By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington football has a game to circle early on its 2019 schedule, and it’s not a Central Connecticut Conference foe that the Blue Knights will be playing.
The CCC is joining the Connecticut High School Football Alliance for two years. For Southington, it means a game at perennial state power Darien during the second week of the 2019 season. It will be the first meeting between the teams since the 2016 postseason.
The Blue Wave won that Class LL state semifinal game, 39-7, at Boyle Stadium in Stamford on Dec. 5. Southington and Darien will play on Sept. 20 of the 2019 season.
“A tremendous matchup, two really good programs coming together early in the season,” Blue Knight athletic director Greg Ferry said of the Week 2 matchup.
The Connecticut High School Football Alliance is made up of the CCC, Eastern Connecticut Conference, Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, Southern Connecticut Conference, and South-West Conference. Ferry said the alliance is a great way for the conferences to branch out and play games against opponents that they wouldn’t normally see.
“We were fortunate enough to draw Darien,” Ferry said. “We’re really looking forward to the challenge of going down there, and hopefully having more success than we had in our two previous visits. Either way, it will be a good platform for us to show what Southington football is all about.”
Teams were matched up based on school size, roster size and their record over the past five seasons. Ferry said roster size was especially important. Just because a team is in Class LL doesn’t mean it has a large roster or the recent success of other Class LL programs, Ferry said.
“Let’s get some equitable matchups and let’s see how everyone does,” Ferry said. “I think it will be unique and I’m really interested to see how it pans out, not just this year but in the future.”
Ferry said that as nice as it is to play league rivals, the alliance gives an opportunity to play a team from another conference and see where your team stands. Players get a chance to face a team that they wouldn’t otherwise see. It helped that some athletic directors, like Ferry, have a background in football.
“There was no conference that was looking to get over on another,” Ferry said. “It was really done for the best interests for the student-athletes, which is really the way we should make all of our decisions.”
Ferry said there might even be an opportunity to expand from one game to two games in the future.
“I think that’s something that would be great, for our program especially,” Ferry said.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com