Class LL: Fairfield Prep holds off Glastonbury

Fairfield Prep's Colton Smith looks for running room in the Jesuits' 33-23 victory over Glastonbury in the LL quarterfinals (Mary Albl)

Fairfield Prep’s Colton Smith looks for running room in the Jesuits’ 33-23 victory over Glastonbury in the LL quarterfinals (Mary Albl)

GLASTONBURY >> On just the second play of Tuesday night’s Class LL state quarterfinal game against No. 2 Glastonbury, seventh-seeded Fairfield Prep made quite the opening proclamation: they weren’t going anywhere.

Prep’s Brett Stevenson intercepted and returned a 42-yard tipped pass for a touchdown and gave the Jesuits the early 7-0 lead. Two plays later, the Prep defense sacked quarterback Jalen Ollie to force and recover the fumble.

Quarterback Colton Smith capitalized on the possession, running in for the 20-yard score. Less than five minutes into the contest at Glastonbury High, Prep led 13-0.
“I think it was a big statement,” Smith said.

Led by Smith’s 266 rushing yards and four touchdowns, the Jesuits (10-2) held off a second-half comeback from Glastonbury (10-2) to win 33-23 and advance to the Class LL semifinals where they will face No. 6 West Haven on Saturday at Trumbull High at 2 p.m.

“We made some great plays on both sides,” Prep head coach Tom Shea said. “Start off with a big play on defense, we had a bit of a lead, then we made a few mistakes and had a chance to put it away early and didn’t. It was very competitive game. But our kids never quit, they played hard and found answers.”

Prep, playing in its first state playoff game since 2006, never trailed and survived its biggest test late in the third quarter as Ollie connected with Anthony Anisimov for a 24-yard touchdown to cut the Jesuits’ lead to 26-23.

Prep’s answer? Smith. The junior quarterback saw an opening on the first play of the ensuing drive and raced 77 yards down the field for the 33-23 advantage.

“That’s how great of a player he is,” Shea said. “He can make plays like that and turn games around.”
Said Glastonbury coach Scott Daniels: “We knew he can run. He can make plays; he’s a dynamic kid.”

Glastonbury was led by Ollie, who attempted to will his team to victory. After trailing 19-3 in the first half, he engineered a drive and found teammate Ethan Ericson for a 4-yard score. The Tomahawks trailed 19-10 at the half.

Ollie, who finished the game completing 23 of 42 passes for 376 yards, made things difficult for the Prep defense at times with his ability to scramble and create on the fly.

“He was like a magician a couple times,” Shea said. “You got to give it to him. He really was something. We had him in our hands a few times and couldn’t put him down.”

But in the end, Prep’s defense responded when it needed to. On a fourth and long, the line applied pressure to Ollie and forced an incompletion to give the offense the ball back late in the fourth quarter.
“Our defense was prepared,” Smith said.

Prep started the second half just like the first half. With a big play. Smith ran for 50 yards and then punched it in from 7 yards out to give Prep the 26-10 lead.

Colton Smith is congratulated by teammate Andrew Ostrosky in the Jesuits' 33-23 win over Glastonbury (Mary Albl)

Colton Smith is congratulated by teammate Andrew Ostrosky in the Jesuits’ 33-23 win over Glastonbury (Mary Albl)

Glastonbury answered right back on the next play as Ollie found Ericson down the sideline for 61 yards to make it 26-16.

Prep’s Nick Crowle finished the game with 78 yards on 18 carries, while Smith added 58 yards through the air.

Ollie finished the season with 2,977 yards passing.

Fairfield Prep 33, Glastonbury 23
(at Glastonbury)
Fairfield Prep 19 0 14 0 — 33
Glastonbury 3 7 13 0 — 23

First quarter
F—Brett Stevenson 42 int ret (Healy kick good)
F—Colton Smith 20 run (Kick no good)
F—Colton Smith 46 run (2-point conversion no good)
Second quarter
G—Ethan Ericson 4 pass from Jalen Ollie (Kick good)
Third quarter
F—Colton Smith 7 run (Kick no good)
G—Ethan Ericson 61 pass from Jalen Ollie (Kick blocked)
G—Anthony Anisimov 24 pass from Jalen Ollie (Kick good )
F—Colton Smith 77 run (Kick good)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing—FP: Colton Smith, 22-266; Nicholas Crowle, 18-78;
Passing—FP: Colton Smith, 2-6-58-2; Glst: Jalen Ollie, 23-42-376-1;
Team records: Glastonbury 10-2; Fairfield Prep 10-2.

Comments

  1. Coach Kay says

    As predicted, a Prep and WH rematch. This shows how strong the SCC is and why the state playoff system needs an overhaul. Took many good teams left out of the dance…#1 and #2 seeds should not be losing first round games!

    • Patrick Monks says

      I agree. It is no wonder that all three tech schools lost in the first round. Their record may say they are good, but if you look at their schedule, they only play mediocre tech schools. It gives all tech schools an unfair advantage.

    • CoachL says

      How many more games do you want these kids to play? The season already goes into the middle of December. Adding more teams to the tournament is not the answer.

  2. willie says

    longer season does not make sense. what does make sense is for the ciac formular to take account of strength of schedule in a meaningful way so taht the 8 teams selected for each class are closer to the best 8 teams for that class. the fciac-scc combination won 7 out of 8 games in the first round. and the only reason it was not 8 out of 8 is that hand and darien played and someone had to lose. did glastonbury belong in the LL playoffs? i think so. good team and season. but there is someting amiss with s system that results in xavier being excluded and the top three seeds being beaten fairly easily. did anyone think these were upsets? does anyone really think xavier is not better than the top three seeds in LL? shouldnt foran be in the class m playoffs? arent they being penalized for playing a tough schedule? is anyone the least bit surprised that the 7th seed NH destroyed the 2nd seed platt in L? is this an upset? no it is not..the ciac playoff point system is a bit of a joke.

    • ACL says

      On behalf of Foran, HERE HERE!

      As I was following the games last night, I watched as my son (starting RB for Foran) sat on the couch when I knew in my heart that he, and the rest of the Lions, should be on that field against Valley. I am not saying they would have won but I know darn well they would have given them a MUCH better fight.

      Something needs to be done. I don’t know the answer but I know it needs to change.

  3. johnybacala says

    I disagree with the above premise. Ansonia would not even qualify for the tournament if they went by strength of schedule

    • willie says

      now, i assume you are pulling my chain johny but i will take the bait.ansonia is a great class s school and would qualify for and will easily win class s. hats off. in the polls they should be ranked as a class s school consistent with the strength of their schedule, which is of course exceedingly weak. one thing the playoffs show is that strength of schedule matters such that an 11 -0 team that plays a weak schedule will generally lose to a 9-2 team that plays a hard schedule (lets not even get into the question of what the 11-0 team’s record would be if they played the tough schedule of the 9-2 team, which is of course a very different question..hint their record would be worse than 9-2). anyway, a team like ansonia if it goes undefeated should be ranked about 5th or 6th in the state..and this is being generous.
      now contrast this with st joes. should have an easy time in class m. (particularly since one of the best class m schools ie foran didnt make the playoffs… ah because they play a relatively tough schedule). but st joes plays a very tough schedule and if they run class m should be ranked 2 or 3 in the state.
      are you with me so far?
      so why is ansonia ranked number 1 in the polls? well, one theory is that the voters dont like to move teams unless they lose. this is is odd of course because it begs the question why did you put them there to begin with..and this gives rise to another theory which is that the ansonia supporter must have some compromising photographs of the voters ie the dead women- live boys theory. nothing else could explain it because i is so moronic.

  4. FP says

    Coach Shea always says that any team getting through the gauntlet of the SCC to the state playoffs has earned their spot. The results last night, from all games, prove him right. Way to go FP! Good luck versus a great WH team on Saturday.

  5. Hubbit says

    The CIAC faces a decision with regard to its football tournament. It must address the strength of the Constitution State Conference (tech schools) versus the other nine football conferences in the state. To have three CSC schools in the tournament clearly denies other good/deserving teams from participating, especially from the Class M and S tournament fields.

    In all three games with CSC teams, only one touchdown was scored. And in two of them, the CSC teams did not get a first down until the opposing varsity defenses came out of their respective games.

    I offer a debatable solution. Only the CSC regular season champion is awarded a tournament bid in Class S. Then set up a four team CSC tournament after the Thanksgiving Day games. (I use the NCAA Bowl Division and NCAA FBS Tournament as a rough analogy.) I understand cost and other considerations will be a factor. But, I do want the tech school teams to have something to play for.

    The decision is difficult. I want CSC to thrive because it really does give hundreds of kids a chance to play high school football that they otherwise would not be able to play in a public school program. That many of the CSC teams are cooperative programs is also advantageous, as the small public and parochial schools also have the opportunity to offer/continue football for its students. Remember, the most important long term CIAC goal is increasing athletic participation and teaching sportsmanship/teamwork (increasing the number of state championship trophies is also a goal, but no where near as important as the participation rate).

    Feedback is most welcome!

  6. Big Dog says

    ACL,I don’t know what to tell you…Maybe petition Carbone to stop the crossovers?Based on the record this year between D1 and 2 there is still a huge gap…I did see Foran this year vs Shelton….Although Foran did put up a good fight they are not ready for the big boys quite yet.I did comment earlier after that game that Foran was vastly improved and could be a top team in SWC and the NVL.I do think they could of made some noise in “M”….Tell your boy to keep up the good work and next year get to the next level

    • ACL says

      That is the plan Big Dog, thanks for the kind words.

      In regards to the crossovers, they aren’t going to stop. And you’re right, they put up a fight against Shelton and NH (we won’t talk about WH…lol) but they aren’t ready for the big boys. I just wish more attention was paid by the CIAC in regards to the schedules these teams play (minimum number of games played at your class or above maybe?) or grant points to teams that play above their class whether they win or not.

      Thanks again…

  7. Jones Sample says

    II definitely see the disparity in teams, particularly from eastern CT to Fairfield County. I have seen games that the winner would knock out a more deserving team in another game out by just winning. The conferences are too large, there shouldn’t be four division winners or 3 division conference winners each year. That dilutes a conference champion. Check out how Ohio does their playoffs:

    http://www.ohsaa.org/sports/ft/boys/rankcalc.htm

    granted it is a larger state, but the season starts at the end of August, and playoffs are 5 weeks long.
    Also teams have to win sectionals and regionals before advancing to the state tournament.

    The Thanksgiving rivalry games are also strangling football in this state. The season starts too late, the playoffs are all squashed together real quick, and the competition in general in this state is low. Edsall said this before he left UCONN, this state needs to reorganize high school football if it expects players to be able to compete at higher levels or at any level outside of high school.

  8. Dr. Von Nostran says

    Some of these schedule issues are not so cut and dry. Using Foran as an example, they lost to three very good teams, but Sheehan, at six wins, is the only team they beat that finished above .500.
    An outsider looking in might say they “didn’t beat anybody”.

    • willie says

      Dr Von Nostran-with all due respect, i think the scheduling issues are quite cut and dry in the case of Foran, and you have perfectly illustrated the problems with the ciac point system. First point , yes foran lost to 3 very good teams-shelton, NH and WH. These are actually three of the 15 best teams in the state if the truth be told. ledyard, gilbert and quinebaug ie 7, 8 and 6 seeds in M didnt play three good teams. ledyard played two ok teams -new london and nfa-but the other two played no one. so if foran schedules, rather than all of these three, basically any team for one game from the ledyard, gilbert, quinebaug schedule-wih the possible exception of lets say nfa-or any other m or s school, they are in..two other games scheduled differently in this way they are a top seed in m.
      second point, yes the only team with a winning record foran beat was sheehan.BUT that is because their opponents play tough schedules. they beat hillhouse and warde and guilford -all better teams then sheehan and btw all with losing records. Check out their schedules mate. These three teams are 7-3 to 9-1 in the leagues ledyard, gilbert and quinebaug play in…..this is why the ciac point system is unfair..but we all knew that.

      • ACL says

        While that is true Dr. Van Nostran (love the handle by the way…lol) you do have to look deeper, as Willie suggests.

        When you look at Foran’s opponents, all except for one (Trinity and that is only because of the extra week and the FCIAC/SCC Challenge) were at or below class. When you look at the schedule mix of the three Willie mentioned, they are weighted to S AND have basically the same records of the teams Foran beat.

        My biggest problem is with the #1 seed, Valley. During the regular season they played 8 S schools. How does that qualify for the class M playoffs? This takes nothing away from how they played or the kids. I am in no way disparaging their hard work and dedication. This is about the CIAC and their system.

  9. JB says

    I think some of the Ohio formula could be adapted to our point system, specifically that wins against lower division teams don’t count very much towards playoff points. That would force conferences to schedule match-ups better or risk good teams can’t possibly earn enough points to qualify.

    But the T-day games are a great tradition and act like “play-in” games nearly every year. We should keep that and the number of playoff games the same. However, I think we need more regular season cross-over games between well matched opponents … expand the SCC / FCIAC challenge to include all the major conferences and require 2 such games … one in week 1 and one in week 6. Conferences would be required to schedule around that requirement and then the CIAC committee would oversee the match-ups. For example, the LL teams from the SCC, FCIAC, SWC, NVL, CCC and ECC get matched up in cross-over games based upon trailing 4 year records. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be like having 2 more “play-in” type games during the regular season to better qualify the best 8 teams that makes the playoffs.

  10. JB says

    If we had 2 out-of-conference crossover games, then the SCC could remove one of their own in-confernece crossovers that are not well matched. That way a school like Foran could play a similar size school from say the CCC or SWC. And likely would have won, putting Foran at only 2-losses and into the M playoffs this year where they definitely belong.

  11. willie says

    There is of course perfectly objective evidence re the case for Foran. Go to maxprep conn football, search rankings (may have to give your email and a passwaord just make one up),then search class m. Foran is number 5. Gilbert is 12 and quinebaug is number 17. Ledyard by the way is 6 because they played new london (and won..a quality win i suppose)
    and also NFA. These computer rankings take into account the strength of an opponents schedule which the ciac point system does not. so while i am not a foran fan i can see why they would be a bit miffed by the system.

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