Gridiron preview for Oct. 30

 By MICHAEL LETENDRE
STAFF WRITER

BRISTOL – Here we go again as Friday night marks another three games on the scholastic football slate and, along those lines, three chances for the locals to pick up midseason victories.
Bristol Eastern crashed the pay window in a big way for the first time last Friday night in a seven point victory over Newington while Bristol Central saw a big third period comeback stall out over the final twelve minutes of the game against Maloney.
St. Paul worked hard during the bye week and looks towards a big challenge at Wolcott High School.
Week 8 is going to hold certain challenges and here’s what to look for on the day before Halloween:

Bristol Central (3-3) at Edwin O. Smith High School (3-3); CCC Division II West tilt
Location: Edwin O. Smith football field at the high school, Storrs
Day and Time: Friday, 6:00 p.m.
Last Season: The Rams defeated the Panthers – from Storrs – by a 26-21 final back on September 19, 2014 during Week 2.
All-Times Series: Keep this in mind, the Rams have never lost to Smith – going a perfect 5-0 against the squad.
Last Week: Central fell to Maloney by a 53-34 final while the Panthers were easily turned away by Windsor, 53-6.
Casual Facts: Smith has played up and down ball this fall and enters the contest at .500…And I believe by the time this contest with Central is over, the Panthers will be under .500…Smith didn’t show much against Windsor (no team has this season…) this past weekend in a blowout loss… The Panthers have a respectable quarterback in the form of Ryan Kaeser and while he won’t make a ton of passes, he’s level headed and gets his team into the offensive schemes quickly…Smith certainly made a ton of mistakes against Bristol Eastern during week one but the squad’s running game was able to rush in touchdowns, in and around the red zone…But Smith’s offense has just produced 14 points over the past two weeks while the defense – suspect at times – has given up 78…Noah Cruz (hopefully healthy and ready to go) and Luis Medina (four TDs against Maloney) should be able to bust through the defensive line against the Panthers and capture early scores…Central’s defense should be hungry in this one after Maloney’s Jaron Cogdell zipped up five TDs while QB Chris Dingwell (15 passes, 290 yards) made the Rams’ secondary pay…Even without Cruz for most of the Maloney game, Central was able to compete for the most of the contest offensively…It’s bounce-back time for the Rams.
And the winner is…The Rams smack the Panthers by a 35-14 final from the shadows of the UCONN campus (there will not be any mac and cheese available for purchase from the UCONN cafeteria that night before, during or after the game…)

Bristol Eastern (1-5) vs. South Windsor (2-4); CCC Division II West challenge
Location: from the campus of Bristol Eastern High School
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season’s Game: Eastern and Platt did not compete against each other last year, one of the few times the squads did not have a yearly battle.
All-Time Series: This marks the 53rd all-time showdown between the squads. Eastern last defeated Platt in 2010 when the Lancers snuck past the Panthers, 28-20 on Oct. 1 of that year.
Last Week: Eastern defeated Newington 40-34 while South Windsor took out helpless RHAM 34-14.
Casual facts…On Thursday, Oct. 15, South Windsor defeated Platt by three points (30-27) and last week, the Bobcats were 34-14 victors over the RHAM…So South Windsor is on a two game winning streak coming into Bristol…Earlier in the season, the Bobcats looked really bad in a 33-8 lost to Bristol Central from Muzzy Field so who truly knows what team shows up at Eastern…One reason the Rams were able to take out the Bobcats was because of offensive balance, something the Lancers are showing a little bit more of with QB Darieyn Tate at the helm…Tate is a steady hand leading the charge – zipping up 85 yards in offense from the air against Newington – and helped get Eastern running schemes in motion…The Newington game was telling in the fact that the Lancers made mistakes early, bounced back and late in the contest – with the Indians needing one final score to tie and possibly take the ultimate lead – it was Eastern taking the ball away from the visitors to secure the victory… Newington’s defense allowed Eastern to run the ball all over the field and that meant the Eastern offensive line was busy at work and the squad could have rolled a bus through the holes in the line…Josh Sampson (22 carries, 152 yards – both career highs), Edgar Hernandez (20 carries, 149 yards) and Alex “Bama” Hunter (3-82) pushed the ball up field as the running schemes just produced short of 400 yards for the game…Defensively against the Indians, the Indians allowed 290 yards in the air with numerous of those yards coming after the catch – probably giving Eastern assistant coach Sal Cintorino a heart attack in the process…Zach Thompson had his best game in an Eastern uniform defensively and if he’s going to play that possessed against South Windsor, victory number two is on the horizon.
And the winner is…The Lancers take out the Bobcats, 33-12.

St. Paul (4-2) at Wolcott (5-1); Naugatuck Valley League Copper versus Iron division challenge
Location: from the campus of Wolcott High School
Day and Time: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Last Season’s Game: Nope, there was no game played against these two teams. And on the heels of that declaration…
All-Time Series: It’s the first showdown ever against the two squads.
Last Week: Both teams had a bye, resting up for this epic challenge.
Casual facts…So, after dropping a disappointing 37-27 decision at Torrington on Oct. 16, think the Eagles are an upset bunch, hungry to get back on the field?…The same goes for the Falcons, though the 36-6 win over Crosby was a pleasure to behold before the bye week…But it gets real when it comes to the Eagles and the St. Paul defense will be tested throughout the showdown…Wolcott – over the first five weeks of the season – surpassed the 50-point barrier once and notched no less than 34 points as the squad went 5-0 over that stretch…True, a 37-27 setback to Torrington on Oct. 16 hurts but that the Red Raiders (5-1) are legit…Defensively, the Eagles are a tough outfit and before the loss to Torrington, Wolcott was allowing around 10 points a game…After starting 1-2, St. Paul has won three straight games against Kennedy (26-6), at Watertown (26-24) and Crosby and certainly rolled into the bye week on a high (sometimes, that bye week comes at the most inconvenient times)…Wolcott QB, senior Jake Griffin averages over 100 yards a game and has thrown for 10 touchdowns on the season through five games…On the ground, Nate Filippone has 500 yards on the season and the running back can find the holes in the defensive line quickly…There’s opportunity for the likes of St. Paul back Ben Pryor and QB Kyle Deforge to squirt through the Wolcott defense in the wishbone schemes and while the challenge is formidable, the Falcons can make a game out of this one.
And the winner is…Wolcott gets the nod, defeating St. Paul by a 45-21 final.
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver. com.football