FOOTBALL: Led by Sheehan-Cheshire, Week 10 just about a perfect 10

FOOTBALL: Led by Sheehan-Cheshire, Week 10 just about a perfect 10



reporter photo

CHESHIRE — Sheehan-Cheshire is a football rivalry rife with, well, bad memories for the Titans.

For starters, the Rams lead the series 31-8-1. For another, some of Sheehan’s toughest losses over the last 10 years have come against Cheshire.

There was the 30-24 setback in Cheshire on the night of Oct. 16, 2009 that undermined a season of great promise.

Four years later, on the night of Oct. 4, 2013, the Rams escaped from Riccitelli Field when an extra point settled a 28-27 game in overtime.

The last time the neighbors met, in 2016, Cheshire chalked up a 56-18 victory at Alumni Field.

Maybe the trend changes this Friday night. Maybe Sheehan beats Cheshire for the first time since 1997. Maybe Cheshire extends its win streak over Sheehan to 14.

Either way, one heck of a football game is on tap as the Rams and Titans renew acquaintances in Cheshire at 7 p.m.

Both teams are 6-1 overall. Both are 2-0 in SCC Tier 2, half a game behind front-running Hamden (6-2, 3-0).

In the CIAC playoff points, both rank in the top eight of their respective divisions. Cheshire checks in at No. 6 in Class LL. Sheehan stands at No. 4 in Class S. That discrepancy in school size is a disadvantage Sheehan must always overcome when it takes on Cheshire.

Tonight, the Titans confront a surging Cheshire team that has won five straight and is averaging 37 points and 314 yards behind a solid offensive line.

The Cheshire attack is balanced. RB Jake McAlinden (90-727 rushing) leads the ground game. QB Jason Shumilla (65-121, 873 passing) and WR Alec Frione (22-482 receiving) lead the aerial forces.

Sheehan’s numbers on offense are even better: 47.7 points and 443 yards a game.

The Titans, though, are coming off a 28-14 loss to North Haven that snapped the six-game win streak that opened their season.

Sheehan was without RB Terrence Bogan (104-1,294), who was out with a concussion. Connecticut’s 2018 rushing champion is expected back tonight.

Sheehan-Cheshire is one of a number of great matchups on both the area and state docket for Week 10. There’s No. 1 Hand vs. Shelton in the SCC, No. 6 Bloomfield vs. Berlin in the CCC, No. 4 Greenwich vs. No. 9 Ridgefield in the FCIAC.

Here in the backyard, Maloney has a big one with Windsor. Southington hosts rival New Britain, Platt looks to continue a late-season surge in Manchester and East Haven-Lyman Hall lines up as a sweet SCC Tier 3 battle at Fitzgerald Field.

Here’s another cool little tidbit. The area boasts of the state’s three leading rushers: Bogan, Maloney’s James Tarver and Platt’s Roberto Salas.

How’s this for a race?

■Salas: 226-1,570, 11 TDs;■Bogan: 104-1,294, 19 TDs;■Tarver: 208-1,292, 19 TDs.

The area passing race is a tight one, too. Here’s how that shapes up:

■Sean Patrick Pragano, Lyman Hall: 103-170, 1,649 yards, 15 TDs;■Angel Arce, Maloney: 107-174, 1,475 yards, 21 TDs;■Brady Lafferty, Southington: 103-170, 1,377 yards, 18 TDs.

Maloney’s Kamron Moreno and Southington’s Carter Uhlman share the area lead for receptions with 45 each. Lyman Hall’s Shakespeare Rodriguez leads in receiving yards with 852.

The tackling leader is Lyman Hall’s Lucas O’Reardon with 83. Maloney’s Kody Talento and Southington’s Billy Carr have 81 apiece.

As for the Week 10 matchups ...

■East Haven (5-2, 2-0) at Lyman Hall (4-3, 2-1), at Fitzgerald Field, 6:30 p.m.

Both teams are coming off bye weeks that followed defeats — East Haven 48-14 to Cheshire and Lyman Hall 27-14 to Amity. So, yes, both teams are itching to get back at it.

Both are also looking to get back on course. East Haven has dropped two of three since opening 4-0, while Lyman Hall has dropped two straight after its 4-1 start.

Adding in two bye weeks to those two losses, the Trojans will be looking for their first win in nearly a month when the Yellowjackets come calling for this SCC Tier 3 visit.

It’s a game that will heavily shape the league crown. LH moves into a tie for first place with a win tonight, though Branford and Jonathan Law are right there, too, at 2-1 in Tier 3 play.

And, of course, there is a history. East Haven beat Lyman Hall 17-6 last year in Wallingford in a game that was scoreless until late in the third quarter. LH was undone by a bevy of turnovers and several red-zone squanders.

The Trojans, though, have taken 10 of the last 15 meetings with their old Housatonic League rival.

■Windsor (6-2) at Maloney (7-1), at Falcon Field, 6:30 p.m.

Any skeptical thoughts about Maloney that arose after the Spartans let a fourth-quarter lead get away in Newington on Oct. 25 were probably dispelled by last week’s 35-6 victory in Wethersfield.

It was an unexpectedly one-sided game between two 6-1 teams vying for a Class L playoff berth as well as the CCC Division II West title.

James Tarver had a night with five touchdowns and 320 yards rushing, a total just 11 yards shy of Maloney’s single-game record of 331 set by Rahshon Spikes in 1994.

The victory bumped the Spartans two rungs up the Class L ladder to No. 3. They trail only the mighty unbeatens, Daniel Hand and St. Joseph, the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked teams in the state polls, and now have the inside track to the CCC Division II West crown.

To keep it all going, the Spartans must get by a Windsor team that, at 6-2 and No. 10 in Class L, must win to stay in postseason contention.

That’s been the case for the Warriors since they opened the season at 2-2. Four straight wins have followed, including a 55-0 whitewash last Saturday of RHAM.

When it comes to Windsor-Maloney, the Warriors were a long-time nemesis until the Spartans won the 2018 season opener 26-20. It was Maloney’s first win over Windsor in eight tries.

■Platt (4-4) at Manchester (3-5), at Memorial Field, 6:30 p.m.

New and old looks worked out quite nicely for the Panthers last week. They got two touchdown passes from new quarterback Trent D’aniello and three TD runs and 275 yards from workhorse RB Roberto Salas to defeat Bristol Eastern 39-13.

The 275 yards were a single-game high on the year for Salas.

Of note: Salas had a 68-yard scoring run called back by a penalty. Had that run stood, it would have given Salas 348 yards, two shy of Tyzhan Leatherwood’s single-game record of 350 set in 2013.

D’aniello, meanwhile, adds his arm to an arsenal that already featured his foot. The sophomore is 6-for-8 on field goals following last Friday’s 23-yarder.

With the CCC Division II West win over the Lancers, Platt got back to .500. The Panthers will look to keep it going playing up in a CCC crossover against Class LL Manchester, a team they haven’t seen since 2003.

Platt won that year 30-20 for its fourth win over the Indians in as many seasons. Manchester leads the all-time series 11-10.

Manchester is coming off a shootout loss in West Hartford to 6-2 Hall. Despite two TD passes and a rushing score from QB Trey West, the Indians fell 49-28.

■New Britain (3-5, 0-3) at Southington (7-1, 3-0), at Fontana Field, 7 p.m.

With a win tonight, the Blue Knights will secure their sixth straight undefeated CCC Division I West banner. Southington hasn’t lost a division game since Oct. 19, 2013 at Hall.

Southington’s league win streak stands at 24. New Britain nearly ended it last year at Veterans Stadium. The Hurricanes led 18-7 heading into the fourth quarter and, even after Southington rallied to take a 21-18 lead, regained the lead with 1:34 to play. It took an 80-yard drive to win it for SHS.

Southington comes into tonight’s game riding a seven-game win streak extended by last week’s 20-0 shutout in Glastonbury. The Blue Knights stand No. 3 in the Class LL playoff points and No. 7 in the state polls.

While Southington’s offense has taken hits with hand injuries suffered by RB Dillon Kohl and WR Shane LaPorte — injuries likely to keep them sidelined until Thanksgiving — Marion Bennett has picked up the running reins and QB Brady Lafferty is dealing to Carter Uhlman, Josh Vitti, Jake Delmonte and Jack McManus.

And then there’s the defense, which remains virtually impenetrable. In shutting out Glastonbury, the Blue Knights allowed just one first down in the first half and limited the Tomahawks to 105 total yards — none through the air.

For the season, Southington has allowed just 377 rushing yards. Divide that by eight. That’s an average of 47 a game.

New Britain, which has never been over .500 this season, rebounded from an overtime loss against Conard with a 24-12 victory last Friday in East Hartford. Emanuelle Madera and Omary Payne had rushing touchdowns for New Britain.

■Wilcox Tech (1-6) at Thames River (6-1), at Norwich Tech Outdoor Athletic Complex, Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Indians go from playing the top team in the CTC — unbeaten Bullard-Havens — to playing the second-best. Thames River’s lone loss was to Bullard-Havens, 34-0, back in Week 2.

Since then, Thames River, the tri-op of Norwich Tech, Grasso Tech and St. Bernard, has ripped off five wins in a row, most recently 16-6 over Cheney Tech.

That win streak has Thames River holding onto the eighth and final playoff berth in Class M.

A year ago, Wilcox defeated Thames River 7-0 in Meriden in double overtime. Thames River, which was formed in 2015, won the first two meetings against the Tribe.

LB Mike Mysatyukow leads the Wilcox defense with 47 tackles. Troy Mitchell (16-134) and Jacob Schwall (12-163) are in double digits in receptions.


Advertisement