Gridiron preview for Nov. 7

BRISTOL – Week 9 is upon us in the scholastic football and there are challenges to be had across the board.
First, Bristol Central hopes to keep up their winning ways against a very good and much improved Maloney team from Falcon Field in Meriden.
Also this Friday, Bristol Eastern gets to enjoy a little home cooking – and possibly a little revenge – as Farmington comes to town in another divisional battle.
And then on Saturday, it’s the Falcons turn as St. Paul takes on Watertown in a contest St. Paul could easily win.
Week 9 is a big one indeed and here’s what to look for from our three teams: 
Bristol Central (5-2) at Maloney high school (4-4); CCC Division II-West showdown
Location: from Falcon Field, Meriden
Day and Time: Friday, 6:30 p.m. (Note the time)
Last Season: Central ran up a big 46-22 victory over the Spartans back on Nov. 8, 2013.
Last Week: Central handled Rocky Hill by a 32-27 final while Windsor booted Maloney 45-0 in another disappointing defeat.
All-Time Series: Bristol Central has battled Maloney since 1959 and the series belongs to the Spartans by a slim 27-25-3 edge. This is the 56th battle between the schools.
Casual facts…Central is in a very unique situation and actually could sprint into the Thanksgiving Day challenge at 7-2. It’s possible if things work out correctly in Meriden against the Spartans…The Spartans are a greatly improved outfit from the previous season and expect the squad to throw the football as many times as possible against the Rams…However, the Spartans have beaten all the opponents they should have and then lost to all the big boys…However, the Spartans have some weapons that must be dealt with…Maloney has a strong throwing component in the form of junior QB, Chris Dingwell…He’s a legitimate chucker and will make connections all over the field. That’s something the Rams will have to be extremely wary of all game long…Dingwell will attempt to make connections with receivers Jakai Whittingham and Nashawn Rhodes while letting Handy Ellison do the bulk of the running, if permitted, when Dingwell wasn’t throwing…Windsor ran Maloney to death and zipped up most of those 45 points off those hard rushes…That’s where D’Andre Conaway can do damage and, as Bristol Central’s latest 1,000-yard rusher, the senior back can get the job done…Defensively, Central made key stops against Rocky Hill last week as the Rams did enough to halt the Terriers rushing attack…Key tackles for losses were made by Adam Flores, Tommy Nelligan, Tyler Boi, and defensive back Tyshaun Rodriguez…Offensively, Drew Lee made four catches off Noah Cruz passes, hauling in two touchdowns and 124 yards of offense overall…Cruz generated just under 200 yards of total offense in a dominant display…If Conaway is healthy (same with Cruz) and the rest of the squad isn’t too banged up, this game is for the taking at Falcon Field…By the way, the worst Central can do record-wise now is .500 (5-5), the squad’s best finish since 2006.
And the winner is…Central gets by Maloney 21-20 (the score look familiar?)…Just, please, be prepared for the assault from the air.

Bristol Eastern (4-4) vs. Farmington (2-6); CCC Division II-West showdown
Location: from the campus of Bristol Eastern high school
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season: Bristol Eastern dropped a heartbreaking 20-15 decision from Farmington back on Nov. 8, 2013.
Last Week: Eastern fell to Northwest, 18-13, while Farmington got cooked by Middletown 49-0.
All-Time Series: The Lancers have never beaten Farmington, carrying an 0-3 ledger against the squad. That all changes this Friday night in Bristol.
Casual facts…Farmington has reverted to their usual form and that means the Indians are going to pay the price against the Lancers…Eastern doesn’t leave Bristol for the rest of the season as two home games and only one contest from Muzzy Field (just one trip to Muzzy this season as Central will truly have a home field advantage in that one on Thanksgiving) left on their ledger…Like Central possibly could, Eastern can run the table here, starting with Farmington…Last week, the Indians did nothing against Middletown and Eastern is looking to get back to their winning ways in a huge divisional battle…Without the rushing services of the graduated Ivan Guadalupe, Farmington has had trouble putting points up on the scoreboard…After defeating Edwin O. Smith High School on Oct. 11 (21-17), the Indians have only scored six points over the last three weeks of action, an average of 2.0 points-per-game…And those six points came against Bristol Central in a 36-6 loss…Connor Martin will run the ball a little bit for Farmington but otherwise, there’s not much there for the 2-6 squad, losers of three games in a row and five of their last six…And frankly, after Eastern dropped a tough 18-13 loss to Northwest Catholic this past week, the Lancers are an angry team coming back home…Expect back Gerry Ouellette to also go over the 1,000 yard barrier and expect Eastern to roll this squad…Impressively against passing NWC, the Lancers’ secondary shredded the throwing game and if Farmington wants to chuck the ball, good luck…That’s what happens when you throw four interceptions…This game is about redemption, this game is about imposing their will and this game could turn into a nightmare for Farmington if the Lancers put all the pieces into play.
And the winner is…The Lancers will pummel the Indians by a 42-14 push.  

St. Paul (3-4) vs. Watertown (1-6) in a Naugatuck Valley League, Iron vs. Copper Division battle.
Location: from St. Paul Catholic High School
Day and Time: Saturday, 3 p.m.
Last Season: The Falcons defeated Watertown 32-29 back on Sept. 20, 2013.
Last Week: St. Paul defeated Torrington 38-20 on the road while Watertown was blanked by Holy Cross 41-0 from the John J. Mills Complex in Watertown.
All-time NVL series: Against Watertown, the Falcons lead the series 2-1. In each game, St. Paul has given up at least 29 points to the Indians.
Casual facts: Oh boy, Watertown is in trouble…St. Paul is clearly rolling now and the defense deserves a ton of the credit…And Watertown is facing off against the Falcons at the wrong time. That’s bad new for the visitors…Falcons’ back Eli Parks (370 yards, 5 TDs against Torrington) has been running the ball on another planet as of late and if the Indians can’t make stops on defense, this score could get out of hand in a hurry…St. Paul’s rushing and passing combination has been impressive and when that balance is on the table, opposing defenses struggle and the game becomes wide open…Etter (6-of-9, 74 yards, TD) might not be putting up the numbers other QBs have established for St. Paul over the years but he’s shown growth, shown improvement and with the team coming together, the chucker doesn’t have to go it alone offensively…Thrown in wide receivers like Daija Fitzpatrick, Ben Pryor, and Brendan Carroll and the offense is complete…Now, on to Watertown and there’s not much in terms of victories to talk about…Outside of the Indians’ 47-13 victory over Sacred Heart on Oct. 10, it’s been tough going for the squad…At 1-7, this is going to be an epic challenge for Watertown and if St. Paul can score early, this is another easy win for St. Paul and the game that gets the Falcons to the .500 mark.
And the winner is: St. Paul defeats Watertown 45-28.
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver.