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Norwalk Packers Football Teams Begin Playoffs

Note: This story has been updated due to a schedule change due to Saturday's expected storm:

NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Packers football teams begin playoff action this weekend, with four teams playing home games Sunday at Norwalk High School.

The games are the semifinals of the Colonial League playoffs. The winners of Sunday’s games move on to the league finals next weekend. The league winners advance to the state championship, with the New England semifinals and finals scheduled for late November. The New England winner goes to the American Youth Football championships in Florida in December.

In games Sunday at Norwalk High, the sixth-grade Green team meets Newtown at 2 p.m. The eighth-grade green team meets Shelton at at 6 p.m., and the fourth-grade Green team meets Monroe at 4 p.m.

Also Sunday, the sixth-grade Gold plays at Monroe at 10 a.m., and the fifth-grade Green meets Monroe at noon. The seventh-grade Gold travels to play at Newtown at noon.

Two Packers teams finished in first place in their division during the regular season. The fourth-grade Green team, coached by Mike DiIorio, posted a record of 7-1. The eighth-grade Green team, coached by John Woodring, went 7-0-1.

The fourth-graders fell to Newtown, 7-6, in the first week of the season. The team beat Newtown later in the season, 14-7, and outscored opponents, 178-55. Its trademark is defense, with two shutouts and six games where it allowed opponents nine points or less. The Packers have beaten Monroe, Sunday's opponent, 31-0 and 25-12, already this season.

“I’m very surprised at how much we’ve improved from last year,’’ DiIorio said. “We were pretty good last year, but some of the teams we struggled to beat, we handled them pretty well. “

DiIorio said the commitment of the players — and their parents — has made the season special. “I have 38 kids on the team. We’ve never had a practice where we haven’t had at least 31 or 32 kids there,’’ DiIorio said. “They’ve been very supportive.”

Though defense has been the name of the game for DiIorio, Woodring’s eighth-graders have been virtually unstoppable. They have outscored rivals, 256-76. It meets a Shelton team Sunday that it pounded last week, 47-13.

The eighth-graders tied Newtown, 14-14, on Oct. 1. The team also had a close 16-14 win over Newtown on Aug. 28. The average margin of victory in its other six games was 29.67.

"I think this team is very capable of competing with any team in the state of Connecticut or in New England,'' Woodring said. "We’ve got speed, we’ve got size, we’ve got depth, a lot of good things that you need to go far."

Complete schedule information is available on the team’s website .

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