Gridiron preview for Sept. 19

BRISTOL – Week 1 of the scholastic football season didn’t exactly go according to plan for the locals.
But both Bristol Eastern and St. Paul showed some real gumption in their two losses by a combined 14 points.
The Lancers held Berlin to just seven points but was shutout while the Falcons engaged in a wild and wooly affair against Derby, dropping a tough 46-39 contest.
Now with Bristol Central entering the mix in Week 2, what should we expect from the three Bristol squads?
Eastern could bounce back nicely against Hartford Public while St. Paul will take its frustrations out at Seymour.
And then the Rams get their shot – their debut contest – against Windsor in what will be an epic challenge.
Who will win this weekend?
Here’s a quick glimpse at this week’s action:

Bristol Central (0-0) at E.O. Smith (1-0); CCC Interdivisional action
Location: at E.O. Smith High School
Day and Time: Friday, 6:00 p.m.
Last Season: The Rams sank E.O. Smith 35-7 from Muzzy Field back on Sept. 20, 2013.
Last Week: Smith blanked Rockville 17-0 while the Rams did not play last weekend.
All-Time Series: This is the 6th all-time showdown between the schools as Central holds an impressive 5-0 edge in the series.
Casual facts…Central has worked hard in the off and preseason and now, it’s a chance for the Rams to put the entire package together…Central’s strength should be in its defense and this test, which will see Smith run the ball more that a little bit, could be beneficial in the long run as Windsor and RHAM will also use a ground assault against the Rams over the next couple of weeks…Smith’s Josh Benoit ran for nearly 120 yards on two dozen carries against hapless Rockville so take that as you will…Smith’s secondary made the Indians pay and Central must take precautions against that…E.O. nabbed three Rockville passes against the Indians and that’s something to make a note of…Brandon Desautels is a talented kicker – nailing a 43 yard field goal against Rockville – while also running in a touchdown of his own…Last season, Smith even gave Bristol Eastern a little heartburn but the Lancers eventually shook the squad before pounding it down…Defense is the key here and if Central can bring that factor to the game, Smith will face some stiff competition…This is a game for the taking by the Rams.
And the winner is…Central opens the year with a big 28-14 win.

Bristol Eastern (0-1) vs. Hartford Public (1-0); CCC Division II-West vs. CCC Division II East action
Location: from the campus of Bristol Eastern High School (first year of regular season games from Eastern)
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season: Back on Saturday, Sept. 21, Eastern defeated Public 17-7 in a CCC Interdivisional contest from Hartford.
Last Week: Hartford Public defeated South Windsor 28-27 while the Lancers fell to Berlin by a 7-0 final.
All-Time Series: Public trails in the all-time series to Eastern 2-0.
Casual facts…Public is going to dealing with an angry Eastern squad who will be ready and willing to get back to the pay window in the Lancers debut game from home, under the lights…In their contest against Berlin, the Redcoats packed the middle and forced the Lancers to throw the ball…While the 1-for-11 completion rate by quarterback Tommy Curtin was exactly what Berlin wanted, it was just Week 1 and Curtin will certainly see better days as the season progresses…Eastern running back Gerry Ouellette zipped up 60 yards off 17 carries. And some of those were some tough runs so give the senior a little credit…Defensively, while Eastern missed a few quick tackles that would have really put the Redcoats’ offense on ice, the Lancers still made significant stops as multiple sacks by Cyrus Tyler did the trick…And Berlin was a big squad and allowing the Redcoats just those seven points was impressive indeed…Ouellette, “Big” Pete Roche, Joe Hermann, Tyler, Ronte Cooper and Steve Goodrich all made huge stops defensively to keep Berlin at bay…In all fairness, one minute of slippage by the Eastern defense – to end the second period – was the only real mistake the squad made on the evening…Public has some weapons but those aren’t anything the Lancers can’t overcome…And the 28-27 win over South Windsor is suspect at best – with all due respect to the Owls as a huge fumble recovery in the fourth period did-in South Windsor…Khalil Patterson rush for two TDs (54 and 4 yards) against the Bobcats and is one of the backs that must be contained…But if Eastern can bring the defense back to the fold like it did against Berlin, Public might be in for a long evening.
And the winner is…Eastern begins their home portion of the campaign with a 28-13 victory over Hartford Public.
St. Paul (0-1) at Seymour (1-0) in a Naugatuck Valley League Cooper Division showdown
Location: from the main field at Seymour High School
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season: St. Paul and Seymour did not play each other. In fact, this is the first ever Naugatuck Valley League game between the schools.
Last Week: St. Paul fell to Derby 46-39 while Seymour picked off Amity 33-27.
All-time NVL series: There’s no history between the schools as this is encounter number one.
Casual facts: Derby threw up 46 points against St. Paul last week but the Falcons can’t let Seymour do the same…St. Paul scored nearly 40 points of their own against the Red Raiders but if the Falcons have to play another nip-and-tuck affair, it’s not an advisable gambit…Seymour chucked up 33 points against Amity last week and can put the points up on the board in a hurry…While the St. Paul defense gave up some big rushing plays, it won’t get any easier this week as Seymour employs a strong running back in the form of Joey Salemme. He slammed Amity for a career best 361 yards off 37 carries, meaning he’s the main man to slow down…Salemme was responsible for Seymour’s final four touchdowns of the contest, all of the rushing variety…The Falcons’ offense certainly found its rhythm under senior QB Pat Etter (22-of-33-2, 359 yards, 2 TDs) against the Red Raiders…On the receiving front, Eli Parks (1-37), Brendan Carroll (9-176), Ben Pryor (4-46) and Daija Fitzpatrick (8-100) all made gains while Parks got loose for nearly 80 yards on the ground off 22 carries…St. Paul’s offense should be able to make gains against the Seymour defense…And the deal here is simple: If the Falcons can slow down Salemme, St. Paul has a chance to take this game.
And the winner is…St. Paul just slips by Seymour by a 45-40 final and that’s assuming the Falcons can contain Salemme on a drive or two.
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver. com.