When: Friday, 7 pm
Where: Phil Rubin Stadium at Bloomfield High School
Records (2019): BC 5-5, Bloomfield 12-1, CIAC Class S runner up
Last Meeting: Bloomfield 52, Central 43 in 2008
The Series: Bloomfield leads 2-1
The Skinny: The Warhawks are perennial Class S championship contenders, but he CCC realignment has moved them up to Tier III where they will face a more challenging schedule than the one that they ran to 12 straight victories two years ago. Bloomfield is in a rebuilding phase but still brings good size and plenty athleticism and will be a stiff opening day challenge for a Bristol Central teams that has one of the state’s offensive threats in quarterback Victor Rosa.
Dave Greenleaf’s prediction: Bristol Central 38, Bloomfield 30.
After two years off the gridiron, the Bristol Central football team opens its season the road tonight against one of the toughest opponents on the 2021 schedule. The Rams travel to Bloomfield to take on the perennial Class S playoff contenders in a 7 pm start.
The two schools have not met in football since 2008 when the Warhawks outdueled the Rams by a 52-43 score in a game that remains one of the highest scoring games in terms of total points scored in Bristol Central history.
Bloomfield ran through its CCC schedule two years ago with a series of lopsided wins behind all everything quarterback Daron Bryden. The Warhawks won 12 straight before losing in the final to Sheehan. But Bryden is gone after etching his name into the state record book in just three seasons, and the Warhawks have a lot of new people on both sides of the ball. Despite all the new faces, Bloomfield is the second highest ranked CCC team in the latest state football poll behind only no. 7 Southington. The Warhawks are the first CCC team listed in the also receiving votes category.
“Obviously we don’t know much about them at this point,” said Central coach Jeff Papazian. “We were able to see one scrimmage on film. They have real good size up front and they are very athletic at the skill positions. They had two quarterbacks that played in the scrimmage and we’ll have to be ready for both of them. They had a good running back who also played very hard on defense.
“One scrimmage is really not a lot to go on,” he added. “We haven’t played them in the 13 years I’ve been here and we don’t have a lot to go on from the film of the scrimmage. You never know how much of a scrimmage is real and how much of it is just for show knowing that we will be looking at the film. We just have to be ready for whatever they throw at us.”
“Week one is always a challenge,” the coach said, “and moreso after not playing in two years. We have to think about not making unforced errors – turnovers, penalties and the like – and go into the game with a real strong group mentality. We have to avoid the mistakes that are controllable for us.”
Much of the focus for the Rams tonight will be on the front lines. “Our guys up front will have to play really hard against some pretty big and strong guys,” Papazian said. “Defensively Johnny Rios and Jon Gomez will be key on the line.”
The offensive line will be anchored by two-year starter Dan Lauretti and Malachi Jones at the guard slots along with center Mike Thaxter and big tackles in 6-8 Julius Powell and 6-5 Jaden Goulbourne. UConn bound senior quarterback Victor Rosa will lead the offense for the Rams.
“If we can win some of those battles up front our skill guys don’t need a lot of room to turn it into an opportunity,” Papazian said. “We have the guys who can take those creases and turn it into something. It doesn’t take much to spring them loose.”
The matchup features two teams that both have playoff hopes and the opening day test will go a long way in determining how the rest of the season goes for both teams.