Gridiron preview for Sept. 30

BRISTOL – Week 3 of the scholastic football season was certainly a mixed bag with blowouts going in each direction and a nail-biter from Muzzy Field in Bristol taking place.

First, St. Paul Catholic generated a big win on the road over Watertown while Bristol Central was a four-point victor over a very good Platt team.

And while Bristol Eastern did not notch a point during its loss at Wethersfield, every game brings something positive for the Lancers’ program.

But we’ve moved onto the game of the week and that means were back to Friday night lights for Week 4.

Here’s the deal as Week 4 unfolds:


Bristol Central (1-2) at Wethersfield (2-1); CCC Division II West match-up

Location: at Cottone Field, Wethersfield

Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last Season: On Oct. 3, Wethersfield proved to be too much for Central as the squad fell 42-26 from Muzzy Field in Bristol.

All-Times Series: This game marks the 18th showdown between the programs. The series belongs to the Eagles as the team leads the series 11-6.

Last Week: Central got by Platt of Meriden in a 30-26 final while Wethersfield was a 36-0 winner over Bristol Eastern from Cottone Field.

Casual Facts: Two weeks ago against South Windsor, Central had trouble getting its ground game into full swing. Fast forward one week and it was a completely different story…Though the contest was a back and fourth affair, the Rams were able to answer each and every challenge and when Platt put up a score, Central was eventually able to answer…That back and forth contest was certainly fun to behold though I’m sure the Rams’ coaching staff had a bit of a heart attack as the lead changed hands several times…Central rushed for over 300 yards on the ground and that was a big deal off the loss to the Bobcats in Week 2…And then the defense stepped up huge and once Central captured the lead midway through the fourth period, the Panthers ran out of answers…The 30 points was certainly a welcome sight to see on Central’s side of the scoreboard…But now its on to Wethersfield…The Bobcats are a very good football team and will mix in plenty of play action while their special teams has the talent to run back kickoffs/punt returns for touchdowns like it did against Bristol Eastern in Week 3… Jamal Bagley is the lead rusher of the group while QB Timmy Blaisdell is more than a competent thrower and can and will make connections with the likes of Michael Alessandra, Bagley and Ryan Skelly…And even though Eastern’s offense is a work in process, the Eagles’ defense did a credible job finding the seams in the Lancers front line and held the squad to just 100 yards in total offense…Despite all that, this game is certainly in Central’s reach to seize.

And the winner is…This is a tough one to figure out. I’ll give Wethersfield the edge, 28-27, simply because the Eagles are at home. But if the Rams pull this one out, don’t be surprised.


Bristol Eastern (0-3) vs. Maloney (2-1); CCC Division II West showdown

Location: from Muzzy Field, Bristol

Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last Season’s Game: On Friday, Oct. 2, the Lancers dropped a tough – and winnable – 21-8 decision to the Spartans from Falcon Field in Meriden.

All-Time Series: It’s game No. 57 in this program long series. Maloney leads the all-time series 32-23-1 (nearly identical to the Lancers record against Bristol Central).

Eastern’s Last win versus the Spartans: On Oct. 17, 2014, Eastern defeated Maloney 21-20 from the campus of Bristol Eastern High School.

Last Week: Bristol Eastern fell to Wethersfield 36-0 on the road while Maloney was a 31-21 victor over Newington from Falcon Field in Meriden.

Casual facts…The Lancers will certainly have their hands full with Maloney…Against Wethersfield last Friday, the Eagles did an exceptional job on both sides of the ball and with 5:31 left in the first period, the Eagles had 20 points on the board as Eastern never got into the game…It wasn’t all bad as the Lancers held Wethersfield, after that offensive onslaught, to just nine points over 24 minutes of action…It’s a small positive but it’s certainly a step in the right direction…The Lancers generated just about 100 yards of total offense but with the likes of tough QB Justin Marshall and junior Mike Barrett – who took snaps in the Lancers’ wildcat formation like Alex “Bama’ Hunter did last season – made gains while Ariza Kolloverja and Jaden Laprise each made big receptions to move the chains…Defensively for Eastern, Andrew Consalvo, Kollovarja, Laprise, Barrett, and Mason also made gains in the defensive schemes…Maloney has an established throwing weapon in the form of Larue Graham and he will attempt to chuck the ball all over Muzzy Field – if given the chance. He threw for touchdowns, all short strikes that led to scoring drives…Alejandro Ortiz caught two of those TD receptions and that’s a guy that must me marked by the Lancers’ backfield…Maloney can also kick the ball a little as Colin Paddock can and will hit field goal attempts…Again, this won’t be an easy one for Eastern.

And the winner is…The Lancers will hang around in this one but ends up losing by a 28-14 final.


St. Paul (2-1) vs. Derby (1-1); Naugatuck Valley League engagement

Location: from McPhee Field, St. Paul Catholic high school

Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last Season’s Game: In one of the rare contests that didn’t resemble a shootout, the Red Raiders hung on to defeat the Falcons 12-8 from Derby High School.

Last Week: St. Paul Catholic rolled Watertown 26-6 while Derby had a curious bye week very early in the season.

All-Time Series: It’s the eighth showdown between the programs as Derby is on a bit of a roll. St. Paul Catholic has dropped five straight contests to the Red Raiders and is 2-5 in NVL play against the squad.

Series Fact: The Falcons last defeated the Red Raiders on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010 in Bristol when St. Paul Catholic downed the team by a 35-18 final. To start NVL play against the program, the Falcons were 2-0 including a remarkable 14-13 come-from-behind win in 2009 at Derby.

Casual facts…Run, run, RUN!!! That’s actually what the Falcons did against Watertown but we’ll talk about the offense in a minute…The defense to start the 2016 campaign has been outstanding for the St. Paul Catholic high school and just over the last couple games, the squad has yielded 19 total points for an average of 9.5 points-per-game…That defensive core has gotten better each and every week and for the season, the Falcons give up 17.7 ppg and that will lead to further victories down the road…Now, let’s talk about the Falcons’ ground game…In all, the trio of backs – Damien Rabis, Kevin Ashworth, and Pierce Piana – combined for 483 total yards in the 20-point thumping over Watertown…For the game, the St. Paul Catholic offense averaged 11.2 yards-per-carry with Piana scooping up 237 yards on 26 carries, Rabis added 172 on 10 carries with two touchdowns while Ashworth chipped in 74 yards on seven carries that also included two TDs…And against Derby, in games that usually resemble a shootout over the years between the schools, expect some more impressive running tallies…The Red Raiders haven’t played since Sept. 16 in a 38-13 romp over Crosby in Waterbury and who knows what kind of squad will show up in Bristol…Will it be a rusty crew or a well-rested one?…Again, taking a break during Week 3 of the scholastic season was a curious decision…Derby’s Tom Abel is a sophomore QB (3-for-6, 107 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and might throw the ball a time or two but the strength of the squad will be the running game…Two seniors are the leaders in the ground schemes in the form of Josh Vega (16 carries, 274 yards, 2 TD’s) and Alijah Ellis (18-235, 2 TD’s)…Here’s a hot tip: stop the Derby run game and St. Paul Catholic has more than a good chance in this one.

And the winner is…St. Paul Catholic wins this one,