Games to watch
Barlow at Masuk
WHERE: Bunnell High School
WHEN: Saturday, 2
RECORDS: Barlow 7-0, Masuk 7-0
LAST YEAR: Masuk 55-12
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Barlow: Jr. QB Jack Shaban (1,020 yards, 13 TD rushing); Sr. RB/LB Alex Lockwood (783 yard, 14 TD rushing); Sr. FB/LB William Wilson; Jr. FB/LB Steve Miller. Masuk: Sr. UTL Thomas Milone (1,300 all-purpose yards, 21 TDs); Jr. QB Malik Cummings (1,293 yards, 12 TD passing); Sr. DL Bryan Monaco; Sr. RB Frank Bacarella.
OUTLOOK: We know Barlow's for real. The Falcons are having their best season in almost 40 years. They're one victory away from the first football playoff berth in school history. But are they truly one of the elite teams in the SWC? Few teams ever match up well with Masuk. Though Barlow's option figures to give Masuk fits early on, can the Falcons keep up with star senior Thomas Milone? That's doubtful. And if Barlow falls too far behind, you can forget about any comebacks.
WHERE: Brookfield High
WHEN: Friday, 7
RECORDS: New Fairfield 4-3, Brookfield 5-2
LAST YEAR: Brookfield 39-14
PLAYERS TO WATCH: New Fairfield: Sr. FB/LB Frank Guardi; Sr. RB/LB Joe Pacheco (1,605 yards, 17 TD rushing); Jr. WR/DB Joey Hicks; Sr. LB Liam Moriarty; Brookfield: Jr. QB Brad Westmark (1,800 yards, 11 TD passing); Sr. TE/DE Andrew Melby (3 sacks); Sr. RB/LB Kory Brown; Sr. WR/DB Boeing Brown (406 yards, 3 TD receiving).
OUTLOOK: The Bobcats must win their final three games to leapfrog the field and clinch a Class M playoff berth. Their defense will be tested by explosive back Joe Pacheco. But Brookfield has some weapons as well, including Westmark, who has become one of the SWC's best QBs. Defense is key for Brookfield. If Pacheco can't bust loose (which is rare), the Rebels may have tough time.
at Capital Prep
WHERE: Dillon Stadium, Hartford
WHEN: Saturday, noon
RECORDS: Bullard Havens 7-1, Capital Prep 8-0
LAST YEAR: Capital Prep 35-2
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Bullard-Havens: Soph. QB Chris McNamara; Sr. RB/LB John Shannon (1,115 yards, 20 TD rushing); Sr. OL/DL Shaq Rowe. Capital Prep: Sr. QB/DB Antwan Byrd (1,110 yards, 13 TD passing); Fr. RB/DB Bennie Fulse (763 yards, 9 TD rushing); Jr. OLB Mike Jones.
OUTLOOK: This game is for the CSC title. But even more important is its state playoff implications. Bullard-Havens, which has rallied behind soph QB McNamara since Equan Brooks' injury vs. Prince Tech, must win to keep its postseason hopes alive. A win here and vs. Bassick will give the Tigers a playoff berth. This is no gimme. Capital Prep has a dynamic offense.
at Trinity Catholic
WHERE: Alumni Field, Stamford
WHEN: Saturday, 1
RECORDS: Darien 4-3, Trinity Catholic 7-0
LAST YEAR: Darien 49-21
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Darien: Sr. RB/LB Christian Bognar (821 yards, 7 TD rushing); Sr. OL/DL Matt D'Andrea; Sr. QB Henry Baldwin (1,451 yards 17 TD passing); Sr. T/DT/TE Will Lochtefeld; Trinity Catholic: Sr. RB/LB Shaquan Howsie (805 yards, 12 TD rushing); Soph. RB Randy Polonia; Sr. RB/LB Cody Zaro; Sr. LB Dave DeLeo; Jr. LB Matt Christensen.
OUTLOOK: Trinity Catholic needs one more win to secure its first playoff berth since the 1992 state title. That's a feat unheard of when the season began. But forget that for a moment, there's a share of the FCIAC title at stake, too. Trinity must win its next two games to secure a piece of the trophy.