Gridiron preview for Sept. 29

By MICHAEL LETENDRE

STAFF WRITER

BRISTOL – Week four of the scholastic football campaign finally sees one of the Bristol squads play at home for the first time all season.

Meanwhile, another squad travels to Falcon Field in Meriden for a Central Connecticut Conference Division II West battle while the only Naugatuck Valley League program in town will be getting really offensive on the road.

So, with Newington at Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central at Maloney, and St. Paul Catholic at Derby, let’s take a look at a very busy Friday (and Thursday) night of action:

 

Bristol Central (2-1) at Maloney (2-1); CCC Division II West encounter

Location: from Falcon Field, Meriden

Day and Time: Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Last Season: Last year on Oct. 21, Bristol Central dropped a tough 34-27 decision to the Spartans from Muzzy Field in Bristol.

All-Times Series: This is Central’s 58th game against Maloney with the Spartans holding a 29-25-3 advantage in the series.

Last Week: The Rams blanked Wethersfield 33-0 while Maloney took care of Bristol Eastern 34-7.

Casual Facts: Central picked up a big win last week against Wethersfield, as did Maloney versus Eastern, and both squads have some momentum coming into the showdown…Maloney QB Larue Graham (13-of-23, 204 yards against Bristol Eastern) is quick, elusive, and will run with the football with zest…The Rams also will have to be wary of Victor Marquez who caught eight passes for over 120 yards last week against the Lancers…Aden Valentin is a speedster at running back and those are the major weapons the Rams will have to mark…Defensively, Eastern proved effective when running the ball and that’s where Hickey should be able to have some success…Hickey nabbed 102 yards on 19 carries against the Eagles but the coming out party was for Central back Darrell Payton. Payton overwhelmed Wethersfield for 170 yards on 19 carries, scoring three times…Hickey even made three passes for 50 yards, connecting twice with Nate Rosa – one for a nine yard TD strike…That’s a credit to the offensive line, getting the running game off the ground and then there was an outstanding defensive effort, holding on opponent scoreless for the first time this year while the Rams are averaging 26.0 points-per-game…This should be a good show and a 3-1 ledger for Central after four games would be a good showing heading into Week 5.

And the winner is…Central gets a measure of revenge against Maloney with a 21-13 win from Falcon Field in Meriden.

 

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

Location: from Alumni Field on the campus of Bristol Eastern

Day and Time: Thursday, 7 p.m.

Last Season’s Game: On Oct. 21, 2016, Eastern traveled to Newington and dropped a tough 27-7 decision.

All-Time Series: This is the 31st all-time showdown between the long time CCC South divisional rivals. The Indians hold a slim 17-13 lead in the series.

Last Win against Newington: Eastern last defeated Newington in 2010. On Oct. 16, 2010, the Lancers turned away the Indians 33-20 from the grounds of Newington high school.

Last Week: Bristol Eastern dropped a tough 34-7 decision at Maloney while Newington fell for the first time this season, losing to Platt 36-14.

Casual facts…Eastern is finally back home and it’s Thursday, not Friday, night lights. Hey, whatever it takes to get a little home cooking…Newington has scoring punch and Eastern’s defense must do exactly what Platt did last week to slow the offense down…The Indians have some big play-making ability, such as the play of CJ Caldwell who turned an opening game kickoff into six points against the Panthers. It’s that kind of tomfoolery the Lancers must control from the onset of the showdown…Senior Aveontae Frazier could be a handful in the Newington running schemes while quarterback Roberto Sanchez will make connections from time to time…The injury bug slammed the Lancers at Maloney last week as Matt D’Amato and Bryce Curtin were knocked out of the game while QB Justin Marshall got his bell rung but eventually walked back to the Eastern sidelines. Without any real depth, those players are critical for the Newington tilt…Eastern showed a little more chemistry in its running game while Marshall just missed out on a 100 yard throwing game for the third straight week (7-of-14, 93 yards)…Don’t be fooled by the 34-points Maloney scored last week against BE. The defense, led by Trinidad Gonzalez, made big stops throughout the game…If Eastern can stay away from giving up the big play, the Lancers have more than a chance in this one.

And the winner is…On opening night at BEHS, the Lancers zip up a 21-14 win.

 

St. Paul (3-0) at Derby (0-2); Naugatuck Valley League, Copper Division engagement

Location: For the last time this year, Deflippo Field at the Ryan Athletic Complex

Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last Season’s Game: On Sept. 30, 2016, St. Paul Catholic won its third game of the season in a row, turning away the Red Raiders 36-13 from McPhee Field in Bristol.

All-Time Series: The Falcons and Red Raiders have squared off in some classic NVL battles. This will be the ninth showdown between the squads with Derby holding a 5-3 advantage.

Last Week: St. Paul Catholic defeated Watertown 46-32 while Derby had a “bye” week.

Series Fact: Before last season’s victory, Derby had won five straight contests against St. Paul Catholic – winning four of those five games by scoring 46 or more points.

Casual facts…There’s been some truly high scoring games between the two squads over the years and why would installment number nine of this series be any different?…The problem will be that St. Paul will simply be too overwhelming to overcome, at least offensively…So far this season, the Falcons have scored 38, 36 and 46 points and Derby’s defense will probably struggle with that wishbone offense as well…Tip your cap to the St. Paul offensive line because once those blocks and seams are made, the rushing yards pile up in a hurry…The likes of Joey Aiello, Dom Aiello, Ryan Parent, Kevin Charles, and Eric Langland – to name just a few – make up part of that outstanding line…When you’re pushing up nearly 350 yards in offense, that’s mission accomplished…The Falcons even made a 27 yard pass for a touchdown against Watertown!…And then with a slew of rushers: Chris Dionne, Kevin Ashworth, Damiem Rabis, and Connor Bogdanski in the mix, forget about it…How does Derby combat that kind of onslaught?…The Red Raiders will run with the ball as junior Tom Abel and senior Zaire Flowers are the major threats…Abel has passing ability along with senior Chris Oliwa…Derby can put points on the board but don’t expect the explosion from the Red Raiders from previous years…The Falcons go to 4-0 with a HUGE Week 5 challenge ahead.

And the winner is…The Falcons win this encounter behind a 48-24 effort.

Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver.com.