All with a shot to reach the glorious state championship games at Arute Field in New Britain.
We are at the end of The Gauntlet: The brutal, two-game, four day stretch of Connecticut state playoff games that determine our eight state finalists.
Welcome to the War room. Our own personal NORAD for the Connecticut high school football state playoffs, the place where you can track everything happening in today’s state football semifinal round.
Today the hard-working staff of GameTimeCT will be covering all EIGHT state semifinal games involving our regional teams, complete with stories, photos and videos as the day goes on and complete recaps at the end of the evening.
If you’re stuck at home, can’t get to some of the games, just stick with us. We’ll get you all the information you’ll need, plus any links necessary to either listen to or watch the games online.
You can always follow the live blog at the bottom of the page for updates and analysis on every state playoff game and see what everybody’s talking about.
- Jim Bransfield: Middletown region picks
- Valley Regional/Old Lyme meets Brookfield in Class M semis | Jimmy Zanor
- Ridgway, West Haven experience tragedy, triumph on LL semi journey | Mike Pucci
- Dynamic Smith leads Fairfield Prep into semifinal match with Westies | Mary Albl
- Sneak peek: Barlow-St. Joseph: The Scrimmage! | SPB
The State Semifinal previews capsules
FOLLOW THE LIVE BLOG BELOW FOR UPDATES
THE GAMES: All at 2 p.m.
No. 7 Fairfield Prep vs. No. 6 West Haven
at McDougall Stadium, Trumbull HS
These two, proud SCC teams are fighting for the right to carry the league banner into the state championship for the first time in years. Ed McCarthy, the state’s all-time winningest coach, and West Haven haven’t played for a state title since 2003. It hasn’t won one since 2002. Fairfield Prep hasn’t played for a state title since Earl Lavery roamed the sidelines in 1988. West Haven is led by Syracuse commit Ervin Philips. Prep by Yale commit Nick Crowle, Fordham commit Tony Fox and dynamic junior Colton Smith.
No. 8 Ridgefield vs. No. 4 Southington
at Ken Strong Stadium, West Haven
Live Twitter updates: @NHRDanNowak
Ridgefield is the upstart from the FCIAC which knocked off No. 1-seeded Newtown and is playing for its first state championship appearance since 2003. Southington hasn’t won a state title since 1998 and is trying to get to its first final since 2006. The Tigers have a solid senior class led by RB Will Bonaparte. Southington has QB and Yale commit Stephen Barmore.
No. 7 North Haven vs. No. 3 New Canaan
Jonathan Law High School, Milford
Live Twitter updates: @MikePucciNHR
Ethan Suraci and North Haven their tough single-wing won its first state playoff game by knocking off Platt in the quarterfinals. It’s been the plenty of semifinals before, but never the state championship game. To get there they must toppled the high-flying, eight-time state champion and former No. 1 team New Canaan. The Rams are just itching to get a state championship rematch with Darien, their Turkey Bowl rivals after losing to the Wave on Thanksgiving. QB Nick Cascione and LB Cole Harris lead a star-studded cast of characters.
No. 4 Middletown vs. No. 1 Darien
at Arum Sports Complex, Pomperaug HS, Southbury
RADIO/INTERNET: NFHS Network (subscription required)
Live Twitter updates: @DarienFootball
Electric junior Dario Highsmith, the recently crowned Gatorade State Player of the Year, has Middletown in the playoffs for the first time since his uncles were tearing up the turf back in the early 1990s. Darien, led by an emerging defensive front and offensive stars Nick Lombardo and Silas Wyper, are vying for the school’s first state title game since 2008, when they faced New Canaan. Guess who might be awaiting them at Arum Field?
No, 3 Barlow vs. No. 2 St. Joseph
at Bunnell High School, Stratford
Live Twitter updates: @NHRHenryC
QB Jack Shaban, one of the state’s best all-around athletes, has Barlow playing for its first state championship game… ever. The Falcons and their option attack won the school’s first state playoff vs. Gilbert/Northwestern. But to get to Arum Field they must somehow find a way to stop an explosive St. Joseph attack led by QB Jordan Vazzano and RB Mufasha Abdul-Basir. The Hogs, playing for their first state championship game since 2010 and their third in four years, dropped 84 points on Ledyard in the state quarterfinals. (They also gave up 49…)
No. 5 Brookfield vs. No. 1 Valley Regional/Old Lyme
at the Maclary Complex, Cheshire
Live Twitter updates: @NHRDanNowak
Tim King has taken his Valley program to another level over the last four years. The Warriors have been to the state playoffs twice, reaching the quarterfinals one year, then the semifinals the next. That was with one generation of stars. Now, can a new generation led by QB Phil Cohen and Justin Cheverier, take the Warriors to the next level? Standing in their way is a young group of Brookfield stars, led by sophomore Bobby Drysdale and junior Dan Jackson, who are a year ahead of schedule, trying to take Brookfield to its first state final since it won it all in 2008.
No. 3 Rocky Hill vs. No. 2 Ansonia
at Riccitelli Field, Sheehan HS, Wallingford
Live Twitter updates: @NHRJoeMorelli
Everybody has 10,000-yard rusher and UConn commit Arkeel Newsome and No. 1-ranked Ansonia inked to win its 19th state championship. The Chargers have rarely been challenged this year, the year before that and the year before that. They’ve won two state titles and 40-straight games. Can senior RB Chris Young, also one of the state’s best, and Rocky Hill slow Ansonia’s title chase down? Or will they be another spot of road kill on the road to Arute?
No. 8 Bloomfield vs. No. 4 Woodland
at Monroe Field, Wolcott HS, Wolcott
RADIO/INTERNET: WATR 1320-AM
Live Twitter updates: @PetePaguaga
QB Norvel Stewart and Bloomfield have defied a season’s worth of tragedy to put itself in position to make the program’s first state championship appearance since 2006. Record-breaking quarterback Tanner Kingsley and Woodland are trying to etch their names into a short, but glorious list of Woodland champions. The Valley’s Hawks haven’t played for a state championship since Chris Anderson won back-to-back in 2004 and 2005.
THE LIVE BLOG
Watch or listen to the games on the links above, but keep this window open to follow what’s going on across the state.