MIDDLETOWN — Middletown High takes its No. 8 Connecticut ranking to the uncharted waters of New Jersey football tonight and Xavier looks to rebound from its crushing overtime loss to North Haven.
Haddam-Killingworth will look to clinch a least a .500 season tonight and Cromwell/Portland, Valley Regional/Old Lyme and Coginchaug/Hale-Ray are heavy favorites in other Middletown area weekend action.
Vinal/East Hampton/Goodwin, fresh off its first win, gets an undefeated team as its reward.
Middletown (7-0) vs. Hudson Catholic, N.J. (4-4)
Craven Point, Jersey City
Not much is known about Hudson Catholic, but Middletown coach Sal Morello has seen enough film to be concerned.
“They play very good competition, so that has got me concerned,” said Morello. “It will be good to see how battle-tested we are. They’re physical, they’re bigger than us, are aggressive and have good speed.
“I’m not sure they have a lot of depth, so we need to see if we can wear them down as the game goes on. I expect it to be a fourth-quarter game.”
Hudson has lost two in a row and among its four losses were to the No. 2 ranked Catholic team in New Jersey, DePaul Catholic. The Hawks also played and defeated Boston College High out of Massachusetts.
New Jersey splits its athletic competition into public and non-public schools and Middletown is the only public school Hudson will play.
“We have the usual bumps and bruises, but everybody is ready to go,” said Morello.
Picking a winner here is like throwing darts in the dark.
The pick is MIDDLETOWN.
Xavier (3-4) vs. Hamden (1-6)
Hamden High School
Friday at 7
Before the season, this was tagged as a ‘W’ on the Xavier schedule. Now, maybe not so sure. Both teams lost to Wilbur Cross and Farfield Prep by similar scores.
Xavier lost to Cross 14-7 and Hamden lost to the Governors 14-12. Xavier was beaten by Fairfield Prep 35-7 while Hamden lost to the Jesuits 40-27. Not much difference.
“They run the option so it’s like playing Navy or Georgia Tech,” said Xavier coach Andy Guyon. “You have to be very disciplined on defense and this week the kids listened and paid attention.”
Is there a hangover from the 50-49 overtime loss to North Haven?
“I really think we won’t know that until Friday night,” said Guyon. “But if they didn’t prove to themselves that they’re pretty good after that great comeback [Xavier trailed 27-0 in the third quarter], then I don’t know what would. They showed great heart and fortitude last week.”
The temptation is to go with the home team, except for this: Xavier has quarterback Will Levis and Hamden doesn’t.
XAVIER to win.
Haddam-Killingworth (4-3) vs. Lewis Mills (1-6)
H-K High School
Friday at 6:30
H-K is coming off a solid win over North Branford. The Cougars will run the ball down your throat, then run it some more. Lewis Mills is in the middle of a rough season and will be incapable of stopping Dalton Modehn, Jake Frith and company.
H-K to win.
Cromwell/Portland (6-1) vs. Morgan (0-7)
Peters Complex, Clinton
Friday at 6:30
Cromwell/Portland coach Randell Bennett was not in a good mood following his club’s overtime loss to Valley/Old Lyme last week.
He said his team deserved to get smashed in the mouth, but what went wrong was his fault and that he will fix it. Unfortunately for Morgan, the Huskies are first up in the fix-it process. Hide the children, this will be ugly.
CROMWELL/PORTLAND to romp.
Rockville (0-7) vs. Valley Regional/Old Lyme (6-1)
VRHS Field, Deep River
Friday at 6:30
Rockville left the Central Connecticut Conference, correctly pointing out that the Rams were way over their heads in the CCC. The Pequot League has been no better.
On top of that, Rockville has the pleasure of taking on Valley/Old Lyme, which has to be flying following its stunning upset of Cromwell/Portland last week. Valley is on a playoff drive and Rockville will be Valley’s win No. 7 as the Warriors tighten their grip on a Class S playoff spot.
VALLEY/OLD LYME to win.
Bullard-Havens Tech (7-0) vs. Vinal/East Hampton/Goodwin (1-6)
Palmer Field, Middletown
Friday at 6
Vinal and company have been in most of the games this fall and finally broke through last week, beating MCW United 40-21. The problem for the Bellhawks is they have to play Bullard-Havens which is unbeaten and ranked No. 3 in the CIAC Class S playoff ratings.
Bullard-Havens hasn’t had anything approaching a close game and is averaging 54 points.
BULLARD-HAVENS to win.
Coginchaug/Hale-Ray (3-4) vs. Nonnewaug (1-6)
Nonnewaug H.S., Woodbury
Saturday at 2 p.m.
Coginchaug/Hale-Ray has improved markedly from last season and is looking to finish with at least a .500 record. Last year the Blue Devils won one game. Nonnewaug is having a tough season and Coginchaug/Hale-Ray will likely make it tougher.
COGINCHAUG/HALE-RAY to win.
Last week 4-3, season record 36-15.