Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Solid ratings for UConn/Houston game

Just received some ratings info on the Houston game and not surprisingly, the top market for the game was Hartford/New Haven with a 3.3.

According to ESPN, the game averaged 373,000 viewers which is right on target with what 3:30 p.m. Saturday games draw on ESPNU as usually the number is somewhere between 300,000-600,000 with some give or take either way.

In case you didn't happen to check this out yesterday, I did some checking and the last time Connecticut natives had a 100-yard rushing and 100-yard receiving performance in the same game for UConn came in 1990 against Yale and Maine as Victor Taylor ran for 121 yards in each game and Alex Davis had 105 receiving yards against Yale and 121 in the Maine game. Why is this relevant? Well, Norwalk native Noel Thomas caught seven passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns while Ansonia's Arkeel Newsome ran for 114 yards in the win over Houston.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Loss of Myers a big blow for UConn; Coney impresses

It has been a relatively quiet year in the injury department for the Huskies. Obviously, offensive lineman Ryan Crozier being lost for season before camp even started was a major loss so was losing defensive end Cole Ormsby for the season. Now comes another big blow as sophomore tight end Tommy Myers suffered a season-ending ankle injury in last week's win over Houston.

UConn coach Bob Diaco confirmed during his weekly press conference that Myers would miss this week's game at Temple as well as the bowl game.

"It will require that amount of time that he won't be able to play this weekend or be ready for a bowl game but shortly after that he will be full speed. I'd be shocked if he is not fully participating in winter conditioning."

Myers importance to the offense is deeper than his 16 receptions or 232 receiving yards would indicate. Myers delivered key blocks on many of Arkeel Newsome's most explosive runs and he could be missed more as a blocker than as a receiver.

"It is going to be committee kind of how it looked (when Myers was injured in the first quarter throwing a block on a Newsome run)," Diaco said. "There is not any other way to do it right now. The F position has been a conversation all year. Tommy, bless his heart, was fantastic. In terms of jobs, that is a huge loss because of what he did. It was a shock to everybody that he would continue to be able to do this more, more and more. He did the jobs of so many people and now we are going to have all hands on deck. Select a tool when you need a tool."

On the depth chart true freshman Chris Lee was listed as a starter followed by classmate Zordan Holman. Diaco made it clear it was not simply going to be a case of plugging Lee in at Myers' position.

"He is a big skill athlete but he does a lot of power jobs, that in-line tight end looks a whole lot like a power player and it is very hard for a true freshman to be in that role as a power player," Diaco said. "We can get him involved at some moments but not all of the moments and he is still going to need a little bit of protection."

Myers' teammates will miss having him out on the field.

"He is very good at both blocking and catching passes," UConn junior receiver Noel Thomas said. "His strength is the biggest thing we are going to miss. Chris Lee is going to do a good job."

Diaco said quarterback Bryant Shirreffs, knocked out of the Houston game after a helmet to helmet hit, is day to day.

"He was feeling much better on Sunday than he was Saturday night and better on Monday than he was on Sunday," Diaco said. "He'll be out with the offense today but the amount of exertion is to be determined but I would expect him to be very minimal (in practice) today."

While Diaco wouldn't say it, my opinion is that it will be the Tim Boyle show on Saturday but time will tell.

Finally, Diaco wasn't optimistic about having receiver/punt returner Brian Lemelle on Saturday.

"I always hope to have him back because he is doing such a good job for us," Diaco said. "I think that is going to be a stretch. We are still working day to day. We would never even come close to putting somebody in harm's way for any reason at all. Although he might be cleared to do more, if he really can't function and perform at a high level to give himself great success, we would never ask him to do the jobs."

Some walk-ons can play four years without putting themselves in position to see snaps during the games. Well, former Naugatuck High receiver Bryan Coney is clearly not your average walk-on.

I've noticed that he's been getting second-team reps in practice and when Diaco mentioned the young receivers stepping up and maturing, Coney's name came up right after scholarship receivers Tyraiq Beals, Hergy Mayala, Aaron McLean and Frank Battle.

"He is a walk-on player here, he was one of the most prolific players in the state," Diaco said. "He has had a tremendous year, made an impact on the team, he is on the "look" team because he is a redshirted player. He will be a player next year who if continues to develop the way he has been developing, he will have some role for sure whether it is on the four running teams, he will play a role on the team next year. A big, tough, smart guy who loves playing football."

Thomas is also very impressed by what he has seen from Coney.

"He is always eager to learn. from when camp started until now, he has definitely gotten better and he helps the defense out a lot on the "look" team so I could definitely see him having a role," Thomas said

"No matter what he always has a smile on his face, he stays positive and encouraging and he will make plays."


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Former UConn captain goes for Grey Cup title

Alex Mateas has been on a pretty nice run since playing his final game for UConn in 2014.

The former team captain was the first overall pick in the CFL Draft by Ottawa and now the RedBlacks will be playing for the Canadian Football League title after a 35-28 win over Hamilton in the East Conference final earlier today.

The game was tied at 28 before Greg Ellingson's 93-yard touchdown reception on a 2nd and 25 play with less than two minutes remaining provided the winning points.

It's been a remarkable turnaround season for Ottawa which was 2-16 during the 2014 season but posted a 12-6 regular-season record.

Ottawa will play Edmonton in the Grey Cup final on Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.

Mateas is also drawing plenty of kudos on social media as he gave away tickets to today's playoff game to veteran Craig Searle.

Thx @AlexMateas @REDBLACKS @OSEG_Media @REDBLACKSCheer @LumberJoes awesome tix for a vet, thnx so much for kindness

UConn commit Quayvon Skanes ran for 207 yards and four touchdowns and his only pass went for a 6-yard touchdown to lead Phillips Academy High School to a 47-13 win over previously undefeated Marengo in the Illinois 4A semifinals on Saturday.

Skanes, who did not play in the second half with Phillips leading 47-7, had scoring runs of 64, 49, 24 and 22 yards as Phillips improved to 13-0. Next up is the state title game on Friday against Belleville Althoff.
Ottawa will play the Edmonton/Calgary winner in the Grey Cup final on Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.


Looking back at a magical day in UConn football history

This is just my fourth season handling the primary coverage of the UConn football team so I don't have the same historical perspective as others who cover the Huskies but I think you would be hard pressed to find a scene anywhere close to what happened as the final seconds ticked off the Rentschler Field scoreboard yesterday since the Huskies began playing their home games in East Hartford.

The players gathered at the center of field, letting all the emotions pour out. Speaking of pouring out, fans kept coming onto the field in waves joining the celebration after the 20-17 victory over No. 13 Houston. Wins have been hard to come by for the Huskies in recent years and this one had to taste extra sweet especially to the seniors.

"Just to see the UConn fans storm the field, it was a great feeling overall to beat a ranked opponent, to see the love that the fans provided for us," UConn senior safety Andrew Adams said. "They were loud throughout the whole game, in the end when we took it and they stormed the field it was an unbelievable sight, that is a sight that I will never forget.

"It kind of sunk in but once I go home, lay down  and it will really sink in. Once I wake up tomorrow, it will really hit me."

After leaving the field and addressing the team, a beaming Bob Diaco made his way into the press conference. The first thing he did was mention that this had to be a special moment with his wife among those in the room and then he was quick to note to appearance of UConn president Susan Herbst as well.

Diaco believes that the win could be "a catalyst" to what he is trying to build but he was also quick to stay in the moment and who could blame him because what a moment it was after the Huskies posted their third win over a ranked opponent since making the transition to the FBS level and became bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.

"It was so great," Diaco said. "I was a little claustrophobic. I am not a big crowd type of guy but it was good. They were trying to mess my hair up."

The natural follow-up question was whether the fans were successful in that endeavor.

"It refuses to go any other way, I just whistle and it goes right back."

If Diaco was ecstatic, imagine what AD Warde Manuel was feeling. He was the one who pulled the plug on the Paul Pasqualoni era after an embarrassing loss at Buffalo (where Manuel used to work) dropped the Huskies to 0-4 at the start of the 2013 season. A national search resulted in Manuel bringing in the highly-touted former Notre Dame defensive coordinator to turn things around.

After a 2-10 season, it was clear Diaco had plenty of work to be done. Even this year when the Huskies dropped back to back games to USF and Cincinnati to fall to 3-5, the prospects of playing in  a bowl game seemed bleak. That is what made what took place yesterday all the more special to the players, coaches and administrators.
"I am happy for this team and happy for our coaches and all of our fans," Manuel said. "Part of it is to go through the process, work through it and believing as Bob said in the process and having belief in it."

Before the game the seniors were honored as they played their final game at Rentschler Field. Team leaders like Adams, Julian Campenni, Marquise Vann, Graham Stewart, Max DeLorenzo, Kenton Adeyemi and Tyler Samra walked away with a home finale none of them will ever forget.

"They have been through so much, I don't know how many head coaches, even a stadium name change I can't explain how much they have been through," said UConn sophomore linebacker Luke Carrezola, who had two sacks. "They had done such a good job and I am happy to be a part of it."

Manuel made sure to seek out the seniors before and after the game.
"I spoke to them before the game that I was proud of them and that they have one, two or three more games depending on how they played tonight to finish this off and after the game I reiterated that, they have been through a lot of changes, to transition and lead the way the seniors have done, I can't be more happy for them."

He was also happy for Diaco.

"You believe in what people are presenting and what they are telling you and the one thing about Bob is he hasn't changed in his plan and his thoughts about how to get there," Manuel said. "He has adjusted but we all need to adjust in life. He had a plan, he had a vision of what this team could accomplish and working with him has been a pleasure and a pleasure to watch he and is coaches and the student-athletes work the way they have."

Now for some notes off the game.

This is the third time since the start of the 2009 season that UConn didn't allow a sack or commit a turnover. The other two came in a 45-10 win over Memphis in the 2013 finale and in a 29-27 win over South Florida in the 2009 regular-season finale.

With seven tackles Adams moved by three players including current Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz and into 23rd place on UConn's career tackles list. He needs eight more to become the 23rd UConn player with 250 career tackles and the eighth to do it since UConn's move to the FBS level.

Arkeel Newsome surpassed the 1,500-yard mark in all-purpose yards. The only other players to do it since UConn moved to FBS are Jordan Todman in 2009 and 2010 and Donald Brown in 2008.

Player                       Year   Rush Rec PR KO Total
Donald Brown          2008    2083 125     0    0   2208
Jordan Todman         2009  1188 185      0  506  1879
Jordan Todman         2010  1695 94        0   55  1844
Arkeel Newsome      2015   759  426      0  376  1561
Terry Caulley            2002  1247 205     0     0   1452
Cornell Brockington 2004  1218 231      0     0   1449

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Emotional sendoff for UConn's seniors

A year ago when the seniors on the UConn football walked off the field they did so after one of the more disappointing losses in program history following a defeat to a previously winless SMU squad,

It's safe to say that things have changed just a little bit in the last 12 months.

A spirited performance resulted in a 20-17 win over No. 13 and previously undefeated Houston team as the Huskies became bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.

The victory wasn't secured until sophomore cornerback Jamar Summers cradled a pass from Houston quarterback Greg Ward in the final minute, their dreams came true with a 20-17 victory over No. 13 Houston before a crowd of 26,879 at Rentschler Field on Saturday. The win enabled UConn to become bowl eligible for the first time since the 2010 season and allow the seniors to leave victorious in their home finale.

"Once I saw Jamar catch the pick, I said 'game over,'" UConn senior safety Andrew Adams said. "I saw the No. 2 receiver running down the field kind of open so I kind of leaned towards him, they threw it the other way. I look over and I see Jamar catch the ball I said 'thank you, thank you.'
"We wanted to win the game on defense, that is what we strive for, that is what we practice for. It is a challenge but we stepped to the plate."
Whether it was a game against Michigan in 2013, losses to Boise State and East Carolina a season ago or a near upset on the road against Missouri earlier this season, the Huskies simply couldn't seal the deal.
Perhaps some of those in the stands or watching at home cringed expecting the worst when Brandon Wilson's 94-yard kickoff return pulled the Cougars within three points with 9:36 to play.

Physical runs by Arkeel Newsome (114 rushing yards) and Ron Johnson allowed the Huskies to pick up a couple of first downs and take some time off the clock. But Houston, which came into the game average 511 yards and 43.5 points per game, would still get two more chance to steal away a victory to keep their dreams of an undefeated season alive.
An 18-yard pass from Ward, who came in for an injured Kyle Postma, to Demarcus Ayers had the Cougars about 30-35 yards away from being able to attempt a game-tying field goal. On the next play Ward, who is in the midst of a spectacular season but is hobbled by an ankle injury which knocked him out of last week's win over Memphis, underthrew a pass that Summer was able to pick off.
What followed was one of biggest outpouring of emotion at the end of a UConn football game.
"You immediately go to what makes a special moment, Senior Day is a special day but it is very forgettable if you don't win so to have Senior Day with their families and with that win, I know that is going to be a catalyst to so much success in the future," UConn coach Bob Diaco said.
"On just a DNA level, you get the feeling of accomplishment in that you made a great investment and with that great investment you get a a great return. You want to put more in to get more to get that feeling of return."
Diaco joked that he drew his players a sketch of the bowl game he would like to be a part in and let's just say that sun-drenched South Florida is his preferred destination.
"We can smell the salt in the air at bowl eligibility so 'Warde (Manuel, UConn's director of athletics), here we go, let's call all of your bodies and to the beach. We will pack our bathing suits and here we go."

There were so many stars in the game.

Newsome had 158 all-purpose yards as he joins Jordan Todman and Donald Brown as the only Huskies with 1,500 all-purpose yards in a season during UConn's time at the FBS level. Noel Thomas caught seven passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Tim Boyle came on in relief of an injured Bryant Shirreffs and did not turn the ball over while fellow quarterback turned fullback Garrett Anderson threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Thomas. Defensively, sophomores Luke Carrezola and Foley Fatukasi combined for three sacks. Classmates Junior Joseph and Cam Stapleton recovered fumbles while Adams had an interception. Also, punter Justin Wain had six of his nine punts inside the 20 while Bobby Puyol had a strong day on kickoffs and had a pair of field goals.

After the final whistle fans began pouring onto the field and the players welcomed the company as they jumped up and down celebrating the first win over a ranked team at home in eight years.
"We are in the history books now. Since I stepped foot on campus we haven't been to a bowl game, now we have," Adams said. "It is great to make history, see our team be happy, have fun and have success. As a leader of this team and it is a great feeling all around."
It was a costly win as Diaco believes the foot or ankle injury suffered by starting tight end Tommy Myers will end his season. Shirreffs was also knocked out of the game after taking a helmet to helmet shot from Houston linebacker Elandon Roberts, the leading tackler in the American Athletic Conference. Roberts was ejected for the hit which was ruled as targeting. Diaco believes Shirreffs will be OK.

UConn ready to rise to the occasion?

UConn's poor track record against ranked teams has been well documented. However, recent history has also shown that the Huskies do have an ability to play up to the level of competition.

Andrew Adams, Junior Lee, Max DeLorenzo, Marquise Vann, Tyler Samra and Julian Campenni all saw time when UConn went on the road to face No. 21 Rutgers and only trailed 6-3 at halftime. Despite holding the Scarlet Knights to 280 yards of offense, the Huskies lost 19-3 as their offense turned the ball over five times.

About a month and a half later the Huskies traveled to play No. 19 Louisville and came away with an improbable 23-20 overtime victory. Campenni had a sack in the game, Lee had a couple of tackles and DeLorenzo carried the ball twice.

The following year mighty Michigan came to Rentschler Field and considering that the Huskies opened the season with a 15-point home loss to FCS Towson, not much was expected. The Huskies led 21-7 in the second half and held a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter before suffering a 24-21 defeat.

In UConn's lone game against a ranked opponent last season came on the road against No. 18 East Carolina. The game was tied midway through the fourth quarter but the Pirates scored on its final two possessions to record a 31-21 victory. Earlier in the season the Huskies also threw a scare in a very good Boise State squad as the Huskies only trailed 24-21 entering the fourth quarter. However, as was the case in the Rutgers, Michigan and East Carolina games, ineffective offense finally caught up to the Huskies in the fourth quarter as a defensive touchdown and another TD set up by an interception enabled Boise to win the contest 38-21.

Now comes the biggest test of all when undefeated and No. 13 Houston comes to town.

"This group loves to play football, we love challenges and everybody competes so I think we play up to our competition and we are going to prove we can play against anybody in the country," UConn senior safety Andrew Adams said.

The game will be the final home contest for UConn's seniors. There are 13 seniors on the UConn roster but fullback Jazzmar Clax and receiver Tony Tully (listed as juniors on the roster) are included on the cover of the game program as the seniors on the team.

The live blog for the UConn/Houston game is now up and running. Feel free to check it out

Friday, November 20, 2015

Plenty on the line in UConn's home finale

Julian Campenni set to make his 36th career start and final one at home
The last couple of seasons the final home game gave the underclassmen a chance to try to send the seniors out the right way but there wasn't much else on the line.

Both in 2013 and 2014 the Huskies entered the home finale (which doubled as a season finale) with a 2-9 record. In 2013 the Huskies destroyed Memphis before falling to previously winless SMU in the final game of 2014. Other than those wishing to pile on after last year's loss, neither game created much of a stir nationally. That will not be the case tomorrow with an undefeated Houston team which is ranked 13th and has a chance to play in a New Year's Day bowl game coming to town.

For the 13 seniors, there has to be plenty of emotions circling around them this week but they are doing their best to focusing on toppling the Cougars and making them bowl eligible.

"There is a lot of hype to this game but we are not going to let the game be bigger than it really is," Adams said. "I just keep my eye on the ball, just stay focused, stay grounded and basically just stay focused on doing my job, all this stuff is great but I am just focused on playing well."

Julian Campenni, set to make his team-best 36th career start, is taking a similar approach to his final game at Rentschler Field.

"All the other stuff is great but it comes down to we have four quarters to go out there and play the 13th-ranked team in the country so that is what I am excited about and that is what I am really looking forward to," Campenni said.

"It is really exciting. It is an accumulation of five years of work so to have an opportunity to play a great team this week on senior day, I guess you could say that it is a storybook ending.

"It is what you come to a school like this to do, you want to play great teams and you want to play them at home so any chance we get to play at The Rent against a great team it just adds extra excitement."

It won't just be the seniors who are excited, not with a chance to attain bowl eligibility and send out the seniors with a program-defining victory.

"They are doing a great job leading the team, it is not only the captains but everybody who is in that position to be a leader," UConn junior receiver Noel Thomas said. "I think they are great guys and it is important to send them off in the right way.

"We take pride in them and we play hard for these guys and we expect the same from them."

While the focus naturally is on what the Huskies are trying to accomplish tomorrow, I figured I would pass on links to a couple of stories of interest on UConn commits Ryan Gilmartin and one on Quayvon Skanes as well.

Also, UConn commit Jay Rose's Southington team faces Cheshire on Thanksgiving. It is one of the games CPTV Sports is considering televising although currently that game is in second place behind Shelton/Derby with today the last day to vote.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lee hoping for special home finale at UConn

Other than two-time captain Marquise Vann there might not be a more vocal member of UConn's senior class than reserve safety and special-teams dynamo Junior Lee.

So with the Huskies preparing for Saturday's huge showdown with undefeated Houston in a game that doubles as the final home game for the seniors, I felt it was a perfect time to catch up with Lee at practice a couple days ago and I don't regret that decision one bit as he set the scene better than I ever could have.

"You can't ask for anything better, since we have been here for five years we want to end it off great with a win against a top 15 team and also go to a bowl game so that is what we have been thinking of," Lee said.

"We are going to take it all in, Husky Walk, walking into the locker room, touching that Husky head, remembering what it is like as freshmen coming in, We will be remembering this moment that we are going to have leaving. It is going to be most memorable ever coming in against a top 15 team in the nation, that is something you want to end your senior season with, something you want to come up with a win and go to a bowl game. It is definitely something we are looking at."

Lee opened some eyes as a special teams performer in his first two seasons but the arrival of head coach Bob Diaco and defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter has paved the way for Lee to make an impact on defense as well. Poindexter's defense utilizes the backups on a regular basis so while Lee hasn't seen as many snaps as starting safeties Andrew Adams and Obi Melifonwu, he is certainly out there quite a bit on a week to week basis. Lee had a career-high 22 tackles last season and is at 17 stops this year.

"I feel great about the role, they ask us to do a while bunch of things, they put me in a position where I can succeed at whatever they ask me to do," Lee said. "I feel a lot more (comfortable) within the defense, some of the things I do I feel like I am very much capable of doing them. I have become a lot smarter watching film, reading concepts and things like that so they put me in a position where I learned more and got a better experience out of it.

"Special teams is something people always overlook, I went out there made plays left and right and coaches starting noticing that we need to put him in more so that really raised my participation up."

Lee is a leader on the kickoff and punt coverage teams

Houston ranks in the top 30 in both kickoff and punt returns with a touchdown on both a kickoff and punt return so UConn's coverage units that rank 30th on kickoff returns and ninth on punt returns will be tested.

"We are very aggressive on the coverage teams,  we have been able to run down there, hit people back and make a lot of tackles on the 20 yard line, 10 year line on kickoffs," Lee said. "On punt coverage nobody has been able to get punt returns on us and that is something we have been grateful for as well. Houston, they have been getting a lot of returns and they have great returners back there so we are going to have to continue to do that to stop that (against) Houston."

Lee and Brice McAllister are among the most consistent playmakers on special teams and Lee said there is nothing quite like the feeling that comes with a huge hit while covering a kickoff or punt return.

"You have a home game on opening kickoff, you go out there lay this dude out, helmet going off, that rolls everything into play even the offense, the quarterback feels, everybody gets the electricity out on the first hit," Lee said. "You go out on the opening kickoff and you want to make a statement, that is how you make a statement."

Lee was one of 16 players to sign with the Huskies back in February of 2011, seven have moved on while Deshon Foxx played as a true freshman and his four-year run ended a season ago leaving just eight of the 2011 signees with the program.

"This is where you distribute the boys from men," Lee said, "You get a whole bunch of guys here especially my freshman year when I was recruited by Edsall and it came to a point where we were going through a period where we were running through coaches You find out the boys from men, who quit on us and who is staying there fight through the storm, staying with the team. I was one of those guys as well as the seniors who are here with me now, they are very proud of being UConn Huskies and staying UConn Huskies through the mud and through everything we have been through.

"We have always been close. Me and Julian (Campenni, UConn's senior defensive lineman and team captain) have been roommates since freshman year, we have stayed roommates, always hung out with each other wherever we have went and that is how all of our senior class has been. We have always been close together, we always looked at each other as brothers, when we first came in we saw each other as teammates now we see each others as brothers and family that we will always remember and keep in contact with each other."

When adding in Graham Stewart, who played at Florida as a freshman, Tyler Samra (who played as a true freshman in 2012) and three either walk-ons or former walk-ons, there will be 13 seniors suiting up for the final time on Saturday.

UConn is being creative in an attempt to pack Rentschler Field for Saturday's game (3:30 p.m., ESPNU) including offering $15 tickets to people with ticket stubs from Saturday's men's basketball game against Furman. When I asked on Tuesday, the ticket sale number was in the 23,000-24,000 range.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Plenty of UConn commits in playoff action this weekend

Just in the case the prospects of what I would consider one of the most anticipate UConn games in recent memory coming up on Saturday isn't enough to get people fired up, future Huskies will be on the display in their championship quests.

Let's start with the two playing in NEPSAC bowl games.

Tahj Herring's Suffield Academy squad plays at Lawrence Academy in the Wayne Sanborn Super Bowl for the NEPSAC title on Saturday at 1 p.m. It will be the eighth straight year Suffield Academy is playing in the NEPSAC championship game as the Tigers are going for their seventh times over the past eight seasons. Herring has 28 tackles, two interceptions while adding 108 yards on eight carries and 75 yards on five receptions. In last week's win over Loomis Chaffee Herring ran three times for 67 yards.

Nino Leone's Pingree School team, which has averaged 45.8 points in a recent six-game winning streak, will play St. George's School in the Kevin Fleming Bowl in Middletown, R.I.  on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Three other commits will be playing in state playoff games.

Eddie Hahn's Red Bank Catholic team will be meeting No. 1 seed St. John-Vianney in the semifinals of the New Jersey Non-Public Group 3 playoffs on Friday at 7 p.m.

Quayvon Skanes' undefeated Phillips Academy High School will meet undefeated Marengo in the Illinois 4A semifinals on Saturday at 4 p.m. (5 p.m. here in Connecticut).

Donovan Williams' Hylton High team will play Dale in the second round of the Virginia Group 6 playoffs on Friday at 7:30 p.m.