Pooch’s Picks: Week 4 Football Predictions

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 8 North Haven (3-0) at Hand (2-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Surf Club, Madison

Players to Watch: North Haven: Mike Halloran, Sr., QB/LB; Ethan Suraci, Sr., FB/LB; Mike Siwek, Sr., OL/DL; Hand: Nick van Dell, So., QB; Pat Rogers, Sr., LB; Ian Dieli, Sr., NG.

What to look for: North Haven gets the chance to knock off another defending state champion after already defeating three-time defending Class LL champ Xavier in Week 2. The Indians utilize Halloran, Suraci and sophomore running back Mike Montano in a deceptive single-wing offense known for its lengthy drives. Hand will need to sustain drives of its own in order to keep its defense off the field.

“That’s very important,” Dieli said, “obviously for scoring points, but also important for the defense because it gives them a little bit of a break in between drives so we have time to recover to come out full-speed.”

Hand, which has won consecutive Class L titles, graduated 29 starters, but is slowly improving after a Week 1 blowout loss to New Canaan. Van Dell has been impressive, throwing for 171 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Wilbur Cross. He has weapons in senior running back Connor Dowd and senior receivers Josh DeMartino, Jake Mirando, Tim D’Annolfo and Tom Wilson.

Hand has won seven straight meetings in this series. North Haven’s last win over the Tigers came in 2001.

Register’s pick: North Haven.

FRIDAY’S GAMES

  • Granby (0-3) at Haddam-Killingworth (0-3), 5 p.m.: H-K has scored just 22 points. Register’s Pick: Granby.
  • Branford (0-3) at Fairfield Prep (2-1), 6 p.m.: Branford has scored just seven points in its last two games. Register’s Pick: Fairfield Prep.
  • Cheshire (1-2) at Sheehan (1-2), 6 p.m.: Unless Sheehan plays better defensively they will struggle, especially against bigger, stronger SCC Division I opponents. Register’s Pick: Cheshire.
  • Avon (2-1) at Valley Regional/Old Lyme (2-0), 6:30 p.m.: Valley hasn’t played in two weeks. Probably not good news for Avon. Warriors will be rearing to go. Register’s Pick: Valley Regional/Old Lyme.
  • Wilby (2-1) at No. 1 Ansonia (3-0), 7 p.m.: Ansonia must be thinking, “One week until Derby, two until Masuk.” Register’s Pick: Ansonia.
  • No. 9 Masuk (3-0) at Oxford (2-1), 7 p.m.: If it loses here, Oxford may have to win out in order to qualify for the Class S playoffs. Register’s Pick: Masuk.
  • No. 10 Shelton (3-0) at Foran (2-1), 7 p.m.: Foran has the talent to compete with the Gaels, but do they have the depth? Register’s Pick: Shelton.
  • Amity (2-1) at Lyman Hall (0-3), 7 p.m.: Thirteen straight losses, and counting, for Lyman Hall. Register’s Pick: Amity.
  • Derby (3-0) at Crosby (0-3), 7 p.m.: The last time Derby started 4-0 was in 1990, which was also the last time the Red Raiders captured a state championship. Register’s Pick: Derby.
  • Hamden (2-1) at Law (0-3), 7 p.m.: Realistically, Hamden could be 5-1 when it hosts West Haven on Oct. 25. Register’s Pick: Hamden.
  • Hillhouse (1-2) at Xavier (2-1), 7 p.m.: Hillhouse surely hasn’t forgotten last year’s meeting against the Falcons, when Xavier scored 29 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to emerge victorious. Register’s Pick: Xavier.
  • Naugatuck (3-0) at Woodland (3-0), 7 p.m.: This contest should decide the NVL Copper Division. Register’s Pick: Naugatuck.
  • New Fairfield (2-1) at Stratford (1-2), 7 p.m.: Stratford will honor its 1988 state championship team at halftime of its Thanksgiving Day contest with Bunnell. Yes, it’s been 25 years since the Red Devils have won a state title. Register’s Pick: New Fairfield.
  • Notre Dame-Fairfield (0-3) at Bunnell (1-2), 7 p.m.: Bunnell just has too many weapons for the Lancers to contain. Register’s Pick: Bunnell.
  • O’Brien Tech (2-0) at Cheney Tech (3-0), 7 p.m.: O’Brien Tech has never started a season 3-0. Register’s Pick: Cheney Tech.
  • Ridgefield (2-1) at Notre Dame-West Haven (1-2), 7 p.m.: Notre Dame running back Cam Tucker (sprained left ankle) is questionable for this contest. Register’s Pick: Ridgefield.
  • Watertown (1-2) at Seymour (1-2), 7 p.m.: Seymour’s two losses are by a combined 10 points. Register’s Pick: Seymour.
  • West Haven (2-1) at Guilford (1-2), 7 p.m.: Guilford surely regretting a one-point loss to Wilton in its season opener. Register’s Pick: West Haven.
  • Wilbur Cross (1-2) at East Haven (1-2), 7 p.m.: A must-win for Cross, as the Governors’ schedule only gets increasingly more difficult. Register’s Pick: Wilbur Cross.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

  • North Branford (3-0) at Old Saybrook/Westbrook (1-1), 2:15 p.m.: North Branford’s Mark Basil is the early front-runner for coach of the year honors.
  • Register’s Pick: North Branford.
  • Abbott Tech (1-2) at Platt Tech (0-3), 2:30 p.m.: Abbott Tech’s two losses are to teams which are a combined 4-2. Register’s Pick: Abbott Tech.
  • Morgan (3-0) at Coginchaug (1-1), 2:30 p.m.: Can’t blame Morgan if it’s looking ahead to its contest with Valley Regional/Old Lyme in two weeks.
  • Register’s Pick: Morgan.
  • Hyde (2-1) at Canton (2-0), 3 p.m.: Hyde has shut out its last two opponents.  Register’s Pick: Hyde.

Last week: 23-1. Season: 66-13.

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