BRISTOL - After 17 games of heartbreak, the Bristol Eastern football team was able to pick up a victory against Pomperaug on Saturday afternoon, ending a losing streak dating back to October 2017.
Behind an offense led by quarterback Bryce Curtin and running back Alex Marshall, the Lancers scored their highest total of the year in the 14-0 win. Defensively, the Panthers were shut out for the first time in the young season.
For head coach Anthony Julius, the team’s first victory in almost two years was all about his players.
“It feels good, it feels good for the kids,” Julius said. “They’re the ones that come out day in and day out and work hard, I’m definitely happy that they were able to get a victory today because they deserve it.”
Julius went on to praise his team’s defense, saying it stepped up when needed to in the win.
“Defense played great all day,” Julius said. “That was an offense averaging over 20 points a game. For us to pitch a shutout is a credit to our kids. They did exactly what we told them to do. The kids made the coaches look good today.”
The Lancers allowed just 12 passing yards in the game. Eastern also forced numerous fumbles throughout, recovering one on at least four chances. While Pomperaug rushed for 130 yards on the ground, it rarely got deep into Bristol Eastern’s side of the field.
Like Pomperaug, Eastern was able to find success on the ground, mainly through Marshall. The sophomore running back rushed 24 times for 149 yards. His longest run came on a 51-yard scamper that saw the Lancers immediately in Pomperaug’s red zone.
Marshall gave all the credit to his offensive line.
“The line helped me step up and get big runs,” Marshall said. “You can’t do anything without the line. It was an entire team effort.”
Through the air, Curtin was able to complete 10 of 16 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. His two scores were both deep passes, 40 and 23 yards, respectively.
Even in victory, Curtin feels that there are some aspects to his game he can improve and thinks his receivers deserve as much credit as himself.
“I think I did okay. There are a few things I can improve on,” Curtin said. “But the guys ran great routes, coach made good calls in those situations. They saw what [the defense] was biting on, so we were able to just get our guys open for touchdowns.”
For the Lancers to turn their losing streak into a winning streak, Curtin feels that the team can’t get complacent.
“We have to work like we are 0-3, we need to work like we are still hungry for that first win,” Curtin said. “If we think we are going to keep winning, we are going to crumble down and keep losing, but if we keep putting the work in, we’ll be fine and we’ll win a lot of games.”
Treyvon Daniel, the receiver who caught Curtin’s 40-yard touchdown pass, echoed those thoughts, saying the team has to believe they can keep winning. He feels that belief in themselves helped the Lancers defeat Pomperaug.
“There was a lot of people doubting us. Bristol was doubting us. The fact we showed up and showed out is phenomenal,” Daniel said. “I wouldn’t change the team that I’ve got. I know with our connection we can win a lot of football games this year.”
For the Lancers, they’ll have an opportunity to keep their momentum on Oct. 5 at Hartford Public.
Coach Julius thinks if Eastern is to keep winning, it’ll all come down to attitude.
“We need to continue the effort and attitude,” Julius said. “We need to make sure we stay on the kids and make sure everyone is holding everyone accountable if we are going to continue to see success.”