It's Week 12, Thanksgiving and the playoffs are coming. Area teams with an eye on the postseason must get through these games before the postseason schedule comes out Friday.
Cromwell/Portland (8-1) at Rocky Hill (9-0), Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Why it's big: Rocky Hill has its Class S berth locked up, but Cromwell/Portland is playing for its playoff life. Currently seeded seventh, a loss would essentially end the Panthers' playoff hopes.
Overview: Last year, Cromwell knocked off defending champ Bloomfield in a Class S quarterfinal. But the Terriers lost by a touchdown in the final and are hungry to get back. (Both teams lost to Ansonia.)
About Cromwell/Portland: Bryce Karstetter has been solid at QB this season, and the Panthers can bring balance with running backs Bryan Lockwood and Brent Robbins. But it's the run defense that will need to step up big.
About Rocky Hill: Run, run, run. It's what Rocky Hill does best, behind Joe Catania and Joe Ferreira. Quarterback Danny Cavallaro can run, too, but he's also an efficient passer, linking up often with wideout Matt Osgood.
Prince Tech-Hartford (7-2) at Capital Prep/Achievement First-Hartford (4-5), Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Why it's big: Prince Tech is the first Class S team on the outside looking in (seeded ninth). It needs a win, losses from the teams ahead of it and some help from bonus points.
Overview: Capital/Achievement only had eight games count to playoff seeding, and was a long shot playoff contender until last week. The Trailblazers have a win over Bullard-Havens, which dispatched Prince handily Saturday.
About Prince Tech: Alex Higgins is a solid rushing threat for the Falcons, and Trondell Thomas has been effective at times under center. They'll need a strong defensive performance against the Capital Prep's skilled offense.
About Capital/Achievement: The Trailblazers played Killingly close on Thursday (they were up 28-26 at half) before Killingly pulled away. QB Kyle Zajack, RB Khyon Gillespie and wideout Oneil Robinson, all seniors, have one game left together and are looking to end the Falcons' playoff hopes.
Stafford/East Windsor/Somers (8-1) at Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby (4-5), Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Why it's big: Win and Stafford's into the Class S playoffs. Lose and and the Bulldogs are left out in the cold.
Overview: Stafford won this meeting last year before getting knocked off by Ansonia in a Class S quarterfinal. With the playoffs on the line this year, the Bulldogs looked primed to repeat last year.
About Stafford/East Windsor/Somers: Colton Engel is a capable passer, but he has also been a serious threat on the ground this season. The Bulldogs defense has been playing strong, too, behind linebacker John Kopek.
About Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby: When the offense gets going, the Raiders can put up points behind QB Jameson Gill and RB Jaequan Grant. If they want to ruin the Bulldogs' season, defense will be key.
Middletown (9-0) at Windsor (9-0), Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
Why it's big: Winner finishes unbeaten, claims the CCC Division II East title, earns the better Class L seed and gets bragging rights for the next calendar year.
Overview: It'll be Middletown's potent offense against Windsor's speedy defense. The Warriors allow an average of 6.6 points per game (with five shutouts), while the Blue Dragons are scoring 40.2 per game.
About Middletown: The Blue Dragons have two backs capable of carrying the team in Xzavier Reyes and Tyreece Lumpkin, but QB Stone Belzo is a potent dual threat. They also have the best kicker in the state in Mike Aresco.
About Windsor: The Warriors put together their most efficient half on both sides of the ball in Wednesday's win over NFA. The young offense scored all 35 points in the first half, after struggling to score early all season, while the defense carved through the Wildcats offensive line.
East Hartford (8-1) at Manchester (3-6), Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
Why it's big: East Hartford has had a banner year, including an upset of Southington, and needs to win to reach the Class LL playoff (currently seeded seventh).
Overview: On paper, this is all the Hornets. But Manchester did win this matchup last year, and everybody loves a chance to play spoiler. East Hartford would claim at least a share of the CCC Division I East title with a win.
About East Hartford: Quarterback Raquan Tompkins leads a potent offense, while senior Kevon Jones can do it all. Jones is a threat both out of the backfield and out wide, and he's a tackling machine who leads the defense.
About Manchester: Senior Jevin Frett has been a bright spot in a down season for Manchester, both as a deep threat and a return specialist. He also tossed a touchdown in an upset bid against South Windsor.
SEAN BEGIN | firstname.lastname@example.org