Now that the NVL (Copper Division, at least) is on the verge of upheaval, it seems like an awfully good time to start figuring out what happens from here.
First off, Holy Cross isn’t dead (yet). Torrington isn’t assured to run the Copper table. Woodland and Naugatuck should make it a four-team race, and it’s very possible that no team emerges unscathed. There’s a long way to go, and it continues this week.
On the other side of the league, Ansonia keeps rolling but a No. 1 contender should step up when Wolcott visits Seymour in a battle of early-season unbeatens at DeBarber Field. Both those teams could be headed toward playoff contention with victories, but only one will get it.
But to start everything off, Thursday night we get to see the Awkward Bowl.
Thursday, Oct. 4
Naugatuck at Sacred Heart: We can’t help but wonder if the four-game suspensions of David Coggins, Javon Martin and Xavier Woods were planned specifically by the CIAC so the last game they would miss happened to be the one against the former apple of their eyes, Naugatuck. Probably. Either way, they’ll be watching as the Greyhounds pass and run all over Municipal Stadium for the second time in four weeks. The Hearts’ offense is slightly improving but their defense is nowhere near good enough to slow down Mick Pernell, Jason Bradley and Naugy. Sacred Heart should see both sides of the ball improve in Week 5 (should those three players earn spots in the starting lineup) but without their stars for one more week, Naugatuck will get the last laugh in a big statement game. (By the way, our pal Ned Griffen presented the facts that Naugy’s 63-point first half against St. Paul landed the ‘Hounds in the record book. Read it.)
Picks: Remmy- Naugatuck, 48-6. Kyle- Naugatuck, 42-0.
Friday, Oct. 5
Ansonia at Holy Cross: We were tempted to make this our Game of the Week, but we couldn’t pull the trigger after Holy Cross’ stinker of a game against a depleted and winless Torrington squad. The Crusaders had some key defenders injured but they should have had enough athletes on both sides to take out the Red Raiders, who were without several suspended players. If those hurt Holy Cross guys can come back, maybe the Crusaders can hang around for a little bit. But to beat Ansonia, it looks like teams are going to need the ability to get a couple of defenders to account for Andrew Matos, play man on the other targets and leave everyone else to focus on the backfield. So, so, so much easier said than done. Holy Cross might have the outside athletes to double Matos, but if the middle defense remains depleted then Arkeel Newsome could have his first big game of the year. We’ll probably have another snoozer on our hands at the Stadium.
Picks: Remmy- Ansonia, 55-12. Kyle- Ansonia, 41-7.
Wilby at Derby: This game could end up being one of the best of the week. It was an outstanding contest last year on a muddy afternoon at Wilby High and several players from both sides are back. Derby’s Dillon McMahon has been held out of the end zone in each of the last two weeks, so we’ve got our money on him breaking back in there a few times Friday night. The Red Raiders haven’t moved the ball too consistently in their last two games, except the long scoring runs in the Naugatuck and Ansonia games. Derby had trouble stopping the many rushing styles of Ansonia last week, failing to stop Andrew Matos on his pitches and runs. The Raiders will have to account for Jacob Thomas, who has strung two big games together. Wilby’s defense has not been a pushover at all, allowing just three touchdowns in its last two games (albeit against poor offenses in Kennedy and Watertown). There’s a distinct possibility that we have our first defensive struggle of the year on our hands in this game, which should come down to the fourth quarter.
Picks: Remmy- Derby, 27-20. Kyle- Derby, 20-15.
Kennedy at Woodland: The Hawks should be plenty rested after sitting out Week 3. You had better believe that Tanner Kingsley and the Woodland offense will come out with guns blazing, wanting to tune up the spread machine before the tough Copper Division games begin later this month. If the Hawks don’t score 40, something went wrong. They should be 3-1 by the time they reach their gauntlet, which starts in Week 6.
Picks: Remmy- Woodland, 46-12. Kyle- Woodland, 47-6.
Crosby at Watertown: We would argue that no NVL team has been more disappointing so far than Watertown. We thought the Indians’ offense would take advantage of some returning linemen and a lot of speed to put some points on the board but it hasn’t been the case. Watertown’s been stronger on the defensive side of the ball but just cannot move the ball. The passing game has been virtually nonexistent and if it stays that way it becomes too tough to get the ball to Jon Mitchell and Rocco Guerrera, the two quickest players on the team. Crosby has a decent offense with the ability to go long and run with two backs. This also could be a pretty close, if not especially well played game.
Picks: Remmy- Watertown, 23-18. Kyle- Crosby, 20-13.
Saturday, Oct. 6
Torrington at St. Paul: The Red Raiders went from the brink of losing their season to being at the forefront of the Copper Division race thanks to a 20-yard field goal by a 120-pound sophomore. But PJ Kilmartin’s game-winner against Holy Cross may have done more for Torrington than just give it a big win: The Raiders should now have plenty of confidence as they head deeper into the tough part of their schedule. Their defense will get another test–which it most certainly passed last week–against the most prolific passing offense in the league. (Bet on a Red Raiders pick-six, since Logan Marchi has thrown four in three games.) Remember last year how this game evoked some bad blood on both sides, when Torrington had to re-insert its starters to counter St. Paul’s comeback with its varsity offense against the Raiders’ JV defense. While this one might not get that ugly, it shouldn’t be pretty, even with Torrington still indefinitely without several suspended players.
Picks: Remmy- Torrington, 77-42. Kyle- Torrington, 62-28.
As always, we invite you to make your picks with us on this thread. We’ll keep track of them in our Predictions Tracker throughout the season (still in progress; there’s a lot of updating to do).
Our Game of the Week thread is coming up a little later this week and will feature the Wolcott-Seymour matchup at DeBarber Field.
Both the Naugatuck-Sacred Heart and Ansonia-Holy Cross games will be broadcast live on WATR and watr.com. We’ll have links when our Live Scoreboard goes up Thursday.
Also, we hope you aren’t offended by the lack of preview videos this week. We were a pair of rambling men during our usual weekend filming times. We’ll be back next week.
Week 4 Predictions are presented by Blanchette Sporting Goods. BSG has been a family-owned and operated sporting goods store for more than 40 years. Located in Shelton, Blanchette carries not only a wide selection of equipment, but also a full line of apparel for several Valley schools. Blanchette can also handle embroidery, screen printing, trophies and more. Call today at 203-929-6331 or visit the showroom on Bridgeport Avenue.