CIAC Confirms Football Playoff Schedule; 13 Area Teams In Field

The CIAC on Friday morning released the official brackets for the 2017 high school football playoffs set to kick off on Tuesday night, with 13 area teams qualifying for quarterfinal games.

While brackets can be anticipated on Thursday evening, nothing was official until the football committee met. Only one change occurred from the unofficial pairings to what was released on Friday.

When the dust settled from Thanksgiving Day, Windsor was unofficially the fourth seed in Class L with a home game against Masuk. But on Friday Windsor had been named the No. 3 seed hosting fellow CCC foe Maloney, while Masuk will travel to Fitch. The reason? CIAC erroneously recorded Bristol Eastern defeating Bristol Central. But Central won the city rivalry game, giving Windsor the needed bonus points to move up a spot.

Elsewhere in Class L, top seed Middletown will host four-time defending champion New Canaan, who ended Darien’s 34-game winning streak on Thanksgiving to earn the final spot. It’ll be a tough challenge for Sal Morello and the Blue Dragons, who are coming off a big win over Windsor that gave Middletown its first undefeated season since 1985. Hand earned the No. 2 seed and will host North Haven in a battle of SCC teams.

“We have tremendous respect for Windsor and we have to use that as a springboard going into the playoffs,” Morello said. “But we have a good recipe here. Our defense is very good, our special teams is very good.”

In Class LL, South Windsor earned a home playoff game as the fourth seed and will face Naugatuck. East Hartford, after surviving a scare from Manchester, is the sixth seed and will face the three-time Class LL champion Darien. The Blue Wave were without starting quarterback Jack Joyce and defensive back Brian Minicus on Thanksgiving, after the two turned themselves in to New Canaan police after warrants were served for their arrest, stemming from an incident on Nov. 6. Their status for the playoffs is still unknown.

Greenwich earned the top seed in Class LL after capping an undefeated season. The Cardinals get Fairfield Prep, who topped West Haven on Thanksgiving to grab the No. 8 seed and knock Southington out of the playoffs. And No. 2 Shelton hosts No. 7 West Haven in a battle of SCC Tier 1 teams. The two played each other on Oct. 27 with Shelton emerging victorious, 38-28.

In Class S, Rocky Hill earned the No. 3 seed and will host No. 6 Valley Regional/Old Lyme in a CCC-vs.-Pequot matchup. The Terriers capped their season by defeating rival Cromwell/Portland on Thanksgiving Eve to finish undefeated for the first time in program history and end the Panthers’ hope of making the playoffs.

“We were aware that they needed to beat us to get in,” Rocky Hill coach Mark Fritz said. “It’s just one of those things that adds to this rivalry. For the last three years, playoff implications have been on the line.”

Stafford/East Windsor/Somers, in its second playoff appearance in program history, is the fifth seed in Class S and will play Bullard-Havens at Penders Field in Stratford. Ansonia earned the top seed and will host NVL rival Seymour. Defending champs St. Joseph are No. 2 and will welcome O’Brien Tech, who qualified for its first postseason in just the seventh year of the programs existence.

In Class M, Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial earned the second seed for putting together the first undefeated season in program history. The co-op gets a rematch with No. 7 SMSA/University/Classical. The two teams played on Nov. 18 to end the regular season, with Coventry winning, 28-26.

Sheehan and Berlin will have home games. Sheehan, in the playoffs for the first time since 1995, will host Barlow. Berlin, which lost its last two games of the season, will host Watertown. No. 1 seed Killingly gets Law-Milford, who made the playoffs for the first time in the 57 years the school has fielded a football team.

All games Tuesday are at 6:30 p.m.

CLASS LL

No. 8 Fairfield Prep (8-2) at No. 1 Greenwich (10-0)

No. 5 Naugatuck (9-1) at No. 4 South Windsor (9-1)

No. 7 West Haven (8-2) at No. 2 Shelton (9-1)

No. 6 East Hartford (9-1) at No. 3 Darien (9-1)

CLASS L

No. 8 New Canaan (8-2) at No. 1 Middletown (10-0)

No. 5 Masuk (9-1) at No. 4 Fitch (10-0)

No. 7 North Haven (8-2) vs. No. 2 Hand (9-1) at Surf Club, Madison

No. 6 Maloney (9-1) at No. 3 Windsor (9-1)

CLASS M

No. 8 Law (6-4) at No. 1 Killingly (10-0)

No. 5 Watertown (8-2) at No. 4 Berlin (8-2)

No. 7 SMSA/University/Classical (7-3) at No. 2 Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial (10-0)

No. 6 Barlow (7-3) at No. 3 Sheehan-Wallingford (9-1)

CLASS S

No. 8 Seymour (8-2) vs. No. 1 Ansonia (10-0) at Jarvis Stadium, Ansonia

No. 5 Stafford/East Windsor/Somers (9-1) vs. No. 4 Bullard-Havens (9-1) at Penders Field, Stratford

No. 7 O’Brien Tech (8-2) at No. 2 St. Joseph (9-1)

No. 6 Valley Regional/Old Lyme (9-1) at No. 3 Rocky Hill (10-0)

Follow The Courant’s coverage of the state high school football postseason on Twitter @CTHSFB and at www.courant.com/varsity247.

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