We have ignition and liftoff on Thanksgiving Week in Connecticut High School Football. Every game from here on has some kind of playoff implication, either directly or indirectly.
The New London Day’s “Metal” Ned Griffen and I are all banging our heads to figure out who needs what in real time.
You can watch your humble author try — and fail — to explain it simply, succinctly and (at some points, accurately) on my usual Tuesday night spot on CT Sports Now, above.
Actually, if you’d rather not have your brain melt and ooze out of your ears, don’t watch because trying to break it down in 15 minutes is painful. (By all means if you want a good laugh and watch Noah Finz’s head explode, go for it.)
Otherwise, just read on. Everything’s really kind of easy to explain — except Class S. But in theory, that one’s easy, too.
Five games were played last night. Bloomfield rallied to beat Glastonbury to stay alive. Simsbury’s win over Avon awarded precious bonus points to East Hartford and Southington.
We’re not going to get into the nuances of the qualified teams. You can read all about that here. Instead, let’s look at only the teams trying to qualify. Class S is going to be wrapped up tonight. Also tonight: We’ll get a clear picture of what Fairfield Prep needs to overcome Southington if both teams win Thanksgiving morning.
Here’s what’s what:
It took some wrangling over the nuances of the points with The Day of New London’s Ned Griffen to get this figured out (watch that happen in real time, above). But it’s so easy once you look at it from the right angle.
East Hartford (8-1) remains in a win-and-in scenario when it faces Manchester (3-6) Wednesday night. They win, they’re in.
If they don’t it could be trouble if Fairfield Prep and Southington both win on Thanksgiving. Those three teams could theoretically tie each other on points.
But let’s leave that aside for now and just wait for East Hartford-Manchester’s result tonight.
Assuming an East Hartford win, Southington (7-2), Fairfield Prep (7-2) and Cheshire (6-3) will be in a battle Royale for the final spot.
Cheshire and Southington play each other, so loser is done. The winner will then await to see what happens with Fairfield Prep’s game vs. West Haven, which begins a half hour later.
If Cheshire wins and Fairfield Prep wins, Fairfield Prep will claim the final spot since there’s no way Cheshire can catch Fairfield Prep on bonus games (Why? Because Cheshire needs all of its bonus games to catch Prep, and they share the Harding/Central bonus. So it’s impossible).
If Southington wins and Fairfield Prep wins, it’ll come down to bonus games.
Southington will know precisely where it stands since its last two remaining bonuses play on Wednesday night. But one of those is Manchester beating East Hartford (and in this scenario, East Hartford has won), and the other bonus is 1-8 Enfield beating 8-1 South Windsor. So it’s probable Southington will finish with 1120 points.
Prep will have 40 outstanding bonuses to catch that total and, better still, the Jesuits will start at 1110 with a win over West Haven.
So if they get any two of Amity (over North Haven), Harding (over Bridgeport Central) Sheehan (over Lyman Hall) and New London (over NFA), they’ll qualify over Southington.
It looks like two of those will come in, so we’re projecting a Fairfield Prep clinch if it beats West Haven.
If only one comes in, well… it’s time for tiebreaker points, which is the total wins of all your opponents. Whomever has the most, clinches (right now, Southington leads 96-92, so it’s close.
— GameTimeCT (@GameTimeCT) November 22, 2017
With E.O. Smith’s 51-0 rout of Tolland, MALONEY qualified in Class L, bringing that division’s total to six teams and the overall total to 23. There are nine spots left.
Despite what the Tweet above says, this is Maloney’s FOURTH overall appearance (We forgot to count this one.) Congratulations to the Spartans. Pressure’s off somewhat when they face Platt in the Stoddard Bowl on Thanksgiving Day.
As for the rest, it’s pretty simple.
NORTH HAVEN (7-2) will qualify with a victory over Amity, most likely as the No. 7 seed.
NEW CANAAN (7-2) will qualify with a victory over Darien, most likely as the No. 8 seed. The Rams could still qualify if Bunnell lost, as well.
BUNNELL (7-2) needs to beat Stratford, then have either North Haven or New Canaan lose. It’s probably banking on that being New Canaan. The Bulldogs could still qualify with a loss, but New Canaan would also have to lose. And then the Bulldogs would have to find a way to surpass New Canaan on bonus games. New Canaan has the edge, there.
Which brings us to …
HILLHOUSE (6-3) and EAST LYME (6-3). Neither can catch North Haven, so they’ll need BOTH New Canaan and Bunnell to lose. But even then, they’ll have a hard time catching either team since their outstanding bonus games are extremely iffy. They also have to worry about each other.
Hillhouse is in much better position. It’ll begin at 950 and should get at least one bonus game to reach 960. That total might be plenty to top Bunnell, and it might be enough to tie New Canaan.
Then it’s tiebreaker time and New Canaan already has a 10-point edge. So, again, advantage: New Canaan.
This one’s relatively easy.
BARLOW (6-3) and WESTON (6-3) play each other. The winner is in. The loser is out unless Wolcott loses, then it gets tricky.
WOLCOTT (5-4) is in with a victory over Holy Cross. It’s done with a loss.
LAW (5-4) needs to beat Foran and Wolcott to lose. Then it can start getting excited. That combo will get the Lawmen to 800 points. But now it will have to contend with the Barlow-Weston loser.
The Lawmen would prefer Barlow win that game, since Weston would be stuck on 790 points and Law would probably qualify. If Barlow loses, it can still catch Law’s 800 if Notre Dame-Fairfield beats Pomperaug. That means Law would need at least one of its bonus teams — Lyman Hall, Bethel or Guilford — to win to stay ahead and clinch.
BACON ACADEMY (5-4) can still catch the Lawmen at 810, but it would have to virtually max out on its 50 bonuses (and they’re not even remotely favorable). Besides, they’d need that to catch the Weston-Barlow loser, too. Bye.
Even if LYMAN HALL (5-4) somehow beat Sheehan, it would finish with 800 points but that would give Law 810 (since Lyman Hall is a Law bonus game). So the Trojans are cooked, too.
Of course, this can all be cleared up if Wolcott beats Holy Cross. That would complete the field and remove this mess from our memories.
Three spots remain and — get this — the whole field should be wrapped up Wednesday night when the key participants complete their seasons.
STAFFORD (8-1) is in with a win over Windsor Locks (4-5). Virtually done with a loss.
CROMWELL/PORTLAND (8-1) is in with a win over Rocky Hill (9-0 – easier said than done). Done with a loss.
O’BRIEN TECH (8-2) is finished with its season and is scoreboard watching. Things cleared up nicely for the Condors on Wednesday night.
The only teams remaining that can catch O’Brien’s minimum point total of 1170 is Seymour and Plainfield. So the Condors will clinch if one of the teams above lose, or if one of their two remaining bonus games (Prince over Cap Prep or Quinebaug over Thames River) swings their way, or if Plainfield is denied one of its four outstanding bonuses, like Killingly beating Woodstock, for example.
These guys are virtually in.
PRINCE TECH (7-2) they’re going to be huge underdogs vs. Capital Prep and they’re done with a loss. A win there, and losses by both Stafford and Cromwell would just about clinch a playoff spot with 1160 points. Seymour and Plainfield could surpass that, but only Seymour has the realistic chance.
SEYMOUR (7-2) is in the best position of the remaining teams since they’ll finish anywhere between 1190 and 1140.
Seymour’s bonus games are Wolcott (over Holy Cross), Torrington (over Watertown), Derby (over Shelton), Kennedy (over Crosby) and Sacred Heart/Kaynor (over Wilby).
Although many of those aren’t promising enough to max out, one or two should be enough to stay ahead of the field.
A win over Woodland puts Seymour into position at 1140.
Seymour would clinch if Stafford, Cromwell and Prince Tech lost all lost and if Bloomfield or Plainfield failed to get enough bonuses to catch Seymour.
If only one of Stafford and Cromwell lost, the Cats would just need Prince Tech to lose or, failing that, get three bonus games to clinch at 1170. Though Plainfield can max out at 1170, it is far behind Seymour and needs sketchy bonus games to catch up.
BLOOMFIELD (8-2) beat Glastonbury to finish its season and has 30 outstanding bonus games — Bulkeley (over Hartford Public), Plainville (over Farmington), RHAM (over Bacon Academy). The Warhawks are probably going to need most, if not all of these.
But even if the Warhawks maxed out at 1150 with alll their three bonus games, Seymour would just need two of their bonuses to come in to stay ahead at 1160.
Bottom line, here: Bloomfield needs all three of Stafford, Cromwell and Prince Tech to lose, and probably even Seymour and/or Plainfield to lose, to clinch.
PLAINFIELD (7-2) can get to 1130 by beating Griswold, but then would need as many of its 40 bonuses — Waterford, Woodstock, Stonington and Bacon Academy to win — as possible. They might get two of those, tops, to reach 1150.
But if there’s one spot open, and Seymour reaches 1160, then Plainfield and Bloomfield are are toast
OLD SAYBROOK (7-2) is still mathematically alive, but they can only top out at 1120. Bye.