Gridiron preview for Oct. 17

footballBy MICHAEL LETENDRE
STAFF WRITER
BRISTOL – Another slate of games for Bristol’s scholastic football teams once again commences this Friday night.
But only two of the three squads in town will have their collective hands full while the other has Week 6 off.
And in the case of Bristol Central, a trip to Middletown won’t be an easy challenge as the squads engage in a CCC Divisional II West confrontation.
For Bristol Eastern, the team looks to wrap up victory number four against a very scrappy Maloney team under the lights in town.
All this occurs this weekend while St. Paul – after a grueling bout at home against undefeated Ansonia – gets a well deserved week off.
What will happen this weekend for our public schools?
Here’s a rundown of both games:
Bristol Central (3-1) at Middletown High School (4-1); CCC Division II West showdown
Location: from Middletown High School
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season: Last season, the Blue Dragons defeated the Rams 49-21 from Muzzy Field back on Oct. 18.
Last Week: Central defeated Bulkeley 52-28 while the Blue Dragons beat Hartford Public in a wild 51-40 affair.
All-Time Series: This is the 10th all-time match-up between the schools. The Blue Dragons lead the series 6-3.
Casual facts…Central can’t match Middletown’s speed and that could spell trouble right off the bat for the visiting squad…Bristol Eastern paid the price against Middletown (a 34-7 loss during Week 3) because of miscues and gaffes with the football…If the Rams can limit mistakes, Central has a chance in this one….There’s a two-headed monster at quarterback for the Blue Dragons in the form of Austin Meeker and Dario Higmith…Of course, Higmith is one of the most versatile athletes in the state, capable of doing, well, anything he wants to on the field…The Middletown rushing schemes net around seven yards a carry and that offense must be slowed down in order for Central to have any kind of chance against the Blue Dragons…Defensively, Middletown has some answers as well…Isaiah Thompkins and Kevin Michaud have dropped opposing QBs throughout the season and BC chucker Noah Cruz must be wary of that…Opponents of the Blue Dragons were averaging just over 10 points an outing before last weekend (that was until Hartford Public blitzed the squad for 40 points last week – with 28 of those coming in the final period of play) and Central knows they have to ramp up the offense to hang around in the game…Central running back D’Andre Conaway will be a huge key in this contest because Eastern – under the tireless rushing of Gerry Ouellette – made grounds against the Middletown offense…Conaway is a tough kid and this kind of smash-mouth type game that might be just what the doctor ordered…Again, the Lancers were doomed by turnovers and simply put, those same gaffes and goofs will doom the Rams if not kept in check…Let’s give the Rams credit as the 3-1 start has been an amazing opening to 2014…This team is playing as a unit, doing all the right things and should give the Blue Dragons some problems…But you can’t simulate that speed Middletown employs in practice and Higmith must be contained in order for Central to be competitive in the affair.
And the winner is…Middletown racks up a 40-21 win against Bristol Central.
 
Bristol Eastern (3-2) vs. Maloney (4-1); CCC Division II West Showdown
Location: from the campus of Bristol Eastern high school
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season: Maloney didn’t offer up much in terms of competition last season as the Spartans fell hard by a 49-0 final.
Last Week: Eastern smoked Fermi 49-7 while Maloney was blanked by Wethersfield by a 41-0 tally.
All-Time Series: The Spartans lead the all-time series 31-22-1. This is the 55th all-time showdown between the schools.
Casual facts…Let’s get something straight right now, Maloney’s 4-1 ledger is a bit deceiving…However, as action star Vin Diesel once said “Winning’s winning”…Yes, the 49-20 victory at Farmington looks impressive but that’s not same squad from last season…And for that matter, the Spartans aren’t either…Maloney has a new coach, a new direction and – to date – that new philosophy has paid off with an excellent record (against several subpar teams)…Maloney quarterback Chris Dingwell is a capable thrower and expect a little more aerial show this time around than last season when Maloney ran the ball a whole lot more in a no huddle attack…Dingwell also can run with the ball and he’s starts the entire Spartan’s offense…Maloney’s defense has been solid over the campaign, allowing 20 of more points in two of their first four games of the season…And then the Wethersfield game came and went, a 41-0 reality check that might have been good for the squad…The Eagles nearly zipped up 400 yards in total offense as the Maloney’s defense failed to contain the Wethersfield offense…Sometimes that first loss is certainly a refocusing tool and the Lancers might have their collective hands full with an angry Spartans‘ team…But Eastern is looking for their third straight victory and, at least offensively, Maloney will have to attempt to squash the Lancers‘ ground attack. That’s easier said than done…Eastern has speed and agility in the form of backs Gerry Ouellette and Alex “Bama” Hunter and that spells trouble for the Maloney…Eastern had a little trouble with the pass last week against Fermi but if the secondary can clean things up, that will go a long way for the Lancers against the Spartans…Keep in mind, Maloney’s confidence might be shaken and if Eastern can land a knock-out blow early, it could be a long evening for the visitors.
And the winner is…Eastern’s defense wins out in the end as the Lancers win this one from Bristol in a 35-21 victory.
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver.com.