Bristol Eastern football bringing new, positive attitude into season opener Friday night

Published on Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:00


BRISTOL - It’s a new season and a new era could begin for Bristol Eastern football. 

It will be the fourth year for Lancers head coach Anthony Julius, meaning the Julius era has already begun. But Julius and company are hopeful that 2019 will be the dawn of a new day and the start of a program resurgence. 

The path to a turnaround begins at 7 p.m. Friday on the road against Middletown in the season opener under the lights at Middletown High School’s Cavalier Stadium. 

“I’m thrilled,” said Lancers senior quarterback Bryce Curtin. “We’ve got a new offense going in that I think is gonna really help boost our offensive numbers because I think everyone knows we didn’t do too well last year. We’ve gotta figure stuff out. The guys are hungry, and the attitude compared to last year is 1,000 times better. Not just me, but everybody on the team is hungry to get out there and win a game this year.”

The Lancers are looking to rebound from an 0-10 record in 2018 and a 2-28 mark over the past three seasons. The turnaround may get off to a difficult start against a Middletown program coming off a 9-1 regular season and a No. 2 seed in the Class L playoffs last season. 

“I think Sal Morello is one of the best coaches in the state,” Julius said. “That’s gonna be a great measuring stick right out of the gate.”

Morello and his Blue Dragons program are something for Julius to admire, but there could be struggles in the opener against an established, well-run organization. 

That’s why it will be imperative for the Lancers to not regress back into the pitfalls of last season if things don’t go smoothly right away. 

“That was our biggest issue last year. We did have that positive mindset, but after we lost a few we kind of crumbled and went downhill,” Curtin said. “These guys are different. They know we’re gonna learn and grow as the year goes on. The biggest thing, if we lose our first two or three games, is we get better every day. We’ve gotta show we can learn from our mistakes.”

Curtin, a junior receiver last season who will be transitioning into a full-time role as Eastern’s starting quarterback, said that last year, players wouldn’t take accountability for their mistakes. This time around, there’s a different atmosphere in the preseason. 

“This year, everyone’s kind of embraced their mistakes, learned from them and gotten better from them,” Curtin said. “Last year, we kind of split as a team, and we know this group of guys is more family-oriented. We’re all closer. We’re all hanging out all the time. We also all have the attitude that, yeah, even though we went 0-10 last year, we see every team on our schedule as a team we can beat. We’re just hungry to get after it and get better every day, so we’re excited.”

That mindset certainly has Julius ready to get the season started, as he believes Eastern has the resources and the type of kids who can jump-start a rebuild and get the program back to being a playoff team like it was in the few seasons after he graduated from Eastern in 2006. 

“You look at the past, and you kind of reflect on what made those teams successful,” Julius said. “There are obviously things you can pull from it, but every team is different. Every team has different personalities, and every team has a different skillset. Some teams do things better than others.”

Julius hopes his group will utilize those skills even if it only means a few wins - as long as the team progresses and shows promise heading into 2020. 

“Obviously, wins and losses are not our only or main objectives,” Julius said. “We’re trying to build better young men when they leave our program, but it’s part of the game. We wanna make sure we’re doing everything we can as a coaching staff to give them the best opportunity to succeed.”

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol Eastern on Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:00. Updated: Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:03.