By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – Once again, it’s time for a little football and the three scholastic programs in town have some serious challenges on their collective plates during Week 9.
A couple of those showdowns are definitely of the winnable variety while the St. Paul Catholic High School takes on one of the state’s best.
Bristol Eastern gets the early nod (at 6:30 p.m.) when the squad travels to Meriden for a confrontation with Platt High School from the turf surface at Falcon Field.
Bristol Central hopes to be healthy against a Newington team that can score points – and give them right back – on the scoreboard.
And in the biggest event of Friday night, St. Paul takes a shot at Ansonia in an epic Naugatuck Valley League tilt.
Here’s the deal with all the action as the final month of the scholastic football season is upon us…
Bristol Central (4-3) vs. Newington High School (2-5); CCC Division II West action
Location: Muzzy Field, Bristol (all of Central’s remaining games are from Muzzy…)
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season: The squads did not compete against each other though the teams are “old friends” from CCC South wars gone by.
All-Times Series: It’s game number 26 against the Indians as the Rams hold the advantage, 13-11-1.
Last Week: The Rams blanked Smith, 14-0, while the Indians were downed by Middletown, 33-7.
Casual Facts: Newington has some interesting weapons and will be able to put some points on the board…Here’s a hard cold fact Central must answer: can the Rams dig down defensively and shut down the Indians offense? Frankly, that’s what the game is going to hinge upon…Central’s yielded 109 points over the past four games and that’s resulted in a 2-2 ledger over that stretch…But the shutout at E.O. Smith was a huge positive and a huge deal…Newington chucker Nick Guadarrama made 10-of-19 passes against Bristol Eastern two weeks ago for 290 yards and three TDs…Receiver Deven Perez caught five passes for nearly 150 and while back Ben Maycock doesn’t have blazing speed, he picks his spots, let’s his o-line open things up, and the rusher simply finds the open space on the field…The scoring components are there but Central should be able to score at will as well…Noah Cruz could run the ball at will and it’s doubtful Newington’s defense will be able to slow down the QB or running back Luis Medina…The Lancers’ offense shredded the Indians and the squad just missed out on a 400 rushing night. Get it?…But Eastern quarterback Darieyn Tate was also able to make first down connections on the field so Cruz should be able to throw the ball at will as well…This should be a Central victory, figure around a 20-point win.
And the winner is…The Rams win it by a 41-21 final.
Bristol Eastern (1-6) at Platt, Meriden (3-4); CCC Division II West challenge
Location: at Falcon Field, Meriden
Day and Time: Friday, 6:30 p.m. (Note the time…)
Last Season’s Game: The Lancers didn’t play Platt but this showdown between the squads is not a unique one…it goes back to CCC South battles gone by.
All-Time Series: This series goes back to 1959 and CCIL days gone past. It’s the 53rd installment of these epic challenges as the Panthers lead 28-23-1.
Last Week: Eastern fell to South Windsor 25-21 while Platt sank helpless RHAM by a 54-25 final.
Casual facts…I have an absolutely ZERO read on this squad…Is this the team that defeated Edwin O. Smith in overtime (27-21) during Week 2 of the unit that was blanked by Wethersfield (37-0)…Will the team from Meriden that smashed Newington 20-0 make an appearance or will the outfit that fell to South Windsor (30-27) be the competition of the evening? See, you try to gauge this one…The problem is two-fold for the Panthers as Eastern is playing much better as of late…A change at QB, from Alex ‘Bama’ Hunter to Darieyn Tate has been a productive change…Tate has been a steady influence in the Lancers’ ground – and air – game schemes while “Bama” has been a kind of jack-of-all trades who can carry the balls for yards at a clip or make a quick reception from the wide receiver role…Hunter will slide back to QB when needed and it’s been productive move for all involved…Eastern’s defense needs to make another strong appearance and the likes of Josh Sampson, Josh O’Keefe, Jared Procko, and Zac Thompson must lead the charge once again…Eastern must simply stop making all those gosh darn mistakes as fumbles were a killer against the Bobcats…And frankly, a couple more stops against South Windsor would have resulted in another Eastern victory…Just like the showdown against Maloney, this contest is a winnable challenge.
And the winner is…Eastern puts together another great effort and pulls off an upset, via a 28-14 win over the Panthers.
St. Paul (4-3) at Ansonia (7-0); Naugatuck Valley League Copper divisional match-up.
Location: from Nolan Field, Ansonia
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season’s Game: No one scored more points against Ansonia in the regular season than St. Paul in 2014. Against the Chargers on Oct. 10, the Falcons fell 61-35 from the grounds of St. Paul Catholic High School.
All-Time Series: It’s been one-sided (every season series against Ansonia is one-sided…) as Ansonia leads the NVL series against St. Paul 3-0. The Falcons nearly average 30 points-per-game against the Chargers.
Last Week: Oxford was no match for the Chargers, 40-13, while the Falcons were dropped by Wolcott, 69-52, on the road in what was a close game after three quarters of action.
Casual facts…The Chargers are the top ranked team in all of Class S and the squad hasn’t allowed more than 14 points in a game this year…Ansonia has pitched three shutouts this season but don’t expect the same outcome against the Falcons…The Chargers were Class S (Large) runners up last season and the squad is headed right back in that direction…This group will run the heck out of the ball and the combination of Tajik Bagley and Tyler Bailey are a fearsome duo having seemingly been there forever…QB Bryson Cafaro will chuck the ball from time to time but expect the ground game to be the offense of choice for the home squad…It’s hard to deal with superior speed but the Falcons must make stops to hang around in this one…St. Paul might have a few surprises to throw at Ansonia as Pierce Piana has been a pleasant surprise for the Falcons…He’s a tough back and against Crosby, when the line blocks for him in that wishbone formation, you can see how Piana can churn out the yardage…QB Kyle Deforge doesn’t need to throw to be effective and he can block with the best of them went needed…Ben Pryor has been excellent in the ground schemes as well, drilling Wolcott for over 340 yards off total offense and seven TDs and when the likes of “Big” Chadd Richardson, Matt Gray, Piana, Alex Gentile, Devon Dawson, Jordan Silva, Lucas McPhee, and Dom Aiello block for those rushing components, those seams open up quickly…But the defense has to make stops, which is a challenge for any team in the state when Ansonia is on the gridiron.
And the winner is…Ansonia wins by a 58-35 final.