Some facts, notes, quotes and tidbits from the 2013 CIAC football playoffs, which start on Tuesday:
• The Fairfield County Conference has just one team in the Class LL playoffs
at the No. 8 seed. That's the first time that has happened since the CIAC added the quarterfinal round in 2010.View of all Connecticut's Interactive Football Playoff Brackets for 2013
• In Class LL, the FCIAC has had nine qualifiers in the four years of the new format, but the Central Connecticut Conference has actually had the most at 11, placing three teams in three of the four years. Neither conference has produced a champion in the new setup. Xavier
, from the Southern Connecticut Conference, has won all three titles since 2010. That, of course, ends this year as the Falcons failed to qualify.
• This is No. 1 seed Newtown's
third trip to the playoffs in four years, but the Nighthawks (12-0) haven't moved past the semifinals in the new format. The program has reached the title game twice, 1978 and '80, in Class L, and won it three times in MM in 1981, '90 and '92.
• Ridgefield (9-2) has won two titles, one in Class L in 2002, the other in L-II in '83, both times beating teams from the CCC. Norwich Free Academy
(8-2), the No. 5 seed in Class LL, has been to two finals, including last season, but has never won a championship. No. 4 Southington
(9-1), which has been to six finals, won once in 1998 in LL over NFA.
• Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan won't be the only one in his family coaching a huge playoff game this week. Brother Sean Callahan has Tampa area power Armwood (13-0)
in Friday's FHSAA Class 6A semifinal against Bartram Trail.
• No. 7 Fairfield Prep
(9-2) has won three titles in four trips to a final, one in LL, but hasn't been to a title game since 1988. No. 2 Glastonbury
(10-1) has won three titles in four trips to a final, two in LL, both over Cheshire, the last in 2008. No. 6 West Haven
(9-2) is looking for its fifth CIAC title; the Blue Devils' last came in 2002 in LL.
• West Haven coach Ed McCarthy, the state leader in career coaching victories with 325, is going for his eighth state title. He had three at St. Joseph (1980-82) before coming over to West Haven in 1983.
• West Haven lost in Week 1 to Greenwich, 22-21, when the Westies turned the ball over late, but McCarthy knew in the early season he might have a special group.
"We're pretty balanced. We've got some home run hitters," McCarthy said in September to the Meriden Record-Journal. "We've got a long way to go, but we're getting better week to week."
They indeed have some heavy hitters in Syracuse-bound running back Ervin Philips (1,451 yards rushing, 23 TDs), quarterback Duane Gary (892 yards rushing, 14 TDs) and fullback Marshont Little (703 yards, 12 TDs), who make up most of the 3,582 team rushing yards.
• The remaining team in Class LL, Hall
(9-1) has been to a final three times, the last in 1986, but never won.
• In Class L
, No. 8 seed Daniel Hand
(8-3) is going for its 12th state championship, six under current head coach Steve Fillippone. Only Ansonia
(12-0), the No. 2 seed in Class S, has more at 18. St. Joseph
(10-1), No. 2 in Class M
, is the only other program in double digits with 10 CIAC titles.
• No. 2 seed Platt
(11-0), No. 7 North Haven
(9-2) and No. 6 Farmington
(9-2) have never won a state title, although Platt has been to a final twice and Farmington once.
(10-2), No. 4 in Class S
, has one of the most prolific passers in the state in Tanner Kingsley
, who has thrown for 2,950 yards, 40 TDs and only 11 interceptions. No. 1 Darien
(10-1) in Class L, the FCIAC champion, has Silas Wyper
with 2,474 yards passing and 18 TD passes.
• Three other teams boast top passers: Newtown's Andrew Tarentino
(2,414 yards, 32 TD passes, 60.2 completion percentage), St. Joseph's Jordan Vezzano
(2,404 yards, 30 TDs), and Southington's Stephen Barmore
(2,382 yards, 32 TDs, 65.5 completion percentage.).
• The playoffs have two 2,000-yard rushers in Jake Ward
of No. 5 Class S seed Morgan (10-1) with 2,494 yards and 41 touchdowns, and Ansonia's Arkeel Newsome
, the state's all-time rushing leader with 9,262 yards, who this season has gained 2,457 yards and scored 41 rushing TDs. The two are also among the state's top scorers, Newsome with 274 points, Ward with 262.
• How about receivers? Southington's Alex Jamele
leads the way with 1,263 yards on 59 catches with 22 touchdowns. Julian Dunn
of Newtown has 21 TD catches.
• And kickers? No. 3 seed in Class L New Canaan's Peter Swindell
has kicked nine field goals in 12 tries, with a long of 45 yards. The sophomore standout is also 65-of-69 on PAT attempts and has scored 92 points for the season.
• By conference, the SCC leads all others with 49 state football titles in 75 final appearances across all the classes. The FCIAC is second with 42 titles in 74 finals, and the Naugatuck Valley league is third with 30 in 49 appearances.Paul Rosano, the former assistant sport editor of The Hartford
Courant and sports editor of The New Haven Register, is a MaxPreps contributor. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.