FOOTBALL: Amid a few stumbles, Maloney stays in undefeated stride

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MERIDEN — If you like offense, Falcon Field was the place to be Friday night.

The Maloney and Bristol Eastern football teams each scored touchdowns in the game’s first 58 seconds. It was a sign of things to come as the Spartans rolled to a 51-27 CCC Division II-West victory.

Maloney improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the division.

“We had some really good things I thought we did, offensively and defensively,” Maloney coach Kevin Frederick said. “For a good team like I think we are, some of our mistakes kind of shine to the top. We need to correct those things and keep improving.”

Maloney led 35-13 at the intermission. Spartans sophomore quarterback Angel Arce threw four touchdown passes in the first half, three to Kam Moreno and one to Ian Graham.

BE struck first in the second half, cutting its deficit to 35-20 on Logan Schenck’s 48-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Moreno, though, snagged his fourth TD catch of the game, this time for 48 yards off a screen pass, to extend Maloney’s lead to 41-20 after three quarters.

“We can play with any team in the state,” Moreno said. “We’ve just go to play our best game at all times. We play down to our opponents some times. That’s not going to cut it when we go against someone really good.”

Maloney put the game away with a pair of electrifying plays in the fourth quarter — a 95-yard pick-six by Graham and a booming 37-yard field goal by Jaden Myles that put the Spartans up 51-20 midway through the final stanza.

“We were down our starting left tackle [Trevor Santiago] and we were down our starting center [Josh Pelletier],” said Frederick. “We did some things poorly up front. Our quarterback struggled a little bit tonight. He made some good throws down the field and he made some poor reads. We’ve just got to get better.”

Maloney jumped on the Lancers almost as soon as The Star Spangled Banner concluded. Kody Talento took a squib quick to the 50 to start the game. Two plays later, James Tarver rumbled 42 yards for the score and a 7-0 Maloney lead 46 seconds into the game.

Not to be outdone, Eastern’s Treyvon Daniel took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to make the score 7-6 less than a minute into the game.

The quick scoring continued as Maloney answered on 27-yard TD pass from Arce to Moreno.

Bristol Eastern punched back, pulling within 14-13 on Alex Marshall’s 2-yard run at the start of the second quarter.

Arce and Moreno struck again to put Maloney back on top 21-13 on a well-timed 55-yard touchdown pass in which Moreno caught a fade ball over his shoulder and in stride.

The tandem was not done, as Moreno hauled in a 37-yard touchdown strike to pad Maloney’s lead, 28-13.

The teams traded red-zone turnovers — Arce was picked off in the end zone, while Moreno recovered a fumble — late in the second quarter. Maloney took advantage, with Ian Graham’s 4-yard touchdown catch putting the hosts their 35-13 halftime lead.

The Lancers slipped to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the division with the loss.

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