- Where/when: — Central Connecticut State, New Britain, 10:30 a.m.
- Seeds/records — No. 4 North Branford (10-1); No. 2 Capital Prep/Achieve First (10-1)
- On the Air — NFHS Network | CPTV Sports
- Live Stats — GameTracker
- Players to watch — North Branford: Paul Pastet, Jr., QB; Austin Calamita, Sr., RB; Nick Sagnella, Sr., DL; Mike Kaiser, Sr., DL; Shelby Franklin, Jr., RB. Capital Prep/AF: Rayshawn Phillips, Jr., QB; Tyrell Boseman, Sr., WR; Jahkai Gill, Jr., WR; Jourdayne Ross, Jr., RB; James Arcata, Sr., LB.
- Championship history — North Branford (1-2): Titles 1979 (def. St. Joseph 25-22); Runner-up: 2012 (lost to Ansonia 59-26); 2001 (lost to Bloomfield 40-7); Capital Prep/Achievement First (0-0): 1st appearance.
You should know
North Branford is making its second finals appearance in three seasons under head coach Mark Basil. The Thunderbirds lost to Ansonia, 59-26, in the 2012 Class S championship game. North Branford won its only CIAC title in 1979, a 25-22 Class S win over St. Joseph. North Branford, which has outscored its opponents 516-157, has won eight straight since a 31-7 loss at Class S-Large finalist Valley Regional/Old Lyme. The T-birds, who compete in the Pequot Conference, edged Northwest Catholic, 10-6, in the semifinals. Capital Prep/Acheivement has made the playoffs in four straight seasons. The Trailblazers became the first team from the Constitution State Conference to win a CIAC playoff game when they rallied past Canton 28-21 in the semifinals. Capital Prep has outscored its opponents 402-110. The Trailblazers have won 10 straight since a 10-0 loss to Class M semifinalist New London.
This has the makings of another high scoring affair. The T-birds are averaging 39.7 points per game. Junior quarterback Paul Pastet has done a great job replacing senior starter Eddie Miller, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Pastet has completed 51 of 87 passes for 802 yards. Junior running back Shelby Franklin has rushed for 766 yards with eight touchdowns. Senior receiver Austin Calamita has 39 receptions for 908 yards and 19 touchdowns. The T-birds defense is led by seniors Mike Kaiser (145 tackles), Nick Sagnella (135 tackles) and Lou Distasio (102 tackles). Sagnella is the son of North Haven coach Tony Sagnella. The speedy Trailblazers are led by junior quarterback Rayshawn Phillips, who completed 18 of 28 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns in the semifinal win over Canton. Phillips also ran for 106 yards and touchdowns. Phillips has passed for 2,456 yards with 27 touchdowns. His favorite target is junior Jahkai Gilll. Gill has 43 receptions for 1028 yards with 13 touchdowns. Capital Prep’s deep receiving corps also includes sophomore Dexter Lawson (20 receptions), and seniors Nasir Williams (367 yards, five TDs) and Tyrell Boseman (353 yards, four TDs). The Trailblazers defense is spearheaded by senior linebacker James Arcata (106 tackles), senior lineman Sidney Jones (seven sacks) and sophomore defensive end Daniel Lebron (6.5 sacks).
- Pooch’s pick: North Branford
- SPB’s Pick: North Branford 41-21
Who will win the 2018 Class M championship?
No. 1 St. Joseph (11-1)
No. 3 Berlin (11-1)
Total Response: 355 Votes