BRISTOL - Moving the ball was not a problem for the Bristol Eastern football team against Wilbur Cross, the struggles came when it was time for the Lancers to finish their drives with points.
Senior running back Alex Marshall posted his second game in three weeks with at least 200 rushing yards, but Eastern failed to score after halftime and fell to the Governors 28-12. The Lancers had four drives reach Wilbur Cross’ and end with no points, two of which finished with turnovers. They notched four turnovers in the game and squandered some of their best offensive opportunities.
This is Eastern’s first loss of the season as both teams will enter week four of the high school football season with 2-1 records.
“Certainly a different challenge tonight than we faced the first couple of weeks,” Lancers head coach Anthony Julius said. “You have to give credit to Wilbur Cross, they played really hard. They’re a big front and our defense had a hard time handling their size for a little while. We tried to make some adjustments and sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t. A lot of missed opportunities on both sides of the ball.”
A 20-yard touchdown from Marshall tied the game 12-12 with four minutes until halftime and Eastern earned itself one more chance to score after forcing a three and out from Wilbur Cross. Following a 20-yard reverse to sophomore wide receiver Rayshon Andrews and seven-yard pass from freshman quarterback Kamden Laprise to junior Josh Kolloverja, Laprise was intercepted by Kenny Flowers with less than a minute until halftime.
Flowers put his team in position to grab a lead before halftime as he was downed at Eastern’s 27-yard-line a two plays later the Governors had more points on the board. Junior quarterback Jamel Lee sent a pass right through the hands of an Eastern defender and it was caught by junior Jaheim Brazier in the end zone for a touchdown with 11 second left in the second quarter.
“We make an aggressive call at the end of the half trying to score after getting a stop and we set them up with a short field,” Julius said. “They convert on a touchdown on a jump ball and they go up eight at the half. That kind of changed the feeling a little bit for us, but we came out and battled. It was 20-12 going into the fourth quarter. We had opportunities and we drove the ball pretty much up and down the field at will and then, unfortunately, they converted on their red zone opportunities and we didn’t.”
Neither team scored in the third quarter and Wilbur Cross entered the final period with the ball and a 20-12 lead, but gave the ball back to Eastern shortly after. The Lancers were 63 yards from the end zone to start the drive, but gave the ball back to the Governors soon after crossing midfield.
Eastern did not have Marshall for that drive and Josh Aubin ran for 18 yards on the team’s first three before losing momentum on the next set of downs.
Wilbur Cross essentially sealed its victory on its next drive, calling all running plays to control the clock and scoring with less than four minutes left to make the score 28-12. Lee went basically untouched into the end zone from 28 yards out and the Governors completed a short pass to add the two-point conversion.
In need of a score, the Lancers called a reverse to sophomore wide receiver Rayshon Andrews, which gained 20 yard the first time they ran the play. This time, Andrews got the ball and had wide open space in every direction, but lost his handle on the ball and fumbled it back to Wilbur Cross and lost 21 yards in the process.
The Governors were 15 yards away from another score, but Eastern’s defense held strong. Trying to score quickly with its final chance, the Lancers began its drive with a 32-yard run from Marshall, which he followed with an eight-yard run that had 15 yards added to it from a penalty against Wilbur Cross.
Trying to pass because of the lack of time on the clock, Freshman Brady Brown found few options on his first two dropbacks and ended up running. He tried to force a pass into traffic on the next dropback and threw an interception, giving the ball away with less than a minute left.
This was Brown’s second turnover of the game and was partially a product of the difficult circumstances his team was in. His first giveaway came on Eastern’s first drive of the game, fumbling after a seven-yard run that brought the Lancers within 20 yards of the scoring.
Eastern trailed 6-0 at this point after Flowers capped the opening drive of the game with a 44-yard touchdown run, but the Lancers answered back with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Laprise to Andrews.
Up next for the Lancers will be a road matchup with Plainville (2-1), which is coming off of a 21-12 win over Lyman Hall. This will be Eastern’s third game against a CCC Tier 3 opponent so far this season after wins over E.O. Smith and RHAM.
“We can be upset that we lost and let [this game] define the rest of our season, or we can show up tomorrow read to work and put in a great week of practice a get ready for a really solid Plainville team.”
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WILBUR CROSS 28, BRISTOL EASTERN 12
At Bristol Eastern
Bristol Eastern (2-1) 6 6 0 0 - 12
Wilbur Cross (2-1) 6 14 0 8 - 28
WC - Kenny Flowers 44-yard run (two-point attempt failed), 7:39
BE - Rayshon Andrews 20-yard pass from Kamden Laprise (PAT is no good), 0:31
WC - Jamel Lee 10-yard run (two-point attempt failed), 8:47
BE - Alex Marshall 10-yard run (PAT is no good), 4:04
WC - Jaheim Brazier 28-yard pass from Jamel Lee (two-point attempt is good), 0:11
WC - Jamel Lee 28-yard run (two-point attempt is good), 3:58
Passing - Bristol Eastern: Kamden Laprise 2-5-29-TD-INT, Brady Brown 0-2-INT, Josh Aubin 0-1; Wilbur Cross: Jamel Lee 2-4-34-TD.
Rushing Bristol Eastern: Alex Marshall 27-212-TD, Brady Brown 4-7-FUM, Rayshon Andrews 2-(-2)-FUM, Kamden Laprise 1-7, Josh Aubin 4-17; Wilbur Cross: Bryce Thomas 4-1, Corey Coleman 4-20, Jy’zeyah Scurry 18-102, Jamel Lee 15-78-2TD, Kenny Flowers 4-47-TD.
Receiving - Bristol Eastern: Rayshon Andrews 1-22-TD, Josh Kolloverja 1-7; Wilbur Cross Jaheim Brazier 2-34-TD.