Bristol Central has enjoyed some pretty good success against South Windsor over the years, with nine wins in 14 meetings including a 21-0 shutout win last year. But the Rams will have their hands full when they travel for an afternoon start at South Windsor High School on Friday.
South Windsor comes into the game off a big road win at Farmington while the Rams are reeling after self-destructing against a Manchester team that won for only the second time in three years last week. Defensive lapses at all the wrong times and four costly turnovers doomed the Central effort a week ago.
“We took a long look at film as a team on Monday,” Central coach Jeff Papazian said. “We hurt ourselves way too much in that game. Even when we were moving the ball, we were moving in spite of the mistakes.”
The errors in positioning were compounded by errors in execution as the Rams fumbled the ball away four times.
“In eight possessions we scored twice, punted one, turned it over on downs on the final drive and turned it over four times,” Papazian said. “That puts our defense out there longer than they should be and when the defense is out there that long things are going to breakdown eventually.”
The Rams opened the 2022 season much the same way that they operated most of last year, driving the ball 93 yards to a touchdown with a long 10-minute march punctuated by big third down plays.
“That first drive was pretty typical of what we did last year, “Papazian said. “It wasn’t very clean when you look at the film, but we moved the ball and we had them on their heels. It’s a shame that we continued to turn the ball over after that drive.”
Looking on the bright side of an otherwise dismal day, Papazian highlighted the play of his two defensive backs, Can Tomak and Anthony Paulino, both of whom had key interceptions and played sound defense.
“Both of them were real solid back there,” Papazian said, “and not just on the picks they had. They both gained a lot of confidence as the game went on.”
A year ago, South Windsor’s defense proved to be a tough unit when the Bobcats came to Bristol. Central won 21-0 in Week 2 last year. It was the lowest point total in any winning effort for the Rams a year ago. The Rams led just 8-0 at the half and scored two late touchdowns to put the game away.
Central’s defense held the Bobcats to just over 100 yards in that one and the Rams will need a similar effort this afternoon to keep the game close for an evolving offensive unit.
“We had our moments of good last week,” Papazian said, “but we had too many moments of not so good. We’ve had a lot to work on this week and we’re pretty fired up after a good week of practice.”
Bristol Central at South Windsor
When: Friday, 4:15 p.m.
Where: South Windsor High School Turf Field
Records: South Windsor 1-0, Bristol Central 0-1
Last Meeting: Bristol Central 27, South Windsor 0
All-time Series: Bristol Central leads 9-5
The Skinny: The Bobcats come into their home opener on a high note after last week’s 45-23 win at Farmington and are hoping to catch the Rams in more of the disarray that plagued their loss to Manchester last week. South Windsor showed Central a tough defense in their meeting last year as the Rams were able to score only 21 points, their lowest point total in a winning game in 2021. Central will need to fix the defensive lapses and hold on to the football if they hope to come away with the first win of the season.
Dave Greenleaf’s Prediction: Bristol Central 24, South Windsor 14