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Stonington still in Class M state playoff race

By Ned Griffen

Publication: The Day

Published November 19. 2013 4:00AM
Sean D. Elliot/The Day
Stonington's Harry Calmar breaks free for a long gain during Saturday's 63-35 loss at Norwich Free Academy. Despite three losses, the Bears can still qualify for the Class M state playoffs, although they must win their final two games and then get some help.

Hey, Stonington High School. You had a tough weekend.

You were tied with Norwich Free Academy with just over five minutes left on Saturday when the Wildcats unloaded for 28 points in a 63-35 loss.

You thought you had a good shot at making the state football playoffs this season, but losing your first two games put you in a bad spot. Saturday's loss only made matters worse, dropping you to 10th in the Class M ratings.

But fret not, Stonington - you're still in this thing.

It won't be easy, of course. You have to take care of your own business first. You must travel to the Quiet Corner on Thursday night and beat Killingly (4-5). Then you must beat your old buddies from Westerly (3-7) on Thanksgiving. Those two wins will give you 1,140 points in the CIAC's playoff points system.

You will also need three games to go your way on Thanksgiving Day:

• Brookfield (9-1) over Bethel (8-2).

• Killingly over Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech (8-2).

• Holy Cross (7-3) over Wolcott (7-3).

All playoff hope is lost if Bethel or P/T/E win. Bethel is sixth in Class M and P/T/E is eighth, so you cannot catch either of them should they win.

All playoff hope is alive and well if only Wolcott wins, though. It would have 1,130 points with three potential bonuses. Stonington has seven potential bonuses.

A quick description of bonuses:

• A team receives 10 points for every win and five points for each tie earned by any opponent it beat.

• A team receives five points for each victory and 2.5 points for each tie earned by any opponent it tied.

Three of seven games will have to go the Bears' way to beat out Wolcott's maximum 1,160 points - Bacon Academy (over Windham and RHAM), East Lyme (over New London), Griswold (over Plainfield), Woodstock (over Windham), Ledyard (over Fitch), and Killingly (over P/T/E).

It's unlikely that Windham will lose either of those games, and New London will be a heavy favorite against the Vikings on Thursday. The other four results could go your way, though.

Should all that happen, you'll have something to do the night of Dec. 8, Stonington.

Elsewhere in Class M, Valley Regional/Old Lyme (9-0) earned a home quarterfinal on Saturday, and the Warriors will earn the top seed with wins over Gilbert/NW Regional (8-2) on Friday and at winless Haddam-Killingworth on Thanksgiving.

No. 7 Ledyard (7-2) will earn a berth by defeating Waterford (4-5) on Thursday and Fitch (4-6) on Thanksgiving. If that happens, the Colonels will be seeded no worse than seventh.

A look at the other playoff races:

Class LL: NFA Academy (8-1) qualified over the weekend. The Wildcats will earn a home quarterfinal if they beat New London (7-2) on Thanksgiving.

Class L: New London is sixth with two games left. It will earn a home quarterfinal by defeating East Lyme and NFA, if either Darien loses to unbeaten New Canaan, or Naugatuck loses to unbeaten Ansonia.

The Whalers might still be able to qualify with just one win, but they will need of outside help.

Class S: Five teams have qualified for eight spots, and Montville (6-4) is still mathematically alive and ranked 10th.

The Indians, however, need far too many breaks to have a chance.

Montville may be cooked by the time this week's abbreviated schedule is over.

n.griffen@theday.com

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