Perhaps the most noteworthy part of the 2017 high school football schedules recently released is the location of this year’s annual Battle for the Bell game on Thanksgiving Day - not at Muzzy Field, but at Bristol Eastern’s new turf field, which the Lancers played their first game on last November.
In the 58-year history of the game, dating back to the first Eastern-Central matchup in 1959 after Bristol High School was split into two, this year’s contest would mark the first game in the annual Thanksgiving rivalry contest not played at Muzzy Field.
The 59th Battle for the Bell is scheduled for Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 23, at 10:30 a.m. Bristol Central won the game for the second straight year last season, taking a 30-12 victory to cap a 6-4 season. The loss was the last in a winless campaign for Bristol Eastern, which is now 1-19 over the past two seasons.
In addition to the Battle for the Bell, all of Bristol Central’s home games have been moved from Muzzy for the upcoming season. The Rams will play all five of their home games at Bristol Central’s brand new turf field. They have yet to play any football games on the field, as the team played at Muzzy all of last season.
After opening on the road against Hartford Public on Sept. 9, Bristol Central will play two straight games at home, hosting Windsor and Wethersfield. The Warriors went 10-0 in the 2016 regular season and reached the Class L title game, while the Eagles finished 5-5. After their first five games, the Rams will have their bye week and will return the next week for the first of two more consecutive home games.
The Lancers will open their season at home on Sept. 8 against E.O. Smith. Bristol Eastern only had four home games (plus the Battle for the Bell, where they were considered the road team) and it split them between Muzzy and its own new turf field at the school. This season, the Lancers will play each of their five scheduled home games at Bristol Eastern.
A season ago, the closest Bristol Eastern got to a win was a 20-17 overtime loss to South Windsor but the Bobcats are not on the Lancers’ schedule this coming season. Bristol Eastern’s second-smallest margin of defeat was 18 points against both Maloney and Bristol Central, which are both on the 2017 slate for the Lancers. Like Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern’s bye week will come in Week 6.
St. Paul will kick off its 2017 season with a pair of road games and three away games in its first four. The Falcons will visit Sacred Heart/Kaynor, Holy Cross and Derby all in the first four weeks of the season. But following its Week 7 bye, St. Paul will close its season playing three of its four remaining games at home. St. Paul’s home opener will be on Sept. 22 against Watertown.
The 2017 season will be the fourth straight year that the Falcons will take on Oxford the night before Thanksgiving. This year, St. Paul will host the game on Nov. 22 after traveling to the Wolverines last fall.
The last time Plainville got a win on the gridiron was Oct. 23, 2015, and the Blue Devils will look to break that in the 2017 season, starting with their season opener at home against Bloomfield on Sept. 8. After that game, though, Plainville will play three straight games on the road before returning home in Week 5 prior to their bye the next week.
The Blue Devils will continue their seven-year-old Thanksgiving Day rivalry with Farmington this season, hosting the Indians at Tinty Field.
Southington looks to have a relatively easy schedule in 2017. The Blue Knights open on the road at Glastonbury before back-to-back games at home against Simsbury and Manchester. Road games up in West Hartford at Conard and Hall proceeds Southington’s bye week with New Britain visiting on Oct. 20.
The Blue Knights will remain at home for matchups against East Hartford and Enfield with a road trip to South Windsor the week after. All three games should not give Southington much difficulty. Southington will close out its season with perhaps its lone test of the regular season with a Thanksgiving Day game at Cheshire.
Sat., 9/9 at Hartford Public 1 p.m.
Fri., 9/15 vs. Windsor 6 p.m.
Fri., 9/22 vs. Wethersfield 6 p.m.
Fri., 9/29 at Maloney 6:30 p.m.
Fri., 10/6 at Middletown 6:30 p.m.
Fri., 10/20 vs. Newington 6 p.m.
Fri., 10/27 vs. Capital/Achievement 6 p.m.
Fri., 11/3 at Platt 6:30 p.m.
Fri., 11/10 vs. East Catholic 6 p.m.
Thu., 11/23 at Bristol Eastern 10:30 a.m.
Fri., 9/8 vs. E.O. Smith 7 p.m.
Fri., 9/15 at Middletown 6:30 p.m.
Fri., 9/22 at Maloney 6:30 p.m.
Thu., 9/28 vs. Newington 7 p.m.
Fri., 10/6 vs. Farmington 7 p.m.
Fri., 10/20 at Platt 6:30 p.m.
Sat., 10/28 at Hartford Public 1 p.m.
Fri., 11/3 vs. Wethersfield 7 p.m.
Fri., 11/10 at Manchester 6:30 p.m.
Thu., 11/23 vs. Bristol Central 10:30 a.m.
Fri., 9/8 at Sacred Heart/Kaynor 7 p.m.
Sat., 9/16 at Holy Cross 1 p.m.
Fri., 9/22 vs. Watertown 7 p.m.
Fri., 9/29 at Derby 7 p.m.
Fri., 10/6 vs. Torrington 7 p.m.
Fri., 10/13 at Ansonia 7 p.m.
Sat., 10/28 vs. Woodland 1 p.m.
Fri., 11/3 vs. Seymour 7 p.m.
Fri., 11/10 at Wilby 7 p.m.
Wed., 11/22 vs. Oxford 6 p.m.
Fri., 9/8 vs. Bloomfield 7 p.m.
Fri., 9/15 at Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver 7 p.m.
Fri., 9/22 at Rocky Hill 7 p.m.
Fri., 9/29 at Northwest Catholic 6:30 p.m.
Fri., 10/6 vs. Berlin 6:30 p.m.
Fri., 10/20 vs. RHAM 6:30 p.m.
Fri., 10/27 vs. East Catholic 6:30 p.m.
Fri., 11/3 at Tolland 6:30 p.m.
Sat., 11/11 at Avon 1 p.m.
Thu., 11/23 vs. Farmington 10 a.m.
Fri., 9/8 at Glastonbury 6:30 p.m.
Fri., 9/15 vs. Simsbury 7 p.m.
Fri., 9/22 vs. Manchester 7 p.m.
Fri., 9/29 at Conard 7 p.m.
Fri., 10/6 at Hall 7 p.m.
Fri., 10/20 vs. New Britain 7 p.m.
Fri., 10/27 vs. East Hartford 7 p.m.
Fri., 11/3 vs. Enfield 7 p.m.
Sat., 11/11 at South Windsor 11 a.m.
Thu., 11/23 at Cheshire 10 a.m.