With the largest of slate of games in state history played Thanksgiving eve, the playoff picture cleared up considerably.
Seven teams unofficially clinched playoff spots, bringing the statewide total to 28 of 32 available.
Two of the four playoff fields were completed. Bunnell, North Haven, Windsor and Platt won to clinch spots in Class L. Seymour’s loss to Woodland handed Plainfield the final spot in Class S, despite the Panthers losing to Griswold 13-6.
Fairfield Prep, meanwhile, clinched in Class LL without even playing a game (North Haven’s win over Amity was the magic game). Brookfield, in Class M, was the first clinch of the evening when it beat Bethel 41-7.
And we even saw three of the four playoff fields — Class L, M and S — determine all of their home quarterfinal teams.
While Thanksgiving morning’s schedule is much lighter than in recent years, three massive games will just about set the table for the postseason: Staples at Greenwich, New Canaan vs. Darien in Stamford and Naugatuck at Ansonia. There’s also Shelton’s Thanksgiving Day game vs. Derby, which wrap up the No. 1-overall seed in Class LL for the Gaels should they win.
You can see precisely where your team stands on the CIAC’s realtime playoff sheet here:
Here’s how it all breaks down this Thanksgiving morning, 2018:
SHELTON (9-0) gets the No. 1 overall seed by beating Derby and finishing with 1500 points.
DARIEN (9-0) will get the No. 2 seed by beating New Canaan, unless either Shelton somehow loses or the Blue Wave get more than two of the following teams to win their games: Staples, Wilton, McMahon and Bridgeport Central. They can finish anywhere between 1520-1480 points with a win over the Rams.
NEWTOWN (10-0) has clinched a home quarterfinal and is locked in with 1450 playoff points. If Shelton and Darien win, it will be the No. 3 seed. If one loses, the Hawks will jump to No. 2.
SOUTHINGTON (10-0) is locked in at 1440 playoff points. That will be enough for a home quarterfinal if Greenwich, Darien or Shelton loses.
GREENWICH (9-0) plays Staples. A win will get the Cardinals anywhere between 1470-1430 points. In order to get a home quarterfinal in a scenario where all the unbeaten teams in this class finish unbeaten, the Cards are going to need at least two bonus games to beat out Southington and tie Newtown at 1450.
Those bonuses are: Trumbull (over St. Joseph), Trinity (over Wilton), Norwalk (over McMahon).
Greenwich actually holds a fourth bonus of New Canaan beating Darien bonus. But getting that would clinch a home quarterfinal for Greenwich anyway.
If Greenwich gets two of Trumbull, Trinity or Norwalk, then it will clinch a home quarterfinal. If it only gets one… well… it’ll be tied with Southington on points and it would go to tiebreak points, which is another way of saying the total wins by all 10 of Greenwich’s opponents this season vs. Southingtons. They are currently tied at 88. It’ll be close.
FAIRFIELD PREP (8-1) plays West Haven and a win will likely put them at No. 6 with 1350-1330 final points, unless one of the teams above it lose. They’ll need Greenwich AND Darien to lose to have a shot at home quarterfinal, but can get no higher than No. 4.
NEW BRITAIN (9-1) is locked in with 1310 points. It’s probably going to be the No. 7.
The final seed is simple:
NEW CANAAN (7-2) must beat Darien or it is out. A win and a Staples loss and New Canaan clinches.
STAPLES (7-2) must beat Greenwich or it is out. A win and a New Canaan loss and Staples clinches.
EAST HARTFORD (8-2) will qualify if both teams lose. If either win, the Hornets are out.
If BOTH New Canaan and Staples win, well, here’s where it gets fun.
New Canaan would start at 1130 with three bonuses: Trumbull (over St. Joseph), Trinity (over Wilton) and Norwalk (over McMahon).
Staples would start at 1140, with two bonuses Wilton (over Trinity) and Central (over Harding).
The key is the Wilton game. If Wilton wins, it’ll at least force a tie with New Canaan at 1150, but New Canaan would need two of its three bonus games to get there. If, say, St. Joseph or McMahon win, say goodnight to New Canaan and hello Staples.
The field is complete and the seeding hinges on Naugatuck-Ansonia today.
A NAUGATUCK (9-0) win, and it gets the top seed at 1480 points. A loss and it will drop to No. 3.
HAND (10-0) will be the No. 2 seed if Naugatuck wins. It’ll take No. 1 with a Naugy loss.
MIDDLETOWN (9-1) will be the No. 3 seed with a Naugy win. It’ll take No. 2 with a Naugy loss.
WINDSOR (8-2) is locked into the No. 4 seed.
NORTH HAVEN (8-2) is locked into the No. 5 seed. It will play at Windsor in the quarterfinals.
MALONEY (8-2), PLATT (8-2) and BUNNELL (9-1) are destined to be in a three-way tie at 1140.
Each of these teams has one bonus remaining. Maloney can get to 1150 with Bristol Eastern beating Bristol Central (not likely); Bunnell can get to 1150 with Foran beating Law (not likely) and Platt can get to 1150 with Bridgeport Central beating Harding (not likely).
If any team can get to 1150, they’ll be the No. 6 seed. If two tie, it goes to head-to-head, meaning Platt usurps Maloney and will easily top Bunnell on tiebreak points. If all three tie, it’ll go to tiebreaks and Platt will claim the No. 6 seed, Maloney the No. 7 and Bunnell the No. 8.
Bunnell, at 9-1, would be the No. 8 — behind four 8-2 teams. Goodness, that schedule…
This class won’t be decided until Friday, with keystone matchups East Haven-Branford and Wolcott-Holy Cross the last of the week’s games to kick off.
ST. JOSEPH (8-1) will clinch the No. 1 seed by beating Trumbull on Thanksgiving. The Hogs only drop as far as No. 3 with a loss. It can get the No. 2 with a loss, but only if three of its five bonus games come in — Staples, Wilton, New Canaan, McMahon and Bridgeport Central. Eh.
SHEEHAN (8-1) plays Lyman Hall on Thanksgiving Day. They’ll get the No. 1 with a win and a St. Joseph loss. A loss, and the Titans will sink to No. 4.
BERLIN (9-1) is locked into 1310 points, it can move to No. 2, but only if Sheehan or St. Joseph (without bonus help) lose.
KILLINGLY (9-1) Is just about locked in at No. 4. It can only move to the No. 3 seed if Sheehan loses.
CHENEY TECH (8-2) is locked in at No. 5, meaning it’ll be headed to Killingly, most likely.
BROOKFIELD (8-2) is locked in at No. 6 and be headed
EAST HAVEN (7-2) is in with a win over Branford on Friday and gets the No. 7 seed. It’s done with a loss.
WOLCOTT (6-3) is in with a win over Holy Cross and will be either No. 7 with an East Haven loss or No. 8 with an Eastie win.
ATI (7-3) and ROCKVILLE (7-3) need at LEAST Wolcott or East Haven to lose to get a chance. They’ll both clinch in if BOTH East Haven and Wolcott lose.
If only one of East Haven or Wolcott loses, it’s going to come down to one spot.
Now, ATI is locked in at 970. Rockville has 970, pending the outcome of Rockville’s final bonus: Gilbert/Northwestern beating WCA. If that happens, Rockville will get to 980 and get in over ATI.
If WCA wins, then ATI and Rockville will finish at 970 and Rockville will get in based on tiebreaker points.
There will be no miracles for LAW (6-3) this year. It can only get to 970 with a win over Foran if Lyman Hall AND Branford win. But even then, that’ll at least force at three-way tie for the final spots. Law loses to Rockville on tiebreaker points, and loses to ATI on a pre-determined lottery.
Like Class L, this Class is just about set and hinges on Ansonia side of Ansonia-Naugatuck.
ANSONIA (9-0) will be the No. 1 seed by beating Naugatuck. A loss, and the Chargers sink to No. 3.
BULLARD-HAVENS (10-0) is the No. 2 seed if Ansonia beats Naugatuck. If the Chargers lose, it’ll be the No. 1
STAFFORD/SOMERS/EAST WINDSOR (10-0) is the No. 3 seed if Ansonia wins. It’ll be the No. 2 with an Ansonia loss.
BLOOMFIELD (9-1) is locked in at No. 4.
WOODLAND (9-1) is locked in at No 5 and will travel to Bloomfield in the quarterfinals.
CROMWELL/PORTLAND (9-1) is locked in at No. 6, it will travel to face Stafford/Somers/East Windsor if Ansonia wins. If Ansonia loses, it’ll head to Jarvis Stadium.
HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH (9-1) is locked into the No. 7. It’ll travel to Bullard-Havens if Ansonia wins. If Ansonia loses, it’ll head to Stafford/Somers/East Windsor.
PLAINFIELD (8-2) is locked in at the No. 8 spot. Ansonia wins, it’ll head to Jarvis. Ansonia loses, it’ll head to Bullard-Havens.
We suspect you’ll see C/P’s Randall Bennett and Haddam-Killingworth’s Mike Baklik waving Lavender pom-poms on the Jarvis on Thanksgiving morning.