State Semifinal Saturday

In year’s past this would be the day we crown 6 state champions but now with the new first-year playoff alignment there’s an extra week of high school football and it’s not Championship Saturday it’s Semifinal Saturday.

There will be 8 games held at 6 different sites.  6 of them at 2pm and the remaining 2 at 7pm.  Channel 3 will deliver highlights of all 8 games on a special 11:15pm Saturday night edition of FNF.  Hope you’ll carve out some time to be with us Saturday and don’t forget about out normal FNF show tonight on Friday when we preview Saturday’s 8 games.

We’ll be joined on the phone  by 4 coaches – Glastonbury’s Peter Pfeffer, New Canaan’s Lou Marinelli, New London’s Jeff Larson and Valley Regional / Old Lyme’s Tim King.  In addition the Daniel Hand (Madison) cheerleaders will be LIVE in studio to keep the show energy high.

Sean Patrick Bowley of the Connecticut Post offers a comprehensive preview of all 8 games, worth your time to check out.

Here Is The Schedule:

Class LL

Xavier vs. Glastonbury  2pm –  Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven)

Though separated by just 1 town (Portland) these schools rarely meet. Both bring terrific defenses to the table and were it not for Glastonbury’s second half meltdown at Southington in Week – both would be undefeated.  Should Glastonbury win and Trumbull advance on the other LL semifinal you have to imagine that Trumbull will use Glastonbury Coach Peter Pfeffer’s comment  (at the 3:32 mark in the video) about Fairfield County as motivation.

Trumbull vs. NFA 2pm – West Haven High School

Critics of NFA’s undefeated (11-0) season are quick to point out that despite being the #2 seed in Class LL the Wildcats had not played a LL team until beating Hall-West Hartford in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.  NFA coach Jemal Davis has spent time defending his team’s Eastern Connecticut Conference schedule and now gets a huge opportunity to silence the critics with a game vs. Trumbull out of the mighty Fairfield Country Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Class L

Masuk vs. Darien 2pm – Shelton High School

After having no opponent come closer than 40 points in their 10 regular season games, Masuk saw quarterfinal opponent Bristol Eastern take an early lead Tuesday night before falling 49 to 23.  Now the Panthers and recently named Gatorade State Player of the Year Masuk QB Casey Cochran get FCIAC champ Darien.  Unfortunately due to a prank before the New Canaan game Darien is playing shorthanded in the playoffs.

Daniel Hand vs. New Canaan 7pm – West Haven High School

The last time these 2 programs met it was for the state championship in 2007.  New Canaan staged a big second half rally to stun Hand that day.  The two head coaches, Hand’s Steve Filippone  and New Canaan’s Lou Marinelli are close friends.  I think the game will be just as close with plenty of points scored. Perhaps for fun tonight the Hand Cheerleaders (joining us in studio) can shout down Coach Marinelli when he joins us on the FNF phone line.

Class M

New London vs. Brookfield 2pm – Bunnell High School (Stratford)

It’s been a trying week for New London High School.  Tuesday’s quarterfinal win was a respite from the real world troubles facing the school.  A year ago in the state semifinals, the Whalers were stunned at home by the Bethel Wildcats. This year they get another Southwest Conference school in the semis. It’s a Brookfield team that may have the hottest player in the state on its’ roster – Brian Kelly – not to be confused with the Notre Dame Head Coach of the same name. In a 6 day span covering Thanksgiving and Tuesday’s state quarterfinal matchup with Lyman Hall Kelly has scored 9 touchdowns.

Hillhouse vs. Gilbert / Northwest Regional 2pm – Municipal Stadium (Waterbury)

The Academics scored the upset of the playoffs to date with their come from behind 33-30 win at top seeded Berlin on Tuesday night.  Count me among those surprised by the Acs wins but maybe I shouldn’t have been since Hillhouse played state #1 Xavier as close as anyone this season with a    9-6 home loss in Week 7. The Academics are young but skilled.  I must admit that the Yellowjackets of Gilbert/Northwest Regional (out of Winsted) have not once had their highlights on Channel 3 this season.  Shame on us – in our defense a schedule that included just 2 games played on Friday night made it difficult to feature one of their games.  I’m told they have a quarterback to watch in 6-4, 210 pound Bobby Lippincott who was a perfect 4/4 for 127 yards and 3 touchdowns in a blowout quarterfinal win over Plainville.  I’m anxious to see Gilbert/NW highlights on Saturday.

Class S

Ansonia vs. Montville 2pm – Middletown High School

Two stellar ground games meet up. Montville’s Tyler Girard-Floyd and Skyler McNair combined for 508 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns in a quarterfinal win over Cromwell while Ansonia Senior Montrell Dobbs went for 337 yards and 6 scores  in the Charger’s playoff win over Hyde.  The Montville senior are still smarting from a Class SS state championship loss to St. Joseph a year ago and now they have a chance to get a rematch with a win.  Ansonia is a young team that may be a season away from being at its’ best.

St. Joseph vs. Valley Regional / Old Lyme 7pm – Municipal Stadium (Waterbury)

After losing 2 of their first 3 games (Wilton & Darien) the Cadets have gotten healthy with Tyler Matakevich and Quarterback Joe Della Vecchia being difference makers. St. Joseph may be classified as a S school but they’ve played FCIAC competition all year and the Republican-American’s Kyle Brennan points out that their sizable sideline contingent resembles USC as they share the same colors.  Valley/OL is playing just its’ second playoff game ever.  Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn and Mitchell King are all-state level players but it’ll be a challenge for Valley to pull off the upset.

Completely Unrelated Thought of The Week:

Some cell phone voice mails ask you to press “5” to leave a call back number.  Who does this?  Doesn’t the ensuing voice mail and a little function known as caller ID cover this already?


See You Tonight at 11:15pm for FNF and then again tomorrow night at 11:15pm for Semifinal Saturday special at 11:15pm.



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