Bristol Eastern-Plainville football teams to battle in CCC contest

Published on Thursday, 30 September 2021 21:18
Written by MATT HORNICK

@MNHornick

Other than a couple of scrimmages in the past 12 years, it has been a long time since the Bristol Eastern and Plainville football teams have met. With the two schools now playing in the same league after the reorganization of the CCC, they will be facing off every year as long as they are in the same tier.

Both teams enter Friday night’s contest in Plainville with 2-1 records with Lancers falling to Wilbur Cross 28-12 in its most recent game while the Blue Devils bested Lyman Hall 21-12 last Friday.

“We’re going to have to execute, obviously, we need to start fast and we need to minimize some of our mistakes we’ve been making,” Plainville head coach Tim Shea said. “[Bristol Eastern] is a good team over there, the running back they have is good. It’s a game we’re looking forward to because the two schools are awfully close together and I can’t remember the last time they played in football. I think it’s something both schools are looking forward to doing on Friday night and I hope we don’t disappoint.”

There was plenty to build off of for Eastern after losing a non-league game to a talented Wilbur Cross team with more size than the Lancers. The offense moved the ball well most of the game and the defense showed solid execution throughout the 48 minutes.

“They’ve shook it off and gotten back to work,” Eastern head coach Anthony Julius said. “We made a really heavy emphasis on fundamentals this week, trying to clean up some of the mistakes we’ve been making the last couple of games. The response has been really good so we’re hoping for a much cleaner game from an execution standpoint on Friday night.”

Eastern running back Alex Marshall posted his second 200-yard rushing game of the season against Wilbur Cross and found the end zone once. The Lancers hung tight with the Governors for most of the matchup, entering the fourth quarter trailing 20-12, but were upended by four turnovers that gave the ball away at crucial junctures.

Despite seeing the brunt of the touches for Eastern, as he will most weeks, Marshall was not responsible for any of the giveaways but protecting the ball remained a focus for the team in practice this week.

“We did a lot of drills that we do in camp and drills throughout the week,” Julius said. “[We put] the emphasis on ball security when contact is coming. It’s easy a lot of the time for coaches to say keep the ball high and tight, but to make sure we practice and emphasize it is the point of [focus] this week. The kids did a nice job responding to it and we’re hoping to have better results in that area on Friday.”

Despite solid defensive play, there were some lapses in tackling that led to scoring plays for Wilbur Cross and Eastern is adamant about improving that. The Lancers should have better success against a smaller Plainville team than against Wilbur Cross, but there is no reason to be relaxed.

“Alignment, assignment and tackling are the three most important things we can do on defense,” Julius said. “It doesn’t matter who we line up against, if we don’t tackle well we’re going to make our jobs a lot harder.”

While Eastern brings a run-heavy approach to the field, the Blue Devils play a more balanced style with a more even distribution of run and pass plays. They will look to continue that balance, hoping to keep the Lancers’ defense guessing, but Shea says they will need to be better at executing some simple parts of the game.

“We have to do a better job of catching the ball and we have to finish in the red zone,” Shea said. “Defensively, we have to limit the big play, the big play has killed us in all three games so far. It’s football, it happens, but we have to limit them. We have to make team earn every yard, earn every snap and hopefully we’ve coached it up and we’re better at it this week.”

Shea also put an emphasis on group tackling for his team as they go against a featured back like Marshall. Everyone at the game will know he is getting the ball often so Plainville will have to do its best to get in his way as best they can.

“He’s a good back so he’s going to get his yards,” Shea said. “They’re big up front. We basically have to get to the point of attack and we have to make more stops than them. We have to gang tackle and keep him in front of us, he’s a good football player.”

Kickoff for this game is at 6:30 p.m. at Plainville’s Tinty Field. Both teams will be in pursuit of getting this important win within CCC Tier 3 before heading into non-league games the following week.

Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or mhornick@bristolpress.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol Eastern, Plainville on Thursday, 30 September 2021 21:18. Updated: Thursday, 30 September 2021 21:20.