MIDDLETOWN >> It’s Thanksgiving football time across Connecticut and some of the biggest games involve area teams. The headliner is the Middletown at Windsor game, which has been moved to tonight at 6:30 because of the weather outlook for Wednesday. It’s a game with all kinds of Class L playoff implications.
Right behind that one is the Coginchaug at Cromwell game, a game in which Coginchaug will be looking to nail down a Class S playoff berth. And there is the annual Principal’s Cup game between Valley Regional/Old Lyme and Haddam-Killingworth, a game in which undefeated Valley will be looking to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Class M playoffs.
And for a complete schedule of all this week’s games and results: THANKSGIVING WEEK SCHEDULE
Middletown (9-1) vs. Windsor (6-3)
Windsor High School
Tonight at 6:30 p.m.
Middletown is ranked No. 3 in Class L, but has still not clinched a playoff berth. A win tonight would not only clinch a berth, but almost certainly clinch a home game in the quarterfinal round next Tuesday.
Windsor, No. 11 in Class L, still has a shot for a playoff berth, but would not only have to beat Middletown, but have other games fall its way. The two clubs staged a sensational game last year, with Windsor scoring in the last two minutes to pull out a 40-35 win at MHS.
Windsor went on to the Class L title game, losing a decision to Hand of Madison.
“Windsor is big, athletic and have that big play capability,” said Middletown coach Sal Morello. “They can run the ball well and we need to stop that and their big play capability.”
Middletown has used the 10 days off to heal.
“We are as healthy as we’ve been,” said Morello. “Nobody is out and no question the bye week was a big help.”
Morello said how well his defense plays will be a key to the game. “I also think special teams’ play is important in this one,” he said.
At mid-season, Middletown was often one-dimensional, but in its most recent outing against Simsbury, the Blue Dragons were more diversified on offense, much as it was in the first third of the season.
“We need to mix things up,” said Morello. “We cannot be one-dimensional against Windsor. We need to play mistake-free, that is not turn the ball over, and limit our penalties.”
Middletown quarterback Dario Highsmith has more than 1,700 yards rushing and he will be, as usual, a key to Middletown’s fortunes. But also a key will be the running of Sal Fazzino and Yaamal Jackson, and the ability of Highsmith to throw the ball.
Middletown can also win the Central Connecticut Conference West II division with a victory.
The pick: Middletown
Who will win Pomperaug at Notre Dame-Fairfield?
Total Response: 128 Votes
Haddam-Killingworth (0-9) vs. Valley Regional/Old Lyme (10-0)
H-K High School
Tonight at 6:30 p.m.
The winner of this traditional rivalry, which has also been moved to tonight, gets to keep the Principal’s Cup for a year. It is always an emotional game.
Valley has had a spectacular season. The Warriors enter the game ranked No. 1 in the Class M CIAC playoff ratings and have already clinched a home quarterfinal round game next Tuesday at Blythe Field in Deep River.
Haddam-Killingworth is not only very young, but also a team that has been struck by injuries. But coach Dennis O’Rourke said his kids are enthusiastic and have showed up to play every game.
Valley is led by quarterback Phil Cohen and running back Justin Cheverier. In their last game, the Warriors dispatched Class M playoff team Gilbert/Northwestern 35-0.
The Pick: Valley Regional
Who will win the 67th Green Bowl?
Notre Dame-WH (2-7)
Total Response: 248 Votes
Coginchaug (8-2) vs. Cromwell (4-6)
Pierson Park, Cromwell
Thanksgiving at 10 a.m.
Coginchaug Regional can smell a Class S playoff berth. After a 1-2 start, a start in which the Blue Devils played the Pequot’s two best teams in Morgan and Valley Regional, they have gotten healthy and reeled off seven wins in a row. One more win and Coginchaug will be in the postseason.
In Saturday’s win over H-K, the Devils’ passing combination of Tyler Meeker and Devin Rodrigue hooked up again for a touchdown, but the Devils are anything but one-dimensional.
“We try to be multi-faceted,” said Coginchaug coach John Bozzi in sports editor Jimmy Zanor’s game story Monday. “That’s always our goal.”
Cromwell got off to a good start at 4-1, but then hit the skids and have lost five in a row, the latest a 24-6 decision to North Branford. But there were things in that game that pleased coach Chris Eckert, notably his team’s effort and, aside from three or four big plays, his team’s defense.
The game on Thursday has been dubbed the “Homes for the Braves Bowl” dedicated to helping homeless veterans. Fans may make monetary donations or items from the group’s wish list. Information may be found at the websitewww.homesforthebrave.org.
The pick: Coginchaug
Who will win the Class M quarterfinal Law at Killingly?
No. 1 Killingly (10-0)
No. 8 Law (6-4)
Total Response: 324 Votes
There are some great matchups around the state. West Haven (9-1) plays at Fairfield Prep (8-2) in a Class LL big one and Darien (9-1) is at New Canaan (11-0) in a Class L headliner.
In other games with playoff implications in various classes include North Haven (8-2) at Amity (5-5), Hand (7-3) at Guilford (5-5), New London (8-2) at Norwich Free Academy (9-1), Trumbull (8-2) at St. Joseph (9-2), Greenwich (7-3) at Staples (8-2), Ansonia (11-0) at Naugatuck (9-1), Brookfield (9-1) at Bethel (8-2) and Rocky Hill (9-1) at Northwest Catholic (7-3).
The winners will be New Canaan, North Haven, Hand, NFA, St. Joseph, Staples, Ansonia, Bethel, Rocky Hill, and the Turkey Day special, Fairfield Prep.