Archive for October, 2010

Dogged Determination
October 29, 2010

Well before the curtain closed on the last act of the 2008 high school football season it appeared that Rob Plasky’s run as Naugatuck Head Coach was curtains. Former Hillhouse Head Coach Eric Barbarito, Bunnell Coach Craig Bruno and current Pomperaug Offensive Coordinator Steve Croce were just some of the possible replacements being bandied about.  Nearly 2 years later Plasky remains the head coach on Rubber Avenue. Better yet for Plasky and the Greyhound faithful, Naugy is off to a (6-0) start and could be ticketed for a spot in the Class L playoffs.  Plasky feels vindicated.

In the spring of 2009, amidst allegations of mishandling team funds, Plasky’s contract as coach was not renewed.  The coach’s determination to  prove his innocence and restore his reputation won out. His appeal in a public hearing in front of the Naugatuck Board of Education resulted in his job being restored.

Courtesy: My Citizens News

What is permanently damaged is Plasky’s relationship with Naugatuck Athletics Director Tom Pompei.  A winning (and perhaps even unbeaten regular season) is unlikely to change that. With all he and his family has been through, it’s nice to see Plasky having a successful season with players who have no doubt learned from their coach’s public defense of his integrity.

And It Ends At 36

It had been almost 4 years since the East Haven Yellow Jackets last won a football game – Thanksgiving 2006 vs. Branford. A 36 game losing streak came to an end last Friday vs. Platt Tech of Milford.  A 42-14 victory was highlighted by a 104 yard interception return for a touchdown by East Haven’s Nikko Fiorillo (one of the 3 nominees for the Week 6 FNF Athlete of the Week). Numbers have been a problem for the program and not just the numbers on the scoreboard.  The New Haven Register reports that school had just 18 players on the roster to start the season but now that number has grown to 45.

Detractors might point out that East Haven needed to schedule a game outside the Southern Connecticut Conference to secure a win (Platt Tech plays in the Constitution State Conference) but that didn’t seem to dull the postgame celebration on the East Haven sideline.  Look for video of the streak busting win tonight during our high school football coverage on Channel 3.

On the topic of school’s struggling to snap extended losing streaks check out this story.

Sending The Wrong Message?

Should teenage high school athletes and their adult coaches be subject to criticism on internet message boards hosted by state newspapers?  Does the open forum policy of newspapers such as the New Haven Register, Middletown Press and New Britain Herald run counter to the spirit of high school sports or is it simply a freedom of speech issue?

From persistent posts for New Britain Head Coach Paul Morrell to be fired in the online comment section of the New Britain Herald to disappointed adults fans of the UConn football program taking shots at Xavier Senior Linebacker Graham Stewart who has decided to play out of state at Boston College – is such message board dialogue appropriate when it comes to sports at the high school level?

Next week (11/5) on Friday Night Football we’ll air a story on the issue. In the meantime I’d welcome your thoughts with an email to me at john.holt@wfsb.com

Class S Field Rooting Against St. Joseph

Can you blame the rest of the Class S field if they’d rather not see (4-2) St. Joseph-Trumbull in the 8 team postseason party?  The cadets won now defunct Class SS a year ago and with Tyler Matakevich back in the lineup, having returned from a foot injury in last week’s win over then state #3 New Canaan,  there may not be a Class S team that could knock off St. Joe’s in the playoffs.  Of course they first have to get there and the rest of their regular season includes difficult FCIAC tests vs. Greenwich and Trumbull.  No truth to the rumor that Ansonia Head Coach Tom Brockett has been spotted wearing a Greenwich H.S. Football t-shirt and Hyde Coach Melvin Wells a Trumbull windbreaker.

3 Games We’ll Be Watching

Bristol Eastern at Berlin – Friday 7pm

Both are (6-0) but Bristol Eastern will play without injured running back Tyrell Holmes (broken leg).  Lancer teammates Dylon Ouellette and Taylor Wrice the stage is yours, an upset of defending state champ Berlin happens only if you both play possessed.

Daniel Hand at West Haven – Friday 7pm

A classic Southern Connecticut Conference rivalry with two of the most accomplished coaches in the state, Hand’s Steve Filippone and West Haven’s Ed McCarthy.  I have a feeling George DeMaio was set up with his radio equipment at Ken Strong stadium back on Wednesday in anticipation of this one.

Fitch at Norwich Free Academy – Saturday 1pm

The Fitch Falcons are coming off their first loss a week ago to New London while the NFA Wildcats remain undefeated and currently atop the Class LL playoff point standings.  Norwich’s senior running back Tony Facchini will return after missing last week’s game at East Lyme with a broken thumb.

(NFA Coach Jemal Davis pointed out to me this week that on Tuesday the NFA/New London Thanksgiving game was moved back to Thanksgiving morning after having earlier been changed to a Wednesday night / Thanksgiving Eve game)

Completely Unrelated Thought of The Week

Any suggested uses for Big Y silver coins other than cashing them in to save on groceries?  I have amassed a sizable collection of the silver but always seem to forget them at home when I go grocery shopping.

How about handing them out on Halloween?

See You Tonight at 11:15pm for Week 7 of Friday Night Football,

John

Ivy Spiced With Nutmeg
October 22, 2010

They call the Ivy League the Ancient 8 and at the moment 2 of these prestigious programs have Connecticut kids running the offense. Former Cheshire quarterback Billy Ragone is the sophomore starter  at QB for Penn and former Griswold standout Sean Brackett is the #1 QB for Columbia.  In fact they shared Ivy League Co-Offensive Player of The Week honors earlier this month – a remarkable achievement for our small state I’d say.  This Saturday and next Ragone and Brackett will make return trips to their home state as Penn visits Yale tomorrow before Columbia comes to town next weekend – both games (noon kickoffs) can be seen on the YES Network.  For an interesting read on Ragone’s return to Connecticut check out Dave Solomon’s recent column in the New Haven Register:   http://nhregister.com/articles/2010/10/21/sports/ssolomon_ragone102110.txt

Is Seth DeValve next?

Manchester High School’s senior quarterback could be the next Connecticut kid playing QB in the Ivy League. Ranked 8th in his class, Princeton is showing big interest in the dual threat DeValve.  Seth need look no further than his brother Jacob who was an exceptional decathlete at Manchester and currently competes on scholarship  at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Seth comes from a family of faith and is said to be unfailingly polite, no vulgarities come out this kid’s mouth – “Aw Shucks!” is about as racy as it gets.  I find that cool.

What Went Wrong?

Each week on our FNF Overtime show (11:35pm streaming on WFSB.COM and on our digital cable channel, Eyewitness News Now) we present our Connecticut Collegians segment where we check on a former CT high school football star now excelling on the next level.  In the first 5 weeks of the season we’ve provided updates on Jordan Reed (New London / University of Florida),  Johrone Bunch (Maloney / Mt. Ida), Jordan Brown (Glastonbury / Bryant), John Moffitt (ND West Haven / Wisconsin) and Keith Carlos (Bridgeport Central / Purdue).  One local player we won’t be focusing on anytime soon is Ansonia’s Erik Kurazcea.  After a stellar high school career clearing the way for record-setting running back Alex Thomas (now at Yale), Kuraczea committed to play for Randy Edsall at UConn. After a month long suspension to start the season, Kuraczea was back as the starter for recent games but this week Edsall announced the Kuraczea was leaving the program.  On the record, Edsall said that Erik was leaving for personal reasons.  Subsequent media reports suggested that Kuraczea wasn’t willing to put in the work that Edsall requires.

Really? A kid from The Valley not working hard enough?  A kid from a storied program from Ansonia not working hard enough?  Doesn’t seem to add up, does it?

Red, Right (or wrong) & Blue

Tomorrow at 2pm in Darien the  Blue Wave host Red Lion Christian Academy out of Bear, Delaware.  It may spell the end to Darien’s undefeated season.  It appears they’re opposite a budding football factory.  Red Lion’s quarterback is 6-1, 14-year old 8th grade David Sills who committed to Coach Lane Kiffin and USC as a 13-year old.  No, that’s not a misprint.  Equally eyebrow-raising are the hundreds of thousands of dollars Sills’ father has committed to building the program at Red Lion. This story has little bit of everything and the Connecticut Post’s Sean Patrick Bowley details it nicely with a blog post: http://blog.ctnews.com/hssports/2010/10/11/coming-to-darien-in-week-6-a/

Time To Step Up The Coverage

Each year at about this time I take a look at the successful teams who to date we haven’t covered enough or at all on Friday Night Football (it doesn’t help that some of these teams play Saturday more often than Friday).  Here now The Underexposed FNF Top 10:

1) West Haven

2) Norwich Free Academy

3) Trumbull

4) New Canaan

5) Wethersfield

6) Fitch

7) Hyde Leadership

8)  Montville

9) Coginchaug

10) Naugatuck

Hope to shake up this Top 10 tonight with plans to feature games including as many as 6 of these teams.  Who else are we underexposing?  Let us know, emails to sports3@wfsb.com

3 Games We’ll Be Watching

Southington at Manchester – Friday 7pm

Despite injuries to Joe Pesce and Connor Butkiewicz Southington appears to be improving each week under first year head Coach DJ Hernandez.  Tonight they visit a fellow (4-1) in Manchester.  Some still doubt the Indians and Coach Marco Pizzoferrato – this is their chance to quiet the doubters with home games to follow later on the schedule against Windsor and Bloomfield.

Bullard Havens at Cheney Tech – Friday 6pm

Right down the street from the Manchester/Southington game is another good one. The winner of this battle of (4-1) tech schools will likely go on to win the Constitution State Conference (CSC).  Bullard Havens is led by mobile quarterback Nick Rodriguez who ran for 6 touchdowns last Saturday vs. Abbott Tech en route to being one of 3 nominees for the FNF Athlete of The Week.

Fitch at New London – Saturday 1pm (Coast Guard Academy)

This was originally a Friday night game that would have been front and center on our FNF agenda, but New London’s continuing home field troubles bounced the game to Saturday at Coast Guard. The great (despite his Yankee boxer shorts) Mike DiMauro from The Day Newspaper calls it Eastern Connecticut’s greatest rivalry: http://theday.com/article/20101022/SPORT01/310229846/-1/sport

Is Fitch legit under coach Mike Emery’s second run at the helm?  We’ll know a lot more after tomorrow and then next Saturday’s road game at Norwich Free Academy.

Completely Unrelated Thought of The Week

This may fall on some deaf ears of young people who don’t know 60 Minute’s Andy Rooney from Wayne Rooney (or Wayne Rooney from Lil’ Wayne for that matter) but is anyone else both curious and repulsed by what’s going on with Andy Rooney’s upper lip?  Is it an infection or simply the cantankerous Rooney’s way of saying I couldn’t care less if you approve of my biting commentaries or my not ready for prime time upper lip.

See You Tonight at 11:15pm for Week 6 of FNF!

John

Grand Affair
October 15, 2010

Tonight at 7, Ansonia joins New Britain and Hillhouse as the only Connecticut high schools to play 1,000 football games.  It’s a highly anticipated NVL matchup with a Wolcott program that has never beaten the Chargers.  Ansonia’s  710 wins are second behind New Britain’s 733.
For historical perspective on Ansonia I checked in with Ed Morse. Ed’s Passion for Chargers Football (or “The Lavender” as he often calls them) is genuine and passionate.
Ed shares that Ansonia’s first official game came in 1900, a season in which they finished the year undefeated at (3-0-0).   Ansonia has had 15 undefeated teams through the years to go with a record 16 CIAC state championships.  The biggest crowd Ed remembers is the 12,000 for the 1994 Naugatuck at Ansonia game – a battle of unbeatens won by the Chargers in overtime.

Naming the best all-time Ansonia team and player?  Morse politely takes a pass on that one, too tough to pick.

Is victory number 711 in store tonight or will Wolcott make history with its’ first victory over its’ NVL rival?  Either way the winning coach will join us on the phone for a live interview on FNF Overtime (WFSB.COM and digital cable, Eyewitness News Now) tonight at 11:35pm.

Quick Hits

* The Great Bob Sagendorf has his inimitable voice back and after receiving treatment for dead nerve tissues that were impacting his speech Bob is back on the air tonight for the call of the Ansonia-Wolcott game. 7pm on AM 1320 WATR or streaming on WATR.COM.  Bob will be joined on the broadcast by Steve Croce (currently the offensive coordinator for Pomperaug) and J. Paul Vance Jr. Look for one of Bob’s touchdown calls to make the FNF show tonight at 11:15pm.

* Learned recently that the Fairfield Country Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC) has its’ own substantial and exclusive deal with Madison Square Garden Network and MSG Varsity to broadcast football games.  That’s why you won’t see an FCIAC game on the Connecticut Sports Network or MY 9’s Game of the Week.  It’s not until the playoffs and state championship games when the CIAC’s partner, CTSN, has the right to show games with FCIAC teams involved.

* Speaking of the FCIAC, congratulations to Bridgeport’s Harding High School.  The Presidents won their first game in close to 2 years and first FCIAC game in nearly 4 years last week , 12-6 over Fairfield Ludlowe.

* And speaking of presidents, be sure to catch the opening to FNF tonight at 11:15pm.  Joe Zone for President of Friday Night Football?  You decide.

*  Another reason to feel good about high school sports (young man scores touchdown in motorized scooter)

* Valley Regional Tight End Mitchell King (he also punts and kicks) is drawing more college interest by the day. The 6-6 232 pound senior is healthy after being inured a year ago – schools expressing interest range from the Ivy League to Boston College, Duke, Maryland and UCLA.  Temple and Tulane have already offered scholarships.

*   The Middletown Blue Dragons are enjoying a (3-1) start under new coach Sal Morello who came over from Cromwell to replace Eric Marszalek – both of whom are favorites of this blogger.  After going just 1-9 a year ago it’s logical to conclude that the coaching change is the difference – not so fast.  Middletown has a much more forgiving schedule this season.  In Marszalek’s final season they play a D-1 schedule in the then freshly realigned Central Connecticut Conference, this year they were reclassified to CCC D-2 and it’s making a difference.  Middletown’s 3 wins to date have come over Bristol Central, Hartford Public and East Hartford,  3 teams that were not on the Blue Dragon’s schedule a year ago.

3 Games We’ll Be Watching

Masuk at Bunnell – Friday 7pm

Most who’ve seen them play believe that no Southwest Conference opponent can beat Masuk. Bunnell may be the best hope  They get the Panthers at home tonight in Stratford and we’ll need every ounce of effort from sophomore quarterback Brian Castelot and the offense against a Masuk defense that has allowed 1 offensive touchdown in its’  first 4 games.

Hand-Madison at Notre Dame West Haven – Friday 7pm

The undefeated Hand Tigers jumped into the State Top 10 with their win over Cheshire last Friday. Now they get a ND West Haven team that is a deceiving (2-2) with losses to undefeateds Xavier and West Haven.  Hard to believe Notre Dame, the state #1 from a year ago and defending Class L Champion could be (2-3) come 9:30 tonight.

Valley Regional/Old Lyme at North Branford – Friday 6:30pm

I’m curious to see how this one goes.  Valley and North Branford are 2 of the 4 remaining undefeated teams in the Pequot conference along with Coginchaug and Hyde who were both playoff teams a year ago.

Completely Unrelated Thought of The Week

Are an increasing number of cashiers at stores unable to extend customers some basic pleasantries? I’m finding more and more often that I will go through an entire transaction with the store’s employee not saying a single word. That means no “Hello”, no “That’ll be  $25.20 please”, no “Thank You”, etc…  Am I alone?

See You Tonight at 11:15pm for Week 5 of Friday Night Football

John

The Other King James
October 8, 2010

(And yes a friendly email to sports3@wfsb.com could get you an FNF T-shirt and or FNF magnet schedule)

A couple months from now New Haven’s  King James may have his own “Decision” to make (Temple, Akron, Maryland, Villanova) but for the next 6 weeks Wilbur Cross Running Back James Ward will do his best to guide the Governors to the postseason.  Through 3 weeks of the high school football season, Ward leads the state with 11 touchdowns.  James and his coach John Acquavita were our in studio guests on CTSN’s (Thursdays 7pm)  Game Time show.  Acquavita is most impressed with how Ward carries himself as a team leader and a student at Cross.  At 5-8, 175 pounds Ward is small in the eyes of Division 1 recruiters but little else he is doing this season rates anything less than big including a first-play-of-the-season kickoff return for a touchdown in the opener at Shelton.

Saturday afternoon Ward should have a few face-t0-faces with 300 pound Ridgefield lineman Tommy Jordan.  Then after that Cross has consecutive games with Cheshire, Hand, Notre Dame-West Haven and West Haven –  the James’ Kingdom is about to be tested in no small way.

Record Tying Bacon

Tonight on Eyewitness News at 6pm and then again on Friday Night Football we’ll have highlights of Bacon Academy’s record tying comeback win over Windham last Saturday.  Playing at home, Bacon trailed the Whips 41-13 in the third quarter before rallying for a 48-47 win.  The rally from a 28 point deficit matches the record for the biggest comeback in state history.  The Bobcats did it behind 5 rushing touchdowns and 2 touchdown passes from quarterback Brennden Cullen and 15 receptions and 170 yards from wide receiver Alex Couture (playing with a splint and cast on his right hand).

The Body Issue

Joe Zone pointed out to me how the week provided quite a contrast with stories that go skin deep. While the Bridgeport Central cheerleaders were protesting skimpy uniform that they felt showed too much skin (exposed midriff), all time UConn Women’s great Diana Taurasi was showing off her buff naked body in ESPN The Magazine.  I applaud them both.

Part I of II?

Here’s hoping last Friday’s mud bowl between Xavier and Cheshire is the first of two meetings between the two excellent programs.  Xavier’s 9-6 win would likely have played out differently on a dry track and that’s just what could happen come the Class LL playoffs.  Both defenses were stout but it’s fair to think that Xavier’s superior speed was neutralized by the sloppy conditions.  Amazingly, due to SCC scheduling quirks the 2 teams hadn’t played each other since the late 90’s.  Their next meeting could come a lot  sooner. See you at The Rent?

The Best Winless Team In The State

My vote is for (0-3) Windham with competitive and or late losses to Norwich Free Academy, New London and Bacon Academy (see above).  It may not get any better this week either. Say Hello to Ledyard.

By George They Decided to Cancel

The decision by Rhode Island prep school St. George’s to cancel a scheduled game with Lawrence Academy (Ma.) is getting a lot of play on Boston sports talk radio.

St. George’s coaches and administrators were concerned for their players safety with the Lawrence Academy offensive line averaging over 300 pounds.

3 Games We’ll Be Watching

Cheshire at Daniel Hand – Friday 7pm

Hand has showcased a prolific offense through 3 weeks – averaging over 37 points a game – Cheshire has allowed a total of 15 points all season.  Could Cheshire lose two weeks in a row?

New Britain vs. Southington (Rentschler Field) – Friday 7pm

Neither one of these programs appears on track for an exceptional season but their pedigree and the venue (The Rent) help the intrigue here.  Southington Coach and former  UConn quarterback D.J. Hernandez returns to the site of his finest college moment , a game winning 2-point conversion in a 2006 double overtime victory over Pittsburgh.

Trumbull at Bridgeport Central Friday 6pm

Both team are undefeated. Bridgeport Central missed the postseason party last year on account of 1 regular season loss.  It came at Trumbull, 21-0.  Even with a loss tonight, either team would remain a serious playoff contender thanks to the newly expanded 8 teams per class format (last year just 4 LL schools qualified and Central missed out).

Completely Unrelated Thoughts Of The Week

I’m not a big movie guy but I may seriously consider skipping out on work for a full day to take in The Town, Secretariat, The Social Network and The Tillman Story.

Saw Yankees Manager Joe Girardi appearing in a television commercial for Taco Bell this week.  Is this not the same guy who banned junk food from the Yankees clubhouse and encouraged his players to only eat pizza with whole wheat crust?  Fraud alert.

If I can live the rest of my life with 1/100th the grace and courage of Dr. William Petit I’ll be satisfied.

See You Tonight at 11:15pm for FNF

John

Point-less?
October 1, 2010

Vociferous complaints about the CIAC’s 50 point (score management) rule aren’t nearly as prevalent as the were when the rule  was first introduced in 2006 but that may soon change if the events of this early season persist.

Bridgeport Central coach Dave Cadelina, who won an appeal of a 50-point rule violation in ’06, is again in the middle of things.  Central has won its’ first two games of the season 5o to 6 and 49 to 0. Faced with violating the 50-point rule in both games Coach Cadelina has been left with no choice but to avoid running offensive plays – in last week’s 49-0 nothing win over city rival Bassick, Bridgeport Central punted on first down on every offensive possession in the second half.

Berlin faced a similar situation last night in a one-sided win over Tolland.  The defending Class M Champion Redcoats began the second half by taking a knee on the opening kickoff instead of attempting to return it.

No Bonus For You

Windsor Coach Rob Fleeting, his Warriors off to a (2-0) start, was surprised to learn that his team did not receive any bonus points in the Class L playoff point standings for wins over LL schools Simsbury and New Britain.  The CIAC groups L & LL schools together and does not reward an L school 10 points for “playing up” against LL schools.  The policy has not changed from last year but  is particularly relevant to a school like Windsor whose 10-game CCC schedule includes 8 teams that are from Class LL.  S schools are rewarded 10 points for beating M schools and 20 points for beating L and LL schools.  M schools are rewarded 10 points for beating L and LL schools.

Edsall To Boston College?

Not Randy, Corey.  The buzz has East Catholic senior Quarterback Corey Edsall, son of UConn Head Coach Randy Edsall, heading to Boston College in hopes of  kicking/punting for B.C. as a walk-on. Edsall an Eagle? – could be, Corey did attend BC Coach Frank Spaziani’s summer camp in Chestnut Hill.

Coach Speak

Tonight on FNF I’ll profile local radio legend George “The Coach” DeMaio.  Coach has been at it since the early 80’s – morning sports reports for his New Haven County audience and tireless play-by-play work for high school football, basketball, hockey and softball.  A Connecticut treasure, Coach has set the standard with his game coverage.

A couple thoughts from Coach that didn’t make tonight’s story:

All Time Favorite Connecticut High School Player: Rico Brogna (Rico actually sought Coach out for advice when faced with a choice to play football on scholarship at Clemson or sign to play in the Detroit Tigers minor league system. Coach told Rico to go with baseball and you know the rest of the story)

Favorite Stadiums To Call a High School Game From:

West Haven (Coach’s Alma Matr and home to the best grounds crew in the state says Coach)

Hand-Madison’s Surf Club –  Coach says, “The Tigers aren’t a team they are a program.”

I reached out  to a few people who know Coach well to get their thoughts.

Steve Filippone / Hand-Madison Head Coach

I have known George for 20+ years and believe that he has had a tremendous influence on HS football throughout the state but most importantly in the SCC and New Haven County.  When we needed to get the new playoff plan through we went to him for help.  He explained what his position was and promised that if we were able to maintain T-Day games he would do everything in his power to support us.  His ability to reach thousands of listeners with a credible and sensible approach to our proposal is one of the many reasons we succeeded in getting it through.

Sean Patrick Bowley / Connecticut Post

George is as passionate about his work as anybody else I know in this business, if not more. He learned very early that the most important thing about covering high school football is getting scores. That’s what his audience wants, that’s what the coaches and players want on their bus ride home. And that’s what he gives them. Long before the internet, text messaging and Twitter ever hit the scene, George has always been the source for high school football scores.

He’d climb Mount Everest if it meant getting a score from, say, Killingly or Ellington or even somewhere as close as Seymour. George literally calls every athletic director and football coach in Connecticut to remind them to call WELI and report their final score. If he doesn’t get a score he wants, he’ll almost shame them into getting it right next time. “Well, I called the school, I talked to the AD and he assured me the coach would get us a final,” he’d say. “Right now, I’ve got nothing. I don’t understand.” You can almost hear George shaking his head on the air like a disappointed father. He’s relentless, and that’s what’s so endearing about him.

George is old school in that he’s extremely loyal to the people who help him throughout the season. And he’ll go to great lengths to reward his clan. I’ve been lucky to be a part of the circle. I’ve spent the last 10 Thanksgiving Days with the DeMaio Clan. Not at the dinner table, but at his pregame, Thanksgiving Day Football Extravaganza breakfast he hosts for his “Friday Night Football Crew” at a local diner in West Haven. George provides entire crew with heaping helpings of pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon and muffins before we head to our separate games.

Traditionally, it’ll go off without a hitch. But on those rainy or snowy Thanksgiving mornings, while the rest of us are stuffing our faces, George is in front of the restaurant, calling every number in his phone book to get the latest postponements so he’ll be able to inform his audience with the latest news when he hits the air at 10 a.m. He pushes us to call our contacts and he lets us know he’s the authority. “I just got off the phone with Joe Canzanella, Wilbur Cross-Hillhouse is still on. …Jeanne Cooper at Hamden says they’re still clearing snow off the field, they’ll make a decision on the Green Bowl by 9 a.m. I haven’t heard back from Craig Semple about Hand-Guilford…”

It’s not Thanksgiving Day without George DeMaio calling his game and getting all the updates from around the state. And he won’t have a bite of turkey until every football score and playoff matchup is accounted for. There’s no other place to go than WELI on Thanksgiving Day. And nobody covers high school football on game day like George. His love of the sport and the community enriches the experience for all of us who cover the games alongside him. I can’t imagine a season without him.

Ned Griffen / The Day of New London

Bad Weather had postponed a number of games one 1998 weekend, including Shelton at Hamden. It was moved from Friday night to Monday afternoon, and relocated to West Haven High School.

George, for whatever reason, decided he was going to broadcast that game. The one hitch was that he couldn’t get a color man and would go it alone.

I was driving from another game and running late to West Haven when I turned on the radio to see how George was handling the solo gig. I was concerned he might struggle without a sidekick.

Nope – George was flawless and never had  a moment of dead air. Pretty sure he gave a plug to someone that brought him Italian food (they take very good care of George at West Haven).

As I listened to George’s non-stop chatter, I though, “Man – this guy is good“.

Links Of The Week

Moon Over Queens:

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2010/09/26/high-school-coach-moons-fans-game/

Homeless Player, Clueless Decision?:

http://rivals.yahoo.com/highschool/blog/prep_rally/post/Florida-coach-suspended-for-taking-in-homeless-p?urn=highschool-273393

Ledyard’s Quartet Of Foreign Exchange Students:

http://www.wfsb.com/local-video/index.html?grabnetworks=videoid:4349628%20%20%20

Keeping Score

We had a couple of complaints this week about our FNF page at WFSB.COM not posting the Friday night scores in a timely enough manner.  I’d love some more feedback on this (john.holt@wfsb.com). We tend to focus our energies on getting as many highlights statewide in time for the 11:15pm show with all the scores running on a ticker come showtime.  Should getting the scores up earlier on our website be a priority – even it redirects our resources away from game coverage?

3 Games We’ll Be Watching

Staples at Ridgefield – Friday 7pm

Joe Zone will be making the trip to the New York border for this one and has 3 reasons to be excited.

1) His first ever trip to “Tiger Hollow” – said to be one of the best high school football facilities in the state.

2) Ridgefield Senior lineman Tommy Jordan. Chance to see the big time recruit up close before he heads to the University of Florida.

3) Staples.  Class program, class coach in Marce Petroccio.

Holy Cross at Ansonia – Friday 7pm

Dobbs, DiGiorgi, DiClementi, – enough A-List running backs whose names start with D to fill the rosters for 2 games.  Anxious to see who wins this battle of (2-0) NVL challengers

Simsbury at Hall – Saturday 1:30pm

Are the (2-0) Warriors legit?  Let’s see what they have vs. visiting Simsbury

Completely Unrelated Thought of The Week

My definition of cruel and unusual punishment?  Stores and merchants asking people like me (who already have horrendous handwriting) to sign for credit card purchases on one of those electronic signature pads.  Can anyone write neatly on one of these things let alone those of us whose cursive never progressed past a third grade level?

See You Tonight at 11:15pm for FNF!

John