Plenty of sto­ry­lines in Week 2

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - SPORTS - By Jim Brans­field Press Cor­re­spon­dent

MID­DLE­TOWN » There are all kinds of story lines in Week Two of the area’s foot­ball sea­son.

Xavier faces a huge game, Mid­dle­town, ranked No. 10 in the New Haven Reg­is­ter poll, looks to go to 2-0, and Wes­leyan, a team with great ex­pec­ta­tions, opens pur­suit of its league ti­tle.

Vi­nal Tech/East Hamp­ton/ Good­win Tech looks to even its record, Had­dam-Killing­worth faces Cogin­chaug/Hale-Ray in a neigh­bor­hood face­off and Val­ley looks to re­main un­beaten in what many thought was go­ing to be a re­build­ing year.

BRIS­TOL EAST­ERN (0-1) VS. MID­DLE­TOWN (1-0)

Rosek-Skubel Sta­dium at MHS Tonight at 7 Mid­dle­town is com­ing off a 29-12 win over Wethers­field, but coach Sal Morello wants his team to play bet­ter in its home opener. “This week is on us,” he said. “We need to make cor­rec­tions, to take

care of the foot­ball — we turned it over three times in the red zone last week — and our de­fense needs to con­tinue to play well. “For us to win our of­fen­sive line needs to dom­i­nate the line of scrim­mage and we need to play mis­take-free, solid foot­ball.” The Blue Dragons will look to their run­ning game, which pro­duced 325 yards last week, and to quar­ter­back Stone Belzo, who ran for two TDs and threw for an­other in the opener. Bris­tol East­ern lost its opener to E.O. Smith 14-7. “That’s a young team with a new coach­ing staff, but their de­fense played well,” said Morello.

MID­DLE­TOWN to win.

NEW­TOWN (1-0) VS. XAVIER (0-1)

Palmer Field, Mid­dle­town Tonight at 7 Make no mis­take, this is an enor­mous game for Xavier. Af­ter its stun­ning loss to Nor­wich Free Academy in the fi­nal 15 sec­onds, 40-37, this game takes on added im­por­tance, even if it’s just the sec­ond week of the sea­son. “We have to do a much bet­ter job on de­fense,” said coach Andy Guyon. “We need to be where we’re sup­posed to be when we’re sup­posed to be there. Our of­fense was great, Ty [Abra­hams] ran great, Will [Le­vis] threw great, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the balls that were dropped, and Kyle [MacGil­lis] had a great re­ceiv­ing game. “But our de­fense and spe­cial teams let us down.” New­town brings a re­mark­able reg­u­lar sea­son pedi­gree into the game, although per­haps a not so im­pres­sive post­sea­son his­tory. “New­town has a won­der­ful his­tory, a very good pro­gram — not just a good team — a good quar­ter­back, a big tight end, a good of­fen­sive line and they are very well­coached,” said Guyon. New­town, a Class LL school that plays in the South West Con­fer­ence, beat Pom­per­aug 27-0 in Week One.

XAVIER to win.

NORTH BRANFORD (1-0) VS. CROMWELL/ PORT­LAND (1-0)

Pier­son Park, Cromwell Tonight at 6 This is a matchup of two of the Pe­quot’s best. “North Branford has been among the class of the league for a long time,” said C/P coach Ran­dell Ben­nett. “Two weeks af­ter I was hired, we had a weight-lift­ing com­pe­ti­tion with them and I’ve been think­ing about them ev­ery since. “We will have to win the bat­tle up front as they are very strong and their line and lineback­ers are very good. We’re go­ing to have to step up to the plate.” Ben­nett pointed to North Branford stand­out Syd­ney Franklin, who plays re­ceiver, wild­cat quar­ter­back and de­fen­sive back, as a guy his charges will have to con­tain. North Branford beat Granby 27-21 in its opener. The Pan­thers are com­ing off a 54-20 ham­mer­ing of Rockville. C/P’s’ bal­anced at­tack, led by quar­ter­back Bryce Karstet­ter, might be de­ci­sive. “We’re healthy and we’re ready,” said Ben­nett.

CROMWELL/PORT­LAND to win.

AMISTAD (0-0) VS. VI­NAL/EAST HAMP­TON/ GOOD­WIN (0-1)

Vet­er­ans’ Sta­dium, New Bri­tain Tonight at 6:30 VT/EH/GT gave heav­ily fa­vored Prince Tech a run be­fore los­ing 28-18 last week . “We were down 16-0 right away, but the kids bat­tled back,” said coach Joe Ce­faratti. “I thought our kids played them very tough, so there were good things to take away from that game.” Amistad is a fledg­ling pro­gram and is play­ing only as a par­tial var­sity pro­gram. “If we play de­fense like we did in the sec­ond half, we’ll be in good shape,” said Ce­faratti. “I thought my quar­ter­back, Mark Fran­cis, did a great job both run­ning and throw­ing against Prince, Ne­hemiah Brown ran very well as did my full­back, Tyler Diana. I also see im­prove­ment in the of­fen­sive line.”

VT/EH/GT to win. Mor­gan (0-1) vs. Val­ley/ Old Lyme (1-0) VRHS, Deep River Tonight at 6 Val­ley served no­tice with its 33-7 win over Elling­ton last week that this will be no re­build­ing year in Deep River. “We played well,” said coach Tim King. “We threw the ball well, too, but we had too many penal­ties.” King said that Mor­gan, a 36-0 loser to Stafford, is a young team with size up front and some speed. “They have been deal­ing with in­juries, just like us,” said King. “For us to win we need to cut down on mis­takes and get off to a fast start.”

VAL­LEY/OLD LYME to win.

HAD­DAM-KILLING­WORTH VS. COGIN­CHAUG / HALERAY

Wally Camp Com­plex, Durham Satur­day at 1 p.m. Both teams scored a lot of points in their open­ers as Cogin­chaug/Hale-Ray beat Can­ton 36-20 and H-K beat SMSA/Univer­sity/Clas­si­cal 47-32. Of course, both gave up a lot of points, too. H-K is a build­ing pro­gram as the Cougars im­proved to 4-6 last year and look to build on that this sea­son. Cogin­chaug/Hale-Ray is just be­gin­ning to take steps to im­prove on last year’s 1-9 mark. H-K’s re­lent­less ground game should be too much for the Blue Devils. H-K to win.

WES­LEYAN (0-0) VS. MID­DLE­BURY (0-0)

Young­man Field at Alumni Sta­dium Mid­dle­bury, Vt. Satur­day at 1 p.m. This could be a very big year for Wes­leyan, but the Car­di­nals are open­ing on the road with a very tough op­po­nent in Mid­dle­bury, one of the New Eng­land Small Col­lege Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s (NESCAC) best teams. “This will be a tone-set­ting game, no doubt,” said Wes­leyan coach Dan DiCenzo. “Mid­dle­bury, along with us, Amherst, Tufts and Trin­ity are the league’s best, so we’ll know where we stand right away.” Wes­leyan re­turns quar­ter­back Mark Pic­cir­illo (Shel­ton High) and the tail­back will be Dario High­smith (Mid­dle­town High). “We think Mark is go­ing to have a great year and we look to Dario for 20-25 car­ries a game,” said DiCenzo. The Cards re­turn eight starters on de­fense, in­clud­ing three de­fen­sive line starters and all three lineback­ers. “Mid­dle­bury has a high­pow­ered of­fense and they re­turn the quar­ter­back, Jared Le­bowitz, who was all-league, and the top re­ceiver in Con­rad Banky, who had 55 catches,” said DiCenzo. “They will throw the ball.” This looks like an even match, but this looks like a Wes­leyan year.

WES­LEYAN to win.

Last week: 5-2.

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