High-SchoolConnecticut: Anthony Morales

Football picks: State semifinals

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
12:16
PM ET
State football playoffs
Semifinal picks

Class LL

Xavier (11-0) vs. Norwalk (9-1)
Saturday, 2 p.m., at West Haven
If Norwalk scores two touchdowns, I would be a bit surprised. That's how well Xavier's defense is playing right now.
XAVIER 32, NORWALK 10

Staples (10-0) vs. Newtown (9-2)
Saturday, 2 p.m., at Bunnell
I feel an upset here. Newtown has proven it can score big points against good teams, and bruising senior running back Louis Fenaroli can control a game.
NEWTOWN 21, STAPLES 20

Class L

Masuk (11-0) vs. Daniel Hand (11-0)
Saturday, 7 p.m., at West Haven
Masuk has so many offensive weapons that the Panthers' defense tends to get overlooked. But the D can play, and I think they'll come up big in this game.
MASUK 28, DANIEL HAND 14

Windsor (11-0) vs. New Canaan (10-1)
Saturday, 2 p.m., at East Haven
New Canaan's only loss this season came to Stamford, when senior quarterback Matt Milano was knocked out of the game early. Milano's back at 100 percent now, and the offense has averaged 39.3 points in the last three contests. I think New Canaan wins a shootout to set up a rematch of last year's Class L title game.
NEW CANAAN 34, WINDSOR 30

Class M

Ansonia (11-0) vs. Berlin (10-1)
Saturday, 2 pm. at Sheehan
Berlin will need a huge game from senior running back Tom Undercuffler to hang in this one, and even that might not be enough. Ansonia's running game is absolutely rolling right now.
ANSONIA 40, BERLIN 24

Ledyard (10-1) vs. Wolcott (8-3)
Saturday, 2 p.m., at Middletown
Wolcott junior quarterback Mike Nicol is one of the most dangerous dual threats left in the tournament (1,652 pass yards, 17 TDs; 911 rush yards, 14 TDs), but I think Ledyard can contain him. Look for Ledyard senior RB Alex Manwaring to out-produce Nicol and help the Colonels control the clock.
LEDYARD 20, WOLCOTT 10

Class S

Northwest Catholic (9-2) vs. Cromwell (9-2)
Saturday, 2 p.m., at Cheshire
After knocking off top-seeded Capital Prep on Tuesday, Cromwell is rolling. The trio of senior QB Anthony Morales, junior RB Derrick Villard and senior WR Michael Antonio will be too much for Northwest Catholic.
CROMWELL 32, NORTHWEST CATHOLIC 21

Holy Cross (10-1) vs. Valley Regional (10-1)
Saturday, 2 p.m., at Meriden
The Crusaders will need a huge game from senior linebacker Anthony Jamele (6.5 sacks this season) in order to advance.
HOLY CROSS 14, VALLEY REGIONAL 7

Think I made a bad call? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and let me know what I got wrong.
With just two weeks left in the regular season, football awards are starting to come into focus. The Gatorade State Player of the Year award is the most prestigious, as Masuk quarterback Casey Cochran can tell you — he won it last year as a junior. Eric Snyder is part of the ESPNHS team that researches and analyzes potential Gatorade POY candidates, and he's on the record naming Cochran and Cromwell senior quarterback Anthony Morales as the frontrunners right now.

Cochran is having another unbelievable season, with 2,123 passing yards and 29 touchdowns (against just three interceptions). The UConn recruit is also leading the No. 1 team in the state.

Morales is right up there with Cochran in terms of stats — he's passed for 2,376 yards and 30 TDs (four INTs).

Both guys have good cases, but in my opinion it's going to be hard to unseat Cochran. Not only is he the defending POY, but he became the state's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns this season. That kind of stuff can end up being a tiebreaker if the race is close at the end of the year.

To read the full breakdown, which includes other top Gatorade POY candidates, click here.

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