It’s that time of year again… the Greatest Sporting Day of the Year in Connecticut.
Rivalry Week. Thanksgiving Week.
A day where every game means something — be it pride, a winning season, a .500 season, precious playoff points, bragging rights — and it’s played in front of, most likely, your largest crowd of the year.
For most of you seniors, it’s your last game. For a few others, it’s your first playoff game. And for a select precious few, it’s the start of what you hope to be a glorious championship season.
And for everybody, it’s time to tell us who’s going to win the games.
Pretty straightforward. Just read the preview, and pick ‘em. (Most of the statistics provided are via teams on Maxpreps.com, a minority of teams do not provide statistics.)
Platt Tech at O’Brien Tech
WHERE/WHEN– Finn Stadium, Shelton; 6 p.m.
RECORDS — Platt Tech 3-6, O’Brien Tech 3-6
T-DAY SERIES — First meeting
LAST YEAR — First meeting
KEY STATS — O’Brien Tech sophomore QB Nick Coppola is second in the CSC in passing yards (725). …The teams met at J.J. Sullivan’s in Ansonia in hopes of creating a Thanksgiving week tradition.
AT STAKE — Four wins for both schools. Three straight wins for O’Brien Tech.
Oxford at Pomperaug
WHERE/WHEN – Edward Arum Athletic Complex, Southbury, 6 p.m.
RECORDS — Oxford 3-6, Pomperaug 7-2
T-DAY SERIES — Pomperaug 3-0
LAST YEAR — Pomperaug 38-6
KEY STATS — Pomperaug senior LB Tyler Valenti leads the state with 137 tackles (solo and assists). …Pomperaug’s defense is third in the league in points allowed (16.7 per game). …Pomperaug’s Matt Paola leads state with seven field goals, including state record 54-yarder vs. ND-Fairfield. …Oxford junior Brennan Diaz is tied for fourth in the SWC with 5 sacks. …Oxford is on a two-game win streak. …The game was moved from Oxford (on Thanksgiving Day) to Pomperaug due to field issues.
AT STAKE — An outside shot at a Class LL playoff berth for Pomperaug. Oxford’s first victory in the series.
WHERE/WHEN – Falcon Field, Meriden, 6 p.m.
RECORDS — Abbott Tech 2-7, Wilcox Tech 1-8
T-DAY SERIES — First meeting
KEY STATS — Abbott Tech snapped a 20-game losing streak vs. Stamford Academy in October and then followed it with a 27-14 victory over Wolcott Tech, the first CSC victory in program history. Wilcox Tech’s only victory was vs. Wolcott Tech, which is in its first year as a program. Wilcox Tech defeated Abbott Tech 44-12 in last year’s regular season.
AT STAKE — An unprecedented third victory for Abbott Tech’s football program.
Danbury at Ridgefield
WHERE/WHEN – Lancaster Field at Tiger Hollow, 7 p.m. [Time change]
RECORDS — Danbury 5-4, Ridgefield 7-2
T-DAY SERIES — Ridgefield 6-3
LAST YEAR — Ridgefield 27-14
KEY STATS — Danbury senior RB James Harrington is one of the FCIAC’s leading rushers with 1,022 yards and the leading scorer with 128 points. Danbury FB/LB Austin Calitro is committed to Villanova. …Ridgefield QB Connor Rowe is 2nd in the league in passing yards (1,706). Sr. WR Jack Heller is second in the league in receiving yards (544). Jr. Sam Gravitte is second in the league with 103 points scored and has 4 sacks.
AT STAKE — A shot at a state playoff berth for Ridgefield. A winning season for Danbury.
Woodland at Seymour
WHERE/WHEN– DeBarber Field, 6 p.m.
RECORDS — Woodland 5-4, Seymour 5-4
T-DAY SERIES — Seymour 6-3
LAST YEAR — Woodland 47-7
KEY STATS — Woodland sophomore Tanner Kingsley is one of the NVL’s leading passers (1,407 yards); Matt Zaccaginini is the third-leading rusher (1,266). David Alves leads the league with 7 sacks. …Seymour’s Luke Grabowski has passed for 1,037 yards. Jon Wilson has 923 rushing yards. …Both teams have lost two straight.
AT STAKE — Bragging rights. Seymour’s first winning season under coach Tom Lennon.
Masuk at Newtown
WHERE/WHEN– Blue and Gold Stadium, Newtown, 7 p.m.
RECORDS — Newtown 8-1, Masuk 9-0
T-DAY SERIES — Masuk 8-6-1
LAST YEAR — Masuk 42-0
KEY STATS — Masuk is No. 1 in the state in scoring, 55.7 points per game, an average of 10 points higher than any other school. …UConn commit, QB Casey Cochran is third in the state with 2,448 passing yards. … Masuk leads league with just 89 points allowed. …Thomas Milone (138) and Colin Markus (126) are 2nd and 3rd in the league in scoring. …Newtown’s Lou Fenaroli leads the league with 1,539 rushing yards (school record), and points scored (162). …Newtown DL Hunter Bassett leads SWC with 8.5 sacks (9th in state). …Junior WR/DB Dan Hebert is tied for the league lead with 5 interceptions. …Newtown is the 10th-highest scoring team in the state (39.8 ppg). …The game was moved from Masuk to Newtown due to rain forecasts and field issues at Masuk. This was supposed to be Masuk’s homecoming. It has played just two game at home all season.
AT STAKE — The SWC Championship: Newtown’s first since 1997; Second-consecutive for Masuk. Class LL seeding for Newtown. Class L playoff spot for Masuk.
Barlow at Weston
WHERE/WHEN– Weston High School, 10 a.m.
RECORDS — Barlow 3-6, Weston 6-3
T-DAY SERIES — Weston, 6-5-4
LAST YEAR — Weston 48-12
KEY STATS — Weston junior Tyler Hassett is tied for first in the SWC with five interceptions. …Weston has allowed 202 points, least of all SWC Patriot teams. …Barlow is third in the state with 2,941 rushing yards. …Barlow sophomore QB Jack Shaban leads the team with 1,016 yards (7th in SWC).
AT STAKE — Weston’s first state playoff berth. Bragging rights.
Brookfield at Bethel
WHERE/WHEN — Ralph DeSantis Field, 10 a.m.
RECORDS – Bethel 6-3, Brookfield 5-4
T-DAY SERIES –Brookfield 12-3
LAST YEAR – Brookfield 48-26
KEY STATS – Bethel has the No. 8 ranked rushing offense in the state, led by Brandon Schmidt (1,173 yards, 4th best in SWC) and Brian Birdsell. Schmidt is also No. 18 in the state in total offense and 4th in the SWC in scoring. Bethel’s Peter Serencsics averages 12 tackles a game and has 7 sacks. …Brookfield is 16th in the state in total offense. …Brookfield senior RB Leaon Gordon has rushed for 1,117 yards (5th best in SWC, 19th in state). Senior LB Joey Acquanita averages 11.6 tackles.
AT STAKE – The Gavel-Swanson Trophy. For Bethel, a shot at a Class M playoff berth. For Brookfield, a winning season.
Immaculate at Notre Dame-Fairfield
WHERE/WHEN – McCarty Field, Fairfield, 10:30 a.m.
RECORDS — Notre Dame 0-9, Immaculate 0-9
T-DAY SERIES — Notre Dame 11-5
LAST YEAR — Notre Dame 34-28
KEY STATS — Notre Dame-Fairfield has lost nine in a row dating back to last year’s Thanksgiving Day victory over Immaculate. …Immaculate has lost 25 games in a row. It’s last win was 28-21 vs. Barlow on Oct. 10, 2009. …Notre Dame has won eight of the last nine meetings. …Notre Dame junior RB/DB Nigel Beckford is 11th in the state in rushing with 1,294 yards. …Immaculate has allowed 397 points, 4th most in the state. ND has allowed 428 points, most in the state.
AT STAKE — First win of the season for either team.
THE CANDLEWOOD CUP
New Milford at New Fairfield
WHERE/WHEN – New Milford High School, 10 a.m.
RECORDS — New Milford 3-6, New Fairfield 3-6
T-DAY SERIES — New Fairfield 3-1
LAST YEAR – New Milford 21-14
KEY STATS — New Milford is 21st in the state in team passing, led by Connor Shanahan’s 1,334 yards (3rd best in SWC). …New Fairfield’s Ardian Sahinovic is 2nd in the state in punting average (42.7 per att). Nick Guardi leads Rebels with 446 rushing yards. New Milford as a team has rushed for 565 yards.
AT STAKE — The Candlewood Cup. Bragging rights. A .500 season for New Milford.
Bassick at Bullard-Havens
WHERE/WHEN – Bullard-Havens High School, Bridgeport, 10 a.m.
RECORDS — Bullard-Havens 6-3, Bassick 0-9
T-DAY SERIES — Bullard-Havens 4-2
LAST YEAR — Bassick 28-12
KEY STATS — B-H’s Angel Rosario is third in the CSC in passing, fourth in rushing and third in scoring while Equan Brooks is fourth in the CSC in receiving yards. Bullard-Havens is 13th in state with 2,465 rushing yards. …Bassick’s Vochan Fowler has thrown for 1,329 yards, fourth-best in the FCIAC; Morlo Macklin is No. 4 in the FCIAC with 532 receiving yards; Senior DE Brandon Williams is second in the league with 7.5 sacks. …Bassick has allowed 343 points, most in the FCIAC.
AT STAKE — Bragging rights; Avoiding a winless season for Bassick.
Wilton at Trinity Catholic
WHERE/WHEN – Trinity Catholic Alumni Field, 10 a.m.
RECORDS — Trinity Catholic 3-6, Wilton 5-4
T-DAY SERIES — Tied 3-3
LAST YEAR — Wilton 38-20
KEY STATS — Wilton’s Alex Ward is 3rd in the FCIAC in receiving (524 yards); Travis Stella is No. 3 in rushing (724 yards). Wilton has the 20th highest scoring team in the state. …Trinity Catholic has lost five of its last six games since starting 2-1. Senior Dan Pason averages 11 tackles per game. TC’s pass-to-run ratio is 1:4.
AT STAKE — A winning season for Wilton; four wins for Trinity Catholic.
Stamford at Westhill
WHERE/WHEN — J. Walter Kennedy Stadium, Stamford, 10 a.m.
ON THE AIR — WSTC 1400-AM / WNLK 1350-AM
RECORDS — Stamford 6-2, Westhill 0-9
T-DAY SERIES — Stamford 11-4
LAST YEAR — Stamford 53-6
KEY STATS — Stamford QB Bryan Boderick has 1,054 passing yards, fifth-best in the league. …Stamford’s Chandler Foster is tied for 2nd in the FCIAC with 5 interceptions. …Westhill is on an 18-game losing streak dating back to a 32-12 victory over Harding on Sept. 12, 2010. … The Vikings are 11th in the state in tackles, but have allowed 338 points, third-highest in the league. … Stamford has won three straight in the series.
AT STAKE — Bragging Rights. The City Championship, which resides on Strawberry Hill. Stamford’s best record since 1995.
READ MORE — Stamford hopes to ‘finish the job’ vs. Westhill on Thanksgiving
THE ELM CITY BOWL
Hillhouse at Wilbur Cross
WHERE/WHEN – Bowen Field, 10:30 a.m.
RECORDS – Hillhouse 6-3, Wilbur Cross 1-8
ALL-TIME SERIES — Hillhouse 31-23-7
LAST YEAR — Hillhouse 30-28
KEY STATS — Hillhouse sophomore Harold Cooper is the 4th-leading rusher in Connecticut with 1,650 yards, Hillhouse is the third-highest rushing team in the state, 3,244 yards. …Wilbur Cross averages just 13.7 points per game; Has lost seven straight since a 40-16 win over Law in Week 2.
AT STAKE — The Elm City Bowl trophy. A slight chance at a playoff berth for Hillhouse, the defending Class M champions.
North Haven at Amity
WHERE/WHEN – William E. Sim Field, Woodbridge, 10 a.m.
ON THE AIR — WELI 960-AM
RECORDS – Amity 4-5, North Haven 8-1
T-DAY SERIES — Amity 9-5-1
LAST YEAR – North Haven 40-24
KEY STATS – North Haven is the seventh-best rushing team in the state (2,682 yards, 335 pg), has almost as many run attempts (407) as passing yards (413). …Jalon White leads with 889 rushing yards, 3rd best in SCC Division II; QB Joe Schwab has 753 (5th best SCC D-II). Mark Zurlis averages 12.5 tackles per game. …Amity QB Tyler Vallie is ranked No. 19 in total offense. He’s 3rd in SCC Division I in passing yards (1,073) and fourth in rushing yards (867). …Amity is 20th ranked team in state rushing (2,211).
AT STAKE — A Class L playoff berth for North Haven, its third playoff berth in four years. A .500 season for Amity.
West Haven at Fairfield Prep
WHERE/WHEN — Alumni Field, 10:30 a.m.
RECORDS – Fairfield Prep 5-4, West Haven 6-3
T-DAY SERIES –West Haven 12-3
LAST YEAR — West Haven 32-13
KEY STATS — Dillon Ryan has run for over 300 yards in three games since taking over for injured Joe McBride at tailback. QB Tom Brewster has Prep is 4-1 at home this season, but has been outscored 103-0 in the first half against all four winning SCC Division I teams it has faced (Shelton, Hand, Xavier, Notre Dame). …West Haven will likely get standout sophomore TB/DB Ervin Phillips back for the game. He had been injured the last three weeks.
AT STAKE — Fairfield Prep’s first winning season since 2007.
Foran at Law
WHERE/WHEN — Law Field, Milford, 10:30 a.m.
RECORDS — Law 0-9, Foran 2-6
ALL-TIME SERIES – Law 21-17
LAST YEAR – Foran 56-21
KEY STATS — Foran has scored 90 points in its last two games, an 49-41 overtime win over Guilford; a 42-41 loss to Stonington. …QB Matt Aspinwall threw for over 300 yards in both games after returning from a month-long injury. He is 20th in the state in total offense (1,877 yards). …Foran’s other win was 41-20 over East Haven. …Foran has allowed 360 total points, most in the SCC. …Law’s Connor Falaguerra is has the 16th most receiving yards in Connecticut (678). …Law has allowed 40 or more points in six of nine games, including last three games.
AT STAKE — Bragging rights in Milford.
Norwalk at McMahon
WHERE/WHEN – Jack Casagrande Field, Norwalk, 10:30 a.m.
RECORDS – Norwalk 7-1, McMahon 3-6
ALL-TIME SERIES – McMahon 31-18-1
LAST YEAR – Norwalk 8-7
KEY STAT – McMahon has lost six games by eight points or less, including losses to New Canaan and Staples by 3 points each. …Norwalk’s Delshawn Wilson is tied for 10th in the state with 5 interceptions, and is ranked 6th in the FCIAC in passing yards (1,043). …Norwalk is 4th in the state with 30.5 sacks, led by Patrick Whalen’s 7.5 (2nd best in FCIAC) and Kwazee Rice’s 7 …Norwalk allows just 15 points per game, the least points in the FCIAC (120).
AT STAKE — The Sam Testa Trophy. Norwalk’s first state playoff berth since 1998.
READ MORE — Norwalk eager to break playoff drought
St. Joseph at Trumbull
WHERE/WHEN– Dalling Sports Complex, Trumbull, 10:30 a.m.
RECORDS — Trumbull 2-6, St. Joseph 3-6
T-DAY SERIES — Trumbull 21-5
LAST YEAR — Trumbull 38-27
KEY STATS — Both teams played in state championship games last year. …St. Joseph junior Jon Prutting is tied for fourth in the FCIAC with 4 interceptions. St. Joseph has 12 as a team. …St. Joseph has won two straight. Trumbull has lost six straight since a 35-8 win over Ludlowe in Week 3. …Trumbull LB Don Cherry will not play due to suspension.
AT STAKE — Bragging rights.
Harding at Central
WHERE/WHEN — Kennedy Stadium, Bridgeport, 10 a.m.
RECORDS — Central 5-4, Harding 2-7
ALL-TIME SERIES – Harding 50-34-4
LAST YEAR – Central 29-25
KEY STATS – Central has won 12 straight series games, an all-time best. …Central has allowed 327 points this season (36.3 ppg), fourth-most in the league; Senior back Fred Tucker is the FCIAC leader with 1,147 rushing yards. … Harding’s Taquan Broadway has 712 rushing yards. …Harding has scored the third-least points in the FCIAC (77). …Head coach James Morris has been suspended by the Bridgeport school district Oct.18 for insubordination. He will not coach in the game.
AT STAKE — The John E. Johansen Trophy. The Bridgeport city championship.
Warde at Ludlowe
WHERE/WHEN – Taft Field, Fairfield, 10 a.m.
RECORDS — Ludlowe 0-9, Warde 4-5
T-DAY SERIES – Warde 9-7
LAST YEAR — Warde 21-16
KEY STATS — Fairfield Ludlowe has lost 10 games in a row and hasn’t scored more than 14 points in any game. …Warde has led in the second half of eight games it has played. The Mustangs have lost two straight heading into the game.
AT STAKE — The Gallagher-Baryas Trophy. A .500 season for Fairfield Warde.
Bunnell at Stratford
WHERE/WHEN– Penders Field, Stratford, 10 a.m.
RECORDS — Stratford 3-6, Bunnell 7-2
ALL-TIME SERIES — Bunnell 35-20
LAST YEAR — Bunnell 16-7
KEY STAT — Bunnell’s Bryan Castelot has thrown for 2,257 yards, 5th best total in the state. Bunnell has the state’s sixth-best passing attack. Receivers Jawad Chisholm (914 yards), Jared Vazquez (842) are both among the state’s top 10 receivers; both have 4 interceptions. …Bunnell senior RB David Camille is 20th in the state in rushing (1,106 yards). …Bunnell is sixth in the state in scoring (42.0 ppg), but allows 26.4 points per game. …Stratford has allowed 364 points, third-most in the league. …Bunnell has won 9 out of the last 10 meetings.
AT STAKE — The Harvey E. Manning Trophy; Long shot chance at a Class L playoff berth for Bunnell.
THE TURKEY BOWL
New Canaan at Darien
WHERE/WHEN – Dunning Field, 10:30 a.m.
RECORDS — Darien 8-1, New Canaan 8-1
ALL-TIME SERIES — New Canaan 45-33-2 (New Canaan 10-4-1 on Thanksgiving)
LAST YEAR — New Canaan 42-14
KEY STATS — Darien hasn’t won this game since 2001. Darien junior RB Peter Gesualdi is tied for third in the state with 7 interceptions. Darien is 13th in the state in passing, junior Henry Baldwin set the school’s season passing TD mark with 24. …New Canaan’s Matt Milano is 8th in the state with 2,094 passing yards; earlier this season he broke Kurt Horton’s career touchdown mark. … Sr. WR Patrick Newton is among the FCIAC’s top receivers receivers with 634 yards. …New Canaan has the 5th-ranked passing attack in the state and is 11th in total offense.
AT STAKE — The Turkey Bowl trophy. FCIAC East title. Class L playoff berth for the winner. Home for the holidays for the loser.
THE 61st GREEN BOWL
Notre Dame-West Haven at Hamden
WHERE/WHEN — Hamden Field, 10:30 a.m.
ON THE AIR — SportingnewsCT.com OR GoGreenKnights.com (live video feed)
RECORDS — Notre Dame-WH 7-2, Hamden 1-8
ALL-TIME SERIES — Notre Dame 37-21-2
LAST YEAR — Notre Dame 47-0
KEY STATS – Notre Dame has the 12th-best rushing offense in Connecticut, 2,438 yards, led by Jevon Grey (929), Amihr Bess (722) and Cameron Tucker (522). Team has more rushing attempts (358) than total passing yards (310). …Notre Dame’s opponents are a combined 52-29. Its only losses have been against Xaver (9-0) and Hand (9-0). …Eamon DeTorro has 4 interceptions, three have gone for touchdowns. …Hamden has scored 154 more points this year (184) it did a season ago (29). …Notre Dame has won four straight in the series.
AT STAKE – Bragging rights. A Class L playoff berth for Notre Dame-WH.
Staples at Greenwich
WHERE/WHEN – Staples Field, Westport, 10 a.m.
ON THE AIR — WGCH 1490-AM | MSG Varsity-Connecticut (tape delay, 7 p.m.)
RECORDS – Greenwich 8-1, Staples 8-0
T-DAY SERIES – Staples 4-2
LAST YEAR – Staples 27-8
KEY STATS — Staples leads Connecticut with 48 sacks, led by Pieter Hoets 8 and Mikel Washington’s 7. The Wreckers have allowed the third-least points in the league (125). Kevin Kearney is fourth in the FCAIC with 91 tackles despite being out with an injury the last two weeks…. Back Joey Zelkowitz is 3rd in the league with 800 rushing yards, despite missing the last two weeks. …Staples is second in the state with 5 field goals. …Jon Heil is the state’s highest-rated punter (43.1 avg). …Greenwich’s Shane Nastahowski is one of the FCIAC’s best rusher (925 yards) and 2nd-highest scorer (114 points). …Greenwich is the 13th-highest scoring team in the state (37.4 ppg) and No. 12 in sacks (22.5). …Staples has won 5 FCIAC titles, Greenwich has won 12. …The schools have faced off twice for the league title, Greenwich has won both (1974, 2007). …Greenwich’s last title was 2007 (37-0 over Staples). Staples’ last title was 2009 (14-10 over Central).
AT STAKE – The inaugural Jerry McDougall Trophy FCIAC championship; Class LL playoff seeding for Staples; Class LL playoff berth for Greenwich.
READ MORE — Nastahowski puts Cardinals on brink of FCIAC title, playoffs | Staples confident in replacement players | FCIAC championship breakdown
The Silver Turkey
101st meeting: Shelton at Derby
WHERE/WHEN – Lou DeFilippo Field, Derby
RECORDS – Derby 4-5, Shelton 7-2
ALL-TIME SERIES – Shelton 51-42-7
LAST YEAR — Shelton 38, Derby/O’Brien Tech 14
KEY STATS — Derby’s Ray Kreiger leads the NVL and is 4th in the state with 2,494 passing yards. He’s No. 3 in the state in total offense. Dillion McMahon is 2nd in NVL and 5th in state with 977 passing yards. Derby averages 35 points per game, allows 33 points per game. …Shelton has had three different starting QBs, and has thrown for just 632 yards. The Gaels have rushed for 2,087 yards, 24th best in Connecticut, led by Frank Camerino’s 997 yards. …Shelton averages just 20 points per game and allows 18.
AT STAKE — A ninth-straight series victory and a potential Class LL playoff berth for Shelton. Derby’s first victory in the series since 2002 and a .500 season. Bragging rights.
112th meeting: Ansonia at Naugatuck
WHERE/WHEN — Veterans Field, Naugatuck, 10:30 a.m.
ON THE AIR — WATR 1320-AM
RECORDS – Naugatuck 6-3, Ansonia 9-0
ALL-TIME SERIES – Ansonia 67-36-9
LAST YEAR – Naugatuck 38-20 (NVL Championship game)
KEY STATS – Ansonia’s Arkeel Newsome is the state’s leading rusher with 2,494 yards, and the state’s leading scorer with 41 touchdowns and 282 points. …Ansonia owns the state’s top rushing attack with 3,360 yards (just 40 ahead of NVL rival Torrington) and has the state’s third-highest total offense, 4,444 yards. It is the 2nd highest scoring team in Connecticut (after Masuk). …Naugatuck’s Jake Yourison is the NVL’s fourth leading rusher (1,215 yards) and is the 17th best scorer in Connecticut (12.7 ppg).
AT STAKE — For Ansonia, the top seed in the Class M playoffs.