Saturday, December 18, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Xavier to receive Kelly Award
Xavier, which was ranked No. 1 in the final Register poll, is the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s choice to receive the Joseph W. Kelly Award, which is awarded annually to Connecticut’s top high school football team.
It is the second time that Xaver (13-0) has earned the Kelly Award (2005).
It is also the second straight year a team from the SCC has won the honor
(Notre Dame of West Haven).
“Xavier certainly distinguished itself after going undefeated in the
competitive Southern Connecticut Conference and then winning three games to
capture the Class LL state championship,” said Walter Camp Football
Foundation President Alphonse Paolillo, Jr. “We salute Coach Sean Marinan,
his staff and players on a tremendous season and a job well done.”
Xavier captured the SCC Division I West title on its way to a perfect 10-0
regular-season record. In the newly-expanded state playoffs, Xavier used a
stellar defense to capture the Class LL title. The Falcons held its three
playoff opponents – all of whom were averaging over 31 points a game – to
just 33 total points – the lowest among the four state champions.
In the quarterfinals, Xavier defeated SCC-rival West Haven, 28-7, and then
defeated Glastonbury, 24-13, in the semifinals. On Friday, December 10,
the Falcons held Trumbull to just nine first downs and 209 total yards in a
24-13 victory in the Class LL championship game.
It is the eighth time since the SCC was founded in 1994 that one of its
league teams captured the Kelly Award (Xavier 2005 and 2010; Cheshire 1994
and 1995; Hand 1997 and 2004; West Haven 2002; and Notre Dame 2009).
Coach Marinan and the Xavier team, along with members of the 2010 Walter
Camp All-America team, will be honored at the organization’s national
awards banquet on Saturday, January 15, 2011 at the Yale University Commons
in New Haven.
In addition, the Foundation will recognize three individuals – NFL
Hall-of-Famer Chuck Bednarik (Pennsylvania) and former NFL All-Pros Will
Shields (Nebraska) and Tedy Bruschi (Arizona) – with major awards. The
Foundation is offering a "Holiday Ticket Promotion" for the National Awards
Dinner. Buy two tickets for $400 (you save $150) before December 31.
Please call (203) 288-CAMP (288-2267).
Kelly Award winners by year
2010 – Xavier (Middletown)
2009 – Notre Dame (West Haven)
2008 – New Canaan
2007 – Ansonia
2006 – Ansonia
2005 – Xavier (Middletown)
2004 – Daniel Hand (Madison)
2003 – New Britain
2002 – West Haven
2001 – New Britain
2000 – Fitch (Groton)
1999 – Bloomfield
1998 – Bloomfield
1997 – Daniel Hand (Madison)
1996 – Weaver (Hartford)
1995 – Cheshire
1994 – Cheshire
1993 – Cheshire
1992 – Cheshire
1991 – Notre Dame (West Haven)
1990 – Derby
1989 – Ansonia
1988 – Stratford
1987 – East Catholic (Manchester)
1986 – Trumbull
1985 – Hillhouse (New Haven)
1984 – Middletown
1983 – Ansonia
1982 – St. Joseph’s (Trumbull)
1981 – Naugatuck
1980 – Trumbull
1979 – Newington
1978 – Amity (Woodbridge)
1977 – Trumbull
1976 – Fitch (Groton)
Monday, December 13, 2010
What the voters are saying....
There's been plenty of debate, even before the final poll was released, as to which team truly deserved the No. 1 ranking.
I admit, it was a tough call. In the end, I voted for Xavier. I believe Xavier is the better team, but not by much. I think Xavier's defense was the more complete unit. I also think Xavier's strength of schedule played a factor in my decision. Xavier played a more competitive schedule week in and week out, and the Falcons were still able to survive unscathed.
Offensively, Masuk didn't have a match this season. The Panthers fielded some of the most talented skill players in the state. It would be interesting to see how Masuk's offense would fare against the Xavier defense, and vice-versa. I think, however, that Xavier's defense was bigger, more physical, and faster than Masuk's. This is all subjective, of course.
Without the two meeting on the field, none of us could really predict how each would fare against each other. What a game that would be, though.
I asked my fellow voters if they would be willing to publicly share why they voted the way they did. Permission was granted by the writers to reveal their choices. Here are some of the responses:
Matt Doran, Norwalk Hour:
"I’ve been covering high school football for almost 20 years, and I can only remember a handful of teams as good as Masuk. New Canaan was one of the best teams in the FCIAC. Lou Marinelli is one of the best coaches in state history, and the Rams never had a chance in the finals. Masuk never even came close to losing, not during the regular season, not in the SWC championship game and never in the playoffs. They averaged close to 50 points per game and their defense was fantastic. Xavier is a solid team, but Masuk deserved to be No. 1. They were the best team with the best player in Casey Cochran."
Jim Bransfield, Middletown Press:
"I voted for Xavier, but I concede it's a very close call. I think the things that separate the two is 1. strength of schedule. Xavier had to answer the bell more often than Masuk. That's not a knock on Masuk -- you play the schedule you are given -- but Xavier's schedule was just tougher. Also, its last five games were as demanding as any. 2. the Xavier defense. Best defense I've seen in years.
"I was very impressed with Masuk, but not enough to override the two factors named above that tilt the vote to Xavier. I will say this. If anyone voted any of those two teams in any place but 1-2, there should be an investigation. They were head and shoulders above anyone else."
Ken Lipshez, Valley Publishing Co.:
"I voted for Masuk because of the way it pulverized everything and anything in its (path). Xavier played the tougher schedule week in and week out, which made it a tossup, but what swung me was the way Masuk crushed the other top teams in the South-West, Pomperaug and Bunnell, as well as New Canaan, which I voted for behind the big 2. My ultimate feeling is that the voters may as well have drawn straws."
Kevin Duffy, Danbury News-Times:
"I voted Masuk No. 1 because, to me, they are clearly the more dominant team. I'll admit Xavier had a tougher schedule and I'll admit that the SCC is more difficult than the SWC, but Masuk did not play a close game all year and never won by a margin less than 26 points. And this includes the state title game against New Canaan, a team that would have been the toughest opponent Xavier faced all year. Masuk hung 50 points on the Rams!
"In short, I don't think the "strength of schedule" argument holds water after the state playoffs -- where Masuk outscored the top two teams in the FCIAC 91-23."
Dave Phillips, Shoreline Times:
"After thinking about it for a little while, I voted Xavier No. 1 because of the strength of the SCC. The SCC Division I is brutal, and any undefeated team has to be considered for the No. 1 spot in the state poll. While all the top teams played their share of lesser talented teams, the SCC was clearly the strongest league in the state."
My final ballot
3. New Canaan
6. St. Joseph
12. Norwich Free Academy
13. West Haven
14. North Haven
Xavier finishes at No. 1
Xavier edges Masuk for the top spot in the 2010 final poll.
Xavier received 14 first-place votes and a total of 700 points.
Masuk received the other 10 first-place votes and a total of 692 points.
It was the third time Xavier finished as No. 1 in the final poll. The Falcons also accomplished the feat in 2005 and 1974.