By MICHAEL LETENDRE
After a stellar weekend by all three scholastic football squads in town – with both public school battles going down to the final play of their respective games – every team comes into this week with more than a little momentum brewing.
And week nine of the scholastic football season is a mixed bag for the locals, in terms of opponents, as state tournament implications are on the line for the home teams and opponents alike.
Bristol Central will try to keep its slim playoff chances alive in a contest down the road off Route 175 in Newington.
And the Rams are looking for a big win in that battle with the Indians.
Maybe Bristol Eastern could help those Bristol Central playoff chances when Platt comes to Bristol for a CCC Division II West tilt on the same Friday evening.
A Lancers’ victory certainly would be a big upset and, perhaps, jumpstart Eastern’s final couple games of the season.
Finally, St. Paul Catholic is on the road for a huge challenge as Seymour is the Falcons’ game of the week.
For both squads in the Naugatuck Valley League challenge, playoff implications on the line and could be decided.
Let’s take a look at all the match-ups as the month of November is upon us:
Bristol Central (4-3) at Newington (3-4); CCC Division II West contest
Location: at Alumni Field from the campus of Newington High School
Day and Time: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Last Season: Central defeated Newington 26-19 back on Nov. 6, 2015 from Muzzy Field.
All-Times Series: The Rams and Indians are going to war for the 27th time and the home team carries a 14-11-1 edge in series play.
Last Week: Central defeated Edwin O. Smith 20-19 at the buzzer while Newington spun Middletown, 27-24 (?!?).
Tournament Standing: In the Class L rankings, even at 4-3, the Rams are hanging in 10th place with 530 points. The top eight squads are in. All hope is not lost, yet.
Casual Facts: Newington isn’t all that bad of a team and like in Central’s contest at South Windsor during Week 2, halftime adjustments is what helped the Indians defeat Eastern 27-7 two weeks ago as the Lancers had a real chance to steal the game…But during that 20-point victory over the Lancers, Eastern did a nice job stuffing the Newington run as only an 89-yard rush and a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown doomed the locals over the first half…Newington QB Robert Sanchez doesn’t make a ton of throws and made just five passes for 30 yards while back Aveontae Frazier (140 yards against Eastern) is a speedster as is Isaac Ortiz Jr.…So you know what the offense can do and, off halftime adjustments, the squad can hurt you just like any other squad in the CCC…Defensively, at least against Bristol Eastern, the Indians were impressive and snuffed every scoring drive, save a seven yard TD dash by Ariza Kolloverja…The Lancers were able to move the ball a bit but by the end of the contest, Newington just allowed those seven points…And what can you say about Newington’s 27-24 upset win over Middletown?…But the Blue Dragons didn’t do themselves any favors with two late game turnovers so the Indians has been playing better as of late, winning two straight…And speaking of playing well, here comes Bristol Central, winners of four of its last five and only lost its last two games by a combined 13 points…The Central defense is rolling, the offense is moving the ball well and the Rams are looking for some big things to close out the season…And with road warriors like Tommy Nelligan and Conner Staubley leading the defensive charge, look out…QB Isaiah Miller is a true dude threat, Dathan Hickey can go both ways on the field, and we’re still waiting for that breakout rushing game by Luis Medina this year…And when Medina final goes off, look out…And Newington, look out this Friday night.
And the winner is…Central is at least 20 points better than Newington so try a final of 35-14.
Bristol Eastern (0-7) vs. Platt (5-2); CCC Division II West showdown
Location: from the campus of Bristol Eastern High School (the squad never leaves Bristol again this year).
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season’s Game: In another close one, the Lancers fell to the Panthers 35-28 from Falcon Field in Meriden back on Nov. 6, 2015.
All-Time Series: It’s game number 54 in this program long series and Platt is looking for victory number thirty against the Lancers. The Panthers lead it 29-23-1.
Last Week: Platt defeated Hartford Public 42-18 from Dillon Stadium in Hartford while the Lancers fell to South Windsor on the road in overtime 17-14.
Casual facts…All bets are off when it comes to the Bristol Eastern football program as there’s an upset brewing somewhere before the season is complete for the locals…That one could come against Platt on Friday from the grounds of BEHS…Back home and ready to go, and after that overtime loss at South Windsor, it’s obvious the players from BE are buying into what coach Anthony Julius and his staff are preaching…Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a football program…QB Justin Marshall (14-of-23, 183 yards at South Windsor) has been growing by the game and he had a career game in the three-point loss last week – combining for just under 240 yards in offense from the ground and air…Back Ariza Kolloveja had a career high in rushing yardage (57 yards, 15 carries) and Jayden Laprise, what more can be said about him at South Windsor?…His defense was outstanding, knocking a couple touchdown strikes down while catching six balls for 119 yards – both career bests…And defensively, for over 25 minutes, South Windsor went scoreless to close out the game before overtime commenced. Hand out the credit to everyone in that one…Now, the focus is back home against playoff bound Platt who has won four straight (its last loss was at home to Bristol Central back on Sept. 23 in a 30-26 loss)…The Panthers are an excellent squad who entered the night in the eighth and final slot of the Class L standings. A Central win and a Platt loss will see some movements in the standings. Who do you think Central is rooting for in this one?…But a victory will be easier said than done as Platt’s Tylon Papallo is a speedster all over the field and E.J. Dudley is a back that can not be ignored…And watch out for quarterback Aurelio Marinelli who has plenty of receivers to pick on as targets…If Eastern can make that first block count, the squad has a chance in this one.
And the winner is…Platt will get challenged but in the end, the Panthers picks up a 28-13 win from Bristol.
St. Paul (5-2) at Seymour (5-2); Naugatuck Valley League, Copper Division contest
Location: from Seymour High School
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season’s Game: The Wildcats defeated the Falcons 36-20 back on Sept. 25, 2015 from the grounds of St. Paul Catholic High School.
Last Week: The Falcons sank Woodland 28-19 while Seymour fell to undefeated Ansonia 41-20.
All-Time Series: It’s only the third game between the squads and Seymour is a perfect 2-0 against St. Paul Catholic.
Series Fact: In Wildcats two games against the Falcons, the program has put a total of 90 points on the scoreboard versus St. Paul Catholic.
Casual facts…This is a big game in terms of playoff implications and the Falcons need to be ready to face an angry Seymour squad…Currently, both teams are outside looking in…Seymour is ranked ninth and just 10 points out of tournament seeding while the Falcons are hanging at thirteen and need to win out to have a chance at playoff qualification…And the Wildcats are going to be a hard outfit to top with a very good throwing QB at the helm…Senior Jayden Kelley has completed 47-of-87 passes for 1,130 yards and 18 touchdowns while just throwing two pickoffs…He also averages 24.0 yards-per-throw…He’s a duel threat, making 107 carries for 716 yards and 10 touchdowns, and Kelley’s the guy the Falcons must stop…Kelley’s favorite receivers are Alex Massie (17 catches, 462 yards, eight TD’s) and Lucas Bowen – both seniors who know how to get open and make receptions for big yardage…Seymour is going to be a handful for the Falcons to stop and the defense must step-up early and often…And it’s going to be the Wildcats’ job to stop all those elusive backs and if the home team can, Seymour could be back in the top eight of the Class S playoff bracket…The Falcons’ Damien Rabis will once again lead the crew but it will be an uphill battle from the start.