We have real life, games-that-count football this weekend. Finally.
Based on the reactions of coaches the past 10 days, FCIAC officials are going to have one hell of a time getting them to agree to continuing the league championship game next year. Everyone is tired of sitting around and practices have become laborious. By late Friday night, everyone but poor St. Joseph will be able to make evaluations and have a better read if performances match hopes. And given the level of uncertainty with a number of teams, there is an interesting slate of games.
Game Of The Week
Greenwich (0-0) at Trinity Catholic (0-0), Friday, 4 p.m. After all the hype, the John Marinelli era at Greenwich begins for good. On paper, the paring of Marinelli’s schemes with a rabid football town seems ideal (unless Marinelli fails to achieve the annual sky-high expectations). There is uncertainty at quarterback and with the passing game, but the former New Canaan offensive coordinator has benefited from extra preseason time. The Cardinals will be tested in their opener. The Crusaders don’t have a lot of depth but the quality of the starting lineup gives them realistic postseason hopes. With Anthony Lombardi at quarterback, could Trinity end the game with more passing yards? One sidenote: Rich Albonizio, whose forced resignation opened the door for Marinelli, will be at the game — as a Trinity assistant. This should be fun.
Darien (0-0) at Stamford (0-0), 6:30 p.m. The Blue Wave, the defending conference champion, comes back loaded and as a co-favorite with New Canaan. Does Darien have any liabilities? This is a tough matchup for a rebuilding Stamford team hit hard by graduation and then transfer losses.
New Canaan (0-0) at Ridgefield (0-0), 7 p.m. It has been a while since these schools met. The Rams are firmly focused on repeating as state champions and regaining the FCIAC title they lost in overtime. This is a tough opener for the Tigers, who were 2-9 a year ago and ready to make the climb back up the standings. A difficult way to start.
Trumbull (0-0) at Fairfield Ludlowe (0-0), 7 p.m. Two teams with a lot of new faces that received little attention in the preseason. These are the type of games each will need to win to reach their goals.
Danbury (0-0) at Staples (0-0), 7 p.m. The Wreckers were stunned up in Danbury last season and have had this game circled on the calendar. The belief here is Staples is going to be a lot better than people think. Whether that means battling Darien for the division title remains to be seen. The Hatters lost a lot, return a lot and are hoping they can use the long ball for a big win on the road.
Norwalk (0-0) at Fairfield Warde (0-0), 7 p.m. If you are looking for that unexpected team that ends up being a surprise and finishing at the top of the second tier, the Bears are a leading candidate to fill that role. Warde coach Duncan DellaVolpe opted for the first time not to play spring football to gain an extra week of practice this summer, before knowing about the opening-week bye, because he has so many inexperienced players. He will find out how much the additional time has helped.
Brien McMahon (0-0) at Wilton (0-0), 7 p.m. The Senators were hit hard by graduation losses, the Warriors are going to be overly reliant on underclassmen with few seniors on the roster. A reasonable measuring stick for both teams.
Bridgeport Central (0-1) at Bassick (0-1), 7 p.m. The Hilltoppers decided to forego the chance to play in the FCIAC championship for a 10-game schedule to continue playing departed league rivals Bassick and Harding. Central looks to rebound from a poor showing against Westhill.