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Fitch hosts Stonington tonight

By Mike DiMauro

Publication: The Day

Published September 20. 2013 4:00AM   Updated September 20. 2013 5:43PM
Dana Jensen/The Day
Stonington senior quarterback Divante White (7) leads the Bears into Groton tonight to play Fitch at Dorr Field. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. and the game can be seen live on www.theday.com starting at 6:15.

Groton — Neighbors often fill notebooks of narratives for high school football.

Neighbors. Rivalries.

Our corner of the world has produced East Lyme-Waterford, New London-Fitch, Griswold-Plainfield and Killingly-Putnam, among others.

And yet maybe the closest neighbors of all - the towns that share Mystic - aren't necessarily rivals. Perhaps disparate school sizes have forced Stonington and Fitch to share real estate without much venom.

At least that's the way it is now.

"I do recall, though, that they stopped playing the game around the late 50s," former Fitch head coach and current Waterford assistant Mike Ellis said recently. "It was a bloodbath."

The battle for Mystic, friendly or otherwise, commences again tonight at Dorr Field. Fitch plays Stonington at 6:30 p.m. Live video coverage on theday.com begins at 6:15.

Players and coaches from both teams admitted to playing some youth sports, notably baseball, on the same teams.

"Even though the towns are close, there's not as much interaction as you think," Fitch coach (and graduate) Jordan Panucci said.

Still, that doesn't mean Panucci's first home game as Fitch's new coach isn't a little more special, knowing the opponent is just across the river.

"They've got a good program," Panucci said, extending many compliments to Stonington coach A.J. Massengale, who played at Fitch in the mid 90s.

This is the first game of the season for the Bears, who are the defending Eastern Connecticut Conference Small Division champions.

They've moved to the ECC Medium Division this season.

Stonington senior Divante White, earning interest from Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut, among other programs, is among the ECC's best quarterbacks.

Fitch opened last week by crossing the state border and losing to LaSalle Academy of Rhode Island, 62-26.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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