The CIAC released this yearâ€™s fall schedules, which of course are currently tentative depending on the status of coronavirus cases in Connecticut. But for now, the fall season is scheduled to move forward normally, with high-risk sports like football being cleared for competition at the end of August, as long as the reopening of the state moves on as planned.
If the season starts on time, here are some matchups to keep an eye on across all fall sports:
On the gridiron, there will be a new era in the Hardware City, as Isaiah Boddie will be taking over as New Britainâ€™s football coach, replacing local legend Tebucky Jones, who retired at the end of last season. The first chapter of the Boddie era will begin when the Hurricanes open their season against South Windsor on Sept 12, a Saturday morning contest on the road.
Berlin, coming off another state tournament appearance but now back in Class M, will host local rival Plainville on Oct 2, a rematch of a thrilling game last year that was won by the Redcoats in the final minutes. The Blue Devils will be coming off one of their best seasons in history, having reached the state tournament semifinals.
Southington also reached the semifinals, and had a thrilling 28-21 win over Hall last year. Those two teams will go at it again on Oct 2, and this time the Blue Knights will have home field.
Over in Bristol, another new era will be underway at St. Paul, where Chris Kennedy took over for Jude Kelly as head coach. Kennedyâ€™s tenure will begin on Sept 12 against Kennedy, which the Falcons beat in their most exciting win of the season, an 18-13 victory on the road.
Bristol Central nearly secured an upset over Newington last season, losing 21-16 at home, and will have another chance on Nov. 6. The Indians, now a part of Class LL, opens the season against Windsor on Sept 11, which Newington beat in a statement 30-22 victory to open last season.
In girls soccer, Southington didnâ€™t lose a game, let alone even trail in a game, until its 1-0 loss to Glastonbury in the Class LL state championship game last season. The Blue Knights return a load of talent this coming fall, and will have a chance for revenge against the Tomahawks on Oct 16 at Glastonbury.
Berlin was forced to forfeit its state tournament win over Joel Barlow last season due to an ineligible player, and will be looking to get back to the postseason in 2020. One of the highlights of the Redcoatsâ€™ schedule comes in the form of a local bout with Bristol Eastern on Oct 16, a team Berlin beat 2-1 in overtime on the road in one of its most thrilling victories of the season.
Over in Newington, the Indians will be looking to make a state tournament run of their own behind All-New England senior Olivia Mullings, but before the tournament, Newington will have two matches with Wethersfield and Cameryn Murphy, a junior who is the daughter of Indians head coach Adam Wilkinson. Those two matchups will take place Oct 6 and Nov 2, the latter being the regular season finale. The two teams split their two matchups last year.
On the boys side, Plainville has its usual stacked schedule of quality opponents, including a date with Glastonbury, the top seed in last yearâ€™s Class LL state tournament, on Oct 9, and a bout with Farmington, which reached the Class LL semifinals last year, on Sept 11, the first game of the season. The Blue Devils will be looking to win their second state championship in three years.
Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central battled through two classics last season, the results being a 1-1 draw and a 3-2 overtime win for the Lancers. The two teams will match up this season on Oct 6 and Nov 2.
In girls volleyball, Bristol Eastern will likely be one of the top teams in the area once again, and rolled to an undefeated regular season last year. One of the Lancersâ€™ toughest tests last season was RHAM, which was ranked near the top of the state with Eastern, though the Lancers took the 3-2 win when the two teams met. They will meet again this season on Oct 21, and will be on the road against Bristol Central on oct 5, where the rival clashed in an epic five-set thriller that the Lancers eventually claimed.
Goodwin Tech won its conference championship last season in a thriller over Prince Tech, and those two teams will face off to begin the season on Sept 16. There will also be a city battle when the Gladiators travel to face Innovation on Oct 6.
In field hockey, there will be a local battle between Southington and Newington on Oct 20, which the Blue Knights won 3-0 last season on the road.