Some epic cross-town football

By MICHAEL LETENDRE

STAFF WRITER

BRISTOL – There isn’t anything like scholastic football to start off a Thanksgiving weekend.

And the cross-town battles between the Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern programs have always been epic in nature.

True, the Rams hold a decisive edge in series play but as numerous players, coaches, and spectators can attest to about Thanksgiving scholastic football in town is the only thing for certain about the BC/BE clash is that nothing’s for certain.

Here’s a quick look back at past games in this simply remarkable rivalry between the two public schools in town:

Battle of the Bell – A Quick History:

1959 — Bristol Central, 14-0 – Rams’ co-captain Jim Nocera scored both touchdowns to lead Central to victory.

1960 — Bristol Central, 20-0 – Central out-gained Eastern on the ground, 182 to 55, as the Rams shutout the Lancers.

1961 — Bristol Central, 20-0 – The Rams zipped up 251 rushing yards as Central, once again, blanked Eastern by the same score from the previous season.

1962 — Tie, 6-6 – Played a couple days after Thanksgiving, Eastern led 6-0 (Dave Emonds nabbed a 17 yard touchdown pass from Joe Galiette to give the Lancers an early lead) going into the final minute of play but Central’s Bill Kelley made a three yard rush into the end zone to knot it up at 6-6, forcing Thanksgiving’s first ever draw and the Lancers first non-loss.

1963 — Bristol Eastern, 16-0 – At last, the Lancers beats the Rams. Gordon Sargent took the opening kickoff for 79 yards and a touchdown to quickly put the game out of reach. Co-captain Mike Morin, a future Eastern assistant football coach, aided the team to victory.

1964 — Bristol Eastern, 21-0 – Playing in only three games that year, Jon Petke made two touchdown jaunts of 75 and 80 yards as the Lancers defeated Central on Thanksgiving for the second straight year. It was Eastern’s only victory of the campaign.

1965 — Bristol Eastern, 14-0 – The season series between the schools was knotted up at 3-3-1 as a result of the shutout victory. Terry Della Vecchia (10-yard run) and Keith Ronalter (11-yard run) each rushed in touchdowns for Eastern. It was the Lancers’ first ever winning season (5-4).

1966 — Bristol Eastern, 20-13 – In a rare feat in Thanksgiving Day play, Eastern took the series lead away from Central. It was all ‘done’ by Mark Dunn (three touchdowns rushes of 76, 7 and 11 yards) as the Lancers won it by a touchdown.

1967 — Bristol Central, 8-0 – Central turned away Eastern behind Walt Kozikowski’s six-yard chuck to Hal Herold with 59 seconds remaining in the contest as the Rams won it by eight points. Central defeated Eastern for the first time since 1961.

1968 — Bristol Eastern, 20-13 – Eastern won the first of three consecutive Thanksgiving Day games as Kevin Byrnes scored the go-ahead points on a 19 yard touchdown run to propel the Lancers to victory.

1969 — Bristol Eastern, 27-6 – The Lancers totaled 350 total yards of offense, 227 of it from the air, as Eastern QB Dennis Schermerhorn threw a Thanksgiving day record three touchdowns (two to Al Johnston of 16 and five yards) in the 21-point romp.

1970 — Bristol Eastern, 32-22 – Against Central, Schermerhorn made 16 completions over 28 attempts for 308 total yards and another three touchdowns for the Thanksgiving Day win. Overall, Eastern zipped up nearly 480 yards of total offense.

1971 — Bristol Central, 34-0 – Central took back the series as just under ten turnovers by the Lancers doomed the squad. The Rams’ Paul Castolene zipped in four rushing touchdowns (45, 7, 1, 4 yards) in the winning effort during another delayed battle between the schools.

1972 — Bristol Central, 16-12 – The Rams scooped up over 400 yards in total offense and the Lancers allowed Central two quick scores to ice the contest. Central’s 7-2 overall record that year was then the best single season record in program history.

1973 — Bristol Eastern, 7-0 – Frank Sanders zipped in the only score of the day, an 84-yard touchdown kickoff return, as Eastern came away with the shutout victory.

1974 — Bristol Eastern, 7-6 – The Rams tallied over 250 yards in offense while Eastern barely had 100 but in the end, Dan Jenkins caught a punt, handed it off to Francis Richardson and his 55 yard touchdown dash was the ultimate difference in the game, leading the Lancers to the Colonial Conference championship in an amazing one-point triumph.

1975 — Bristol Central, 19-0 – Central, putting together a remarkable stretch of Thanksgiving success, won the first of ten straight games against Eastern. In this one, Brian Godbout rushed in two touchdowns (Nine and 2-yard touchdown rushes) to propel Central to its first Colonial Conference Championship ever and a shutout victory over Eastern.

1976 — Bristol Central, 20-6 – Central’s Jeff Thomas ran one in for a two-yard touchdown while also punching in a 30-yard TD interception for a score as the Rams won once again. Garry Pearson scored on a two-yard rush for Eastern (he’d later transfer to Bristol Central) in the fourth quarter of play.

1977 — Bristol Central, 24-21 – Gaining its third consecutive Colonial Conference championship, the Rams took the Turkey Day game as QB Joe DeFillippi scored the winning touchdown for Central. His one yard score opened the final period of play to unsure Central’s victory.

1978 — Bristol Central, 22-6 – Pearson scored all three of Central’s touchdowns (17, 12 and five yard ) in the Thanksgiving Day game, taking advantage of eight Eastern turnovers. After attending both public high schools in Bristol, Pearson tallied over 2,000 rushing yards on the season and more than 5,000 for his career.

1979 — Bristol Central, 8-6 – Billy Parks’ one yard TD jaunt along with a two-point conversion on a Karl Hall offering to Dean Varano with 3:04 remaining in the contest propelled the Rams to another hard-fought victory. The Lancers gave up just 42 points all season long, the second-best defense in the state that year (in terms of points allowed per game).

1980 — Bristol Central, 12-0 – Once again, Parks was involved in the scoring and made a 10-yard TD rush while Vin Jennetta picked off a pass by Eastern’s fill-in QB Mike Tucker (9-of-20, 143 yards) for a 48-yard touchdown as Central won it again. The Lancers’ 8-2 record was the best in school history to that point but the program knocked out of playoff contention in the losing effort.

1981 — Bristol Central, 13-8 – Eastern, again, is knocked out of the playoff picture as Parks made touchdown rushes of five and 55 yards to propel Central to the victory. The Lancers would have played Newtown in the state tournament with a Thanksgiving Day win, losing instead by just five points.

1982 — Bristol Central, 18-13 – Eastern netted the first points in the game (Brian Rooney scored off a 57-yard run), scooped up more than 400 total yards of offense but lost by five in the end. Gregg Vontell made scoring runs of 87, 80 and 24 yards, gaining 235 yards on 20 carries. Central won its eighth consecutive T-Day game over the Lancers.

1983 — Bristol Central, 6-0 – Once again, the Rams defeat the Lancers by a touchdown. Central quarterback Mike Carlson scored 6:48 into the contest on a one-yard sprint into the goal. It was the final Colonial Conference showdown between the schools as both teams joined up with the Central Connecticut Conference the following year.

1984 — Bristol Central, 33-8 – Gerry Ouellette paced the Rams with 189 yards on 18 carries and Central soundly defeated Eastern once again. Overall, all the rushers for the Rams combined for 338 total yards.

1985 — Bristol Eastern, 14-8 – ‘Yes, We Can’ was the phrase Eastern cried as Mike Minella hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Julio Maisonet, leading to a six-point victory. The Lancers’ 14-0 cushion in the second half held and it was Eastern’s first win over Central since 1974. The contest was postponed and eventually played at night because of the weather.

1986 — Bristol Central, 31-0 – Central quarterback Steve Lowe collected 79 yards on 15 carries for two touchdowns in the winning effort by the Rams.

1987 — Bristol Central, 22-0 – On the cusp of a Class MM berth, Central blanked Eastern as Kiernan Thurston run 30 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns to propel the Rams to the Class MM championship game. Central lost that title game to Middletown, 27-0.

1988 — Bristol Eastern, 14-12 – The Class MM champs slipped past Central by two. On a Central fumble, Eastern’s Craig Ciquera netted a two-yard rushing touchdown to put the Lancers up for good (14-8) with 7:00 left in the first half. And then in the Class MM title showdown, Eastern defeated South Windsor 22-19 for the programs only state championship.

1989 — Bristol Central, 20-13 – In a game that truly should have dubbed “Thanksgiving Bogus Bowl”, Central’s Ken Fort burst free for 168 yards on 20 carries as the Rams won the contest in controversial fashion, 20-13. In the school’s student handbooks, two different eligibility requirements forced critical Eastern players (three in all) to sit out the showdown while Fort from Central – who might 36 carries.

Longest punt return – 64, Ron Davis (Bristol Central), 2000

– Eastern’s Mel Davis dropped a tremendous 40-yard punt and Ronny Davis ran it in for a TD

Longest return of interception – 95, Jere Merriam (Bristol Central), 1984

Merriam nabbed a pass by Eastern’s Julio Maisonet and ran it in for the game’s third score of the day.

Best pass percentage – 87.5 percent, Mike Hannon (Bristol Eastern), 1964

– Hannon connected on 7-of-8 passes for 87 yards in the 21-0 victory over Central

Most pass completions – 20, Matt Coyne (Bristol Central), 2007

– Coyne made 38 attempts that day but the Rams still lost 42-14

Most carries – 43, Jeff Castolene (Bristol Central), 1971

– Castolene zipped in 153 yards and four TD’s; he had 1,223 yards on the year and 10 touchdowns

Longest punt – 60, Gene Mitchell (Bristol Central), 1981

For the day, the Rams averaged 44 yards-per-punt in the 13-8 triumph over Eastern

Best punt average – 4-for-50, Dave Cichon (Bristol Eastern), 1965

– Cichon zipped out kicks of 46, 55, 57 and 42 yards (which adds up to 50 yards-per-punt)

Most extra points – 6, Chris Hazelton (Bristol Eastern), 2007

– The soon to be Southern Connecticut University kicker went 6-for-6 on the day for the Lancers

Most field goals – 1, Bill Woods (Bristol Eastern), 1996, Jeremy Meccariello (Bristol Eastern), 2012

– The Woods field goal was a 22-yard make and the first in Turkey Day history while Meccariello’s boot was a 25-yard shot and the longest Thanksgiving make ever in Bristol annals.

Longest field goal – 25, Jeremy Meccariello (Bristol Eastern), 2012

– In 2013, Meccariello was a perfect 3-of-3 on field goals on the season for the Lancers.

Most interceptions – 3, Gordon Sargent (Bristol Eastern), 1963

– He also ran in a 79-yard kickoff return for a score as Eastern won by a 14-0 tally

 

Thanksgiving Game Day Records: Single Game

Most points – 46 (Bristol Eastern), 2009; Tyrell Holmes scored 18 points in the second half

Most first downs – 20 (Central), 1972, 2005; In 2005, Matt Coyne and Dustin Tucker moved the ball with zest.

Most yards rushing – 411 (Eastern), 1998; Soto ran for 137 yards; Pat Brookman nabbed 139; Ryan Forcier added 96

Most yards passing – 308 (Bristol Eastern), 1970; That was all from QB Dennis Schermerhorn

Most total yards – 463 (Bristol Eastern), 1970; Not counting Schermerhorn’s throwing yardage, BE ran for 155 yards.

Most pass attempts – 38 (Bristol Central), 2007; Matt Coyne connected on 20 of those passes

Most pass completions – 20 (Bristol Central), 2007; Coyne passed for a BC record 2,516 yards that season.

Most yards penalized – 187 (Bristol Eastern), 2014. Easily surpassed the 122 yards the Lancers piled up in 2011. However, Eastern won the showdown 20-18.

Most fumbles – 10 (Eastern), 2006; Miserable day (pouring rain) saw the teams finish in a 14-14 stalemate as the passing game was brought to a halt.

Most fumbles lost – 6 (Bristol Central), 1996; In all, the Rams made a total of nine fumbles

Most QB sacks – 6 (Central), 1992; Eastern (0-10) stayed winless; Jude Hinrichs was sacked for 42 total yards in losses.

Most safeties – 2, Bristol Eastern, 2015; The Lancers lost the game 12-4 and could not add any additional points on the two free kicks by the Rams.

Highest punt average* – 50.0 (Bristol Eastern), 1965; Dave Cichon punted for 200 yards in the game

Fewest first downs – 2 (Eastern), 1959, 1993; In 1993, BE rushed for only 13 total yards in the game

Fewest yards rushing – (-66, Eastern), 2016; Eastern QB Justin Marshall went down and the offense followed.

Fewest yards passing – (-1, Central), 1975; Central still won 19-0; BC’s defense held BE to only 109 total yards of offense.

Fewest total yards – (-30, Eastern), 2016; Eastern QB Justin Marshall hurt his shoulder and the Lancers’ offense struggled from there.

Fewest pass attempts – Bristol Central: 1, 1960

Fewest pass attempts – Bristol Eastern: 2, 1994, 1998

Fewest pass completions – Bristol Central: 0, 1959, 1976, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1993, 2013, 2016

Fewest pass completions – Bristol Eastern – 0, 1994, 1998, 2003

Fewest yards penalized (against) – Bristol Central – 5, 1970

Fewest yards penalized (against) – Bristol Eastern – 5, 2001

Most consecutive scoreless periods – 18 (Bristol Eastern), 2001-2005

Most consecutive scoring periods – 15 (Bristol Central), 1998-2002

Most shutouts – 17 (Bristol Central), 1959, 1960, 1961, 1967, 1971, 1975, 1980, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004

Fewest shutouts – 5 (Bristol Eastern), 1963, 1964, 1965, 1973, 2010

 

Thanksgiving Game Day Records: Combined Team

Most points by both teams – 62, 2008

*Eastern won the contest 34-28

Most rushing yards by both teams – 567, 1998

Most passing yards by both teams – 452, 1970

*Central’s Vic Luboyeski nailed 8-of-15 passes for 144 total yards; Schermerhorn threw for 308.

Most total yards by both teams – 743, 2007

Most pass attempts by both teams – 44, 2007

Most pass completions by both teams – 25, 2007

Most interceptions by both teams – 6, 1983

Most yards penalized by both teams – 249, 2014

Most fumbles by both teams – 14, 2006

Most fumbles lost by both teams – 7, 1996

*The Lancers lost just one ball in the contest, won by Eastern 29-14

Fewest points by both teams – 6, 1983

Fewest yards rushing by both teams – 143, 1959

Fewest yards passing by both teams – 5, 1994

Fewest total yards by both teams – 162, 1959

Fewest yards penalized by both teams – 30, 2001

Fewest fumbles lost by both teams – 0, 1966, 1968, 1993, 2004

 

Thanksgiving Game Day Records: Individual Totals from Turkey Day

Most touchdowns – 12, Timmy Washington (Bristol Central) 1999-2001

*He notched three in 1999, five in 2000 and four in 2001

Most points – 80, Timmy Washington (Bristol Central), 1999-2001

*Washington scored 21 in 1999, added 31 in 2000 and zipped in 28 during the 2001 contest

Most touchdown passes – 6, Dennis Schermerhorn (Bristol Eastern), 1969-70

*Schermerhorn threw for three touchdowns in 1969 (two were caught by Al Johnston and one was thrown to Frank White) while chucking another three in 1970 (Lou Miller, Rick Schmaltz and Rich Lindquist all made touchdown receptions) for a total of 535 passing yards over those two Turkey Day games.

 

Thanksgiving Day – 100-YARD RUSHING GAMES (yards-per-carry)

Tim Washington (BC), 353 on 41 carries (8.6 yards-per-carry), 2000

Tim Washington (BC), 242 on 22 carries (11.0), 2001

Micah Zabel (BC), 237 on 25 carries (9.5), 1992

Gregg Vontell (BC), 235 on 20 carries (11.8), 1982

Luis Medina (BC), 233 on 27 carries (8.6.), 2016

Garry Pearson (BC), 230 on 36 carries (6.4), 1977

Gerry Ouellette (BE), 211 on 26 carries (8.1), 2013

Dylon Ouellette (BE), 208 on 18 carries (11.6), 2010

John Gagliardi (BC), 202 on 26 carries (7.7), 1994

Nick Crowley (BE), 201 on 37 carries (5.4), 2012

Gerry Ouellette (BC), 189 on 18 carries (10.5), 1984

Garry Pearson, (BC), 185 on 42 carries (4.4), 1978

Craig Capurso (BC), 183 on 29 carries (6.3), 1998

Reinaldo Soto (BE), 183 on 32 carries (5.7), 1996

Rich Godbout (BC), 182 on 42 carries (4.3), 1972

David Casanova (BE), 181 on 14 carries (12.9), 2007

Jon Petke (BE), exact yardage unavailable, 1964

Ken Fort (BC), 168 on 20 carries (8.4), 1989

Tim Washington (BC), 165 on 41 carries (4.0), 1999

Jeff Castolene (BC), 153 on 43 carries (3.6), 1971

Kiernan Thurston (BC), 146 on 21 carries (7.0), 1988

D.J. Hernandez (BC), 145 on 15 carries (9.7), 2002

Gerry Ouellette (BE), 144 on 27 carries (5.3), 2014

D.J. Hernandez (BC), 142 on 29 carries (4.9), 2003

Kiernan Thurston (BC), 142 on 30 carries (4.7), 1987

Rich Musumano (BE), 141 on 18 carries (7.8), 1984

Reinaldo Soto (BE), 137 on 20 carries (6.9), 1998

Pat Brookman (BE), 134 on 7 carries (19.1), 1998

Tim McHugh (BE), 135 on 20 carries (6.8), 1972

Billy Parks (BC), 133 on 23 carries (5.8), 1981

Brian Rooney (BE), 128 on 20 carries (6.4), 1982

D’Andre Conaway (BC), 128 on 28 carries (4.6), 2014

Steve Ziogas (BC), 126 on 18 carries (7.0), 2004

Tyler Burrow (BC), 125 on 21 carries (6.0), 2013

Noach Cruz (BC), 122 on 19 carries (6.4), 2015

Jahmil Effend, (BE), 118 on 22 carries (5.4), 2011

Dymetric Maisonet (BC), 118 on 21 carries (5.6), 2008

Dennis Hernandez (BC), 116 on 26 carries (4.5), 1973

Craig Capurso (BC), 115 on 25 carries (4.6), 1997

Reinaldo Soto (BE), 114 on 20 carries (5.7), 1997

Ralph Milano (BC), 114 on 29 carries (3.9), 1976

Breyone Evans (BC), 111 on 21 carries (5.3), 2002

Tim Gunn (BE), 109 on 13 carries (8.4), 1988

Mike Zeigler (BE), 109 on 27 carries (4.0), 2008

Brian Walker (BE), 105 on 15 carries (7.0), 2001

Dustin Tucker (BC), 102 on 20 carries (5.1), 2005

Isaiah Miller (BC), 102 on 19 carries (5.4), 2016

Pat Brookman (BE), 101 on 10 carries (10.1), 1997

*As always, the Thanksgiving Day records are available via the Bristol Central high school website.