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Studying the ins and outs of high school football playoffs

By Ned Griffen

Publication: The Day

Published November 26. 2013 4:00AM   Updated November 26. 2013 12:57PM
Sean D. Elliot/The Day
Boston College-bound running back Marcus Outlow and the Norwich Free Academy Wildcats have already earned a Class LL state playoff berth, but they can earn the right to host a quarterfinal round game by defeating rival New London on Thanksgiving Day.

Norwich Free Academy and the Valley Regional/Old Lyme co-op have qualified for the CIAC football playoffs.

Ledyard and New London can earn berths with wins on Thanksgiving Day.

Stonington needs to win on Thanksgiving and get some help in order to extend its season.

Welcome to the final - and always craziest - week of the regular high school football season.

NFA plays host to New London in the 152nd edition of the nation's oldest high school football rivalry. It's fitting that it's one of the week's most important games, too.

NFA (8-1) will earn a Class LL home quarterfinal by defeating the Whalers and be seeded either second or third, depending on bonus points. The Wildcats will have to find another home for the quarterfinals, however, because a CIAC rule states schools most have permanent lighting to host a playoff game.

The Wildcats will be seeded no lower than sixth if they lose to New London.

A win would give the Whalers (8-2) a chance to host a Class L quarterfinal. They could also qualify with a loss if two of four things happen:

• Farmington (8-2) loses to Plainville (4-5).

• Bristol Eastern (8-2) loses to Bristol Central (4-5).

• Hand (7-3) loses to Guilford (5-5).

• North Haven (8-2) loses to Amity (5-5).

Here's a look at the other division races involving local teams:

Class M: Eastern Connecticut could have as many as three teams in this division.

Valley Regional/Old Lyme (10-0) will earn the No. 1 seed with a win at Haddam-Killingworth tonight. The Warriors will finish no worse tha second with a loss.

Ledyard (8-2) is ever so close to a berth. There are a few ways in which the Colonels can qualify:

• A win over Fitch (4-6).

• A Montville (6-3) win over St. Bernard/Norwich Tech (1-9) tonight, and a Woodland (9-2) win over Seymour (6-4) on Wednesday.

• Stonington (8-2) loses to Westerly (3-7), and Wolcott (7-3) loses to Holy Cross (7-3). Both games are on Thanksgiving.

The Colonels might also be able to qualify if both they and Bethel (8-2) lose. Bethel plays host to Brookfield (9-2) in a game that Brookfield needs to win to earn a home quarterfinal in Class M. Ledyard might be able to outpoint the Bethel on bonuses if both lose.

Stonington needs to win, have Wolcott lose to Holy Cross, and have either of the following two teams lose: Bethel or Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech. P/T/E (8-2) plays Killingly (4-6) on Thanksgiving Day.

The Bears can still edge out Wolcott if both win. They'd each have 1,300 points, so bonuses will come into play.

Stonington has five potential bonuses: Griswold (5-4) over Plainfield (5-5), Killingly over P/T/E, Woodstock (0-8) over Windham (6-4), Ledyard over Fitch, and Bacon Academy (2-8) over RHAM (3-7).

Wolcott has three possible bonuses: Crosby (1-9) over Kennedy (2-8), Derby (5-5) over Shelton (6-4), and Seymour (6-4) over Woodland (9-2).

Class S: Montville (6-4) is ranked 11th and plays host to St. Bernard/Norwich Tech (1-9) tonight.

Montville can only qualify as the eighth seed, but there's just one problem. Well, many, actually. The Indians need:

• Coginchaug (8-2) to lose at Cromwell (4-6).

• Coginchaug earning none of its six potential bonuses.

• Holy Cross, Canton and Northwest Catholic to all lose.

Yeah, that's kind asking for a lot.

n.griffen@theday.com

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