Published November 23. 2012 4:00AM
Tanner Grove's optimism after Wednesday night's victory turned prophetic Thursday afternoon: It turns out there will be football practice at Montville High School today as Grove promised.
"Full pads, full tilt," he said Thursday, after learning the Indians got all the help they needed and qualified for the state Class M playoffs.
The Indians, one of three schools from the Eastern Connecticut Conference to qualify, are the No. 8 seed and will play at No. 1 Wolcott (10-0) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
No. 5 Norwich Free Academy (10-0) plays at No. 4 Newtown (10-0) in Class LL and No. 7 Fitch (8-2) plays at No. 2 Windsor (9-0).
NFA and Fitch had already qualified before Thursday's games, leaving the lone drama with Montville.
Grove said he went to scout Wolcott and discovered his team's season lived on while riding on Interstate 84, clearly his new favorite highway.
"We left Wolcott in ninth place," Grove said. "I was in the passenger's seat and Coach (Rob) Alves was driving. The CIAC updated the stuff pretty quick. When I saw we were in, I grabbed him by the neck and started yelling. It made the food taste a little better."
The Indians ended the regular season with a 43-0 win over St. Bernard/Norwich Tech on Wednesday night.
"It's the smallest group of seniors we've had, but it might be the tightest knit group," Grove said. "Had that been our last game, of course the memories we've had with these kids would last forever. But there would have been some sadness. They've been on state championship sidelines. They wanted a chance at their own shot at this thing."