BRISTOL - With the Thanksgiving game approaching, staying focused on tonightâ€™s matchup against Manchester (2-6) is crucial for the Bristol Eastern (2-6) football team.
â€śOur guys have always done a good job of being focused on the task at hand and right now thatâ€™s Manchester,â€ť Bristol Eastern head coach Anthony Julius said. â€śIt would be crazy to say the kids arenâ€™t excited to play on Thanksgiving because they always are, but our guys are focused on Manchester and theyâ€™re a heck of an opponent.â€ť
Facing the Indians gives the Lancers an opportunity to find success on the offensive side of the football as Manchester has given up over 30 points per game this season. But generating points has been a problem for Bristol Eastern, especially in terms of finishing off drives.
Averaging just less than 14 points per game this season, the Lancers are hoping to see a turnaround in that department in these last two games of the season, starting against Manchester and then against Bristol Central on Thanksgiving.
Offensively, this week is no different from any other week as it starts on the ground led by tailback Ariza Kolloverja. With its running game being effective recently, it has opened up opportunities through the air for Bristol Eastern, specifically utilizing the play-action pass.
And while getting off to a fast start offensively is a must for the Lancers, one of the keys to coming out with a win is on the defensive side of the ball and that means containing Manchesterâ€™s start receiver Jevin Frett.
â€śHeâ€™s a big time player,â€ť Julius said. â€śHeâ€™s got exceptional speed and if he gets open space he can really go. Heâ€™s somebody that weâ€™re going to have to account for and know where he is on the field at all times.â€ť
Through eight games, Frett has 39 catches for 614 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. He has also added a pair of kick return touchdowns and a rushing score as a dynamic playmaker.
â€śHeâ€™s going to make us keep outside containment a lot this week because heâ€™s really fast,â€ť Bristol Eastern middle linebacker Trinidad Gonzalez said. â€śThatâ€™s something weâ€™re going to have to work on this week for preparation.â€ť
Outside of Frett, the Lancers like their matchups.
â€śI think they have speed on their side,â€ť Gonzalez said. â€śOther than that, I think physically we match up perfectly.â€ť
With the two wins, Bristol Eastern is already an improved team this year. Getting the first win on the road against Manchester would be big for the Lancersâ€™ confidence knowing the biggest game on the schedule for them looms and finishing strong starts tonight.
â€śIf we give them any type of momentum they can take it far,â€ť Bristol Eastern quarterback Justin Marshall said. â€śItâ€™s been like that for every team weâ€™ve faced.â€ť
Dan Orencole can be reached atÂ 860-973-1811 orÂ firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan