MIDDLETOWN >> When the Middletown High Blue Dragons play well, they look very good. But when they don’t — as in a god-awful second half Friday night — they look, well, not so good.
For the record, Middletown dispatched Wethersfield 28-0 in front of another big crowd of better than 1,000 at Rosek-Skubel Stadium Friday night. All the scoring came in the first half as Middletown had 255 yards offense to Wethersfield’s 16, which included a minus 12 on the ground.
But in the second half, the Dragons managed just 49 yards on the ground, with 46 on them coming on one run by part time quarterback Austin Meeker.
“Unacceptable to do that on the ground in the second half,” said Middletown coach Sal Morello. “That was an ugly half of football, no other way to say it. We have a good first half, score 28 points, then play like that? We had missed assignments, misalignments and penalties. How many 15-yard penalties did we have? Unacceptable.”
The answer to his question is five, 15-yard penalties. Three for pass interference, two of those on fourth down.
Middletown was penalized nine times for 95 yards. Wethersfield? Three times for 15 yards.
“That stuff will come to bite us eventually,” said Morello. “I have much higher expectations for this team than what I saw in the second half. We have to fix it, that’s our job as coaches and my job specifically. We will fix it.
“We did so many little things wrong, never mind the big things. Just unacceptable.”
The first half was what Morello expected. The Dragons thoroughly dominated play, moving the ball up and down the field.
MHS drove 79 yards in six plays on its first possession with Isaiah Thompkins scoring the touchdown on a 26-yard run with 9:30 to go in the first quarter.
After a Wethersfield three and out, Middletown marched again, this time going 96 yards in 11 plays for the score. Big plays on the drive were a 20-yard pass from Dario Highsmith to Yaamal Jackson and a 42-yard run by Sal Fazzino (8 carries, 58 yards). Highsmith (14 carries, 96 yards) got the touchdown on a 4-yard run with 2:30 left in the quarter.
MHS (2-0) built the lead to 21-0, taking advantage of a 3-yard punt that gave Middletown the ball on the Wethersfield 29. Highsmith ran 21 yards on first down and three plays later, Highsmith scored from a yard out with 5:16 showing on the clock in the second quarter.
The Dragons got their fourth touchdown on a gift from Wethersfield (0-2) when quarterback Matt Sanzaro fumbled on his 14-yard line. Three plays later, Meeker (four carries, 57 yards) scored on a 1-yard run with 2:18 to play. With Van Uk’s four conversion kicks, the Dragons were cruising 28-0.
In the second half, they stalled.
It wasn’t that Wethersfield did a lot. The Eagles rushed the ball for just 74 yards in the second half and completed just one pass in 11 tries. They had 111 yards for the game.
“It’s not like they did very much,” said Morello. “I’m grateful for the win, don’t get me wrong. We’re 2-0, that’s good. But we can’t play football like we did in the second half. Just can’t. It was gross.”
Middletown is home Friday night at 7 with Bristol Eastern.