CHESHIRE — He'd given his speech, hugged his seniors and said his goodbyes to parents and fans following a disappointing 21-14 loss to Southinton in the Apple Valley Classic, but Cheshire coach Don Drust couldn't head to his Thanksgiving Day dinner just yet.
He still needed to know if his Rams would get to continue their season in the Class L playoffs. A win over Southington would have won the job, but now Cheshire's destinty depended on results 50 miles and a county away and, worse, on games that were at least a half-hour behind Cheshire's 10 a.m. start.
So, the wait began and Drust paced around the field. When he wasn't huddled up with several of his coaches, he was parked next to a reporter scrolling through social media, checking scoring updates and adding up potential playoff points.
"I'm going to have a heart attack," Drust said aloud. "I'm not going to get any sleep tonight. ...I need to know for sure. There are a lot of heartbroken kids in our locker room and this would give them a boost."
Darien had already lost to New Canaan, 13-10. Then came more good news, Harding, a fellow SCC school, had defeated Bridgeport Central. It was close, but after some triple and quadruple checking, the reporter told Drust he felt safe saying Darien couldn't outpoint the Rams. Another assistant said St. Joseph had beaten Trumbull, "If we get in, it looks like we'd be going to St. Joe's," he said.