CCC football fans looking at their favorite teamâ€™s schedule may notice a new wrinkle. The conference has joined with the SCC, SWC, FCIAC and ECC to form a new alliance that will give each CCC team at least one game against an out of conference opponent.
For Bristol Central, the football alliance, along with the natural changes from the CCC crossover rotation, means a significant schedule upgrade. The Rams will still take on their Division II West opponents, which include Maloney and Platt, both playoff teams a year ago, as well as Newington, Wethersfield and Bristol Eastern.
The Rams also still have Windsor, a perennial power and a Class L semifinalist last season. Central will not play Middletown this year, but the remainder of the schedule will be much tougher, with Class S teams East Catholic and Capital Prep replaced by Conard and Masuk, the new alliance opponent this season.
Central will also add E.O. Smith, a much improved squad, and RHAM, who comes in with a new coach, to the CCC crossover schedule.
â€śThe scheduleâ€™s going to be a challenge week in and week out,â€ť coach Jeff Papazian said. â€śWeâ€™ve got some new faces to deal with. Some weâ€™re a little more familiar with than others.â€ť
Central last faced Conard in 2010, well before the current coaching staff was involved, so the Chieftains will be a new challenge. The Rams have squared off against Conard 20 times over the course of their history and have managed just four wins.
This will be the first ever meeting between Central and SWC contender Masuk, an arrangement set up by the football alliance. Alliance games were created based on school size, football participation and records over the past four years. Masuk was a perennial powerhouse in the early part of this century, appearing in seven state championship games and winning twice between 1999 and 2010.
Masuk was 36-19 and Central 34-16 over the four-year period leading the alliance committee to pair the two schools who differ in enrollment by less than 50 students. Masuk was a state finalist in 2017 but has been closer to a .500 team over most of the last decade.
The Rams will also need to take on Windsor again. The game with the Warriors caps a grueling three game stretch in Weeks 2-4 when Central battles Maloney, Masuk and Windsor in succession. The Rams have not beaten Windsor since 2006 when Aaron Hernandez caught two touchdowns and a two-point conversion in a 21-20 victory.
â€śLooking up and down this schedule I see no weeks where we are going to be the prohibitive favorite,â€ť Papazian said, â€śbut I donâ€™t know that thereâ€™s any week where weâ€™re totally out of it either. Weâ€™re ready to take on whatever challenges the schedule gives us.â€ť