Archive for December, 2008

A Day For Champions
December 5, 2008

Championship Saturday is upon us and with it comes the 15th and final FNF show of the season.  Again, Friday Night Football has proven to be the most enjoyable thing I do all year at Channel 3.  Your interaction and your enthusiasm for the program is very meaningful.

Class LL:  #1 Glastonbury vs. #3 Cheshire / 2pm / New Britain

If there’s one to watch above the others, it’s this matchup in Class LL.  The two individual stars alone make it worth the price of admission.  Billy Ragone plays quarterback, defensive back, placekicker, kick returner and punter for the Rams – he is a once in a decade type player for Cheshire.  Glastonbury running back Jordan Brown (he also plays defense) has 670 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns in his last 2 games (wins over New Britain and Newtown).

Prediction: Glastonbury 42 Cheshire 35

Class L: #1 Masuk vs. #3 Newington / 7pm/ West Haven

Masuk is peaking at the right time.  Slowed only by an unfortunate bus accident Thursday afternoon as the Panthers were making their way to West Haven to get a feel for Ken Strong Stadium.  No Masuk players or coaches were hurt in the accident.  Newington is the surprise of Championship Saturday to me.   Having lost All State running back Nate Pagan to graduation and with a first year coach (Clay Hillyer) I never figured Newington would be a state finalist.  Simsbury, their semifinal opponent, probably didn’t either.

Prediction: Masuk 39 Newington 17

Class MM:  #1 New Canaan vs. #3 Darien / 2pm/ Trumbull

Ten days ago these two met on Thanksgiving with state #1 New Canaan winning 28-20.  Darien earned its’ way back for a rematch by holding off the previously undefeated Hillhouse Academics on Tuesday night.  8,000 to 10,000 people may show up to see this border rivalry renewed again.  New Canaan is eyeing a 3-peat in Class MM.

Prediction: New Canaan 27  Darien 14

Class M: #1 Brookfield vs. #2 Ledyard / 2pm / Waterbury

Brookfield may be the home of the Governor, but Ledyard comes in as defending champs and playing as well as anybody in the state.  Colonels first year coach Jim Buonocore had big shoes to fill when he stepped in for the legendary Bill Mignault.  Those shoes will feel as comfortable as an old pair of slippers with a win Saturday.

Prediction: Ledyard 29 Brookfield 27

Class SS:  #1 New London vs. #2 Seymour / 2pm / West Haven

Seymour senior Mike Osiecki was named Gatorade State Player of the Year Thursday.  Had it non been for a midseason ankle injury, New London senior quarterback Jordan Reed would have given Osiecki some stiff competition for that honor.  It doesn’t look like Reed will play Saturday though retiring Seymour Head Coach Paul Sponheimer won’t be convinced until he sees Jordan in street clothes on the sidelines.

Prediction: Seymour 28  New London 20

Class S: #1 Cromwell vs. #2 Ansonia

With a late season loss to Crosby, Ansonia won’t finish #1 in the final State Coaches Poll but a 3rd straight state championship is still within their grasp.  What Cromwell Head Coach Sal Morello has done in the 6 years the Panthers have had a varsity program is remarkable.  The days of a 2003 55-0 state championship blow out loss to Ansonia are ancient history.  It’ll be a lot closer this time around

Prediction: Ansonia 20 Cromwell 13

Why Not Us?

If Curt Schilling has any of his “Why Not Us?” t-shirts leftover from 2004 he may want to ship them to Glastonbury.

Should the Tomahawks finish the season undefeated with a win Saturday over Cheshire, why shouldn’t they get equal consideration as New Canaan for the #1 spot in the final State Coaches Poll?

The two would finish as the only undefeateds in the state. New Canaan is rightly benefiting from state championship wins the last 2 years.  Glastonbury was late to the poll party this season due to no recent history of success.

As for 2008, Glastonbury is outscoring opponents by close to 32 points a game. In 9 of their 12 games, they scored 40 or more points while holding opponents to 8 points of less in 9 of 12 games.

Why not Glastonbury? Or as New Canaan Coach Lou Marinelli suggests why not have the CIAC play one more game:  Glastonbury vs. New Canaan.

See you Saturday at 11:15pm for the FNF finale!

John

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