CLASS LL football state semifinal preview capsules

2013 ClassLL fb bracket

All games at 2 p.m.

No. 8 RIDGEFIELD (10-2) vs. No. 4 SOUTHINGTON (10-1)

  • Where: Ken Strong Stadium, West Haven2013 LL semifinal Southington Ridgefield
  • On the Air: NFHS Network  | Audio: Hersam-Acorn radio 
  • Players to watch: Ridgefield: Andrew Chuma, Sr., WR/SS; Ryan Dunn, Jr., QB/DB; Will Bonaparte, Sr., RB/DB; Southington: Stephen Barmore, Sr., QB; Alex Jamele, Jr., WR; Zach Maxwell, Sr., WR/DE.; Tyler Hyde, Sr. RB

You should know: Ridgefield was one of two No. 8 seeds that advanced to the semifinals (Bloomfield, in Class S, is the other). The Tigers knocked off No. 1 seed, and previously unbeaten, Newtown 35-33 in the quarterfinals. It marks the first time since the playoff format expanded to 32 teams that Ridgefield has made the final four.The Tigers will attempt to reach their first state title game since they won Class L in 2002.

Bonaparte ran for 226 yards on 36 carries and scored twice in the victory over Newtown. Bonaparte has rushed 251 times for 1,750 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. The Tigers, though, are balanced. Dunn threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in the quarterfinals. The Dunn-Bonaparte combination should give the Southington defense fits.

Speaking of defense, Ridgefield needs to contain the Blue Knights’ potent passing attack in order to advance. Barmore, who will attend Yale next fall, passed for 168 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 52-14 victory over NFA in the quarterfinals. Barmore has completed 157 of 243 passes for 2,550 yards and 35 touchdowns against just five interceptions this season.

Even if Ridgefield limits Barmore, the Tigers must also worry about Southington’s ground game, which was highly successful against NFA. Senior Tyler Hyde (pictured, scoring the winning TD vs. Glastonbury) carried 14 times for 156 yards and four scores in that win.

Southington is seeking its first state title game appearance since 2006.

  • Pooch’s pick: Southington.
  • SPB’s Pick: Southington 34-17

No. 7 FAIRFIELD PREP (10-2) vs. No. 6 WEST HAVEN (10-2)

  • Where: McDougall Stadium, Trumbull2013 LL semifinal Prep West Haven
  • On The Air: WELI 960-AM
  • Players to watch: Fairfield Prep: Nick Crowle, Sr., RB/LB; Colton Smith, Jr., QB/DB; John DelliSanti, Jr., WR/S; West Haven: Ervin Philips, Sr., RB; Duane Gary, Sr., QB; Marshont Little, Jr., RB.

You should know: They meet again. Fairfield Prep and West Haven will face off for the second time in a little over a week. Fairfield Prep earned a 29-20 win over the Westies on Thanksgiving, snapping West Haven’s nine-game winning streak. The Jesuits enter having won their last six.

Fairfield Prep has not reached a state final since winning the Class LL title in 1988.Smith, perhaps the state’s most underrated player, has factored heavily into Fairfield Prep’s late-season surge. Smith rushed for 266 yards and four touchdowns in a 33-23 victory over Glastonbury in the quarterfinals.

Smith has now rushed 157 times for 1,649 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. He’s also passed for 1,513 yards and nine touchdowns. DelliSanti has been Smith’s top target. DelliSanti has made 35 catches for  774 yards and eight touchdowns. Crowle (pictured, scoring the clinching touchdown vs. West Haven on Thanksgiving), has become the main force at tailback. While the Fairfield Prep defense is big and physical up front, the Jesuits may have to make some adjustments in the secondary. Glastonbury’s Jalen Ollie completed 23 of 42 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns.

The only good news in that regard is that West Haven is a run-first time, although Gary is capable of leading the Westies down field through the air.Gary can also run, and he and Philips make for a formidable duo in the backfield. Philips, one of the state’s best running backs, rushed for 144 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-26 victory over Hall in the quarterfinals. Gary threw for 122 yards in the win.

West Haven scored 30 points in the third quarter to a erase a 14-13 deficit against Hall. Like Prep against Glastonbury, the Westies allowed Hall to move the ball effectively through the air, with Hall quarterback Tom Honyotski throwing for 407 yards.

This game, though, will likely be decided on the ground, and should feature a lot of Smith, Gary and Philips running all over the turf at McDougall Stadium.  West Haven has not reached a state final since 2003.

  • Pooch’s pick: West Haven.
  • SPB’s Pick: West Haven 32-28

Comments

    • willie says

      hmm..4th game in a row prep has been the underdog eg xavier (then ranked 8th but better than that), WH (then 3rd), glastonbury (then 3rd), now WH again (now 10th because prep beat them).
      (will any other team have played a schedule like prep’s over the last 3 weeks???? NC had st joe, darien and now NH but with one breather last week with some up state team..darien had nc, hand, now middletown but how good can middletown be? pop quiz: do you really think middletown is as good as xavier this year? of course not. this is why the two teams dont play any more on thanksgiving).
      anyway, prep-WH should be a good game. two teams with different styles.
      WH will play better than they did on thanksgiving and will not fold in the second half. unlike xgiving game this is elimination. also this game is not home at prep. WH can put up alot of points. i think they will score over 30 and maybe 40.
      prep will have to play better than they did on thanksgiving eg finish drives, limit turnovers, dont get beat deep so easily, better kicking somehow! dont put themselves in a hole early…. and contain WH’s 3 excellent backs as they did on xgiving. simple, I should be a coach: just follow these simple instructions boys. alot to ask.prep has to assume it will take 35-40 plus pts to win, and get on the board early and often while eating up the clock.

          • JB says

            Should be a great game – no doubt. Two strong teams, definitely both top 5 in the state IMO. Love Erv Phillips and hope he is 100%, that is key.

          • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

            …I think. That play was the exact moment Prep’s security decided to muscle me out of their end zone. Mucked up my shot.

          • willie says

            WH was a yard short of going 27 up in the FIRST HALF. then they seemed to fall apart in the second half..and of course a good part of that was due to prep’s defense, which is excellent. I also think prep’s line which is the biggest in the state wears folks down in the second half..just relentless. my point is WH has the weapons capable of putting 35 plus points up on anyone, including prep. and you could see that on thxgiving. they are explosive and cant put those pts up quickly. on the other hand, prep is capable of simply running the ball on WH at will if they do not cough it up first, and eating up the clock, because of their enormous line. prep should assume from the start they may need 35 plus to win..and hope they dont.

  1. JB says

    Sean, you need your own security. Looking forward to your video summary of the game. Always the best coverage – Thanks !

  2. JD says

    7. Fairfield Prep 9-2 420/0 1320 120.00 120 Wins Over:
    Stamford (LL-2w)
    Notre Dame-West Haven (L-5w)
    Branford (L-0w)
    Shelton (LL-7w)
    Cheshire (LL-4w)
    Amity (LL-5w)
    Hamden (LL-3w)
    Xavier (LL-7w)
    West Haven (LL-9w)
    Losses To: St. Joseph (M-10w), Daniel Hand (L-8w)

    Talk about strength of schedule LOL 3-2 against teams with winning records.

  3. willie says

    jd- interesting input re strength of schedule. why doesnt your list include glastonbury? xavier, wh, glastonbury, west haven…hmm does that sound a bit tough. anyway, the thing is your list does not take into account the strength of schedule of the folks prep played. did ndwh play some teams? how about shelton? simple win loss means nothing right jb? these opponents play a real schedule. you understand that dont you? honestly, if you had to bet your car who wins? for example middletown 10-1 great team, great record….much better than the teams prep plays of course (and i have nothing against middletown..i just pick the as an example) …or lets see shelton, xavier or even ndwh? be honest. how would you bet? come on your house , your wife..whatever? my point is you can only tell so much from win loss.

  4. FP Fan says

    Pooch….please, please, please pick Southington to win the final. You virtually never get a pickrightin Prep games!

  5. willie says

    jd-as log as we are into lists…there is of course objective evidence for my point re prep schedule. according to maxprep’s objective computer rankings toughest regular season (not playoffs) schedules:
    1 hand
    2xavier
    3west haven
    4 st joes
    5 ndwh
    6shelton
    7chesire
    8 prep
    9 new canaan
    10 darien
    11 amity
    12 greenwich
    so, prep ranks 8th in the state in terms of strength of regular season schedule. by the way, do you notice a pattern here? yes prep played the top 7 teams ranked ahead of it as well as number 11 and all but one are in scc D1. and why is st joes so high? because they played two scc d1 teams as well as nc and darien of course.
    after adding the wins over glastonbury and wh… again, prep’s schedule will likely be the most difficult in the state under the computer rankings.
    the fciac is an excellent league and got the better of the scc this year. but the best teams dont all play each other in the fciac.
    where would ridgefield be? maybe 20. middletown? maybe 50. ansonia? maybe 100..

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