As the high school football season approaches the halfway mark, let’s take a peek at the CIAC playoff rankings for some of Middletown’s teams. Remember this is purely a mathematical system with points awarded for wins and for wins a defeated opponent has. It has nothing to do with sports writers’, coaches’ or other folks’ opinions.
Cold, hard math. Not always sensible math, but cold and hard. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs in each of the four divisions.
In Class LL, South Windsor leads and the only LL team in the area is Xavier, currently sitting at No. 18. For the Falcons to qualify for the postseason, it might be able to suffer one more loss, so Friday’s game at Fairfield Prep (6 p.m. start) is crucial.
In Class L, Windsor leads and Middletown is in fourth place. The Blue Dragons’ toughest opponents lie ahead beginning with Bristol Central (2-2) Friday at 6:30 p.m. — note the early start — at Rosek-Skubel Stadium.
By the combined enrollment of the three schools, winless Vinal/East Hampton/Goodwin are in Class L — which makes no sense — and the Bellhawks are No. 34.
There are no area schools in Class M, but in Class S, Cromwell/Portland is No. 9, Valley/Old Lyme is No. 12, Haddam-Killingworth is No. 23 and Coginchaug-Hale-Ray is No. 25.
All of this will change dramatically as area teams beat teams that have winning records — or lose to said teams.
One more thing. If a team finishes in the top four in its class, it gets a home game first round. In December. In the cold. In the snow.
As much as football grabs many of the headlines in the fall, just about every school plays soccer. In the area it’s the usual mixed bag at the halfway point. Among girls teams, it looks like Class LL Middletown (4-2), Class L Mercy (4-2-2), Class M Cromwell (5-1-1) and Class S East Hampton (5-3) are the best of the lot.
Middletown lost to Tolland 3-2 in overtime last week. That’s significant because Tolland tied Glastonbury, which held the longest consecutive winning streak in the country.
Class L Mercy lost two and tied one in its last four outings. Coach Marcus Harley was very pleased with his team’s start, saying that his club was beating the teams it was supposed to beat, but that the best teams were coming up. His Tigers lost two 1-0 decision to Amity and Hand of Madison and tied Guilford 1-1.
In Class M, Valley is 2-1-4 and H-K is 0-5-1. In Class S, Portland is 2-5-1, Coginchaug is 2-5 and Hale-Ray is 0-4-1.
In boys soccer, neither Class L Middletown (1-4-1) or Class LL Xavier (2-4-1) are having the best of seasons. But for Middletown, it’s already what might have been.
MHS lost twice in overtime, to Northwest Catholic and Bristol Central, then tied Bulkeley in OT. Xavier tied a very good Fairfield Prep team 0-0 in its last outing, so the Falcons and Dragons are among those saying if only this or that happened.
The soccer gods are not kind.
In Class M, H-K (4-2-1) and Valley (5-3) are off to solid starts. Coginchaug is 3-4-1 and Vinal Tech is 0-9-1. In Class S, Cromwell is 4-3, Portland is 4-3-1, East Hampton is 3-3-3 and Hale-Ray is 0-6-1.
Highsmith has a big day
Wesleyan and former Middletown High running back Dario Highsmith had a terrific game Saturday in the Cardinals’ 31-9 win at Hamilton. Highsmith carried the ball 15 times for 95 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 5 passes for 34 more yards as Wesleyan improved to 2-1.
Quarterback Mark Piccirillo, a Shelton High alum, had another big game, completing 25-of-33 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
Wesleyan is home with Colby this Saturday at 1 p.m.
Local High School football thoughts
Middletown’s defense continues to impress. Farmington was helpless Saturday night against the Blue Dragons. However, again a caution. Farmington was 0-4 and figured to be no match for Middletown and the Indians weren’t.
Much the same for Xavier Friday night. East Haven also figured to be no challenge for the Falcons and Xavier easily won the game 56-3. An East Haven vs. Farmington game might be an even match.
Things get much more interesting for both as Middletown hosts Bristol Central Friday and Xavier hits the road to Fairfield Prep.
Cromwell/Portland overwhelmed H-K Friday, which also was no surprise. C/P was bigger, faster and stronger. H-K is also limited in that it doesn’t throw the football. The Cougars attempted just one pass Friday and completed it. For one yard. Tough to win in high school when the other team can ignore the pass.
Coginchaug/Hale-Ray was beaten badly on the road, losing to the Windsor Locks co-op 40-14 and Vinal/East Hampton/Goodwin continued its losing streak, this time to previously winless Platt Tech of Milford, 30-14.
And the best league is?
My initial response to that is: Who cares?
I laugh when people get their shorts all in a bunch arguing over which groups of teenage boys playing a sport is better than other groups of kids. I mean, don’t adults have better things to do? The SCC, the FCIAC and the CCC are all pretty good.
I figure the best teams in the CCC — as of this writing, Southington, Windsor, Middletown, South Windsor — would win their share of games in either the SCC or the FCIAC, just as the top SCC teams — West Haven, Cheshire, North Haven, Shelton — would do fine in the CCC or FCIAC, and so it goes.
In the Top 10 poll last week, there were four FCIAC teams, three CCC teams, one SCC team, one Naugatuck Valley team and one Southwest Conference team. If you total up all the votes cast, some 27 teams received votes: seven from the FCIAC, seven from the CCC, five from the SCC, four from the Eastern Connecticut Conference, two from the NVL, one from the SWC and one from the Pequot League.
That will change this week as teams win — and lose.
But the best league? I have no idea and couldn’t care less.
Players of the Week
Four stars this week. They are Xavier quarterback Will Levis, who threw for five touchdowns and 347 yards and ran for a sixth in his team’s 56-3 win over outclassed East Haven, Cromwell/Portland QB Bryce Karstetter, who threw for 258 yards and four TDs on a 12-for-22 performance at H-K, Xavier wide receiver Kyle MacGillis, who had four catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns, and Middletown defensive player Stephen Hill who had three solo tackles and three assists as Middletown’s defense made life miserable for Farmington.
The anthem … again
I promise — I think — that this is my last word from here on the much-overblown anthem controversy.
Kneeling is not an insult to the flag, it is not an insult to the troops, it is not an attack on the country. For heaven’s sake, let’s stop listening to the absurdities of the current occupant of the White House on this. The protesting players have made it abundantly clear they are protesting racial injustice in America in a very peaceful, non-violent, respectful way.
People say people died for the flag. I hope not. What the motivation should be is for the values for which the flag stands and the most important is the First Amendment right to speak your mind, to protest, to argue. Without that right, the rest of the Constitution is meaningless.
Blind nationalism is dumb and dangerous; thoughtful patriotism is what makes America great.
The Supreme Court long ago said that persons cannot be made to stand for the pledge or the anthem. I get how people can be offended, I get how people can be upset. But if a protest upset or bothered no one, that protest would be ignored and useless.
I stand — or kneel — with those who sincerely believe that there is racial injustice in America and it must end.
Here and there
…Why does Farmington High still use the Indians as a mascot?
…WCNXRadio.com reported that 708 devices were logged on to the Xavier vs. East Haven game and 702 were logged on to the Thursday night broadcast of South Wndsor’s stirring come-from-behind win over Simsbury … the local Internet station will carry the Bristol Central vs. Middletown game this Friday at 6:30 p.m.
…Lost amidst Xavier’s and Middletown’s lopsided wins over the weekend were the unconscionable number of penalties … Middletown was flagged nine times for 80 yards, but that’s nothing when compared to Xavier’s 12 penalties for 110 yards … “We will fix that Monday,” said Xavier coach Andy Guyon.
…Interesting weekend in the CCC: previously unbeaten Platt was stunned by Wethersfield 17-7, Bristol Eastern won its first game since 2015 by upsetting Newington 9-7, undefeated Windsor came from two touchdowns down to nip E.O. Smith — which comes to Middletown next week — on a TD with 35 seconds left, 28-21, and Bristol Central was blasted by Maloney, 34-7 … Maloney, by the way, has quietly won three in a row after losing its season-opener to Windsor 28-0.
…Wesleyan has reduced its seating capacity for football at Corwin Stadium at Andrus Field … the new bleachers — which are rented for a cool $100,000 a season, according to Deputy Director of Athletics Rachel Ludwig — seat 1,500 on the home side and only 350 on the visitors’ side.