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Football Competition Heats Up; Plus Predictions for State Title Contenders at the Wickham Park Invitational

Windsor and Ellington-Somers football remain undefeated, Tolland and Suffield make a strong showing at the Wickham Invitational, and the soccer field remains crowded with Class M contenders.

Aaron Berardino continues to make his case as the best high school football player in the state. The Windsor receiver scored three more touchdowns in a 46-0 victory over Hartford Public but this is only half the story.

Berardino scored on a 9-yard run, a 57-yard catch and a 79-yard punt return. Windsor (4-0) is more than Berardino and quarterback Quinn Fleeting. The defense has allowed a total of 27 points in four games and Fleeting has another inviting target in Alton Smith and Tre Coyle has provided some assistance on the ground.

The Warriors travel to Simsbury this week, a classic trap game, because a showdown with undefeated Middletown looms two weeks away. If the Warriors maintain their focus against Simsbury, it will be well worth a trip to check out the Middletown game at Windsor.

Windsor is not the only undefeated football team in the area. Ellington/Somers improved to 4-0 with a 48-0 victory over Granby. The amazing thing about the win, and a daunting fact for future opponents to consider, is that no player scored more than one touchdown for the Knights. Jake Schneider scored on a 21-yard run in the first quarter. Austin Tautkus and Mike Cleary caught TD passes from Bryan Rider. Rider had a touchdown run of his own and Mitch DiResta, Jason Moustafa and Luke Lavesseur all added touchdown runs. Ellington/Somers has outscored opponents 190-25 through four games.

Enfield improved to 3-1 with a 43-6 victory over Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby. Tony Romano threw three touchdown passes to Hugh Lindo and another to Sean Gill. Romano also ran for a touchdown. Enfield is currently 11th in the Class M football standings, which are always unofficial until the final week of the season but are never incorrect. The Raiders will have the opportunity to improve their position. They have two games against Class L teams remaining plus many of their future opponents, such as Ellington/Somers are off to good starts, which means the Raiders will have the chance to earn additional points in the weeks ahead. Of course, it also means they are playing some good football teams in the weeks ahead.

E.O. Smith is getting closer. The Panthers led Bristol Eastern through three quarters but surrendered two late touchdowns and fell 23-13. Kody Duplisse scored on a 70-yard catch and run off a pass from Jesse Lusa. Lusa also ran in from 3 yards outs to give E.O. Smith a lead in the third quarter.

AROUND AND ABOUT:

The Wickham Park Invitational is an excellent chance to get a read on which teams will be challenging for state titles come November. This year was no exception.

Still, there is room for interpretation. For example, Tolland finished fourth in the championship race thanks to strong finishes by Matt Mensher and Colin Sauter. But is a fourth in the championship race more impressive than absolute domination of the seeded race? Suffield had three runners in the top 20 of the seeded race and won the team title easily with a team total of 88. Second-place Cheshire was far behind with 173.

The question for the future is what will happen when Suffield and Tolland run the same course at the same time. Will Dan Moroney, Denis Labarre and Jimmy Clark be able to Suffield to a Class M team title? Don’t know.

On the girls side, it’s clear Tolland’s performance at the Ocean State meet was no fluke. Courtney Akerly and Emily Howard led the Eagles to a first place finish in the seeded race.

Aside from the team competitions, the race revealed some local faces to watch in the month ahead. Manchester’s Patrick Dibble won the boys seeded race in 16:43, which was a time that would have held up well in the championship race. Also, E.O. Smith’s Alyssa Coulter had a top-20 finish in the championship race.

Of course, there is one caveat to all of this. It was hot Saturday; much hotter than it will be a month from now. Different conditions could mean a different race.

The Class M girls soccer standings are crowded with area teams. Ellington is 7-1, Tolland is 6-1-2, Suffield is 7-2 and Enfield is 5-2-1. Should make for a fun November.

Just to be fair, Ellington and Suffield also crowd the top of the Class M boys standings. Both are 8-1.  

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