By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – Week 2 of the scholastic football campaign is upon us and once again, all three teams in town are in action.
What are the match-ups for this weekend?
Let’s start with Bristol Central as the outfit takes a crack at the always imposing squad from Windsor.
What a debut for the Rams from their new turf field at the school while Eastern continues its road trip with a contest against equally-as-tough Middletown and the two public schools in town are in the thick of things early in the season.
And finally, the St. Paul Catholic crew squares off against Holy Cross high school in Waterbury on Saturday in an early afternoon affair.
Here’s a quick look at what the locals are dealing with this weekend:
Bristol Central (1-0) vs. Windsor (1-0); CCC Division II West versus CCC Division II East tilt
Location: from the grounds of Bristol Central high school (turf field)
Day and Time: Friday, 6 p.m.
Last Season: On Sept. 9, 2016, Central was held scoreless for the only time all season, 47-0, from Windsor High School.
All-Times Series: This is the 16th all-time showdown against Windsor but the series is not in Central’s favor. Overall, the Warriors have won 12 of the 15 meetings.
Last Week: Central defeated Hartford Public 26-6 on the road while Windsor opened the season with a 28-0 win over Maloney.
Casual Facts: The Bristol Central squad took care of business on opening weekend and what’s the payoff? A debut from home against Windsor?!? The CCC schedule maker, as ironic as it sounds, did the Rams absolutely zero favors this week (please thank you favorite math teacher when you see him for this)…Windsor is again a top-tier program in 2016 and will continue to be so this year…The Warriors shut out Maloney last week but the game wasn’t out of reach to open final period…Windsor scooped up four turnovers and it’s the Warriors defense that will give the Rams fits…Julian Jackson is a quality QB while he’ll have plenty of options to chuck the ball to…Watch out for running back Tom Johnson. He’ll give Central a little trouble if he gets open…Maloney had chances to get on the board in the game and if the Rams can take care of the ball, they will too…And for the Rams, where did the offense come from for Central against Hartford Public? How about from the speedy Dathan Hickey who punished the squad for three touchdowns and nearly 180 yards in offense…And in the air, Hickey made seven passes for over 100 yards. That’s one heck of a debut at QB so tip your cap to the jack-of-all trades senior…The Owls led 6-0 early but 26 points by the visitors foiled any chance of Public winning the showdown…It was an excellent debut for Hickey, Nate Rosa, Justus Fitzpatrick, Ryan Rodriguez, Devon Dawson, Gabe Updegraff, and a host of other players…This is going to be an epic challenge and let’s see what the Central defense can do against speedy Windsor.
And the winner is…Central loses to Windsor 40-24.
St. Paul (1-0) vs. Holy Cross (1-0); Naugatuck Valley League, Brass Division encounter
Location: at Holy Cross High School, Waterbury
Day and Time: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Last Season’s Game: The Falcons whipped up on the Crusaders 46-13 back on Sept. 17, 2016 from McPhee Field in Bristol.
All-Time Series: Last season represented St. Paul Catholic’s first ever NVL win over the Crusaders. Overall, Holy Cross is 5-1 against St. Paul Catholic.
Last Week: The Falcons picked off Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech 38-0 while Holy Cross defeated Kennedy 19-6.
Series Fact: When St. Paul scored 46 points against Cross, it represented the second time the program dropped that many points on the Waterbury foe. The other time the Falcons netted 46 points against Holy Cross, it led to a tough three-point loss (49-46) back on Nov. 16, 2013. Over recent years, St. Paul Catholic has been able to dust up several touchdowns against the program, finally leading to a win last year.
Casual facts…Holy Cross has been a bit down as of late, going 3-7 overall last season as the Falcons finally beat the foe for the first time ever in NVL wars…But the squad is young and full of potential, defeating Kennedy last week 19-6…Jordan Robinson and Alex Ward combined for 140 rushing yards last week and the Falcons must be wary of the duo’s ground attack…QB Corey Fappiano can make connections here and there, connecting on four passes against Kennedy for just south of 100 yards…Cross took a bit of time to put struggling Kennedy away late in the game but if St. Paul Catholic has its wishbone going, the Crusaders are in for a long evening…The Falcons’ Damien Rabis went wild for four touchdowns and Kevin Ashworth also added a touchdown…Chris Dionne also played well and the Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech squad was overwhelmed from the start…And credit the defense as the Falcons threw up a goose-egg on the scoreboard. That’s the most impressive part of the showdown…Noah Mendoza, Eric Langlan, and Dionne all had their moments on defense…This game could be too close to call, at least early, but once the Falcons gets the chains moving, St. Paul Catholic goes 2-0 on the campaign.
And the winner is…The Falcons take one on the road, defeating the Crusaders 42-20.
Bristol Eastern (0-1) at Middletown (1-0); CCC Division II West versus CCC Division II East clash
Location: at Middletown High School
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season’s Game: Back on Nov. 11, the Lancers fell at home to the Blue Dragons 35-7.
All-Time Series: The game marks the seventh contest between the schools. The Lancers are winless against the Blue Dragons (0-6)
Last Win against Middletown: Maybe that will come on Friday? Stranger things have happened…
Last Week: Bristol Eastern fell to Edwin O. Smith 14-7 in a winnable game while Middletown got passed Wethersfield by a 29-12 final.
Casual facts…This will be one heck of a challenge for the Lancers but against E.O. Smith, Eastern showed more than a little poise on both sides of the football…The game could have turned into a blowout early but Trinidad Gonzalez (team leading 11 tackles) and the rest of the defense really did hold the fort…Three fumble recoveries turned promising Smith drives into missed opportunities and it will be about opportunities again by Eastern – on the defensive end – that will keep Middletown out of the end zone…Eastern QB Justin Marshall got clobbered in the pocket more than a couple times and threw three picks but showed poise, adjusted, and made some big connections with the likes of Jaden Laprise (4 catches, 65 yards, TD) and his 106 yard showing was one of the best of his career…Marshall’s growth is critical to the BE offense…Last week, Wethersfield gave Middletown all sorts of trouble but three consecutive fourth period scores by the Blue Dragons propelled the road team over the Eagles…The Middletown squad will run with the football as QB Stone Belzo ran for a couple TD’s but he’s also not afraid to chuck the ball around the field as well…Three running backs for Middletown compiled over three-hundred yards on the ground for the Blue Dragons…Belzo rushed for almost 120 yards, back Xavier Reyes tallied 150 while Ty Lumpkin added just over 40 yards…BE must stop the run game as the speedy Blue Dragon will turn to its vaunted ground game for most of the tilt…This showdown is about opportunity and let’s see how much Eastern grew from a good showing from Storrs during Week 1.
And the winner is…Eastern will have its best showing against Middletown in quite some time but still ends up falling 36-14 to the squad.