BRISTOL - Two weeks ago the Bristol Central football team threw a scare into unbeaten Middletown only to lose the game in the final three minutes. The Rams have had two weeks to recover from that disappointment and return to the field tonight after their bye week to take on an even more formidable opponent as No. 13 Maloney brings its offensive juggernaut to the Bristol Central turf field for a 6 p.m. start.
The Spartans will be the fourth straight CCC powerhouse on the Rams’ schedule. Bristol Central’s last four opponents including tonight’s match are a combined 14-2 on the season with both of those losses were administered by teams in that group of four.
The Rams come into the game with a 1-3 record despite hanging tough defensively against Windsor, Wethersfield and Middletown.
“(Maloney’s) going to another big challenge for us,” Bristol Central head coach Jeff Papazian said. “Even off to the start we’ve had to this season I feel, and I know the kids feel, like we’re a pretty good team. The record says differently, but personally I like the challenge of playing the Windsors and Middletowns and Maloneys. We prepare a lot for the season and you want to test yourself against the best.”
Maloney has outscored its opponents by 164-65 in four games. But except for their opening day last minute win over Windsor, the Spartans have not faced an opponent with a winning record. Maloney has an offensive arsenal fueled by quarterback Elliott Good who has connected with wide receivers Victor Marquez and Maurice Brackett for a good chunk of the scoring thus far this season.
The Rams, who have been victimized by the big play offense in each of their three losses, will need to step it up tonight to hold the Maloney attack in check. Bristol Central did just that against Middletown in its last game until the Blue Dragons broke the game open with two long scores in the closing minutes.
The bye week last week has given the Rams a chance to work on fixing some of those problems. “The extra week gave us a chance to get back to fundamentals and clean up some of those things that have hurt us in critical situations during those first four games,” Papazian said. “The extra week has helped us. We’ve had a chance to get us some fresh legs and try to work out some things.”
“We know that Maloney is another good team coming into our place,” the coach added. “On both sides of the ball they are very big and those big guys can play. They’re good and they’re fast. And their skill guys are pretty impressive too. The quarterback’s a really good player and he has been given plenty of time to throw. We are going to have our hands full defensively.”
Bristol Central’s offense has been able to move the ball at times this season, but has had trouble getting into the end zone. The Rams have scored just 70 points in four games, one of the lowest point totals in the CCC. Against Middletown, Bristol Central managed just one touchdown and a safety despite holding a big territorial edge for all but the closing minutes
“It’s going to be big challenge,” Papazian said. “But we played Windsor real tough. We played a great 45 minute game against Middletown. The kids are working hard and playing hard. We have to keep believing we are a good team and go out and get the job done.”