MIDDLETOWN — Last weekend, the first of Middletown’s two byes this season, gave the Blue Dragons the opportunity to recharge and sharpen themselves for what promises to be a challenging stretch of games in November.
First, though, they had to contend with Farmington. They had no problem on that front.
Senior running back Xzavier Reyes rushed for 171 yards and four touchdowns and quarterback Jonta’e Dempsey-Brown passed for 116 yards and two scores in Middletown’s 49-7 victory at Rosek-Skubel Stadium.
Middletown improved to 5-0 overall, 2-0 in Division II East ahead of next Friday’s game in Storrs against E.O. Smith. Farmington fell to 2-3 and 0-2.
“The bye week was good for us in lots of ways,” Middletown coach Sal Morello said. “It gave us a really good chance to get healthy and it allowed us to focus on ourselves, not an opponent.
“We took a look at some things we had to refocus on and reinforce with the kids.”
Middletown totaled 450 yards of offense — 278 on the ground (nine more than its per-game average) and 172 through the air. Dempsey-Brown’s backup, Chris Danas, connected on all eight of his attempts for 56 yards.
“That’s the sign of a good team — Jonta’e plays both ways and he needed a rest, and Danas comes in and ran the offense really well,” Morello said.
The Blue Dragons entered the bye on a winning note, but needed a rally late in the fourth quarter to knock off Bristol Central 17-9. This game was a different set of circumstances.
On his team’s second play from scrimmage, Reyes took a pitch from Dempsey-Brown and burned up 57 yards for the score. The first of Matthew Aresco’s seven successful PATs made it 7-0.
After a Farmington punt, Middletown scored on the second play of its ensuing series. Dempsey-Brown connected with Tyreece Lumpkin on a short fade, and he broke a tackle en route to a 50-yard score.
Middletown scored three times in the second quarter.
The Blue Dragons held the Indians on downs on two consecutive possessions, the second giving MHS the ball at the visitors’ 37-yard line. On the fifth play of that drive, Reyes burst through the middle and ran untouched, covering 27 yards for a 21-0 lead with 9:19 left in the half.
An interception by Dempsey-Brown halted Farmington’s ensuing possession, and Danas led the Blue Dragons on an eight-play, 73-yard drive that ended with Reyes’ 8-yard touchdown run.
“Their backs are fast, sure, but those holes up front — it’s Middletown’s line that worried us the most,” Farmington coach Chris Machol said. “Once players like Reyes get through the front, it becomes a foot race.”
Middletown scored for the third time in the second quarter with no time on the clock. On second-and-15 from Farmington’s 37, Dempsey-Brown found Kenny Fountain open in the end zone. It was 35-0 at the half.
Reyes, who entered the game averaging 159 yards per game, scored on a 24-yard run three plays into the third quarter, which triggered a running clock the rest of the way. Lumpkin rushed for a 4-yard touchdown later in the third quarter.
Farmington avoided a shutout defeat when quarterback Jacob Conrad found Mitch Guglielmo with a 10-yard scoring pass in the final minutes.
“Chris (Machol) is a good friend and he’s a good coach, and he has a scrappy team,” Morello said. “But we played so well tonight. We have to keep it in perspective, though, because we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Farmington has faced Platt and Windsor already — both losses — teams that Middletown will play in November, with a home game against New London sandwiched between the two.
“I think Middletown is more complete than either Platt or Windsor,” Machol said.
Middletown 49, Farmington 7
Farmington 0 0 0 7 —7
Middletown 14 21 14 0 — 49
M — Xzavier Reyes 57-yard run (Matthew Aresco kick)
M — Tyreece Lumpkin 50-yard pass from Jonta’e Dempsey-Brown (Aresco kick)
M — Reyes 27 —yard run (Aresco kick)
M — Reyes 8-yard run (Aresco kick)
M — Kenny Fountain 37-yard pass from Dempsey-Brown (Aresco kick)
M — Reyes 24-yard run (Aresco kick)
M — Lumpkin 4-yard run (Aresco kick)
F — Mitch Guglielmo 10-yard pass from Jacob Conrad (Conrad kick)
Records: Middletown 5-0, 2-0; Farmington 2-3, 0-2