Bristol Central outlasts Tolland in record-setting night

Published on Friday, 22 October 2021 23:39


It was a record setting evening on the Bristol Central gridiron Friday as the Rams outlasted Tolland 68-50 in an offensive showcase. Victor Rosa rushed for 406 yards and eight touchdowns to lead the Rams to the highest scoring point total in school history as they improved to 5-1.

For the second game in a row, there was no sign of any defense being played by either team. The Eagles, like most of the Rams’ opponents this year, could not stop Rosa. But the Rams were unable to contain scrambling Tolland quarterback Nathan Bowes who completed 17 of 37 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for three more as the teams combined for a BC school record 118 points.

Rosa’s eight touchdowns is a Bristol Central single game record, topping the seven set by Bristol Hall of Famer Karl Hall against Pulaski in 1977. His 406 yards rushing is third all time for the Rams and the 18th best in state history. Tim Washington had two games of more than 400 yards in his illustrious career with the Rams at the turn of the century.

The 68 points scored tops Central previous high of 67 scored in a 67-13 win over St. Paul in 1984. The combined point total of 118 tops the record of 101 in a 52-49 loss to Southington in 2001. 

Rosa’s 94 yard run from scrimmage for a first quarter touchdown is also believed to be a record, but the school does not keep the records to confirm. Veteran observers were able to remember kick returns and interception returns of 95 or more, but no runs from scrimmage.

The Rams took control of the game early, jumping out to a 16-0 lead after four minutes, but then had to battle down the stretch as the Eagles recovered two late onside kicks to keep the game close until the final two minutes when Central closed it out with a time consuming drive after Tolland had cut the gap to 10 points with 7:45 remaining.

Central forced punts on the first two Tolland possessions and converted them both to quick scores. A 46 yard run by Tre Blair and a 30-yard Rosa touchdown was all the Rams needed in their first drive. After being pinned at their own six on the second Tolland punt, the Rams took just one play as Rosa found a seam and raced down the sideline for 94 yards and the score.

The teams traded touchdowns for most of the rest of the game as neither was able to come up with a big stop. With quarterback Nathan Bowes able to scramble and elude tackles all night long, The Eagles converted several big fourth downs to keep drives alive, while the Rams, led by Rosa and Blair, chewed up big chunks of yardage on the ground.

Central led 38-22 at the half after a high scoring second quarter. Rosa scored two touchdowns and Blair came up with a big run for a score in the period. Bowes countered with a couple of big runs of his own to keep the Eagles close.

It took Central one play to score after receiving the second half kickoff as Rosa broke another long run, this one for 64 yards to go up 46-22. But Tolland came right back with a quick three play drive of their own to stay in the hunt.   

After Rosa scored again to make it 54-30, the Eagles battled back with a touchdown run by Blake Alexander. They then recovered an onside kick and scored on a quick 50-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Tybor to cut the Central lead to 54-44 after three periods.

It was 60-50 with 7:45 left when the Eagles came up with their second onside kick recovery. However, this time the Rams were able to make a defensive stand, forcing a turnover on downs. That was followed by Central’s longest drive of the night, a seven-play march capped by Rosa’s eighth touchdown of the night.  That drive brought the clock down to 2:12 and doomed the Eagles to desperation on their final series, a series that ended with Bowes completing a pass to tackle Richard Redler behind the line of scrimmage for a 16-yard loss on fourth down.

“I’m never going to apologize for winning a game,” said Central coach Jeff Papazian, “It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take it. We made it a lot tougher on ourselves than it should have been but we’re coming out of here at 5-1 and that’s what we wanted to do.”

“We need to be able to play a much more complete football game than what we showed tonight,” said Papazian, “and until we do that we’re going to get caught in a lot of back and forth games like we had tonight. It’s a dangerous situation and we can get burned eventually if we don’t get things cleaned up.”

Rosa was the clear offensive leader for the Rams on Friday, but he had some good support in the backfield in Blair and Glasper. Blair had his first career 100-yard game with 107 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Glasper rushed for 20 yards and caught a pair of passes for 23 more as the Rams racked up 567 yards in total offense. He had a touchdown called back on a penalty, one of three scores nullified for the Rams on Friday

Bowes had a career day for the Eagles as he connected with nine different receivers for his 209 yards. He was an elusive runner all night long as he made the Rams miss tackles while he waited for receivers to get open.

There was only one turnover in the game and that came after one of Bowes passes bounced off a fallen receiver and ricocheted into the hands of Blair who returned it 40 yards to the Tolland 21, setting up one of Rosa’s fourth quarter scores.

The Rams will have a short week this week as they prepare to travel to Storrs to take on E.O. Smith in a rare Thursday evening match.

Bristol Central 68, Tolland 50

At Bristol Central

Tolland           7  15  22   6  - 50

Bristol Central    16  22  16  14 – 68

1st Quarter

BC – Victor Rosa, 30 run (Damion Glasper pass from Rosa), 9:47

BC – Rosa, 95 run (Glasper run), 8:28

T – Evan Albert, 40 pass from Nathan Bowes (Mitchell Enmann kick), 4:08

2nd Quarter

BC – Rosa, 18 run (Rosa run), 11:52

T – Bowes, 1 run (Enmann kick)

BC – Tre Blair, 5 run (Justin Despins run), 6:06

T – Bowes, 5 run (Blake Alexander run), 2:24

BC – Rosa, 2 run (pass failed) 0:13

3rd Quarter

BC – Rosa, 64 run (Glasper run), 11:47

T  - Malik Diaby, 20 pass from Bowes (Matthew Tybor pass from Bowes), 10:22

BC – Rosa, 21 run (Despins run), 6:15

T – Alexander, 22 run (pass failed), 4:20

T – Tybor, 50 pass from Bowes (Evan Wilson pass from Bowes), 3:30

4th Quarter

BC – Rosa, 8 run (run failed), 11:56

T – Bowes, 12 run (run failed), 7:45

BC – Rosa, 8 run (Despins run) 2:12Individual Statistics

Rushing: Tolland – Blake Alexander 6-38, Evan Wilson 6-44, Nathan Bowes 12 -59, Malik Diaby 1-8, Logan Kerecz 1-0, Ty Foster 2-1. BC – Victor Rosa 25-406, Tre Blair 9-107, Damion Glasper 3-20, Justin Despins 3-10.

Passing: Tolland – Nathan Bowes 17-37-1 INT for 209 yds. BC – Victor Rosa 2-6-0 for 23 yds.

Receiving: Tolland – Thomas Sheenan 2-13, Evan Albert 2-62, Malik Diaby 2-31. Evan Wilson 2-25, Blake Alexander 3-22, Matthew Tybor 3-56, Richard Redler 1 – (-16).

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol Central on Friday, 22 October 2021 23:39. Updated: Friday, 22 October 2021 23:41.