[aesop_image imgwidth=”720″ img=”http://www.gametimect.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Harding-Bassick-to-SCC.png” credit=”Graphic Sean Patrick Bowley” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”Bassick and Harding are joining the SCC as football-only members. Click to enlarge.” captionposition=”left”]
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Harding and Bassick were added to the SCC for football this week, a sentence that is extremely strange to type, but not nearly as weird as it would have been say a decade ago when things in the high school athletics world were a bit more stable.
While you normally come to me for my strong opinions about such matters, I’m honestly torn about the prospects of the two Bridgeport schools joining the league next fall.
As I’ve said repeatedly over the years, diversity is one of the best things about what makes the SCC great, and adding the two Bridgeport schools will only add to that. Having kids from diverse backgrounds on the same playing field is an important component of the learning experience that high school athletics should be, and often isn’t.
Through things like Unified Sports and captains’ councils, the SCC has been at the forefront of these areas, forcing other conferences to emulate their success.
It’s also wonderful for somewhat nomadic programs like Harding and Bassick to have homes. It’s hard enough for some urban programs to be competitive with their lack of resources.
That was never more evident than when Harding and Bassick were slogging their way through the FCIAC year after year, although Bridgeport Central, which remains in the Fairfield County league, did have some success a a decade ago.
Sadly, as tough as it was in football, it was worse in other sports. As much as we say it’s not about wins and losses (and it’s not), it’s nearly impossible to build a program getting blown out every game.
Eventually, Harding and Bassick — for the sake of all of its sports — got the heck out of the powerful FCIAC, taking an invite from the Constitution State Conference.
— Al Carbone (@SCCcommissioner) October 26, 2016
Only, while the porridge was too hot in the FCIAC, it’s apparently too cold in the CSC.
Pollinated by tech schools who mostly struggle against their public counterparts, the two schools, Harding in particular, came in and had great success. In football, the Presidents went undefeated in the regular season last year before being blown out by Notre Dame in the Class L quarterfinals.
This year, if it can get past Bullard-Havens, it will likely be in the playoffs again, while teams like North Haven and Notre Dame almost certainly won’t.
With all due respect to Harding, the CIAC system is clearly not fair.
And so after a couple of seasons, the tech schools in the CSC have decided this experiment has gone so badly in their view that they’re going to blow the whole thing up and form their own, tech-school only, conference once again.
It will leave Harding and Bassick without a home, an unfair place to be for the student-athletes of schools that have been all over the Connecticut map in the last few years.
But, even with all that said, should the SCC have taken them in? It had just realigned into three divisions, and with 20 schools was starting to get to the limits of what constitutes a single league.
Now with 22, it’s possible teams may go a decade or more without meeting, which makes it a family in name only.
In fact, you can argue that starting next season, the SCC in football will meld into three different leagues.
With Hand’s rumored move to Division II, Harding likely joining them there and Bassick going to Division III, the numbers will be more equitable than they were this season (seven teams in Division I, seven in II, and eight in III).
For Division III teams, after its division games are accounted for, there will be only three open dates remaining in a 10-game season. For some, there will be just two when you include their traditional Thanksgiving games.
Will the new schedule include Division III vs. Division I crossover games? I guess we’ll find out together.
In the end, though, it’s not the SCC’s job to make the CIAC create a more equitable postseason system that weighs the merits of, not just the team’s final record but the quality of their opponents, both the ones they’ve beaten and the ones they haven’t.
It’s possible that soon a long-awaited district model — the easiest way for the CIAC to rectify the inequities — will be implemented, although there are plenty of details to be worked out on that front.
Until then, though, welcome aboard Harding and Bassick. Grab a bottle of Gatorade, have a look around, and if you need anything, let us know.
Sheehan’s Davis Obliterates the Record Books
Zach Davis with the offensive line after record-breaking performance. pic.twitter.com/9nDRPNP9z4
— Sheehan Athletics (@MTSAthletics) October 29, 2016
Sheehan’s Zach Davis probably should have gotten all the headlines this week, no matter how much we’ve written about him already.
Surely you’ve seen them already, but the numbers are downright staggering, both Friday and for the season.
In a 66-20 victory over Law Friday night he ran 41 times for 541 yards, which shattered the state record set by Jeremiah Crowley of Montville in 2013 vs. Stonington. Davis scored 10 (?!?) touchdowns, another state record, and his 64 points scored in the 66-20 victory.
In just seven games, Davis has rushed for an astounding 2,497 yards, which is a an SCC record for yards in a season. It was previously held by Cheshire’s Andrew Yamin.
His 37 touchdowns (36 rushing) is also a league record, beating West Haven’s Ervin Phillips (now at Syracuse) and Xavier’s DeAngelo Berry.
The numbers kind of speak for themselves, don’t they?
The lead-up to the game in Milford was contentious enough that a Law player was suspended for a derisive social media post about Davis. But Sheehan quickly jumped out to a big lead with Davis running for six touchdowns and 349 yards in the first half alone.
While the Lawmen did get blown out by Amity and Wilbur Cross, it did hold Creed to just six points and held East Haven — a team Sheehan lost to earlier in the season — without a point in the second half, both Law victories.
Detractors (yeah I know, kind of sad that there still are some, right?) will point out that Davis’ last two touchdowns came after the game was well decided and that Division III competition is not Division I. But Davis has more than proven he is worthy of the current accolades this season.
He is also the first to credit the rest of his team, which has now won four straight after losing the first three games of the campaign.
Next up is Hillhouse, which dismantled Hamden Friday and has allowed just two touchdowns in its last two games and has conceded one score or less in more than half its games this season.
After that, he finishes with an improving Creed squad and Lyman Hall, against whom he rushed for 507 yards on Thanksgiving last year.
The all-time state records in a season in rushing yards (3,867) and touchdowns (68) both belong to former Ansonia (now UConn) star Arkeel Newsome and appear to be out of Davis’ reach with just three games remaining.
But you never know, especially with the former number, although it should be noted that it took Newsome 14 games to post those totals in 2013 as Ansonia won the Class S title.
Oh, and while Davis is starting to get some phone calls from college recruiters, he still hasn’t committed yet, so hopefully someone is reading this.
If you noticed West Haven wearing wristbands with the words “For Mickey” in its 35-26 win over North Haven, they were for a very good cause.
Five-year-old Mickey Macholl has been battling cancer for the past year and recently went back in for more treatment in North Carolina. Mickey’s parents, Mark and Rachel, are both former West Haven residents, and Mickey’s grandfather Jim Eagan was the long-time girls basketball coach and a physical education teacher at West Haven.
Family friends in West Haven held a fundraiser last week attended by most of the team and the WHHS community. For more on helping Mickey visit his gofundme page here.
… If the league wanted to inflict karma on North Haven for being in Division II the past couple of seasons, they couldn’t have done a better job.
The Indians stood tall again Friday against one of the league’s and state’s best, and again could make a good case that they were the better team, only to fall to West Haven, 35-26.
So the Indians’ four losses are to unbeaten West Haven and Shelton, Notre Dame, and Cheshire, and with a break or two, they could be 6-1 or 7-0. Instead, they’re 3-4, but still battling.
… Speaking of the Green Knights, who defeated Hand 23-6, they might have an outside shot to sneak in to the Class L playoffs if they can win out.
The combined record of the teams that beat them? 21-0.
… Patrick Conte finally returned for Fairfield Prep, but looked really, really rusty as Xavier rebounded from a couple of tough outings to blow out the Jesuits 31-7 and all but end their playoff hopes.
… Wilbur Cross and Branford had a sliver of hope for the playoffs heading into last week. But those hopes ended with losses to previously struggling teams. Amity rose up to stop the Governors and Creed defeated Branford. SCC isn’t that easy outside Division I, either, I guess.
… Tom Dyer played against his former team for the first time Friday and Hillhouse destroyed Hamden 41-8 in a contest that was not nearly that close. The Acs might be rounding into peak form at about the right time.
… Shelton held off Cheshire 34-20 in a contest that saw all but six of the points come in the first half. Cheshire now faces a massive game against aforementioned Notre Dame that it will likely need to keep its playoff hopes alive.
Player of the Week
Zach Davis, Sheehan
Again, 541 yards and 64 points is a state record and state records have been around a long time, so it should be celebrated.
Inside the Numbers
237 Number of yards Anthony Godfrey ran for in West Haven’s 35-26 win over North Haven Friday. In a normal week, that would be pretty darn impressive. It included one 70-yard run that was dropped 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
So I wanted to give him at least a little bit of credit here. West Haven’s multi-faceted running game is really impressive.
Game of the Week
Notre Dame at Cheshire, Friday, 7 p.m.
Here’s another Division I game where you can make a strong case for picking either team. Then again, they’re all like that, aren’t they?
The Rams showed some mettle last week even though they lost. They were down down 21 points early to Shelton and had a chance to tie before halftime.
Alas, Cheshire still has Notre Dame and Southington left on the schedule and 7-3 is probably not going to be good enough to get it done, so they’ll likely have to win here.
1) West Haven (7-0; Last Week 1) — Maybe a little wake-up call that they still can be a little vulnerable here.
2) Shelton (7-0; LW 2) — Getting close to wrapping up Class LL playoff berth, would like to do so against Prep.
3) Notre Dame (4-3; LW 4) — Currently crunching the math to see if they might have a shot to grab Class L berth.
4) North Haven (3-4; LW 5) — If under last year’s scheduling format, Indians would likely be 6-1 or better at moment.
5) Cheshire (5-2; LW 3) — Big, big game for Rams at Maclary Complex Friday. Should be quite the scene there.
6) Xavier (4-3; LW 6) — Appears Falcons have righted whatever was wrong previously, and have North Haven next.
7) Hillhouse (6-1; LW 9) — Acs will no doubt be looking to limit Zach Davis, which will make for fascinating game.
8) Fairfield Prep (4-3; LW 7) — Jesuits’ offensive woes finally getting the best of them as season moves to November.
9) Hand (1-6; LW 10) — Some may argue with a 1-6 team being up this high, but Tigers can beat anyone below.
10) Wilbur Cross (4-2; LW 8) — Offense just never got going against Amity in a really disappointing loss.
11) Foran (3-3; LW 11) — Three weeks off apparently allowed them to get really healthy, especially on defensive end.
12) Sheehan (4-3; LW 12) — Four straight wins for Titans and complete transformation a bit overlooked, but there.
13) Amity (2-5; LW 15) — Impressive performance against Cross, especially on defensive end for D-2 victory.
14) Branford (4-3; LW 13) — Unfortunately, got Creed just as they were getting completely healthy and paid for it.
15) Hamden (2-5; LW 14) — Still only two wins Dragons have are over Division III teams and no more of them left.
16) East Haven (2-4; LW 16) — Probably think should have been better vs. Foran, but could win last four games.
17) Creed (2-5; LW 19) — Only three games left as they don’t play on Thanksgiving. Maybe Bassick soon?
18) Guilford (3-4; LW 18) — Indians have quietly put up three wins, go out-of-conference with Wilton Friday.
19) Jonathan Law (2-4; LW 17) — Probably won’t be posting anything silly on social media for a while.
20) Lyman Hall (1-6; LW 20) — Tough to see them winning a conference game this season. Law on Friday.