High school football Week 1: What did we learn?

preschool-300x202 (1)The FCIAC entered Sunday trailing the SCC by two games with three to play.

But thanks to Austin Longi, Greenwich defeated West Haven. Fairfield Ludlowe hung on to beat Lyman Hall. And, with Ridgefield’s victory over Cheshire, the FCIAC had rallied back with three victories Sunday to defeat the SCC 9-8 in the ‘SCC/FCIAC Challenge.’

No truth to the rumor SCC Commissioner will be shipping a set of steak knives to FCIAC commissioner John Kuczo, but the FCIAC did get to puff out its chest for one weekend.

Granted, there are seven more bye-week games to play throughout the season, but after last year’s dismal showing against the SCC in the state playoffs, the ‘Challenge’ victory had to give the league a nice confidence boost, not to mention a good cache of state playoff points, going forward.

But, in case you didn’t notice, there was plenty of intrigue going on outside of the SCC/FCIAC bubble.

Southington needed late offensive burst to defeat Glastonbury in the biggest CCC game of the early going. Derby’s Mike Kreiger out-Marchied St. Paul quarterback Logan Marchi to rally the Red Raiders in a comeback victory. Ansonia’s Arkeel Newsome set the state career mark for touchdowns. Ledyard’s Jim Buonocore won his 100th game. And, of course, Masuk destroyed New Milford in a game against its former coach, John Murphy.

Lest we forget, we’ll be hearing from the CIAC soon on the fate of one Jason Pace, whose Wolcott team went six points over the 50-point ‘score management’ policy (you’re cool at a 50-point margin) in a 62-6 victory over Sacred Heart.

(Blech, ‘score management.’ Blech.)

For all the stories and links from select publications around the state, check our scoreboard.

Now, with (almost) all of Week 1’s high school games completed, it’s time to ask YOU:

What Did We Learn From Week 1?

Think hard, kids.

Think back to a week ago, when we were all just champing at the bit to get this season started, while we were boldly throwing our thoughts around, trying to hurl our convictions about who was good and who was not through the flimsy arguments of others.

Take a look back at what we all thought about and expected from the players, the coaches, the teams; what we thought about the polls and the leagues and the matchups.

Think hard now. What did we learn in Week 1?

Think back at what you thought and what you thought and said and then compare that to what happened over the last five days.

What did we learn?

Yes, this is a quiz. Yes, you will be graded.

This is a very simple exercise: Tell us what you learned, but you MUST begin your response with, “I learned…”



  1. says

    I learned there’s going to be a mattress sale this weekend in New Milford with prices starting as low as $199 — only $99 more than the point total Masuk would have scored had it kept its foot on the gas Sunday afternoon.

    The sale comes as perfect timing for John Murphy, who yesterday watched the bed he made for himself go up in flames.

  2. Gregg says

    I learned that New Caanan may be deserving of being ranked #1.
    Didn’t really learn this, just confirmed: Ansonia is really, really good.
    I learned that St. Paul still has no defense.
    I learned that Trumbull has a a LOT of work to do.
    And confirmed once again: The 50 point rule needs to GO.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      @Gregg – Well done. I think a lot of people are feeling the same was as you about New Canaan. You could arguably say the same for Shelton because that was every bit as dominant as New Canaan. Something to think about. A

      Also: I learned that about St. Paul, as well. I actually found myself praising the D in the first half, and that was only for making a few stops. That a) really shows how low the bar is and b) proved that I hadn’t learned anything about St. Paul. Like West Haven, if they get one first down, the game was probably over. Crushing defeat for them. Let’s hope they bounce back.

  3. No Axe to Grind says

    I learned that Masuk is still VERY good…offesively…not so much deffensively.

    I learned that Coach Murphy needs to show a little more respect to the kids that he coached in the past, because they would have run through a brick wall for him, and HE is the adult in this situation.

    I learned that Shelton has a lethal offense and that they are going to be WAY better than I…or probably most people…thought this year.

    I learned that Hands run is OVER and that Xavier is probably going to lose more games this year than they have lost in the last 3 years combined.

    I learned that Kyle Brennan will wear a long sleeved flannel shirt and jeans, despite it being 75 degees. I was sweating in a T Shirt.

    I learned that SPB will pretend to be interested in a Cheerleaders birthday…just to get a cupcake.

    I learned, and this is the MOST important, the same thing that the Ct Post learned. That it is IMPOSSIBLE the replace SPB. That we need a place to be able to back and forth with our fellow High School Football addicts and that if you don’t provide that you will have a barren wasteland where the hottest thing in High School Football USED to be. And that as soon as everyone realizes that we have that here, they will all be back. Thanks SPB.

    That is what I learned.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      @AXE – Thanks Axe on your nice comments. We’re a work in progress but I’m enjoying what we’ve done so far.

      There seems to be a lot of stuff we don’t know about the Murphy-Masuk situation, so I’m not judging anyone after yesterday. Let’s hope everybody stays civil from now on.

      As for the rest of the stuff, well done. A

    • says

      Sunday morning started off very cool and pleasant, so I thought I could debut the flannel and jeans at New Milford. It turned out to be a relatively poor choice. Shoulda gone with my cutoff flannel, instead.

  4. Ryan says

    I learned that Shelton is probably better then what most people thought going into the season, or Trumbull is much worse, that Southington might be a little overrated but that won’t keep them from going to the LL playoffs, that its better just to go ahead and postpone instead of spreading one game over multiple days, and finally that “Valley Football” apparently consists of not tackling or covering anyone. Actually one final thought, after beating Cromwell and seeing Avon lose to Canton, Gilbert/Northwest Reg will win their division and be a safe bet for a state playoff berth.

  5. gobballfan says

    I learned that numbers and stats are deceiving. Ansonia needs to start playing some better competition before I proclaim any of their running backs elite. The Woodland QB is good, but geez, does he ever go against a quality D? There are runners and throwers in SCC and FCIAC who may not have as gaudy stats, but I would take in a heart beat over some these stat builders.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      @gobballfan – Judging by some of the comments I heard from others, you’re not the only one who’s learned that. However, I think Ansonia would be awesome against anyone and I’d love to see it.


  6. captrips62 says

    We learned that, to quote Mark Twain, “the rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated” as it pertains to the Masuk football program. Yes, it’s only one game but it appears the coach and matriculating players have changed but the offensive results remain the same. Kudos to the Masuk players for tuning out the noise and playing an inspired game. And yes, none of us really know what exactly transpired between Coach Murphy and the Masuk program. However, logical and mature minds would have expected that Coach M. would walk down the line and shake the hands of his former players after the game, not just those of the Masuk coaches.

  7. RAY BROWN says

    i learned that there arent too many knowledgeable high school football bloggers.how do you consider a shelton team that beat. one of the weakest trumbull teams ever fielded .last week we had west haven now 0-1 as a possible top 5 team.new caanan beats a wiped out hand team–now they want to be nationally ranked.lets wait a few weeks—btw ansonia great choice for no.1—–should have been tjhere last year. no matter its great to see scc get whacked

  8. oldschool says

    i learned that the ccc teams are big fans of the fciac scc challenge…. westies, nd, hand, staples, ect.. lose opening night with quite a few more battles to go.

  9. The Dude says

    I learned that dominating the Yale passing league means absolutely nothing. That despite different people Staples and Xavier are still Staples and Xavier. That New Canaan and Shelton are darn good. That Ansonia is a 50 point candidate any time they step on the field.That I shouldn’t try to go to games when lightning is in the area. That St. Joes may have more weapons than they know what to do with. And that Murph may be gone, but Masuk still may turn into the team everyone loves to hate by the end of the year.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      @TheDude – That brings to mind a hysterical quote I heard from an SCC coach this week regarding Hand and Ansonia at the Yale Camp. “Guess that means we saw the upset of the Century at the Yale Camp.”

      Anyway, yea. Passing leagues/Camps mean zero. A.

      Boy, you guys are learning a lot! Nothing below an A here at the new blog.

  10. Naugy43 says

    I learned that Naugatuck will have a fun offense to watch under new coach Bruno. Putting up 33 points in the 1st quarter was impressive, albeit against Crosby!

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      @Naugy43 – Awesome. Good lesson. If I was a cartoonist, I’d draw a caricature of Bruno on the sideline fiddling with a game controller wired to Jason Bradley. Good times in Naugy A

  11. The Voice says

    I learned that it’s never about one coach or one group of seniors graduating, it’s about a program. In Monroe, this begins at the age of 7 and is closely coordinated with youth football through the high school level.
    With multiple regional, national, and high school state championships in the trophy case, the record speaks for itself for that little town of 20,000.

  12. ValleyFalls1 says

    I re-learned that no matter what team(s) you support, for us “Football people”, Christmas starts in August every year and continues in the following February. (I’ve know that for a while, but just felt like saying it :)

  13. Mike G says

    I learned that… ND-WH has a much more balanced offense than the past two years. Teams will need to give their passing attack a bit more respect. I also learned that the ND-Secondary is more pourous than in the past two years. They will need to shore that up quickly.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      @MikeG – Agreed, but only because the freshman Nico Ragiani is a potential star in the making. Freshman. He was great vs. St. Joe. A

  14. Rob (On Connecticut's East Coast) says

    I Learned . . .

    People, even fanatic football fans, still do not know what the 50 point rule “Actually” says. Even if it is a stupid rule, it has “Wiggle Room”.

    Additionally I learned (or rather just confirmed) that I cannot wait for week 4 when Ledyard and New London get together in New London and on CPTV Sports. Setting the Over/Under around 80.

  15. Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

    i have a lot of grading to do….

    @Rob – This is true and you get an A for pointing that out. However, it’s still stupid and puts a successful coach unnecessarily in the spotlight as we await word. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  16. Dr. Von Nostran says

    I learned that Cameron Tucker is the real deal and is about as good as any back in the state.
    I also learned that I miss the “latest posts” window that sat at the right of the old blog….

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      @Von Nostran – Welcome! And that’s absolutely right. He was good vs. St. Joseph. 71-yard run was vintage. A

      As for “latest posts” this site is kind of a news/blog hybrid, kinda like Gawker media. …We’re working on better navigation. But, for now, if you want to see latest posts on any of the sports, check the actual football page, which is a work in progress, but has all the latest post there. Same goes for every other sport.

      You can also find individual sports pages on nav bar up top.

  17. SCCGuy129 says

    I learned that …

    – Shelton is a legitimate D-1 SCC contender ..
    – Early season inter-league play is the scheduling of the future
    – Masuk can overcome the French Revolution and still hang 70 on Murph and the boys … Let them eat Fieldgoals”

  18. Observer says

    I learned that…

    Southington is going to be a playoff team (who else do they have on the schedule);
    Greenwich is MUCH better than last year;
    Staples is better than most people expected, but needs to improve their defense;
    Xavier, despite a closer than it really was score, has reloaded and is still Xavier;
    The SCC Division 1 West is actually going to be a competition this year;
    Hillhouse will unfortunately play the way a Popwarner coach can coach;
    ND West Haven is not as good as the summer predicted (St. Joes is however);
    Football is not played regardless of the weather;
    Ansonia will continue to beat-up their unfortunately weak schedule (I wish they played elsewhere);
    New Canaan has a shot to go the distance;
    Hand has to do some serious coaching this year (I bet they do and surprise all);
    Manchester seems to have gained from their coaching change;

    And… that high school football is still high school football, and the unimaginable can occur.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      @Observer – Southington: nobody.
      Greenwich – Ehhh, that offense needs some serious work.
      Staples – Agreed.
      Xavier – What I’ve been saying…
      SCC D1 – Can’t wait!
      Hillhosue – :(
      NDWH v St. Joe: Had reservations on NDWH. But they’ll be ok. St. Joe needs to tighten up a bit.
      Football: You’re just learning that now???
      Ansonia: Me too.
      New Canaan: Yep, yep.
      Hand: Yep yep.
      Manchester: No idea.
      HS Football: YES!


  19. TJ says

    I learned that Masuk’s new black helmet will mess up the color scheme on many of their uniform combinations. Based on the preseason press, i guess they like black and white and red all over!

  20. Jeb says

    I learned that the SCC vs. the FCIAC is the best thing to happen to high school football since the state playoffs were formulated in 1976.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      @jeb – I’d say it’s the best thing since contracting to 4 divisions, 8 playoffs teams each in 2010. But your point is well taken. A.

  21. Just Sayin says

    I learned that…

    Coach Joe Linta will schedule Woodstock Academy (or Hamden Middle School for that matter) if it allows his son T.J. to throw for 400 yards in the first half.

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