Putting the playoff picture into focus

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Nate Franklin and the Greyhounds can secure a spot in the Class L playoffs with a win over rival Ansonia on Thanksgiving morning. Naugatuck can still get in with a loss, but will need help from other teams to reach the playoffs. –RA ARCHIVE
Nate Franklin and the Greyhounds can secure a spot in the Class L playoffs with a win over rival Ansonia on Thanksgiving morning. Naugatuck can still get in with a loss, but will need help from other teams to reach the playoffs. –RA ARCHIVE

For just the second time ever, we may end up with both local high schools in the state football playoffs.

We should know by early afternoon Thursday, when the eight-team fields in all four divisions will be settled after the completion of the Thanksgiving games (unless poor weather forces some games to Friday).

Woodland (9-2) has already clinched its spot in the Class S playoffs, and Naugatuck (9-1) can assure its presence in the Class L postseason on Thanksgiving. Here are the situations for both teams entering their final games:

Woodland thinking about home: The Hawks will make their sixth postseason appearance in the last 10 years after sewing up their Class S berth with a victory over Derby two weeks ago.

They currently occupy the No. 4 spot in the standings, and the top four teams host quarterfinals Dec. 3.

Woodland can clinch a home playoff game for the first time since 2004 by beating Seymour (6-4) on Thanksgiving eve. The Hawks have won four in a row against the Wildcats, but Seymour enters with its best team since 2008 — the last time the ‘Cats beat Woodland.

Should the Hawks pull out a win at DeBarber Field, they will likely finish with the No. 4 seed and will probably host Morgan of Clinton in the quarterfinals. A loss by Woodland would drop the Hawks to the No. 6 seed and force them to the road in the quarters, likely against Rocky Hill.

Woodland reached the Class S semifinals last year and won Class SS titles in 2004 and 2005.

Naugy just needs to win: It sounds simple for the Greyhounds, but the task is much easier said than done.

Naugatuck can clinch a Class L playoff spot for the first time since 2010 by beating Ansonia (11-0) on Thanksgiving morning. Not only would the Greyhounds sew up a postseason appearance with a victory, but they would also likely host a quarterfinal Dec. 3.

The ‘Hounds will be in trouble if they lose to the Chargers for the third straight year and will need help to squeak in at the bottom of the eight-team field. They would need to beat out two of five remaining contenders by some combination of those teams losing or getting help from bonus points that help determine the standings.

A combination of two losses by New London (to Norwich Free Academy), Farmington (to Plainville), Bristol Eastern (to Bristol Central), Daniel Hand (to Guilford) and North Haven (to Amity) would lock up Naugy’s berth.

The most likely of the above five teams to lose is New London, which would leave Naugatuck to need to out-point one of the remaining four squads if all four win their holiday games. In that case, the Greyhounds’ fate could come down to something like Torrington beating Watertown or Middletown beating Windsor.

Naugy’s scenarios to clinch a berth without a win are complicated, but they are all listed on the Republican-American’s Red Zone blog (www.rep-am.com/redzone) for those interested in tracking the Greyhounds’ progress.

Holiday broadcasts: Both the Woodland-Seymour and the Naugatuck-Ansonia games will be broadcast on the air and online thanks to 1320 WATR.

Kyle Brennan and Steve Gesseck will be on the calls of both games with Bob Sagendorf serving as producer. Former Naugatuck coach Charlie Bertero will join the crew as an analyst for the Greyhounds’ game.

The Woodland-Seymour broadcast will go live at 5:50 p.m. on Wednesday, and the Naugatuck-Ansonia broadcast will go live at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday. The broadcasts can be heard over the air on 1320 AM, online at www.watr.com, or on a mobile device by searching for WATR on the TuneIn Radio app.