Big first half drives were key as Bristol Eastern football records second straight victory

Published on Saturday, 7 October 2017 22:46
Written by DAN ORENCOLE

STAFF WRITER

BRISTOL - After the win over Newington, Bristol Eastern felt Farmington presented another strong opportunity for a victory.

Yet the Lancers knew that they needed to improve offensively, especially on finishing drives.

With 67- and 86-yard touchdown drives on Friday night, Bristol Eastern showed the improvement in that department.

“That was a huge confidence boost for us,” left tackle Andrew Consalvo said. “Usually we have to play catch-up and this time we got out in front first and executed what we had to do and it turned out well.”

Lancers defensive end Rajon Collins felt the Indians offensive line presented them with an advantage that Bristol Eastern could take advantage of.

Collins backed that up as opposing quarterback Zac Conrad was under pressure throughout the game, threw three interceptions and fumbled the ball as well.

All through the first half, Conrad looked out of place against the Bristol Eastern defense.

“We didn’t get to the quarterback as much as we wanted to, but we did force a lot of turnovers and that was a key part of the game,” Collins said.

Coming into the season, Bristol Eastern football believed its offensive line would be much improved this season.

The past two weeks have proved that to be the case, as the run game for the Lancers has led to consecutive wins over Newington and Farmington.

“They’re a group that over the past year has taken a lot of criticism,” Bristol Eastern head coach Anthony Julius said. “They’ve gotten chewed in some film sessions and they’ve responded nicely; and they’re starting to jell and we’re starting to get some really good production out of those guys up front, and it’s a good thing for us on offense.”

As a team, the Lancers had 186 of their 222 total yards on the ground, something that Julius loves to see.

Quarterback Justin Marshall only threw five passes in the game as Bristol Eastern was run dominant throughout the first half and struggled offensively in the second half, with just two first downs and a pair of three and outs.

The run game saw Ariza Kolloverja get the bulk of the carries, running 30 times, but this week the Lancers got more guys involved. Matt D’Amato, Stephen Hopkins and Tyler Mason all played key roles in the second win of the season.

Kolloverja still led the team in rushing attempts with 11, but D’Amato and Hopkins followed with 10 carries each.

Both D’Amato and Hopkins had career highs in rushing. D’Amato finished with 55 rushing yards and Hopkins had 50 yards.

“We proved tonight that we have four kids that are capable of running the football, with Ariza leading the way,” Julius said. “The game plan was to keep feeding Ariza, but we found that we had some success in other packages and that’s what we stuck with.”

Both D’Amato and Mason had rushing scores and Hopkins had a powerful run that netted Bristol Eastern the final first down needed in the game.

For the Lancers, the early lead proved to be pivotal, as Bristol Eastern was a completely different team in the second half.

Farmington was on the verge of having a chance to tie the game before Conrad once again fumbled the snap and the Lancers recovered and ran out the clock to escape with the win.

Coming out of the bye week, Bristol Eastern will face Platt in one of the toughest games for the Lancers this season.

If the Lancers come out against Platt like they did in the second half against Farmington, it’ll be an extremely long night for Bristol Eastern.

Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or dorencole@bristolpress.com

On Twitter: @OrencoleDan



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol Eastern, General Sports on Saturday, 7 October 2017 22:46. Updated: Saturday, 7 October 2017 22:49.