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FOOTBALL: After bye week, bright lights are back on at Riccitelli & Falcon Field

FOOTBALL: After bye week, bright lights are back on at Riccitelli & Falcon Field

With most area teams off for their bye week, last Friday’s stage belonged solely to Southington, and the Blue Knights delivered high drama with their fourth-quarter rally to defeat New Britain 27-24.

Who grabs that spotlight this week?

Sheehan? The 3-1 Titans host Joel Barlow in a rematch of last year’s Class M quarterfinal.

Platt? The 3-1 Panthers welcome Wethersfield to Falcon Field in a pivotal Class L/CCC Division II-West game.

Or maybe it will be Cheshire, looking to shuck off an 0-4 start with an upset of Fairfield Prep at Alumni Field.

Maloney and Lyman Hall are both on the road — the Spartans at division rival Bristol Central, the Trojans way out east at Ledyard.

Here are how the matchups shape up for this Friday.

■Maloney (4-0, 1-0) at Bristol Central (1-3, 0-1), BC Turf Field, 6 p.m.

Maloney will be without head coach Kevin Frederick for this CCC Division II-West game. The Maloney sideline was hit with two flags in the 40-25 win at E.O. Smith on Sept. 28, which means Frederick got ejected and must sit out the next game.

In his place, veteran assistant coach Mike Falis will lead the Spartans against BC.

Maloney holds a 30-25-3 upper hand in the all-time series with its long-time divisional rival. Falis has seen many of those games, including last year’s 34-7 Spartans’ win at Falcon Field, which gave Maloney a third straight victory over the Rams.

The numbers line up well for Maloney going into this year’s meeting. Led by quarterback Elliot Good (53-for-81, 821 yards), running backs Freddie Hidalgo (64-326) and James Tarver (41-274) and that massive O-line, the Spartans are averaging 416 yards and 41 points a game.

Central, conversely, has scuffled on offensive since beating Harford Public 34-0 in the season opener. The Rams put up just 23 points in subsequent losses to Windsor (29-14), Wethersfield (24-0) and Middletown (17-9).

Central’s defense, however, has been legit. On Sept. 28 against Middletown, the Rams led 9-3 before the Blue Dragons hit for a pair of long touchdown in the final minutes.

BC and Maloney are both coming off byes. The Spartans stand No. 2 in the Class L playoff rankings, trailing only North Haven.

■Wethersfield (3-1, 1-0) at Platt (3-1, 1-0), Falcon Field, 6:30 p.m.

The Panthers have had two weeks to shake off their 21-14 double-overtime loss to Windsor. It was a crusher. The Panthers were oh so close to an upset that would have had them among the Class L playoff leaders.

Well, here’s another chance to gain major ground, both in Class L and in the CCC Division II-West race.

The Eagles fly into Falcon riding a three-game winning streak since falling to Middletown 38-20 on opening night. Wethersfield has beaten E.O. Smith (20-6), Bristol Central (24-0) and Hartford Public (49-6) and ranks No. 12 in Class L.

Platt is at No. 9 on the wings of wins over Farmington, Bridgeport Central and Newington — games won by a combined score of 100-7.

The Panthers average 285 yards and 28.5 points a game. QB Lorenzo Sanson is at 34-for-62 for 499 yards. Roberto Salas leads the ground game at 59-486.

While Wethersfield QB Craig Elliott has thrown for 365 yards, he’s only 27-of-69. The Eagles rely on a ground attack averaging 165 yards behind juniors Connor Pace and Matt Silver.

■Lyman Hall (2-2) at Ledyard (2-2), Mignault Field, 6:30 p.m.

This is Lyman Hall’s second matchup of the year against an Eastern Connecticut Conference opponent. The Trojans did quite alright in the first, routing Montville 41-0 in Week 2.

Two weeks later, Ledyard played Montville and pulled out a 21-20 win in overtime.

The Colonels were also in tight affairs with Waterford (14-13 loss) and Stonington (22-20 win). They were routed 44-6 by Bunnell.

 Lyman Hall, meanwhile, is coming off a solid 20-10 road victory over Foran prior to its bye week.

Both teams rely on the ground game. LH senior Austin Ruiz is the area’s second-leading rusher with 551 yards on 89 carries.

Defensively, the Trojans are led by linebacker Furkan Parcal and safety Shakespeare Rodriguez. Parcal has 39 tackles in three games played, including 15 verus Foran. Rodriguez has three interceptions, including two against Foran.

With a win at Ledyard — and with games the next two Saturdays at Bassick and CREC Co-op — LH is in position to put together a tidy winning streak and take a lot of momentum into November.

■Joel Barlow (2-1) at Sheehan (3-1), Riccitelli Field, 7 p.m.

A year ago, these two teams met in the Class M quarterfinals and it was one of the best games statewide in that round. The Falcons held off Sheehan 47-34 and went on to reach the state finals, where they lost to Killingly.

A year later, the Falcons return to Wallingford with their vaunted triple-option attack.

It’s not the same Barlow team, however. The Falcons graduated last year’s backfield, which featured 1,000-yard rushers in Trevor Furrer (1,768) and Calvin Peterson (1,200) and a third, Alex Stillman, who came awfully close (924). Furrer, the quarterback, torched the Titans for 351 yards and 3 TDs in the quarterfinal game.

Brett Hugo has replaced Furrer at QB and he’s rushed for a team-high 174 yards so far. He’s joined by James Porter (25-169) and Frankie McNeary (23-123).

While it is a new backfield, Barlow remains formidable. The South-West Conference squad’s lone loss was to 4-0 Brookfield, 27-17, in Week 2.

The Falcons are coming off a 20-7 win over New Milford. On opening night, in double overtime, they squeaked by Stratford 35-34, a team Sheehan beat 62-27 a week later.

The Titans were averaging better than 57 points a game before falling to Tier 1 Fairfield Prep 23-14 in a SCC crossover on Sept. 28. Sheehan RB Terrence Bogan remains the state’s leading rusher with 918 yards on 74 carries.

With Bogan’s ground production and Wes Terzi’s passing (38-for-63, 564), the T-Men are putting up 454 yards a game. They can score and, as they proved last year, they can score on Barlow. The challenge will be on the D to contain the triple option.

■Fairfield Prep (3-1, 1-1) at Cheshire (0-4, 0-2), Alumni Field, 7 p.m.

The Jesuits journey to the northern fringes of the Southern Connecticut Conference for the second time in as many games. Last time out, Prep won 23-14 at Sheehan.

The only speed bump the Jesuits have hit so far this fall has been against No. 5 Shelton, and that game — a 10-7 victory for the Gaels — turned on a controversial punt return for a touchdown.

Prep employs a balanced attack behind quarterback J.P. Iaropoli (49-for-84, 579 yards) and running back Doughlas Harrison (71-362).

The Rams, meanwhile, come off the bye week looking to shake their rough start, which was extended by a 33-30 overtime loss to Jonathan Law on Sept. 28. The last time Cheshire opened a football season 0-4 was in 1978.

This week marks the first meeting between Fairfield Prep and Cheshire since 2016. The Rams won 10-0 that season to snap a four-game slide against the Jesuits. Prep holds an 8-7 edge in the all-time series.