Bristol football teams looking for more consistent success after bye weeks

Published on Sunday, 17 October 2021 21:00
Written by TYLER HETU and MATT HORNICK

@TheTylerHetu and @MNHornick

Last week, the Bristol-area football teams entered their bye week, getting a week off before starting the second half of their schedules.

Bristol Central is the only local team with a winning record to this point, but Bristol Eastern and St. Paul definitely proved they can challenge teams and add more wins to their records before the season ends. The Rams remain focused on securing a playoff spot in Class L and will look to win out in its last five games to ensure a shot at a state championship.

Here's how area teams look through the midway point of October.

BRISTOL EASTERN

Record: 2-3

Verdict: The Lancers are couple bad breaks and lapses in execution away from having a winning record at the midway point in their season. Turnovers after crossing the 50-yard-line and a penchant for allowing big plays to opposing offenses sent Eastern into its bye week on a three-game losing streak.

One area where the Lancers are not struggling is the running game. Alex Marshall has 980 rushing yards in five games this season along with nine touchdowns. Marshall is the focal point of this offense and proves why on a weekly basis, taking more than 20 carries per game and bruising through defenses. Aside from red-zone fumbles in the past two games, he has done everything the Eastern coaching staff asked of him and more.

The Lancers’ defense proved it can control the line of scrimmage early this season and challenged its opponents to move the ball consistently. However, when they were beat on a play, it was often for large gains and touchdowns at inopportune times that distort how well the unit played the rest of the time. The defense is yet to allow more than 28 points in a game and if it tightens up a few loose ends they will hold teams to much less than that and put Eastern into prime position to win.

The Lancers faced injuries to key players in the first half of their schedule and will hope to have them closer to returning for their final five games. Depth has been an issue for the team this season so getting those players back will help replenish an already thin bench. They open the second half of their season against East Catholic (1-4) on Thursday.

BRISTOL CENTRAL

Record: 4-1

Verdict: Bristol Central's season has been a product of its high-caliber athletes going to work. The most common name among the group is UConn commit Victor Rosa, who leads the state of Connecticut in rushing yards and is the only player state-wide over 1,000. Rosa's ability to generate a scoring chance from anywhere he wants on the field is dangerous, and being able to connect on the pass to Damion Glasper has been a change of pace from Rosa or Justin Despins carrying the ball.

The offense is potent, we know that, and could talk about it for another 1,000 words. The attention Rosa has received is close to a national level, and his final season continues to make him a virtual lock for Central High School athletics immortality. His offensive line has been strong, and the talent around him often gets overlooked but is equally as important to the success of Central this season as Rosa.

But what about the defense? A game-ending defensive stand last time out against Hartford Public kept it off the board in a 52-48 win for the Rams, and the offense has done enough to outscore the opponent when needed, but can it hold? That's something we're going to have to wait and see, but the guys are battle tested and head coach Jeff Papazian is smart and knows where to play his two-way guys to the team's benefit.

Papazian said his guys have yet to play a full four quarter game, and will keep looking to do so in a quest for the Class L postseason. They've got some good team's coming up on the schedule.

ST. PAUL

Record: 2-2

Verdict: St. Paul has been on both ends of the spectrum this season, getting blown out by Naugatuck 54-6 and winning handily over Derby 30-14. The wins for the Falcons don't hold too much weight due to both teams (Derby and Wilby) being a combined 1-8 this season.

Is St. Paul better than the numbers point to? Maybe. But right now it's hard to compare and contrast with other teams.

Stats for St. Paul's players and season were unavailable as of Sunday, so for now, I don't really know how good St. Paul is playing beyond the record.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern, St. Paul on Sunday, 17 October 2021 21:00. Updated: Sunday, 17 October 2021 21:02.