Plenty of storylines in Week 2
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.