Gridiron preview for Sept. 28

By MICHAEL LETENDRE

STAFF WRITER

Week three of the scholastic football season was another tough time for the locals with Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern, and St. Paul Catholic all playing against strong competition.

The squad from Bristol Central had offensive chances against Wethersfield but just couldn’t put points on the board in a 24-0 loss.

Bristol Eastern and St Paul Catholic earned similar fates.

But with week four upon us, questions still remain to end the month of Sept.…

Is this the week the Lancers finally get to the pay window in that special Saturday challenge against Farmington?

Do the Rams have a game-plan to tackle that slick QB duo Middletown likes to employ (plus all those speedy running backs)?

And how do the Falcons handle the onslaught that Ansonia unleashes on both sides of the ball?

It’s a busy weekend, another tough trio of games, and here’s how it all unfolds:

Bristol Central (1-2) vs. Middletown (3-0)

Location: The turf field at Bristol Central High School

Date and Time: Friday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m.

The All-Time Series: The Blue Dragons lead the all-time series 7-3.

Last Season: Back on Oct. 6, Middletown defeated Bristol Central 56-26.

Last Week: The Rams fell to Wethersfield 24-0 while Middletown downed Hartford Public 44-7.

Quick Facts: Middletown employs a two-headed monster at quarterback, about half-a-dozen backs can rush for first downs, and the kickers are pretty good. So is the Blue Dragons defense. That’s the Middletown squad in a nutshell. The words that come to mind when thinking about that squad are proficient and persistent. Central can’t afford to miss that first tackle because, with this squad’s speed, it’s truly off to the races. And both quarterbacks from Middletown bring something different to the table, making those offensive packages tough for defenses to manage. Central has athletic ability but chasing players all over the field probably isn’t a solid game-plan that night. Again, those two QBs give different looks with Jonta’e Dempsey rushing a ton and Chris Danas passing it off for first down yardage. Only after two games this year, the Blue Dragons were averaging 10 yards-a-carry as the grouping of Xzavier Reyes, Tyreece Lumpkin, DaJuan Lomotey, and Jonta’e Dempsey will beat defenders up and down the gridiron. That won’t fly tonight in Bristol. And Central had chances against Wethersfield as the squad had more first downs (13-7), throwing yards (117-14), and total yards gained (237-154) than its opponent. Missed chances and turnovers led to doom and demise against the Eagles. But against Middletown, you won’t see a ton of balls flying out of the hands of Central quarterback Justus Fitzpatrick but if he can make a connection or two with Jose Navedo, Victor Rosa, or Darrell Payton, it would move the chains a couple times and get the offense juiced. Peyton and Fitzpatrick have done the bulk of the rushing and if the o-line gives that duo a little room to operate, the Rams have a chance in this one to put points on the scoreboard. It’s a tall order either way.

Final analysis: This is a tough one, folks. Middletown is loaded but Central has the athleticism to stay with all those rushers. You tell me…

 

Bristol Eastern (0-3) at Farmington (1-2)

Location: from Farmington High School

Date and Time: Saturday, Sept. 29, 2 p.m.

The All-Time Series: Farmington leads the all-time series 5-2.

Last Week: The Indians fell at Windsor 41-0 while Eastern stumbled against Maloney 60-20.

Last Season: Back on Oct. 6, Eastern earned a 19-12 win versus Farmington from Bristol.

Quick Facts: In Farmington’s only Saturday challenge of the year, the Lancers are dealing with a squad that will blend a good mix of play action into its offensive schemes. In a week, 26-0 shutout of Newington, the Indians racked up 163 passing yards and a healthy 70 yards on the ground. Quarterback Jacob Conrad is a solid play-caller whose game is a solid 20-yards out. The junior, a lot like Eastern’s Justin Marshall, can and will make connections and you’ll see the plenty yards-after-the-catch being amassed. You can throw out those Farmington results against Windsor from last week as just about every offense is stalled out by that group’s defense. The Farmington game is kind of a gut-check game for the Lancers. This could be a highlight reel of sorts for the core of Jaden Laprise, Elijah Gagliardo, and Bryce Curtin. If that running game ever takes off, maybe Matt D’Amato and Dylan Garica (if not injured) can scoop in some yards to open things up. versus the Indians. Expect the defense to make stops as Trinidad Gonzalez, Edgar Santiago, Garcia, and crew want to get back into the win column in the worst way.

Final analysis: Eastern gets to that preverbal pay window in this one, earning 2018 victory number one.

 

St. Paul Catholic (1-2) at Ansonia (3-0)

Location: Nolan Field, Ansonia

Date and Time: Friday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.

The All-Time Series: This series is in favor of Ansonia. The Chargers are 6-0 all-time vs. the Falcons in Naugatuck Valley League play. St. Paul Catholic has scored 12 points against Ansonia over its last three encounters. In 2014, the Falcons plastered 35 points against the squad but lost by over 25.

Last Week: Ansonia drilled Oxford 45-9 on NVL Thursday night while St. Paul Catholic fell at Naugatuck 53-12 last Friday.

Last Season: The Chargers defeated the Falcons 50-0 back on Oct. 20, 2017.

Quick Facts: This Ansonia squad is having a down year? Oh? Maybe all those studs are gone but those running game is as dangerous as it ever has been and the team’s quarterback can make connections with zest. The QB, Sheldon Schuler, is an up-and-coming sophomore who doesn’t throw a lot but hits his targets. In fact, he tossed three touchdowns in the squad’s 45-9 win over Oxford. John Picheo, Shykeem Harmon, Tyler Cafaro and Javel Parker can and will run with the football. The squad is talented and strong defensively as opponents are only averaging 7.3 points-per-game against them.  St. Paul Catholic quarterback Kevin Ashworth will lead the offense once again. The squad has seen success on the ground, tallying 300 yards in the win against Watertown during Week 2 but this Bristol team, any team, is going to find getting that kind of yardage against the Chargers a very tall order. Ansonia’s Sam Rapp is a threat to run the ball and on the flip side, that o-line for the Falcons needs to make some seams for the offense to work its stuff to keep pace. This is the toughest two-game stretch (Naugatuck/Ansonia) the Falcons will contend with all year. It’s life in the NVL. Expect the Falcons to compete, play the full 48 minutes. While the end result could be a bit lopsided, it should start a chain reaction of good fortune down the road for St. Paul Catholic.

Final analysis: Ansonia goes 4-0 while the Falcons get ready for the stretch run, which should see a turnaround for the program.