature inclined to argue on behalf of Madison, and its followers do a plenty good job of making their own points. But if Madison wins, it should be, and will be, #1. It will have won three play-off games, including one against a team ranked middle of Top 10 from Week 1. Its regular season will have included wins over the then #1 and an LL finalist (not champion since you are assuming NFA wins), the likely M champion and another play-off team. You don’t need pre-2012 history to conclude that will be the best body of work in the state in 2012. The only intereesting #1 in the Polls discussion occurs if Windsor wins. Then the LL champion, Windsor and Ansonia will each have lots of points to make.

  104. Xhs says:

    Middletown beat Windsor on the field if the kid held on to that pass at the end. Middletown is not in Hand’s league. Hand wins going away.

  105. Football Fan says:

    My point is Staples ,for example,passed the eye test and looked ALMOST unbeatable prior to Sunday.Is that a fair statement ?
    Now comes Sunday and next Friday for LL{NFA} and guess what a strong quality{LL} opponent lines up against you and now the team that passed the ” Eye test” with the best offense in many year with speed size ,coaching,etc gets defeated.This by NO MEANS is something to be embarassed about.My question to you is where is this challenge for Ansonia ?

  106. Honus says:

    As I’ve already stated, if NFA beats X, NFA should be #1 for the same reason Hand is #1 now: strength of schedule. Hand leapfrogged to #1 for the simple reason it beat #1 X. If NFA wins, they will have beaten a “better” X. Advantage NFA. Hand’s next best conquest would be Windsor vs Staples for NFA. Advantage NFA. Next on the list would be West Haven, who X blew out and Hand barely beat. Advantage NFA. And so on. It’s not even close.

  107. GO NOLES!! says:

    If, a big “if” obviously, NFA defeats Xavier, then they will and should get consideration for the #1 spot in the polls. Hard to argue with head-to head results.

    But if Hand does beat a very good, athletic (albeit sloppy) Windsor team, they deserve the top ranking.

    Ansonia is very,very good, and very fast. But with a younger, smaller line this season, they are probably a notch below Hand. Their blocking has been inconsistent (which is a greater tribute to Newsome’s numbers this season).

    Xavier was simply outcoached and outplayed by Hand, and looked like they were chasing greyhounds against Hillhouse, until the Academics got tight and screwed the pooch in the last 11 minutes. The X-men are in the mix, but not the top team in the state.

    And yes, I was referring to Staples “speed”, as referenced to the FCIAC. Until bloggers have seen teams with speed and quickness all over the field (not just a couple of players), they should hold comment. Staples is/was talented, but their “speed” did not compare to some of the teams still playing.

  108. Garf says:

    It’s great for the kids and us fans that more high school games are being televised throughout the season (on CPTV, MSG Varsity, and local cable). Gives those with the capacity to be objective – posters like Go Noles, Brian from Greenwich, Rob from Ansonia, Dave Lib, and a few others – to get a true gauge on the state’s best teams. Can’t wait for this weekend!

  109. j says:

    As I’ve said on this blog before Staples would have alot of trouble trying to beat 3 top tier state teams in a row in the playoffs due to several factors. No disrespect at all, they have a great program, great coaches etc. They get every ounce out of the kids. I had stated in the preseason that its SCC, SCC, SCC, Ansonia. And i repeated this mid season etc. We can talk why that happened but it wasn’t a surprise by folks who really know football. There was alot of talk how Staples was the best team some coaches had seen (IN THE FCIAC? maybe), Xavier’s 2011 was one of the best I’ve seen in Ct over the years…and Hand this year is unreal and has to go down as one of the best also right?! because of their body of work. Staples and Masuk get alot of publication in the FCIAC coverage area. However, the SCC is dominant…the SEC. Should be great games this weekend!

  110. spike says:

    If Staples did go to the finals and Kelly didn’t paly against Xavier then Staples would lose easily. I was surprised that they lost to NFA with or without Kelly.

  111. fan says:

    #38 If you have two quarterbacks that means you don’t have one good qb.

  112. @Spike Kelly would have played in final had Staples won

  113. Xhs says:

    I will say this in 2005, 2010 and 2011 I knew we were state champs before we hit the field. This year, I think we can be state champs. A big difference. Reason? We don’t have the D we had in those years. But I said that in my first post of the season. Good luck to all

  114. Cthsfootball says:

    Xhs, Yea 2010 and 2011 were complete locks for Xavier. It was comical listening to many on this site act like they had a shot against them. Clearly they just hadn’t seen them play or just didn’t want to believe what they were seeing. This years team isn’t nearly as dominant. Their defense can be beat through the air. Aren’t as big on the lines. Hopefully they win but far from certain this year.

  115. Raff says:

    This weekend-

    LL- Xavier over NFA- Great game that will be tight but Xavier has experience and a D 1 QB in Boyle who has a strong arm and poise and Xavier should pull away in the 4th quarter. NFA is tough and coach Davis keeps sating it doesn’t matter what conference you play in. It does to a point. I mean the ECC time and time again has done poorly in the playoffs but a win over Staples is very impressive and overall NFA has talent. Outlow is a tremendous talent but give the Xavier coaches time to prepare and it should be intresting. I just think they will come up short vs. Xavier.

    Xavier 35 NFA 21.

    L- Hand over Windsor- #1 team hands down that has been tested each week in the SCC playing @ Hillhouse week 2- @Xavier week 4- West Haven week 5 and @North Haven week 7. Hand has answered the bell each week and will have back to back 13-0 seasons with a tremendous team and program with a win. Hand never rebuilds they just reload each season. Windsor came up short last season losing in the L semifinals to New Canaan in the final seconds so hats off to Windsor for making it to the finals. Windsor has speed and a solid team.

    Hand 28 Windsor 7

    M- Hillhouse over Berlin. Speed- Speed- Speed. Berlin in 2010 was #1 seed in Class M and held a lead at Sage Park over Hillhouse
    30-21 with 845 left in the game and lost 33-30. This year Berlin will deal with again Jr. Harold Cooper who is 140 yards shy of 5,000 rushing yards in his career and has 68 total touchdowns and Sr. Andre Anderson who has 1,270 yards rushing on the season and over 3,300 yards of total offense in his career and 46 total touchdowns. I just don’t see Berlin containing the speed if Hillhouse can excecute with minimal penalties and if they take care of the ball. Berlin from the CCC is tough to evaluate because the CCC has had some weak teams. I say if Berlin played Hillhouse’s schedule would they be 9-1 like they were in the CCC? I think more like 5-5 or 6-4 with and SCC D 2 schedule.

    Hillhouse 41 Berlin 14

    S- Ansonia over North Branford- This could be the best game of the weekend. Ansonia is going for back to back 14-0 seasons and will probably finish #2 in the state if Hand and Ansonia win this weekend.
    North Branford will put up points and there offense with Basil is solid but not sure if North Branford will be able to slow down Newsome and the Chargers. Nobody really has yet and Newsone is approaching 7,000 career rushing yards and already has the rushing TD mark with 116. Newsome will break Alex Thomas’s record of 8,265 yards in 2013 as long as he stays healthy. Ansonia returns a lot in 2013. North Branford has had a great year to be 12-0 but I think they will come up short.

    Ansonia 49 North Branford 27

    In 2011 4 New Haven County teams won-
    Xavier- Hand- Ansonia & Holy Cross

    2012- 4 possible New Haven County teams again-
    Xavier – Hand- Hillhouse
    & Ansonia

    FCIAC? Just kidding. FCIAC vs. SCC challenge in 2013 should be great!

    Games will be great this weekend and we will see what happens.

    SCC- SCC- SCC!

  116. MXR says:

    Raff, Xavier is in Middletown (Middlesex County).

  117. Raff says:

    @MXR- Thanks for the geographic update but there still considered a school in the New Haven County football chapter. When New Haven plays Fairfeild county each summer the Xavier players play for New Haven. I am going by the chapter and not region. Xavier is also in the SCC. Any other teams in Middlesex in the SCC?

    Thanks again-

  118. MXR says:

    Sorry Raff, I had missed the point you were trying to make. I believe the answer is no on other SCC teams in Middlesex County.

  119. Raff says:

    @MXR- I guessed I confused myself also. I might have said Xavier was a New Haven County team but when you go by the chapter they are New Haven considered and yes it looks weird due to they are located in Middletown. But Xavier joined the SCC in 1995 when the conference was formed. It looks like on paper those are the 4 favorites this weekend but as we always say anything can happen.

    Xavier since week 7 when they were down to Hillhouse 49-21 entering the 4th quarter with that comeback sort of helped both teams realize there was no room for error even with Hillhouse losing the lead they have rattled off 5 convincing wins to enter the Class M final vs. Berlin and stand at 10-2 with losses to possibly the #1 team in Hand and #2 or #3 team in Xavier if they both win this weeeknd.

  120. Garf says:

    Solid write-ups, Raff.