By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – It’s almost time for the bye week in scholastic football and the goal for all three squads in town is to go into the extended break on a winning note.
And put simply, a couple heavy hitters stand in the way of the locals this Friday.
Bristol Central takes its crack at undefeated Middletown; Farmington travels to Bristol Eastern in a contest that will see one of the squads earn its first victory of the season; while St. Paul Catholic puts its undefeated streak on the line at home versus Torrington.
It’s a busy Friday night and here’s what to expect in local action:
Bristol Central (3-1) at Middletown (4-0); CCC Division II West vs. East battle
Location: from Middletown high school
Day and Time: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Last Season: The teams did not play against each other in 2016.
All-Times Series: This is Central’s 10th all-time clash against Middletown. Overall, the Blue Dragons hold a 6-3 advantage in the series.
Last Week: The Rams fell to Maloney 34-7 while Middletown blanked Farmington 41-0.
Casual Facts: Central got blitzed against Maloney last week in the squad’s worst showing of the season…Something tells me this week will be a lot better…Central has shown a willingness to rise to the occasion but that ability did not show up last week in Meriden…Against the Spartans, Central made some good stops but simply not enough of them…Rams’ QB Dathan Hickey was busy against Maloney, snaring 183 total yards in offense and a touchdown. Central will need more of the same from the talented jack-of-all-trade player who clearly has the speed to give the Middletown defense fits…When Bristol Eastern threw the ball against Middletown during Week 2, the Bristol squad had some success so maybe the Hickey can mix in a little more play action than normal…The Rams must be wary of Middletown quarterback Stone Belzo (7-of-9, 114 yards versus Farmington) because he is legit and can either pass the ball and run it into the end zone himself…Other Middletown weapons include DeAaron Lawrence (5 catches, 66 yards), and back Xzavier Reyes (13 carries, 88 yards)…The Blue Dragons defense is top-notched and something to be contended with.
And the winner is…Central has the speed to match Middletown but in the end, the Blue Dragons sneak out a 35-14 win.
Bristol Eastern (1-3) vs. Farmington (0-4); CCC Division II West versus East clash
Location: from Alumni Field on the campus of Bristol Eastern
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season’s Game: Eastern started off the game with zest at Farmington last year on Sept. 16 but dropped a tough 49-13 decision in Farmington.
All-Time Series: The showdown marks the seventh all-time meeting between the two schools and the Indians lead the series, 5-1.
Last Win against Farmington: Eastern’s only victory against Farmington came back on Nov. 7, 2014 when the Lancers topped the squad 29-6 from the grounds of BEHS.
Last Week: Bristol Eastern won at home to Newington 9-7 while Farmington fell to undefeated Middletown 41-0.
Casual facts…The Lancers went to the pay window for the first time since 2015 with that two-point victory over Newington, the Lancers showed remarkable balance on offense and defense…Plus, it was Eastern’s first game of the year at home. Emotions were high and that fueled that amazing win…But its back to reality against winless Farmington and the Lancers must approach the game the same way as it did Newington with that same hunger and edge…Eastern scooped up over 300 yards on offense against Newington and back Ariza Kolloverja destroyed all his previous running totals. He ran for more yards against the Indians (29 carries, 172 yards) than he did all year last season (59 carries, 160 yards). He jukes, he drives, and yes, some of those moves led to lost yardage but when he found a hole – or even made one of his own – he was off to the races…Eastern mixed in just enough play action to keep Newington guessing and out of whack…And then for 37-plus minutes after Newington scored its only touchdown of the game, the Eastern defense held the squad scoreless …Credit Tyler Mason, Trinidad Gonzalez, Andrew Consalvo, David Tyminski, Edgar Santiago Jr, Rajon Collins, Jaden Laprise, Elijah Gagliardo, Justin Marshall (6-of-10 passing, 104 yards, TD), and Kolloverja…And that touchdown catch by Laprise, what an amazing grab…And don’t forget the 22-yard field goal from John McPhee to close out the first half…That was a total team effort which will be needed against Farmington…The Indians were simply blitzed by Middletown last week, holding the squad to just 34 total yards overall…Farmington has scored just 27 points this season while allowing 40-plus in three out of it’s four losses…The Lancers have just generated 23 points overall this season but it looks like the offense has turned the corner.
And the winner is…In the Lancers’ second home game at BEHS this year, the Lancers zip up a 21-14 win.
St. Paul (4-0) vs. Torrington (1-3); Naugatuck Valley League, Copper vs. Iron Division engagement
Location: McPhee Field, from the campus of St. Paul Catholic high school
Day and Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Season’s Game: On Oct. 7, St. Paul Catholic turned away the Raiders 26-14 from Bristol.
All-Time NVL Series: Since the Falcons joined the NVL in 2009, the squad has played Torrington every year since. This confrontation marks the ninth overall meeting between the teams and the series is all tied up at 4-4. The Falcons have won three of the last four meetings.
Last Week: St. Paul Catholic defeated Derby 42-34 while Torrington fell to Ansonia 62-6.
Series Fact: During the last showdown between the squads from St. Paul Catholic High School, the contest went into overtime as the Falcons dropped a heartbreaking 46-38 decision on Nov. 13 in Bristol. The series also saw a ridiculous game on Oct. 7, 2011 when the Raiders ran up the score, defeating the Falcons 80-39 in a very heated game.
Casual facts…There’s a growing feeling that St. Paul Catholic is going to finish the season as a state tournament participant but one game at a time…The Falcons’ ground assault hasn’t been slowed down to date and against Derby, in another high scoring affair, that rushing game was on full display…Overall, St. Paul Catholic gobbled up 560 yards on offense as that wishbone gave the Derby squad fits though the locals trailed midway through things…All the usuals were in action for the Falcons: Damien Rabis, Connor Bogdanski, and company were up to the task against Derby – a very scrappy outfit – who didn’t stop competing until the final horn sounded…Against Ansonia last week, Torrington didn’t have many answers and lost by 56 points…Back Dylan Myrie (11 carried, 77 yards vs. Ansonia) can move the ball while there’s not much of a throwing component…If the Falcons’ defense is ready to go, St. Paul Catholic will move to 5-0 halfway through the campaign.
And the winner is…St. Paul Catholic picks up the win, taking out Torrington 40-21.