By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The 20 points the Bristol Eastern football squad scored against Maloney on Friday night, Sept. 21 was easily a season high for the program.
The problem was Maloney collected triple that score and in an offensive onslaught, the Spartans flashed up a 60-20 Central Connecticut Conference Division II West victory from Alumni Field on the campus of Bristol Eastern.
The loss dropped the Lancers to 0-3 while the Spartans remained undefeated (3-0).
And after Maloney’s Freddy Hidalgo (12 carries, 151 yards, three touchdowns) finished off the squad’s first drive with a 29 yard run into the end zone to make it 7-0 less than two minutes into the game, Eastern went on the attack.
The Lancers used an 11 play drive that included nine pass attempts from quarterback Justin Marshall (10-for-24, 101 yards) and to finish the series up, the QB found Jaden Laprise (four catches, 68 yards) for a 21 TD connection and quickly, it was a 7-7 contest and the game was afoot midway through the first period.
“We did a good job on the first drive of the game,” said Eastern coach Anthony Julius. “We got a big play by Edgar [Santiago] on the fake punt [direct snap] where he was able to squeak through and get the yards that we needed. We executed really well. We ran the ball well a couple plays and we had a couple big pass plays.”
There were bright spots in the loss as Laprise and Elijah Gagliardo (three catches, 19 yards), who saw his first action go the season, were of tremendous help offensively and caught several balls.
Those were two weapons Eastern has sorely missed during the recent home stretch.
“Having Gagliardo and Laprise back on the outside was nice,” said Julius. “We kind of showed what our offense is potentially capable of.”
But the visitors scored on the ensuing drive, also utilizing 11 plays, as James Tarver slipped into the goal via a four yard runup the gut to make it 13-7 in Maloney’s favor with 2:36 left in the first.
However, it was only the first of six consecutive touchdowns Maloney tallied that evening.
In the second frame, Maloney QB Elliot Good (13-for-20, 217 yards, four TD’s) found Kamron Moreno (2-104) for a 50 yard touchdown pass and then off an Eastern turnover, Hidalgo made a 40 yard scoring dash into the goal to make it 27-7 with 8:35 left in the first half.
Then Good made three consecutive touchdown strikes as Maurice Brackett took in a 20 yard pass to score, Moreno added a quick 54 yard TD reception and to end the scoring in the second period, Good found Marquez for a 12 yard strike and with 1:44 left in the half, Maloney’s lead ballooned to 47-7.
“Defensively tonight, we just had our hands full with a bigger, stronger front that kind of pushed us around most of the night,” said Julius. “It’s kind of hard when we’re giving up 10 yards a carry on the ground to get off the field.”
At intermission, Maloney had nearly 420 yards in total offense, leading to those 47 points.
Eastern, however, showed a little second half grit as back Matt D’Amato kept the chains moving and later in the tilt, Marshall ran in an 11 yard touchdown to trim the deficit to 47-13 with 4:12 showing on the running clock.
“I thought offensively, we probably had our best night even with the points we didn’t score on the other drives,” said Julius.
Hidalgo answered with a 22 yard run that found pay dirt and entering the final period of play, Maloney’s edge grew to 54-13.
D’Amato then scored on a seven yard run with 4:38 to play, his second scholastic rushing touchdown.
He ended the game with career-high’s of 87 yards on 14 carries.
“He did a really, really nice job,” said Julius if D’Amato. “He ran the ball well, really hard in the second half especially. He had a couple nice runs in first half for us. We like all the backs we have in our backfield. He was the beneficiary of the carries tonight in the second half especially and he made the most of his opportunities.”
And to end the combined 80-point game, Maloney’s Darien Murray punched in a nine-yard score – making it a 60-20 game and leading to the Spartans perfect 3-0 ledger.
“You’ve got to tip your cap to Maloney,” said Julius. “They’re a good team. We tried to get a bunch of different fronts and things like that but they just did a nice job. For us, at times, we were in positions to make plays and we didn’t execute.”
“But the kids fought. It wasn’t a lack of effort thing. Tonight, you’ve just got to tip your cap to Maloney.”
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver.com.