After months of negotiations, the FCIAC and SCC announced an agreement on Tuesday afternoon that should provide an unprecedented kickoff to the high school football season in Connecticut the next two years.
The leagues, taking advantage of an extra week in each of the next two seasons that will allow schools to play 11 regular season games, will hold 24 contests in both 2013 and 2014, including 17 in the opening week.
Staples and Xavier, which played for the CIAC LL state championship a year ago, will now face each other to start the next two seasons. The same can be said for New Canaan and Daniel Hand, last year's Class L finalists.
"It's a tremendous opportunity for the SCC and FCIAC, and I am so pleased," SCC commissioner Al Carbone said. "It was a collaborative effort between the two leagues. We know we are the best two leagues in the state. There are a lot of risks for our schools, teams and coaches playing competitive games like this."
Indeed, some of the state's top teams will face the prospect of opening the next two seasons with losses that could endanger their postseason prospects.
"It's scary, but it's good for high school football," said New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli, who is the head of the FCIAC football committee and was active in the negotiations between the leagues. "You are now going to start the year with a tough common opponent against some of the best teams in the state. It is definitely a risk with the state tournament."
Some of the other more intriguing contests will include Darien facing Hillhouse and Greenwich taking on West Haven. Stamford and Fairfield Prep, rivals in a bygone era, will meet again.
To make the most of the opportunity and gain the greatest exposure, the games will be spread out over four days. The sites, dates and times have not yet been announced.
In addition, since each league has an odd number of members, seven more games, spread out during the course of the season, were set to help schools fill byes.
"I'm even more excited about some of those games," Carbone said.
Right now only New Canaan and Brien McMahon are left in the FCIAC to fill open spots in their schedules.
The biggest obstacle in finalizing the plan was caused by Amity, which prior to the talks had agreed to play Seymour. Amity refused to alter its schedule, which created a void for Norwalk, which was matched up against Amity.
In the end, Norwalk and Westhill agreed to meet in the opening week, while Branford, which was supposed to face Westhill, agreed to find another game.
"If you look top to bottom, there are some very competitive games," Carbone said. "That's what high school sports are all about."
email@example.com; Twitter: @DaveRuden