We have but one word for you:
Sweet, nourishing, football.
Today, it returns.
The 2018 season’s first practices begin today, for those programs that didn’t engage in spring football, and on Friday for those that did.
Most importantly, we are 25 DAYS away from Kickoff 2018, September 6.
Today the journey begins. Welcome back, everyone.
We, your crack staff at GameTimeCT, have been working hard all summer to prepare for what we believe will be our best season of coverage yet.
We’ve spent much of the last year organizing and planning a site redesign, a weekly podcast (!), a stats database and tons of other fun features and contests to whet your appetite for football.
Nothing’s quite set in stone but, suffice it to say, if you love high school football in this state, we’re about to serve a full-course meal. Stick around if you’re hungry.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Our 2018 prospectuses have gone out to every high school football coach in this state and we will begin our team-by-team previews in short order. If you are a head coach and you haven’t received our survey, by all means email me at email@example.com.
Anyway… So, what happened since we last left our championship teams at Boyle Stadium, McDougall Stadium, the Maclary Complex and Veterans Stadium?
There’s plenty to know about this season in the CIAC 2018 Football Handbook.
And if you want schedules, you can peruse teams on the CIAC’s master schedule page.
But here’s a quick primer on what’s what this 2018 season:
It Begins Now
— CHS Rams Football (@CHSRamFootball) August 13, 2018
Here’s a rundown of schools who have opted to begin their 2018 conditioning week Monday, August 13:
CCC: Avon, Berlin, Bloomfield, Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern, Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver, E.O. Smith, East Catholic, East Hartford, Enfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Hall, Hartford Public, Maloney, Middletown, New Britain, Northwest Catholic, Platt, RHAM, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, Tolland, Wethersfield
CTC: Cheney Tech, MCW United, O’Brien Tech, Platt Tech, Prince Tech, Quinebaug Valley, Thames River, Vinal/East Hampton/Goodwin
ECC: Bacon Academy, East Lyme, Griswold, Killingly, Ledyard, Montville, New London, Norwich Free Academy, Plainfield, Waterford
FCIAC: Norwalk, Ridgefield, St. Joseph, Staples, Trinity Catholic, Wilton
NVL: Crosby, Kennedy, Sacred Heart/Kaynor, Seymour, Watertown, WCA, Wilby, Wolcott, Woodland
Pequot: Canton, Coginchaug/Hale Ray/East Hampton, Cromwell/Portland, Ellington, Gilbert/Northwestern, Granby Memorial, Haddam-Killingworth, Lewis Mills, Morgan, North Branford, OSW, Rockville, Stafford/East Windsor/Somers, Valley Regional/Old Lyme, Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby
SCC: Bassick, Branford, Cheshire, Hand, Fairfield Prep, Foran, Guilford, Jonathan Law, Notre Dame-West Haven
SWC: Brookfield, Bunnell, Joel Barlow, Masuk, Newtown, Notre Dame-Fairfield, Pomperaug, Weston
Independent: Capital/Achievement, CREC Coop, Woodstock Academy.
If you’re not on this list, kids, you can go back to bed and rest up for Friday’s opener for the spring practice schools
2018 Dates to Remember
- Monday, August 13: First day of fall conditioning practice for schools that didn’t participate in Spring practice.
- Friday, August 17: First day of fall conditioning practice for schools that did participate in Spring.
- Saturday, August 18: First full day of pads for schools that didn’t participate in Spring practice.
- Thursday, August 23: First full day of pads for schools that did participate in Spring.
- Monday, August 27: First allowable scrimmage day.
- Thursday, Sept. 6: First contests / Last day to schedule games to count for CIAC playoffs.
- Thursday, Nov. 22: Last date for games to count for Tournament qualification: Nov. 22 (Postponement dates: Nov. 23-24).
- Friday, Nov. 23: CIAC Football committee meeting to approve final state playoff points.
- Tuesday, Nov. 27: CIAC Quarterfinals, 6:30 p.m. at sites of higher seeds.
- Sunday, Dec. 2: CIAC Semifinals at sites of higher seeds, TBA.
- Saturday, Dec. 8: CIAC Championships at TBA.
Football joined a host of other CIAC sports by exercising the option of adding a tournament success modifier to state playoff classes.
This season, ‘schools of choice’, an official designation for CIAC member schools which is defined as any school that brings in more than 25 gender-specific students from out of district. There are 70 football schools of choice, and it’s kind of a wide net.
A small school like Killingly, which is probably one of the last schools you’d think of falling under this designation, actually falls under this designation due to its role as an open-enrollment vo-ag program.
And, since Killingly won last year’s Class M championship, the Redmen were bumped up in class. As it turns out, Killingly was going to drop to Class S, and it was merely bumped back to Class M.
St. Joseph, which we can (almost) all agree is a ‘choice’ school, won the Class S championship. The Hogs have instead been bumped up to Class M this year.
Darien is the three-time defending Class LL champions, not to mention the three-time reigning No. 1 team in the state. But now the Blue Wave will have a bit more competition in the state playoffs when their good ole buddies from New Canaan join the Class LL field.
With a reported enrollment of 679, New Canaan — which boasts four NCAA FBS recruits this season — has made the cut at Class LL this year. We won’t get Ansonia-St. Joseph III, but we could see the return of NC’s and Darien’s struggle for state supremacy in the playoffs.
Other notable playoff changes include Xavier (!) and Naugatuck dropping to Class L, Hillhouse and East Haven dropping back to Class M.
Whitney Tech, which was part of Creed’s co-op, managed to find a partner with Vinal Tech and Goodwin Tech (That’s quite the trip to practice) after East Hampton left the co-op to join the one in Coginchaug. Nonnewaug has dropped back to junior varsity for this season.
Twenty-three schools will have new head coaches in 2018, including Steve George’s sudden appointment as interim coach at Seymour, where police are investigating an incident within the program.
The FCIAC saw the most turnover with seven head coaching changes (that’s 40 percent of the league, folks. Ouch). The most notable was three-time state champion Marce Petroccio leaving Staples for his alma mater at Trumbull, which continued a domino effect downstate.
Also hard-hit was Bridgeport, which saw three of its four schools make coaching changes: Bridgeport Central, Bullard-Havens and Bassick.
That’s all we can think of for now. We’ll have much, much more later.
Until then, happy footballing.