Preview: Preseason All-NVL

For our last preview of the 2011 high school football season, we focus on the best players in the league. Who are the best of the best heading into the season? Well, there's an easy way to sort it out--our opinions, at least--and that's by picking our Preseason All-NVL teams.
The First Team rosters follow the same format as was used in last season's All-NVL teams. Honorable Mention teams were replaced by the All-Brass and All-Copper teams, but we will use them here for intensive purposes. Players are listed alphabetically.

Preseason All-NVL First Team Offense
QB: Luke Grabowski, Seymour; Ray Kreiger, Derby
RB: DeVante Bonvillian, Wolcott; David DiGiorgi, Holy Cross; Brenden Lytton, Torrington
WR: Dwayne Ellis, Sacred Heart; Justin Gonzalez, St. Paul
TE: Tim Adanti, Derby
OL: Brad Brown, Torrington; Tom Gendreau, Woodland; Hakeem Martin, Ansonia; Dylan Sadick, Seymour; Tyler Williams, Ansonia
K: Tom Bochicchio, Wolcott

Preseason All-NVL First Team Defense
DL: James Careddu, Sacred Heart; Andrew Duval, Wilby; Mike Giugno, Naugatuck; Jeff Holder, Torrington
LB: Zach Plourde, Woodland; Tyler Wood, Ansonia; Jake Yourison, Naugatuck; Matt Zaccagnini, Woodland
DB: Ryan Byrne, Holy Cross; Demetrius Dailey, Torrington; Eric Ford, Watertown; Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia

Preseason All-NVL Honorable Mention Offense
QB: Elliot Chudwick, Ansonia; Logan Marchi, St. Paul
RB: Tyree Small, Derby; Jon Wilson, Seymour
WR: Andrew Matos, Ansonia; Dillon McMahon, Derby; Mike Conlan, Seymour
TE: Chris Hunter, Crosby; Tom Rinaldi, Holy Cross
OL: Jeremy Clark, Woodland; Jamoire Gregory, Sacred Heart; Matt Hall, Ansonia; Christian Howieson, Watertown; Albion Lumani, Watertown; Jim Nelson, Wolcott; George Smith, Holy Cross; Dylan Vano, Ansonia
K: Mick Pernell, Naugatuck

Preseason All-NVL Honorable Mention Defense
DL: Dave Alves, Woodland; Nico Cari, Naugatuck; Eric Collodel, Woodland; Cody Colon-Dudeck, Kennedy; Anthony Jamele, Holy Cross
LB: Adrian Brown, Holy Cross; Nick Kosa, Naugatuck; DJ Ouellette, Watertown; Josh Tilton, Seymour; Tim Woodfield, Naugatuck
DB: Ezra Coleman, Wilby; Cesar Nunez, Kennedy; Ryan O'Connor, Ansonia; Justin Olenoski, Derby; Anthony Scirpo, Woodland

Preseason All-NVL Top Player Awards
Top Quarterback: Ray Kreiger, Derby
Top Running Back: Brenden Lytton, Torrington
Top Wide Receiver: Dwayne Ellis, Sacred Heart
Top Lineman: Tyler Williams, Ansonia
Top Defender: Tyler Wood, Ansonia

These are just our thoughts and we probably missed on a few guys. What does everyone else think? Who will be the best players in the league? Feel free to post your opinions. And don't worry--season predictions are just a week away.

Sacred Heart WR David Coggins Breaks Ankle, Out for Season

We received word this evening that Sacred Heart all-state junior wide receiver David Coggins was injured during a scrimmage Friday night at Pomperaug. Well, we've been able to confirm this with his coaching staff--it's true.

Preliminary reports were that Coggins left the game with a dislocated ankle but we were not sure exactly how it happened.

After speaking to his coaching staff, we were able to confirm that Coggins left the scrimmage with a broken ankle after a pile of players rolled onto it. He is to have surgery very soon but will likely miss the 2011 season. We wish the kid a very safe and speedy recovery. This is devastating not only for him and his team, but the NVL as well.

Coggins has been the consensus best wide receiver in the NVL since he broke onto the scene as a freshman in 2009. Last season, he recorded 78 catches for 1,417 yards and nine touchdowns en route to being named an All-American in several outlets.

If you remember, Ansonia linebacker Tyler Wood suffered a dislocated ankle last off-season which sidelined him for nine months.

That makes two of the state's top wide receivers (Coggins and Derby's Jacob Tomczak) sidelined for the season.

The Rep-Am's Mark Jaffee confirmed this report and his story has some thoughts from Sacred Heart head coach Chris Ortiz.

Preseason Interviews with Ansonia, Derby, and Seymour

The NVL Blog dropped in to each of these teams' practices during the preseason to talk to some of the players. These student-athletes discussed their off-seasons and gave us some thoughts on what's to come for the 2011 football season. We've tried to reach out to some other NVL schools but these were the only schools that we contacted which agreed to having us at practice to talk to players.




Preview: Copper Division

Next up in our line of season previews is our look at the Copper Division. We all figure that this division is going to be deeper and have a very exciting race for its championship, but how are these teams going to separate themselves? With Naugatuck, Woodland, and Sacred Heart all coming off playoff appearances, Torrington and Holy Cross on the upswing, and St. Paul and Kennedy hovering as sleepers, there's a lot to be sorted out in the Copper.

Division Overview
Remmy's Take: Without a doubt, the toughest division in the NVL in 2011. Realistically, five of the seven teams in this division have a shot at playing in the NVL championship. The front-runner may be Naugatuck. However, the 'Hounds lost a slew of key players and will need the newcomers to come on strong if they are thinking about a second-consecutive league crown. Holy Cross will be much improved and Sacred Heart will be looking to light up the scoreboard, as always. But can the Hearts play enough defense to make the playoffs again? And then there's Torrington, certainly not a sleeper this year with Brenden Lytton, a fantastic O-line, and new addition Jeff Holder falling into the Raiders' hands this off-season. Oh, and there's the Woodland Hawks with their new young gun at quarterback, Tanner Kingsley. Simply put, we expect an all-out war for the division title.
Kyle's Take: It's no secret that the Copper is going to be deeper than the Brass this season. I don't think any of the teams in this division will have any weeks off when it comes to intra-division play. Torrington and Naugatuck are popular picks to be atop the division as both teams return their feature running backs. But they, like most of the teams in the division, lost star power from a year ago. Naugatuck lost quarterback Erich Broadrick and most of its playmakers on both sides of the ball while Torrington lost Dean Tsopanides, one of the best two-way linemen in the state. Woodland lost All-Everything Jack DeBiase and most of its secondary while Holy Cross lost feature back Brandon DiClementi and Sacred Heart lost its best player, Rohan Ifill. With the top five teams having questions to answer and voids to fill, could St. Paul or Kennedy sneak in? The Falcons have some skill players returning and will go with promising sophomore quarterback Logan Marchi while the Eagles are always capable of an upset with the ball-control style they play. Each and every division game is going to be a lot of fun and vitally important to the standings.

Remmy's Take: This is tough. I will list just two of the contenders I believe will win rise to the top of the division this season: Holy Cross and Torrington. Yes, Torrington still has a lot to prove but it is certainly one of the top dogs in 2011. I believe the Raiders and their staff will do what it takes and take yet another step in the right direction by finishing near or atop the Copper. The Crusaders had somewhat of a disappointing season last year for their standards. But with David DiGiorgi moving to tailback and Zach Brown returning at quarterback along with the "diaper dandy," freshman Isaiah Brown, in the mix on both sides of the ball, we should expect the Crusaders to drastically improve on their 6-4 record from last season.
Kyle's Take: Torrington is the trendy pick to break through with its first division title in 2011 and there are plenty of reasons to believe that. Lytton's fantastic ability gives the team a more-than-solid foundation while quarterback Jason Abbott looks to improve and add an important second dimension to the offense which might push the Red Raiders over the top. But it's going to take some defense to win the Copper with solid units at Woodland, Holy Cross, and Naugatuck, so we'll see how Torrington can limit opponents. The other two Copper teams I think are most likely to contend for the division championship are Naugatuck and Holy Cross. The Greyhounds lost most of its offensive production from last year, but Yourison is a great cornerstone to build around on both sides of the ball provided he can stay healthy. There could develop a situation in which he takes on a role similar to DeBiase a year ago at Woodland in which he lines up in the shotgun and they build an offense around him. I'll be anxious to see how Rob Plasky crafts the offense and how they use their other playmakers because the physicality and defensive intensity should be there. The Crusaders have the ability to be the most balanced offensive team in the league with the tandem of Brown and DiGiorgi. Brown has had a few arm troubles, but if he can be a reliable quarterback, Cross should be in good shape with a pretty good defense and offensive line intact.

Sleepers and Non-Contenders
Remmy's Take: I don't believe this division has any non-contenders. Although Kennedy or St. Paul may not win the division, either team is capable of making a run and pulling some upsets. It happens every season, which automatically makes these two programs sleepers. The biggest "sleeper" may be Sacred Heart, but one of the biggest question marks in this division is can Hearts quarterback Javon Martin lead this team the way Rohan Ifill has over the last four years? If so, the talent is there and the Hearts will have a good shot.
Kyle's Take: I have a hard time seeing Kennedy or St. Paul challenging for the division title, but I wouldn't rule out the Falcons creating some havoc in the Copper. The team showed some flashes of brilliance with Marchi at quarterback over the second half of the season. St. Paul's offense could be very good with Marchi and a very talented wideout in Justin Gonzalez, but the defense is a question mark. The Eagles won the Copper in 2008, but that was in an extremely down year for the division and I don't see it happening with the low-scoring Kennedy offense. I didn't list Woodland or Sacred Heart in the contenders category but they are definitely capable of challenging for the Copper title. Both teams have a few too many question marks for me right now. With the losses of DeBiase and Ifill--the best player on both sides of the ball for both teams--there will have to be multiple players to replace their production. DeBiase's loss (along with others) gives the Hawks a young and weakened secondary and a sophomore starting quarterback in Kingsley. Ifill's departure also leaves the reins of the offense to Martin while creating a hole in the secondary. Woodland should be strong in the front seven, but the loss of Holder is more important than most people realize. He was a great run stopper and will be missed. Sacred Heart has never been a defensive power, and that won't help this year.

Potential Surprises
Remmy's Take: Naugatuck repeating as the NVL champion may not be the biggest surprise of the season--Torrington winning the Copper would be. With the kind of season the Raiders from up north had last year along with being one of the preseason top teams in this division, Raider nation will have to be on its toes because the bullseye will definitely be on their backs come Sept. 15. But what makes Torrington a surprise this year is its history in the NVL and not being a contender for the league title on a consistent basis, much like Wolcott has been over the last few years in the Brass.
Kyle's Take: I wouldn't be shocked if St. Paul pushed the .500 mark. Marchi is a very talented quarterback and if the Falcons can establish a running game, that offense could be good enough to outscore half of its opponents. I also think Torrington is going to establish a passing game to open up things for Lytton and that Abbott will throw for over 1,500 yards. Here's one more: One of the five big boys in the division will finish below .500.

Difference-Making Players
Remmy's Take: I could list a bunch but I will stick with my top three play-makers. David Coggins from Sacred Heart will have another great year. This kid was easily the most talented wide receiver in the league last season. Go out and watch him if you get a chance--you'll see. Fellow Hearts wideout DJ Ellis will be overshadowed by Coggins yet again but these two are the best receiving tandem in the Copper Division and the NVL. How could my list not include Lytton? Going into his senior campaign, Lytton is the NVL's best rusher and will certainly prove it to everyone. We'll get a good look at his abilities when Torrington opens the season at Ansonia. My final selection ... ah, what the heck, this one's too tough. Both DiGiorgi (Holy Cross) and Yourison (Naugatuck) get my vote here. DiGiorgi is a bowling ball and Yourison is a battering ram. It will take more than one tackler to bring each of these kids down. What I love about their games is that these monsters are equally as tough on offense, carrying the rock, as they are on defense lighting people up! These teams go nowhere without valuable contributions from these two warriors.
Kyle's Take: We've mentioned all the big names throughout this post--Lytton, DiGiorgi, and Yourison. They'll all certainly have their say in the Copper race this season, but we know what to expect out of them, for the most part. It's going to be players filling holes and expanding roles (nice rhyme?) that will be the real difference makers. How will Kingsley work the Woodland offense he'll be engineering for three years, and can guys like Matt Zaccagnini pick up the strong Hawks' running game? Can Martin bring a similar passing-running threat for the Hearts that Ifill did, and will he be able to use Coggins and Ellis to their fullest potential? How will Brown and Abbott complement their teams' feature rushing attacks? And how good will Marchi be at St. Paul? Plus, the skill cast replacing guys like Andrew Cirino, Tyler Conklin, and Ruben Berger at Naugatuck will be crucial to the Greyhounds' quest at a second-straight NVL crown.

How much fun is the Copper Division going to be this season? A lot.

Preview: Brass Division

In continuing our previews for the 2011 high school football season, we'll take a look at what to expect out of this year's Brass Division. Ansonia and Derby are obviously expected to be the front-runners in the division, but several other teams are capable of being sleepers.

Division Overview
Remmy's Take: The Brass will not be as competitive as the Copper in 2011. While Derby and Ansonia are the front-runners in this division, we all know anything can happen. Ansonia lost more offensive production in one year than some teams have lost in two years combined. Wilby is an interesting team now that the Wildcats are being led by former Wolcott head coach Pat Russo. I've received many emails stating Wilby has had an abundance of kids out for spring ball and lifting. Can they make some noise this season? And then there's Watertown, which we don't know too much about coming into the season. But I cannot imagine after losing Mr. Everything, Matt Quatrano, that this team will be in contention for the Brass title. As for the remainder of the Brass, we know that Crosby, Seymour, and Wolcott all seem to be in trouble going into this season.
Kyle's Take: When the NVL separated into the Brass and Copper Divisions in 2007, the league's superior side was definitely the Brass with teams like Ansonia, Seymour, Watertown, Wolcott, and Crosby all enjoying peaks of success. But in the last few years, the depth of the Copper has overtaken the Brass. There's a distinct possibility that only two Brass teams--Ansonia and Derby--play .500 ball this season as there looks to be a major drop-off after those two contenders. Wilby is a popular team to be the sleeper of the league, so we'll have to see how Russo grooms that squad. Watertown usually doesn't get credit before the season but always seems to win at least five games, but it will be tougher without Quatrano. Crosby and Seymour have been in ruts over the last few years and Wolcott seems poised for a major letdown after huge losses to graduation and staff changes.

Remmy's Take: Ansonia and Derby. Despite such a devastating loss, the Raiders have enough speed to compete with every team in NVL, not only in the Brass. Ray Kreiger is one of the more exciting quarterbacks in this league and with his ability to make plays out of the pocket, it will amount to big points being put on the board for those Roseland-loving youngsters. Ansonia returns a ton of talent and also has the burden of filling its biggest void--the running back position. Personally, I don't think Ansonia will expect Arkeel Newsome to rush for over 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns this season. But I think this team needs at least 25 touchdowns from Newsome and over 1,500 yards rushing (regular season) if it has hopes of reaching the state title game. This will be one of the more balanced Ansonia teams we have seen on offense in recent years, so Newsome's numbers out of the backfield do not have to mirror Dobbs'.
Kyle's Take: Most everyone agrees that the Chargers and Red Raiders will be the class of this division in 2011. They seem to have a great deal of talent on both sides of the ball as both teams have major pieces returning. Despite the returners, both squads have some big holes to fill. For Ansonia, there's no more Dobbs. The best player in the state a year ago accounted for the majority of the Chargers' offense, so they'll have to replace him with Newsome and others. For Derby, the loss of some offensive linemen to O'Brien Tech looked like it was going to be enough of a hole, but the injury to Jacob Tomczak is potentially devastating. He was the Raiders' best two-way player last year and was poised for an incredible season. Now, we'll have to see how Kreiger distributes the ball without his favorite weapon and how Derby copes on defense, where Tomczak might be an even bigger loss.

Sleepers and Non-Contenders
Remmy's Take: Crosby is Crosby. We hear about this program and how great it will be going into the season and then it posts just a handful of wins. This season, it gets tougher, as they move to Class LL and don't have much of a chance at making the playoffs, in my opinion. It would be nice is the Dawgs were more competitive. It would not only make Waterbury football better, but our entire league more competitive. As much as I'd love to see Seymour go .500, chances are it will not happen. And Wilby could be the surprise of the division. This program has finally received some life and somewhat of a boost of credibility with Russo at the helm. We just have to see how the newly-inspired 'Cats can translate this rejuvenation into some wins.
Kyle's Take: Wilby has the potential to be the sleeper team of the entire league. We saw the success Russo had at Wolcott, where he took a historically underachieving team and led them to a string of winning seasons and an NVL Brass title. He has a similar situation in Waterbury where the size and athletes are certainly in cupboard. Crosby and Seymour both seem to have some potential, but both are coming off a pair of bad seasons. I wouldn't be surprised if either of those teams earned a couple of wins, but pushing .500 is a stretch. Watertown always seems to post a 6-4 record, but similar success this year will depend on how the Indians replace Quatrano, one of the best two-way players in the NVL last season. Wolcott suffered the most losses of any team in the league and will be starting almost from scratch. Their athletes and size should get them a few wins, but I'm not sure another winning season is in the cards.

Potential Surprises
Remmy's Take: The biggest surprise in the NVL Brass this year will be the Derby Red Raiders possibly winning the Brass title and the Wilby Wildcats posting at least four wins.
Kyle's Take: I see Wilby posting a .500 record, Kreiger throwing for 2,500 yards, Elliot Chudwick approaching 20 touchdown passes, and a Brass contender losing in Week 1.

Difference-Making Players
Remmy's Take: I will keep the list short and sweet. Luke Grabowski, QB, Seymour--without this kid in uniform on both sides of the ball, Seymour does not win a game. Definitely the biggest difference-maker in the NVL for his respective team. Other athletes include: Ray Kreiger, QB/DB, Derby, and Tyler Wood, LB, Ansonia. I'll also take the Ansonia offensive line as the most formidable group in the Brass. My early pick for Player of the Year ... eh, let's not go there just yet!
Kyle's Take: As Remmy said, Grabowski is perhaps the player most important to his team. The same can be said of Kreiger. With the loss of Tomczak, Derby will need guys like Brian Dobek and Dillon McMahon to step up on offense. If Newsome isn't able to establish himself as a between-the-tackles runner early in the season, Ansonia might be in for some tougher games than it imagines. Don't forget about DeVante Bonvillian in Wolcott, either. He might be able to account for a few wins by himself for the Eagles.

Preview: Top Games of 2011

It's about that time to start taking a look at what's in store for the 2011 high school football season which starts in just a few short weeks. In the first of what will be many previews to come, we'll share what we think will be the best games of each week--our preseason games of the week along with two games worthy of honorable mention.

Week 1 (Sept. 14-16)
Game of the Week: Torrington at Ansonia (Thurs., Sept. 15, 6 p.m. at Jarvis Stadium)
The Skinny: Two of the top teams in the NVL square off in what could very well be the the game of the year right off the bat. Ansonia has some questions to answer this year for its critics without 2010 New Haven Register MVP Montrell Dobbs. The team returns plenty of starters on both sides of the ball which should put it in contention for the league title and another playoff berth. Torrington is more of a one-dimensional team that wins or losses with its workhorse in the backfield, Brenden Lytton. The Raiders have big boys up front and will be looking to pound the ball down the Chargers' throats. There will be a lot of on the line for both of these teams. But chew on this: Would a win by Torrington at Jarvis Stadium be an upset?
Honorable Mention: Seymour at O'Brien Tech, Watertown at Montville

Week 2 (Sept. 22-23)
Game of the Week: Derby at Naugatuck (Fri., Sept. 23, 7 p.m.)
The Skinny: Over the last two years, this series is now tied 1-1 with each team winning on the road. Naugatuck was expected to win both games but as we all saw, Derby upset the 'Hounds at Veterans Field in 2009--something Naugy and its older players certainly haven't forgotten about. The Red Raiders are looking for their first playoff berth since entering the NVL. A win over Naugy may give the Raiders the boost they need in the points standings in order to make a run at the playoffs. With Naugy's defense being its greatest strength, will Derby's line be able to open holes for its running backs, hold up against a strong pass rush, and allow quarterback Ray Kreiger to make plays to wideout Jacob Tomczak and others?
Honorable Mention: Ansonia at Woodland, Watertown at Holy Cross

Week 3 (Sept. 30-Oct. 1)
Game of the Week: Ansonia at Derby (Fri., Sept. 30, 7 p.m. at DeFilippo Field)
The Skinny: Last year's battle at Jarvis Stadium was a classic and probably the best game of the season. Dobbs put the Chargers on his back and made sure his team was going to win that game. Newsome intercepted Kreiger to put an end to Derby's chance at a comeback. This season, Newsome is going to have to do a lot more for Ansonia if Big Blue is going to win this game. With Derby's three-year starters, Kreiger and Tomczak, and a host of talented newcomers at the skill positions, Derby once again has a shot at beating its arch rivals. We know that both coaches have this game circled on their calendars.
Honorable Mention: Torrington at Holy Cross, Jonathan Law at Woodland

Week 4 (Oct. 6-7)
Game of the Week: Holy Cross at Ansonia (Fri., Oct. 7, 7 p.m. at Jarvis Stadium)
The Skinny: The Crusaders want to forget what happened to them last year at Jarvis Stadium. The problem is a 31-0 shellacking is hard to erase from the minds of football players. Holy Cross returns many starters including quarterback Zach Brown and running back David DiGiorgi, among others. And with the explosive freshman Isaiah Wright in the mix, it may very well throw a wrench into the Chargers' plans at a second-straight beat down of the Crusaders. One thing's for certain: There will be a tailgate one way or another.
Honorable Mention: Derby at Wilby, Sacred Heart at Naugatuck

Week 5 (Oct. 13-15)
Game of the Week: Torrington at Naugatuck (Fri., Oct. 14, 7 p.m.)
The Skinny: This game has the potential to be the most important Copper Division game of the entire season. Naugatuck, the defending division champ, hosts the ever-improving Red Raiders after the Greyhounds exploded in a breakout performance early last fall in Torrington. Both teams will already have been tested by this point but with two squads that should be near the top of the division, this one could be the separation between division champ and second place. Naugatuck's passing game will likely take a step down from its level of 2010, so this game might be a huge ground battle with Lytton against Naugy's stable of backs.
Honorable Mention: Ansonia at Seymour, Holy Cross at Kennedy

Week 6 (Oct. 21-22)
Game of the Week: Torrington at Woodland (Fri., Oct. 21, 7 p.m.)
The Skinny: The game up north between these two teams last year was one of the better games the Copper Division had to offer all season as Lytton matched up against the league's best defense in black and gold. Most of that Woodland defense is back, especially in the front seven, but so is Lytton. He was banged up for a portion of last year's contest, so a little bit of redemption might be on his mind. We don't expect either of these teams to rely on the passing game, but well-timed aerial strikes could be crucial in this game. Both of these squads figure to compete for the Copper crown and this game--along with the Naugatuck-Holy Cross game happening on the same night--will likely go a long way in determining the division's representative for the NVL championship game.
Honorable Mention: Naugatuck at Holy Cross, Wolcott at Derby

Week 7 (Oct. 27-28)
Game of the Week: Derby at Torrington (Fri., Oct. 28, 7 p.m.)
The Skinny: It will be battle of young and energetic coaching staffs and the first meeting between the two sets of Red Raiders since Derby entered the NVL. There is no doubt Derby's weakness entering the year is its line, losing some seniors and some players to EOB Tech. However, Derby has the firepower to put up points with Kreiger and Tomczak against a sketchy Torrington secondary. Torrington coach Dan Dunaj will be looking forward to earning a win against his hometown team. This game is the end of a brutal, three-game stretch in the middle of the season for Torrington, so we'll have to wait and see how much the previous weeks' games against Naugatuck and Woodland take out of Lytton and Co.
Honorable Mention: Naugatuck at Woodland, Holy Cross at Sacred Heart

Week 8 (Nov. 3-4)
Game of the Week: Woodland at Holy Cross (Fri., Nov. 4, 7 p.m. at Municipal Stadium)
The Skinny: Every time these two teams get together, a good game usually seems to be the result. It very well may be the same outcome this year as the Hawks and Crusaders should be among the top teams in the Copper Division. While Torrington and Naugatuck seem like they're the two favorites in the Copper, Woodland and Holy Cross are always capable of putting together solid seasons with their balanced offenses and strong defenses and could sneak atop the division with an upset here or there. This game could be very important to the Copper standings as it comes in the second-to-last week of divisional play.
Honorable Mention: Ansonia at Wolcott, Seymour at Derby

Week 9 (Nov. 10-12)
Game of the Week: Sacred Heart at Torrington (Fri., Nov. 11, 7 p.m.)
The Skinny: In Week 9 of the 2010 season, Sacred Heart found itself in two very important positions when it faced Woodland. It was battling for its first playoff spot in two decades while also having the chance to deny the Hawks the Copper Division crown. A similar situation could arise this season as the Hearts face the Red Raiders in the last week of divisional play. Sacred Heart lost Rohan Ifill--and most of its offense--so we'll have to see how coach Chris Ortiz adjusts. If Torrington is in a position to clinch a division championship at home, the Hearts likely won't be intimidated with last year's late-season experience, which included an upset victory over the Raiders in Week 8.
Honorable Mention: Wolcott at Woodland, Wilby at Ansonia

Thanksgiving (Nov. 23-24)
Game of the Week: Ansonia at Naugatuck (Thurs., Nov. 24, 10:30 a.m.)
The Skinny: Naugatuck coach Rob Plasky may very well be the most content coach in the NVL if his team is riding a winning streak going into the Turkey Day extravaganza versus Ansonia, especially if his team is ready to make a run in the playoffs. But rest assured Ansonia coach Tom Brockett and his Chargers will be looking for payback after last year's 38-20 NVL championship loss to the 'Hounds. Naugy should be able to sort out its questions at quarterback very early in the season and we expect the Greyhounds to play Ansonia very tough this year, especially since Ansonia embarrassed Naugatuck in the last meeting at Veterans Field, 56-20. Ansonia sophomore running back Arkeel Newsome will have his work cut out for him against the Naugatuck defense. Ansonia quarterback Elliot Chudwick and his receiving corps will have to come up huge for the Chargers if they want to win this game.
Honorable Mention: Wilby at Sacred Heart, Shelton at Derby

Of course, our picks for Game of the Week are very much subject to change. We'll still be posting our weekly Game of the Week thread once the season begins. But what does everyone think?

Scrimmage Schedules

Finally, a new thread. Sorry for the delay--Remmy and I have been really busy over the last week or so. Anyway, we had a request for scrimmage schedules to be posted, so your wish is our command. We'll have another thread for scrimmage reports at the end of the month once these things start.

In addition, we'll start posting some of our season preview threads within the next week. It's just about time to get into the nuts and bolts of this upcoming season, so we'll get underway with some broad previews next week before narrowing things down over the next month.

Also, St. Paul filled its Thanksgiving Eve opening and will host Hamden Hall on Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. Sacred Heart still has an opening in Week 3.

Finally, offseason updates done by the Rep-Am's Mark Jaffee are continuing to be posted. You can check them all out in the right sidebar, where we have links posted to previews done here on the blog and in the Red Zone.

Ansonia: vs. Notre Dame-West Haven (8/30), at West Haven (9/2), at Shelton (9/9)
Derby: vs. East Haven (8/27), at Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Prep (8/31), at Bacon Academy (9/3), vs. Branford (9/8)
Holy Cross: at Wilby (8/27), vs. Stamford (9/3), vs. Wilby and Pomperaug (9/6), at Hillhouse (9/9)
Kennedy: at Coginchaug (9/3)
Naugatuck: at Amity (8/31), at Wolcott (9/8)
Sacred Heart: at Pomperaug (8/27), vs. Watertown (9/6)
Seymour: at Shelton and Staples (8/28), vs. Platt Tech (8/29), at Platt Tech (8/30), vs. Newtown (9/2), vs. Torrington (9/5), vs. Oxford (9/7)
St. Paul: at Canton (8/30), at Gilbert/NW Regional (9/3), at Haddam-Killingworth (9/10)
Torrington: at Bunnell, New London, and Staples (8/31), vs. Farmington (9/3), at Seymour (9/5), vs. Hyde Leadership (9/8)
Watertown: at Gilbert/NW Regional (8/27), vs. Lewis Mills (8/31), at Sacred Heart (9/6), vs. Bethel (9/8)
Wilby: vs. Holy Cross (8/27), vs. Holy Cross and Pomperaug (9/6)
Wolcott: vs. Lewis Mills (8/27), vs. Newington (8/28), at Maloney Jamboree (9/3), vs. Naugatuck (9/8)
Woodland: vs. Oxford (9/1), vs. Guilford and North Haven (9/3), at Bristol Eastern (9/9)

Note: Updated scrimmage schedule dates and locations can be viewed in the NVL Football Calendar in the left sidebar. This post will not be updated further.