NO. 8 SMSA/UNIVERSITY/CLASSICAL AT NO. 1 ROCKVILLE

WHERE — Rockville High School, Vernon

TICKETS — Adults $10, Students/Senior Citizen $5

RECORDS — SMSA 8-2, Rockville 10-0

PLAYOFF HISTORY/LAST APPEARANCES — SMSA (1-1): lost to Joel Barlow in the 2017 Class M semifinals, 52-14. Rockville (2-3): lost to St. Joseph in the 2018 Class M quarterfinals, 49-7.

PLAYERS TO WATCH — SMSA: Sr. QB/DB Devin Hill; Sr. RB/LB Jordan Rivera. Rockville: Sr. QB/LB Jon O’Coin; Sr. WR/CB Jaquan Dufour; Jr., DL Nasir Knighton.

STORYLINES — We can expect the weekly phone calls between friends Kevin Quinn and Erick Knickerbocker — the head coaches of SMSA and Rockville, respectively — will be put on hold, this week. Yes, the two say they talked every week during the season about their teams and their fellow Pequot opponents because the two teams didn’t play this season. Now they are, with a spot in the semifinals on the line. … This is just the second playoff appearance in SMSA’s Co-Op history, but it is the second in three years. And the Tigerhawks are no strangers to success. … Led by then-sophomore quarterback Devin Hill, the Tigerhawks knocked off unbeaten Coventry Co-Op in its first playoff game before falling in the semifinals. They’re looking to do it again. … Rockville has exceeded early expectations in Knickerbocker’s second year as coach. The Rams snuck into the playoffs last year on the final day of the season at 7-3, but this season, the Rams have dominated behind stellar performances by converted QB Jon O’Coin and receiver Jaquan Dufour. They finished 10-0 for the first time since 1995. …That was also the last time Rockville reached championship game, an eventual loss to Class L powerhouse Cheshire. … Armed with a slogan, ‘Restore the Rock,’ the Rams are three victories away.

FORNO’S PICK — Rockville

SPB’S PICK — Rockville

PETE’S PICK — Rockville

NO. 7 GRANBY/CANTON AT NO. 2 WATERFORD

WHERE — Waterford High School, Waterford

TICKETS — Adults $10, Students/Senior Citizen $5

ON THE AIR/WEB — GameDayCT on YouTube

RECORDS — Granby/Canton 8-2, Waterford 9-1

PLAYOFF HISTORY/LAST APPEARANCES — Granby/Canton (0-2 overall): Granby lost to Seymour in the 2015 Class S quarterfinals, 56-28. Canton lost to Capital Prep/FA in the 2014 Class S semifinals, 28-21. Waterford (0-3): lost to Ledyard in the Class M 2011 quarterfinals, 26-0.

PLAYERS TO WATCH — Granby/Canton: Sr., QB/DB Jackson Rome, Sr., RB/DB Sam Attianese. Waterford: Sr. QB Ryan Bakken; Jr. RB Christian Hightower; Jr. WR/DB Sam Menders; Sr. T Jeremiah Harshburger; Sr. WR/DB Trey Brennan; Sr. OL/DL Jose Rosario.

STORYLINES — Former rivals Granby and Canton merged to form a co-op this season and have reached the postseason in just their first year. …It’s just the third time either Granby or Canton have reached the postseason as schools. …Led by dual threat QB Jackson Rome and RB Sam Attianese, the Bears’ running attack has been their bread-and-butter. …Waterford, just two seasons removed from an 0-10 season, have defied expectations this year under coach John Strecker. …Led by a determined effort by versatile three-year starting QB Ryan Bakken, who’s thrown for over 1,800 yards despite losing receiver Peyton Sutman to injury late in the year. The Lancers have won five straight, including a 34-33 barnburner vs. rival East Lyme on Thanksgiving and claimed the ECC Division II title. This is their first postseason since 2011 and first home playoff game since 2003. The Lancers have never won a state playoff game in three tries, two of which were at home — like this one.

FORNO’S PICK — Waterford

SPB’S PICK — Waterford

PETE’S PICK — Granby/Canton

NO. 6 NEW FAIRFIELD AT NO. 3 KILLINGLY

WHERE — Killingly High School Sports Complex, Dayville

TICKETS — Adults $10, Students/Senior Citizen $5

ON THE AIR/WEB — TBA

RECORDS — New Fairfield 8-2, Killingly 9-1

PLAYOFF HISTORY/LAST APPEARANCES — New Fairfield (2-4): lost to Hillhouse in the 2016 Class M quarterfinals, 27-14. Killingly (7-4): lost to St. Joseph in the 2018 Class M semifinals, 52-7.

PLAYERS TO WATCH — New Fairfield: Sr., QB Matt Constantinides, Sr. WR/DB JT Thuesen, Sr., WR/DB Nick Diyman, Sr., RB/LB Mike Altobelli. Killingly: Soph., RB Jack Sharpe, Sr., RB/LB Jackson Lopes, Sr., QB/DB Jacob Nurse.

STORYLINES — Just like last year, New Fairfield lost its first two games of the season. And, just like last year, the playoffs seemed unrealistic. The Rebels once-again needed to win out. As their winning streak grew, the DMs in the GameTimeCT Instagram account grew as well. “How do we get into the playoffs?” The answer was simple: Just win, baby. And unlike last season, New Fairfield, led by QB Matt Constantinides, RB Mike Altobelli and all-stater JT Theusen, did indeed rip off eight-consecutive wins to clinch its first postseason trip since 2016. …This one will be longer than usual. The Rebels must now trek all they way across the state to face Class M power Killingly. …Getting to the state playoffs is nothing new to these Killingly players. This is, after all, the newly-christened Red Hawks’ fifth-straight postseason appearance, which includes a 2017 state championship victory over Barlow. …Killingly’s just an NFA hook-and-lateral away from a second unbeaten regular season in three seasons. Nevertheless, QB Jacob Nurse has performed exceptionally well, replacing graduated championship QB Luke Desaulnier. Killingly’s biggest surprise has been the play of sophomore RB Jack Sharpe, who has rushed for over 1,500 yards and 12 TDs. … Known for their own brand of RPO “Run-People-Over,” Killingly has become more balanced with its pass game. … Getting New Fairfield to travel hours to play them, on their (possibly frozen) grass field, also should be an advantage. But this is a talented and dangerous Rebels squad, one nobody wanted to see in the playoffs. This is a state-championship caliber matchup.

FORNO’S PICK — Killingly

SPB’S PICK — Killingly

PETE’S PICK — New Fairfield

NO. 5 WESTON AT NO. 4 ATI

WHERE — at Brookfield High School, Brookfield

TICKETS — Adults $10, Students/Senior Citizen $5

ON THE AIR/WEB — NFHS Network (subscription required)

RECORDS — Weston 9-1, ATI 9-1

PLAYOFF HISTORY/LAST APPEARANCES — Weston (1-2): lost to Berlin in the 2012 Class M semifinals, 21-7. ATI (0-1): lost to Brookfield in the 2015 Class M quarterfinals, 35-6.

PLAYERS TO WATCH — Weston: Sr., QB/DB James Goetz, Sr., WR/DB Brendan Sawyer, Sr., WR/DB Jack Sawyer. ATI: Sr., QB/DB CJ Cianfiore, Sr., RB/LB Anthony Frasier, Jr., RB/DB Tommy Fahey.

STORYLINES — Led by the Sawyer twins and standout, three-year staring QB James Goetz, the Trojans have finally gotten over the hump and into the state playoffs for the first time since 2012. The long-awaited playoff berth comes after missing out by the slimmest of margins the last two seasons. … Despite all the hype surrounding this senior-laden team, it still took a comeback victory over Barlow on Thanksgiving to get in. A shootout victory over rival Masuk also helped tremendously. … The Trojans have survived plenty of challenges. Goetz went down for half the season and a setback to New Fairfield early in November, gave the Trojans no room for error. ..ATI expected to be here, too. Led by bulldozing RB Anthony Frasier and QB CJ Cianfiore, the Wolverines hoped to contend for the CTC championship and only lost to unbeaten champ Bullard-Havens. This is the relatively new co-op’s second postseason appearance and first since 2015. … History is not on its side, CTC programs have yet to win a state playoff game (not counting Capital Prep in 2014). But coach Rich Holmes’ group is hoping they can buck the trend.

FORNO’S PICK — Weston

SPB’S PICK — Weston

PETE’S PICK — Weston