It’s that time of year again… the Greatest Sporting Day of the Year in Connecticut.
Rivalry Week. Thanksgiving Week.
A day where every game means something — be it pride, a winning season, a .500 season, precious playoff points, bragging rights — and it’s played in front of, most likely, your largest crowd of the year.
For most of you seniors, it’s your last game. Go out in a blaze of glory. For a few others, it’s an unofficial playoff game. You win or go home. And for a select precious few, it’s the start of what you hope to be a glorious championship season.
And for everybody, it’s time to tell us who’s going to win the games.
Pretty straightforward. Just read the preview, and pick ‘em.
We had to do short, short versions for many of the teams that had their games moved up to Tuesday night due to forecasts of impending doom (aka cold and rain and wind Wednesday). Most of the New Haven regional teams have been expanded.
And for a complete schedule of all this week’s games and results: THANKSGIVING WEEK SCHEDULE
It’s an early kickoff this year, so here we go…
POMPERAUG vs. OXFORD
- When: Tuesday, 6 p.m.
- Where: Wolverine Field, Oxford
- Records: Pomperaug 4-6, Oxford 5-5
- Series history: Pomperaug leads 4-1
- Players to watch: Pomperaug: Wade Prajer, Jr., QB; Steven Croce, Jr., WR; Jack Yule, Sr., FB/LB; Ryan Johannes, Jr., WR/DE; Oxford: Kyle Chudoba, Sr., QB/DB; Steve Persson, Sr., RB/DB; Chris Van Kamerik, Sr., WR/DB; Jeff Haney, Sr., FB/LB
- You should know: Oxford (5-5) won for the first time in this series last season, earning a 42-22 victory in Southbury. Neither team is in contention for a state playoff berth, so just pride is on the line. …The Wolverines are led by Chudoba, who has completed 94 of 191 passes for 1,691 yards and 20 touchdowns. Chudoba’s top target is Van Kamerik, who is one of the best receivers in the South-West Conference. Van Kamerik has caught 49 passes for 855 yards and 15 touchdowns. …Oxford is more than just a passing team. The Wolverines are more than capable of moving the ball down field on the ground. …Persson has rushed 141 times for 989 yards and 10 touchdowns. It’s likely he will surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season in this contest. Persson set a school record by running for 339 yards in a 36-20 win over Bunnell on Nov. 15. …The Wolverines have lost to one team (Brookfield) that has qualified for the playoffs and two others (Barlow, Bethel) that can qualify with wins this week. …The Panthers (4-6) have some talented athletes, including Prajer and Croce, but may be a year away from contending for league and state honors. Still, they have the skill players and size to possibly dominate a smaller opponent like Oxford. …With Oxford’s move to the NVL, this will be the last time these two will play on Thanksgiving Day. Oxford is slated to play St. Paul next year.
Who will win the Elm City Bowl?
Wilbur Cross (6-3)
Total Response: 224 Votes
PLATT TECH VS. O’BRIEN TECH
- When:Tuesday, 2 p.m.
- Where: O’Brien Tech Athletic Complex, Ansonia
- Records: Platt Tech 4-6, O’Brien Tech 4-5
- Series history: Platt Tech leads 2-0
- Players to watch: Platt Tech: Alex Pettway, Sr., FB/LB; Opnyckie May, Sr., RB/CB; Louis Camputaro, Sr., FB/LB; Rmani Griffin, Sr., WR/CB; O’Brien Tech: Nick Coppola, Sr., QB/DB; Jason Diotalevi, Sr., TE/LB; Tristin Carder, Sr., WR/CB; Devin Bacchiocchi, Jr., RB/LB
- You should know: O’Brien Tech is looking for its first victory over the Panthers. Platt Tech won both previous meetings in convincing fashion. There is reason to believe, though, that this year’s contest will be more competitive. …Coppola has done an effective job of directing the Condors’ spread offense. He has passed for 1,213 yards and eight touchdowns. Carder has caught 26 passes for 429 yards and six scores. Bacchiocchi provides balance offensively. He has rushed 216 times for 1,381 yards and 15 scores. Diotalevi, who has made 79 tackles, leads the defense. …Platt Tech is primarily a running team, led by May. The Panthers have lost to three teams headed to the state playoffs and are better than their record indicates.
Who will win the Apple Valley Classic?
Total Response: 236 Votes
VALLEY REGIONAL/OLD LYME VS. HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH
- When: Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
- Where: Haddam-Killingworth High, Higganum
- Records: Valley Regional/Old Lyme 10-0; Haddam-Killingworth 0-10
- Series history: Valley Regional leads 26-9
- Players to watch: Valley Regional/Old Lyme: Phil Cohen, Sr., QB; David Peck, Sr., WR/DB; Chris Jean-Pierre, Jr., WR/DB; Justin Cheverier, Jr., RB/LB; Haddam-Killingworth: Zack Roth, Sr., RB/LB; Nicko Hoffman, Sr., OL/DL; Zack Camolli, Sr., OL/LB; Jesse Warren, Sr., OL/DE
- You should know: Valley Regional/Old Lyme has already qualified for a Class M playoff berth. The Warriors are now playing for seeding.
- Cohen is arguably the top quarterback in the Pequot Conference. Through nine games, he threw for 1,429 yards and 22 touchdowns against just two interceptions … He has several weapons to throw to, including Jean-Pierre (29 catches, 343 yards, five touchdowns), Peck (21-461-9) and junior Evan Smith (18-276-6). … Cheverier has rushed for a team-high 653 yards and 15 touchdowns, and has provided the Valley offense with balance and stability. … The Warriors, who have allowed just nine points per game, are underrated defensively. Valley has held five opponents to under 10 points. The Warriors defense is led by Cheverier (129 total tackles, three sacks), Peck (four interceptions) and junior Tyler Cheverier (88 tackles, 4.5 sacks). … H-K has struggled with inexperience and injury. The Cougars have scored just 90 points through nine games. H-K is on the verge of going winless for the first time since 1992. The teams have split their last two meetings. Valley had previously won three in a row in the series.
Who will win the 67th Green Bowl?
Notre Dame-WH (2-7)
Total Response: 248 Votes
Newtown at Masuk
- When: 5 p.m.
- Where: Benedict Field, Monroe
- Records: Newtown 10-0, Masuk 7-3
- Thanksgiving history: Masuk 9-7-1
- Players to watch: Newtown: Sr. QB Drew Tarantino; Jr. WR Julian Dunn; Sr. OL/DL Dom Scarangella; Jr. LB Jaret Devellis; Sr. RB Cooper Gold. Masuk: Sr. WR P.J. Kokkoros; Sr. QB Malik Cummings; Sr. RB Joe DaMota; Sr. WR Trevor Kollmann.
- At stake — The top seed in Class LL for Newtown. An eighth win for Masuk, very slight state playoff hopes.
Who will win Derby at Shelton?
Total Response: 224 Votes
New Fairfield at New Milford
- When: 5 p.m.
- Where: New Milford High School
- Records: New Fairfield 7-3, New Milford 4-6
- Thanksgiving history: New Fairfield 4-2
- Players to watch: New Fairfield: Sr. QB Mike McCourt; Sr. RB/S Colin Cioffi; Soph. LB/TE Greg Radovic; Sr. WR/S Joey Hicks; New Milford: Sr. QB/WR Nick Kimball; Sr. WR Andrew Hansen; Sr. RB A.J. McDonald; Sr. WR Scott Eherts.
- At stake: The Candlewood Cup
East Hartford at Manchester
- When: 6 p.m.
- Records: East Hartford 3-7, Manchester 6-4
- Series history: East Hartford 42-31-1
- Players to watch: East Hartford: Sr. WR Cameron Byrd; Sr. QB Griffin Michalek Manchester: Jr. QB Junior Vazquez; Jr. RB Anthony Rivas.
Who will win ATI United vs. MCW United?
ATI United (5-4)
MCW United (0-8)
Total Response: 84 Votes
Middletown at Windsor
- When: 6:30 p.m.
- Where: Jack O’Brien Stadium, Windsor HS
- Records: Windsor 7-3, Middletown 9-1
- Players to watch: Windsor: Sr. RB Jaylen Berry; Jr. QB Jedidiah Haynes; Sr. WR Tynique Woods-Culver; Middletown: Jr. QB Dario Highsmith. Jr. RB Isaiah Thompkins; Sr. OL David Bednarz; Sr. OL Anthony Bednarz.
- At Stake: Playoff seeding in Class L for Middletown. Eight wins for Windsor.
Who will win Pomperaug at Notre Dame-Fairfield?
Total Response: 128 Votes
St. Bern./Norw. Tech at Montville
- When: 6:30 p.m.
- Where: Montville HS
- Records: St. Bernard/NT 1-9; Montville 6-4
- Players to watch: Montville: Sr. RB Jeremiah Crowley
Who will win the Barlow-Weston Turkey Bowl?
Total Response: 143 Votes
Enfield at SMSA/University
- When: 5 p.m. (moved up from 6)
- Where: Dillon Stadium, Hartford
- Records: Enfield 4-6, SMSA 5-5
Who will win the Gavel/Swanson Trophy?
Total Response: 110 Votes