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Who Is In The High School Football Playoffs?

Thanksgiving Week is always a bit wild in closing out the high school football regular season, and 2017 was no different. Some teams unofficially clinched when the games on Thanksgiving Day drew to a close. The CIAC football committee meets Friday morning with the official pairings to come soon afterward.

The playoff cogs began churning in earnest on Wednesday night, starting with East Hartford’s narrow victory over Jevin Frett and Manchester, earning the Hornets a trip to the Class LL playoffs for the first time since 1987.

Stafford/East Windsor/Somers followed when it beat Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby to clinch the team’s Class S spot for a second straight season. Stafford’s fellow Pequot school Cromwell/Portland lost its annual Thanksgiving week game against Rocky Hill, ending its Class S playoff hopes.

In Windsor, Middletown topped the unbeaten Warriors to earn the Blue Dragons’ first undefeated season since 1985. The victory, combined with Masuk’s upset loss to Newtown on Wednesday, gave the Blue Dragons the top seed in Class L. Their prize? Four-time defending champion New Canaan.

The Rams were hanging on to their playoff hopes, with the annual Turkey Bowl game against the No. 1 team in the state, Darien, standing in the way of a 13th straight postseason. But New Canaan emerged victorious to earn the eighth seed in Class L and end Darien’s 34-game winning streak.

Southington and Cheshire met for their annual Apple Valley Classic, with the winner needing a Fairfield Prep loss to secure a playoff spot. Southington won, but so did the Jesuits. The result? Prep edged the Blue Knights for the last spot, thanks to Sheehan’s win over Lyman Hall (Prep got the much needed bonus points thanks to its victory over Sheehan). Prep will get Greenwich, which earned the top seed with a win over Staples and Darien’s loss. Darien drops to third and will host East Hartford.

South Windsor, meanwhile, handled Enfield on Wednesday night and quietly slipped into fourth in Class LL, earning a home playoff game against Naugatuck, which lost its annual Thanksgiving game to Ansonia.

Maloney had sealed its playoff spot before taking the field for the 60th annual Stoddard Bowl on Thanksgiving morning, thanks to a couple bonus games going their way. But the Spartans got some revenge on city rival Platt with a win, avenging last year’s loss that knocked Maloney from the playoffs.

Killingly’s win over Woodstock Academy secured the top spot in Class M and an undefeated season. That gave Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial the two seed. Sheehan’s win earned it No. 3 while Berlin, which has suffered back-to-back losses to end the season, is fourth.

With Barlow’s win over Weston, SMSA/University/Classical falls to No. 7 in Class M, setting up a rematch with Coventry. The Patriots won the meeting between these two teams in the final game of the regular season just six days ago in a comeback.

Law-Milford, in its 57th year as a football program, clinched its first state playoff berth. Law first needed a come-from-behind victory over Foran Thursday morning to even keep its hopes alive. But with Wolcott and Bacon Academy both losing, the Lawmen earned the eighth spot and a date with Killingly.

Ansonia, St. Joseph, Rocky Hill and Bullard-Havens are the top four Class S seeds. The Terriers will get Valley Regional/Old Lyme in the quarterfinal while Stafford travels to Bullard-Havens. Ansonia will face NVL foe Seymour and the Cadets will host O’Brien Tech. Bloomfield won on Tuesday night to kick the week off and keep its hopes alive, but too many bonus games went against the Warhawks, who will just miss out on the playoffs.

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