Preview capsules for all eight CIAC state semifinals (Sunday, 12:30 p.m. kickoff).
About South Windsor: A program 10 years in the making, the Bobcats are coming off a strong quarterfinal win over Naugatuck, a first in school history. Connor Kapisak, Julian Ibes and the rest of the South Windsor offense look to contend with a fast and physical Greenwich defense.
About Greenwich: The Cardinal offense, behind quarterback Gavin Muir, has made a lot of noise this season. But the defense has been quietly stingy in allowing just 13.8 points per game, led by linebacker Gramoz Bici (87 tackles, 11 sacks).
No. 7 West Haven (9-2) at No. 3 Darien (10-1)
About West Haven: The Westies got some revenge when they knocked off No. 2 Shelton, 46-7, in the quarterfinal. They haven't been to a final since 2003, but their trio of running backs (Kyle Godfrey, Chris Chance, Zach Conlan) could very well get the job done.
About Darien: Darien returned starting quarterback Jack Joyce in a 30-10 quarterfinal win over East Hartford. The senior had been suspended following his arrest before Thanksgiving along with classmate and starting defensive back Brian Minicus. Joyce will probably be under center again on Sunday, so how Darien's younger defensive guys step up will be key.
No. 8 New Canaan (9-2) at No. 5 Masuk-Monroe (10-1)
About New Canaan: The four-time defending champs are finally playing like the team that earned the preseason No. 1 ranking. Behind quarterback Drew Pyne, the Rams run a high-speed offense, although the defense has shown it can carry the team, too.
About Masuk: If Masuk was to have a chance of stopping New Canaan's march to the final, they'll need running back Jack Roberge to play his best game. The junior ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns in the team's 43-7 quarterfinal win over Fitch.
No. 3 Windsor (10-1) vs. No. 2 Hand-Madison (10-1) at Surf Club, Madison
About Windsor: The Warriors have used their speedy defense to help propel them to another Class L semifinal. If they hope to reach the final for a second straight year, though, the young offense will need to find some consistency.
About Hand: The Tigers hadn't won a playoff game since winning Class L in 2012 before a convincing 35-13 quarterfinal win over North Haven. Brian Casagrande is a force on defense and offense, although the Tigers have plenty of other playmakers on the latter.
No. 4 Berlin (9-2) at No. 1 Killingly (11-0)
About Berlin: Berlin slumped into the postseason with back-to-back losses but returned some players that were missing for the team's 27-14 win over Watertown in the quarterfinals. Loaded with offensive playmakers, Berlin can beat you a number of ways, as long as they clean up the self-inflicted mistakes.
About Killingly: Spencer Lockwood was everywhere for Killingly on Tuesday. The senior rushed for 382 yards and six touchdowns and hauled in three interceptions on defense in a 57-21 quarterfinal win over Law. He might need a similar performance to hold off Berlin.
No. 7 SMSA/University/Classical (8-3) at No. 6 Barlow-Redding (8-3)
About SMSA: Coach Kevin Quinn and the Tigers got some revenge in the quarterfinal against the Coventry co-op, ending the Patriots' undefeated season with a 32-29 win behind running back Josh McLeggon.
About Barlow: Falcons quarterback Trevor Furrer made himself known in Tuesday's 47-34 quarterfinal win over No. 3 Sheehan. The senior ran for 330 yards and three touchdowns in the win, spearheading the effective running game of the Falcons, who will look for more of the same on Sunday.
No. 5 Stafford/East Windsor/Somers (10-1) vs. No. 1 Ansonia (11-0) at Jarvis Stadium, Ansonia
About Stafford: Last season was the first playoff appearance for Stafford. Now the team is fresh off its first playoff win and in the semifinal for a rematch with the team that ended its season last year. John Kopeck and the Stafford defense will have their work cut out for them, though.
About Ansonia: The Chargers run, and run well, behind Markell Dobbs. Dobbs rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns in the 61-16 quarterfinal win over Seymour. The Ansonia defense will have to contend with a the dual threat of Stafford QB Colton Engel.
No. 3 Rocky Hill (11-0) vs. No. 2 St. Joseph-Trumbull (10-1) at Trumbull HS
About Rocky Hill: The double wing offense of the Terriers has carried them to an undefeated season. But will their vaunted rushing attack be enough to get through St. Joseph? And will their aggressive defense be able to slow down Cadet quarterback David Summers?
About St. Joseph: Summers has been effective in the Cadets' spread offense all season, with a bevy of talented wideouts capable of making a big catch and RB Jaden Shirden backing him up. St. Joseph's front line will have a big challenge in stopping the Terrier rushing attack.
SEAN BEGIN | firstname.lastname@example.org