A look at the 16 high school quarterfinal football games on Tuesday night. All games kick off at 6:30 p.m.
About Fairfield Prep: Prep was on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in until the Jesuits knocked off West Haven on Thanksgiving to end Southington’s playoff hopes and sneak in as the eighth seed. Quarterback Will Lucas has been a big part of that after taking over the starting job this season.
About Greenwich: The second-most prolific offense in the state this season (470 points to Ansonia’s 474), the Cardinals have a talented 1-2 punch in quarterback Gavin Muir and running back Tysen Comizio. Muir has over 2,100 passing yards and 27 touchdowns, while Comizio has 1,034 rushing yards and 17 TDs.
About Naugatuck: Quarterback Mike Plasky showed he can throw under pressure, as he kept the Greyhounds close during thew first half of the annual Thanksgiving rivalry game against Ansonia. How their defense handles the multi-faceted Bobcat offense will be key.
About South Windsor: The Bobcats have turned the program around since back-to-back 1-10 seasons earlier this decade, with quality wins over East Hartford and Southington this season. QB Connor Kapisak and RB Julian Ibes lead a strong offense, but the defense has given up some points this year and will need to step up.
No. 7 West Haven (8-2) at No. 2 Shelton (9-1)
About West Haven: The Westies hosted Shelton on Oct. 27, a game the Gaels won 38-28. To avenge that loss, running backs Kyle Godfrey, Zach Conlan and Chris Chance will have the play the entire game like they played the first half of the loss, when West Haven racked up 225 yards of offense.
About Shelton: Shelton had the help of a returning and rested Jack Carr in the first meeting with West Haven. The running back ran for 120 yards, caught a TD pass and recovered a fumble. But watch for QB Jake Roberts, who has shown he has the talent to lead the team.
No. 6 East Hartford (9-1) at No. 3 Darien (9-1)
About East Hartford: The Hornets are back in the state playoffs for the first time in 30 years, led by RB/LB Kevon Jones (he leads the team in rushing and tackles) and the dual-threat of quarterback Raquan Tompkins. If they play fast and can keep Darien off-balance, East Hartford has a chance to make the semifinals.
About Darien: The Blue Wave are the two-time Class LL champs, but are coming off their first loss in 34 games after New Canaan shut them out 27-0 on Thanksgiving. The status of starters Jack Joyce and Brian Minicus, who turned themselves into police following arrest warrants being issued for a Nov. 6 incident, is still unknown.
No. 8 New Canaan (8-2) at No. 1 Middletown (10-0)
About New Canaan: The Rams, as four-time defending champs, are unlike most normal eight seeds. With QB Drew Pyne leading the way, New Canaan needed to end Darien’s 34-game winning streak on Thanksgiving just to get here. But the preseason No. 1 might just be now playing to the level of talent that earned that placement.
About Middletown: The Blue Dragons hadn’t gone undefeated since 1985. They did it again this year behind an underrated defense (allowing just 10 points per game) led by James Johnson (17.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss). QB Stone Belzo and RB Xzavier Reyes lead the offense, to say nothing of kick Mike Aresco, the state field goal record holder.
No. 5 Masuk-Monroe (9-1) at No. 4 Fitch-Groton (10-0)
About Masuk: Running back Jack Roberge has been the driving force of Masuk’s high-scoring offense, but QB Matt Hersch is fourth in the state in passing yards. The team flopped on Thanksgiving, though, losing to Newtown 14-7 and missing out on a home playoff game.
About Fitch: QB Tyler Nelli and RB Tyler Andrews have led the way in Fitch’s first undefeated season since 2001. But the team nearly allowed Ledyard to comeback on Thanksgiving, and then had to deal with getting dumped down to the fourth-seed thanks to a clerical error.
No. 7 North Haven (8-2) vs. No. 2 Hand-Madison (9-1) at Surf Club, Madison
About North Haven: An old-school offense for new-school times. North Haven, Mark Montano and their single-wing offense will head to the windy Surf Club where Hand has played well all season. Montano is the heart of North Haven, rushing for 1,309 yards and hauling in four interceptions on defense.
About Hand: The Tigers have a young offense led by sophomore QB Phoenix Billings. But their defense has allowed double-digit points just three times, thanks in part to linebacker Brian Casagrande and defensive back Ian Butler, both of whom are integral to the Tiger offense, as well.
No. 6 Maloney-Meriden (9-1) at No. 3 Windsor (9-1), Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
About Maloney: The Spartans were denied a playoff spot last season with a loss on Thanksgiving. They avenged that loss this year to make it back to the playoffs for the first since 2006. Now they get a rematch with Windsor, who handed Maloney their only loss of the year way back in Week 1.
About Windsor: The Warriors’ defense, led by Shayne Manson, has been dominant nearly all season. But the offense is young and can be pressured to make mistakes (like in the loss to Middletown on Thanksgiving Eve). If those get cleaned up, Windsor could be back in the final.
Law-Milford (6-4) at Killingly (10-0)
About Law: The team recorded its first winning record in 10 years and first-ever CIAC playoff berth. Running back Mike Plaskon, the team’s primary offensive threat, had three scores in a Thanksgiving Day win over rival Foran.
About Killingly: The Redmen clinched their first unbeaten season since 1953 and seek the program’s first state title since 1996. The team has passed just 39 times this year, with Spencer Lockwood’s 2,373 yards leading an impressive ground attack.
Watertown (8-2) at Berlin (8-2)
About Watertown: Quarterback/safety Nick D’Elia leads the offense, which qualified or the postseason for the first time since a 1986 Class SS title win over Platt. This is also the team’s first winning season since 2010.
About Berlin: The Redcoats look to avenge last year’s quarterfinal loss to Valley Regional/Old Lyme. Quarterback Kevin Dunn, running back Alex Halkias and receiver-kicker Giancarlo Tufano are key playmakers.
SMSA/University/Classical (7-3) at Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial (10-0)
About SMSA: 2017 marks the first-ever winning season and postseason appearance for SMSA. Quarterback Devin Hill and running back Josh McLeggon are players to watch on offense, and the team narrowly lost to Coventry 28-26 on Nov. 18, the only time Coventry faced a deficit this season.
About Coventry: The team is making its first playoff appearance since 2011 in search of its first postseason win in program history. Jacob Carlson, Shaun O’Connell and Nick Pronovost are all viable options out of the backfield, utilizing a triple option to give opposing defenses fits.
Barlow-Redding (7-3) at Sheehan-Wallingford (9-1)
About Barlow: Barlow returns to the playoffs for the first time since losing in the 2013 semifinals. The team is riding a four-game winning streak, having allowed exactly 14 points in its last three outings.
About Sheehan: Quarterback Wes Terzi and running back Jordan Davis lead an explosive offense that has scored at least 41 points six times this season. Sheehan’s last state title came in 1985.
Seymour (8-2) at Ansonia (10-0)
About Seymour: Behind quarterback Ian Sadick, Seymour looks to rebound from 61-6 defeat to Ansonia on Oct. 26. The school lost in last year’s semifinals to Rocky Hill.
About Ansonia: The defending Class S champions are looking for their 21st state title and fifth in seven years. Ansonia, which hasn’t lost since the 2015 final, has blown out every opponent this year, having scored at least 43 points in each game while allowing more than eight just once.
Stafford/East Windsor/Somers (9-1) at Bullard-Havens-Bridgeport (9-1)
About Stafford: Colton Engel has proven to be a dual threat through the air and on the ground, as Stafford looks to avenge a loss to Ansonia in last year’s quarterfinals. The program has never won a state title.
About Bullard-Havens: The unit also suffered a loss in last year’s first round, falling to Rocky Hill. The team won by an average of 48 points through its first six games, with quarterback Tyrese Wright leading the charge.
O’Brien Tech-Ansonia (8-2) at St. Joseph-Trumbull (9-1)
About O’Brien Tech: This is the most successful season in the six-year history of the O’Brien Tech football program, as the team had never exceeded four wins nor made a postseason appearance.
About St. Joseph: The Cadets are back in Class S after losing last year’s M final to Hillhouse. The school has four state titles since 2009.
Valley Regional/Old Lyme (9-1) at Rocky Hill (10-0)
About Valley Regional: Quarterback Mike Cullina has helped the offense reach 33 points or more six times this season. The program’s last postseason appearance was a 2014 win in the Class S-Large final against Ansonia.
About Rocky Hill: The unbeaten Terriers have a run-first offense anchored by Joe Catania and Joe Ferreira. Rocky Hill won its first two 2016 playoff games by a combined score of 98-15, but lost the Class S Final to Ansonia.