The Day – Plainfield out, Weaver in upcoming ECC football season

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The Eastern Connecticut Conference lost one football school next season but won another.

Plainfield officially asked not to participate in a conference football program in 2022 at the league’s athletic directors meeting on Wednesday.

Weaver will take the place of the Panthers. The Hartford school resumed its program last season after an eight-year hiatus and played a junior college program. He will play a varsity calendar and is coached by Jude Kelly, who led St. Paul and Southington to the CIAC State Championships.

“Plainfield will not be a member of the ECC next year in football,” said Ledyard athletic director Jim Buonocore, who is the chairman of ECC football. “They decided to become independent.… (Weaver) was unanimously elected by the athletic directors as the ECC monosport member for football.”

Buonocore said Plainfield athletic director Jan Voland had not given the reasons for the school’s decision to retire from football only. A message left in Voland was not returned on Wednesday evening.

Plainfield is the second ECC program to become independent in recent seasons. Woodstock Academy struggled early in this decade, pulled out of the league schedule in 2016, and only played at small schools, tech programs, and out-of-state teams.

Woodstock returned to playing an ECC program in 2019. He won the Division II league title this season, the program’s first title of any kind.

Buonocore said Plainfield’s decision leaves him with just one game against an ECC opponent – Griswold / Wheeler at Thanksgiving. The Panthers’ choice to go independent leaves them with limited options in the state, with so many leagues filling their respective schedules with Connecticut High School Football Alliance interleague games.

Buonocore said Weaver’s athletic director Sterling Scanlon had contacted him earlier this fall to inquire about the possibility of joining the ECC for football only. Buonocore told him at the time that this was not possible because the league had an even number of teams (14).

The Castors will take the place of the Panthers in Division III.

“After realizing Plainfield’s desire to become independent over the past week or so, I contacted Sterling and we moved pretty quickly,” said Buonocore. “The upside (for the league) is that Weaver is a growing school. It’s a whole new building. They have brand new facilities. If they ever get back to that level, we’ve all known that from the end of the years. 90s, early 2000s, they can become a valuable member of our league in the sport of football as we need more Division I and II type schools. We know they are not there yet. . “

ECC will continue to have a 4-5-5 divisional roster in football:

First division: East Lyme, Fitch, Norwich Free Academy, Woodstock Academy.

Section II: Bacon Academy, Ledyard, New London, Waterford, Windham.

Section III: Griswold / Wheeler, Killingly, Montville, Stonington, Weaver.

New London and Woodstock have swapped places.

Teams from Divisions I and III will play a crossover match.

There will be two crossover matches between Divisions I and II teams and Divisions II and III teams.

The Alliance will help the ECC to fill its schedules. The Alliance was formed in 2017 to help the Southern Connecticut Conference, South-West Conference, and ECC plan. The three leagues have schools of different sizes, and each had programs that didn’t want to play the bigger and / or the most successful programs. The Fairfield County Interschool Athletic Conference later came on board.

Everyone in the ECC will play at least one Alliance match next season. Norwich Free Academy, which has the eighth highest enrollment of boys among CIAC member schools (982), will play four. Fitch will play three.

CSC commissioner Al Carbone, who along with Buonocore helps coordinate games within the Alliance, said the entire Central Connecticut Conference, a few teams from the Pequot Football Conference and five teams from Connecticut Technical Conference would play Alliance matches next season.

Buonocore said the Quinebaug Valley and Thames River co-ops have requested two Alliance games.

“There are a few schools in our conference where these games against (Quinebaug and Thames) make a lot of sense,” said Buonocore. “They make a lot of sense geographically and competitively. I can’t guarantee that will happen. We have a full complement of Alliance members.”

The Naugatuck Valley League is the only state conference not to participate in the Alliance next season, although there have been discussions between the two sides.

“NVL is probably a year away,” Carbone said. “They were worried about what was going to happen with Derby (who have lost their last five games due to low numbers this season) and they also asked someone else to apply for NVL (Gilbert).”

n.griffen@theday.com

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