FOOTBALL: Cheshire-North Haven commands Week 2 spotlight; Blue Knights ranked at No. 6; Meriden squads in search of first wins

CHESHIRE — With Lyman Hall and Sheehan sidelined this Friday due to a COVID issue that generated out of East Haven, the lone area game on the SCC slate here in Week 2 is Cheshire at North Haven.

It’s a Tier I clash and it should be a good one. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Vanacore Field.

North Haven is one of Cheshire’s oldest rivals, dating back to the 1950s. The two met on Thanksgiving Day from 1972 through 1995.

In the all-time count, the Rams lead the series 30-22-2. North Haven, though, won the last two meetings — 17-14 in 2017 and 34-21 in 2016.

The ’21 Rams are riding high from last Friday’s 26-20 overtime win over Notre Dame-West Haven. North Haven is stinging from a 23-3 loss in Shelton, with Anthony Cavaliere’s 36-yard field goal providing the lone scoring.

In Ramland, Christian Russo spearheaded the offense against Notre Dame  with 182 rushing yards and two TDs, including the game-winner in OT.

Linebacker Kevin D’Errico’s 14 tackles — 9 of them solo — fueled the defense. Sophomore strong safety Jeff Gonzalez added nine tackles. Senior LB Lucas Riccitelli was good for eight, including a sack.

Cheshire’s victory impressed some voters in the state polls. The Rams rank No. 8 among the coaches in the New London Day poll and No. 12 among media in the GameTime CT poll.

On that same topic, Southington ranks No. 6 in both polls in the wake of last week’s 13-7 victory over Maloney. 

The Blue Knights pulled it out when Ryan DelMonte took a pass from Jack Barnum and, with the aid of a downfield block from fellow receiver John Flynn, scored a 42-yard TD with 1:14 left.

Defense was huge for SHS. Linebacker Jared Guida notched a team-high 10 tackles. Defensive end Jackson Rusiecki and linebacker Alex Maindon had nine apiece.  DB Gavin Anderson delivered eight.

Timing was everything. Southington allowed Maloney to convert on just four of 15 third-down conversions and held on four of five fourth-down attempts.

Next up for the Blue Knights is Glastonbury tonight in Glastonbury at 6:30.

The opening night equation was the opposite for the Tomahawks. They had no problem scoring, but struggled to come up with stops in a 41-35 overtime loss to Conard.

The Southington-Glastonbury series, quite hot during Glastonbury’s eight-year postseason run from 2008 through 2015, has cooled in recent years. Southington has won the last eight meetings and leads the all-time series 20-5-1.

Also on the area docket for Week 2:

Conard (1-0) at Maloney (0-1), at Falcon Field, 7 p.m.

The Spartans look to bounce back from the Southington loss against a Conard team they beat 40-22 in 2018 on the night Victor Marquez became Maloney’s leading receiver of all-time.

The Spartans also beat Conard 12-10 in 2017, yet the Chieftains still lead the all-time series, which dates back to Maloney’s maiden 1958 season, 14-6.

While Maloney fell in Southington, it was for no lack of a passing attack. Senior quarterback Angel Arce completed 18 of 33 passes for 178 yards and senior WR Ian Graham was by and large uncoverable. Graham pulled down eight receptions for 119 yards.

The Spartans, though, rushed for just 79 yards and, as mentioned, were 4-for-15 on third-down conversions and 1-for-5 on fourth down.

Defensively, Maloney was stout, holding Southington to 31 yards rushing on 19 attempts. Kuron Wiggins logged a team-high six tackles. Daejon Nixon had four, including 1½ sacks. Jack Fitzgerald recovered a fumble and three of Sean Finn’s five tackles were behind the line of scrimmage.

Platt (0-1) at Middletown (0-1), at Rosek-Skubel Stadium, 7 p.m.

The bad news for both of these teams is that neither scored on opening night. While Platt was getting shut out 20-0 by Wethersfield, Middletown was losing to Berlin 33-0.

The good news is, that’s likely to change Friday night. Platt-Middletown games are known for their scoring. The last five meetings have averaged 63 points a game, so bet the over.

Those five games, by the way, were all won by Middletown, which now holds a 6-5 lead in the all-time series. 

Prince Tech (1-0) at Wilcox-Kaynor Tech (0-1), at Platt HS, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Wilcox-Kaynor looks for its first co-op victory against a rival that has long given the Indians fits. Wilcox took the opening game in the series in 2007. Prince has won 10 straight since, keeping the streak alive by rallying in the second half to a 22-14 victory in 2018.

Nonetheless, that game was historic for Wilcox, as Devario Reid became the program’s first 1,000-yard rusher.

Rolling into this Saturday, Wilcox-Kaynor is coming off a 48-13 loss to Quinebaug Valley and Prince off a 36-0 shutout of VG Techs, the combo of Vinal and Goodwin.

Wilcox sophomore QB Caden Kennedy completed 12 of 19 passes for 200 yards — eight of them for 136 yards to junior Brandon Alvarado — before leaving the game with an injury. With Kennedy not available this week, the Tribe will start Jacob Ferrauolo, a 6-3, 215-pound senior, at QB.

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