Middletown had 364 days to stew over last year’s shocking loss at Newington.
Last Friday night the Blue Dragons got their revenge with a resounding 34-7 victory over the Indians, behind 117 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns from Xzavier Reyes.
The win erased any linger memories of the 2016 stunner when an undefeated Middletown team entered Newington and lost 27-24 to the two-win Indians.
This year had the same backstory with vastly different results.
Middletown again came to Newington without and loss to battle the 2-4 Indians, but this time the road team was ready and motivated, scoring four touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 27-0 lead into the halftime locker room.
After a scoreless first quarter, Middletown found the end zone on the first play of the second quarter on a one-yard plunge from Reyes, which punctuated a 16-play drive.
The junior tailback carried the ball an incredible 11 times of the team’s opening offensive possession and added his second score on Middletown’s ensuing drive when he scampered 16 yards to pay dirt.
Quarterback Stone Belzo continued to be efficient behind center, throwing a 15-yard touchdown to DeAaron Lawrence with just over a minute left in the first half. Lawrence was cutting towards the middle of the field when he nabbed a Belzo bullet, stopped on a dime and darting outside before diving over the goal line.
It was a relatively quiet night for Belzo, who was coming off his finest performance at the helm in a 55-7 victory over E.O. Smith the previous Friday when he totaling 253 yards and five touchdowns while celebrating his 18th birthday.
The senior has been both productive and protective this season, totaling 15 touchdowns without an interception through seven games.
Middletown has been impressive on both sides of the ball and has yet to be tested thus far this season, outscoring their seven opponents by a combined 288-68.
The lopsided games have allowed backup quarterback Jonta’e Dempsey to get time under center the last couple of weeks.
Dempsey complete four of six passes for 77 yards, including a 38-yarder to tight end Camryn Wynn for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Middletown’s stable of skill position players have been thriving behind a dominant and unheralded offensive line.
Maxwell Cry, Christopher White, Cameron Barrett, Nygell Smikle, James Johnson, and Osbourne Richards have paved the way all season and give the Blue Dragons a lot of size and versatility up front.
Richards also continues to be a force on the defensive side of the ball, registering five tackles, while Michael Souza led the team with seven stops. Wynn and Tavien Harris each pick up a sack for a defense that didn’t allow a score until the fourth quarter.
Next up for the flawless Blue Dragons is a lengthy east coast road trip to Jersey City, New Jersey to take on the Hawks of Hudson Catholic High School this Friday.
The loss was the fifth consecutive for Newington, who started the season with back-to-back wins.
Things unraveled for the home team after the first dozen minutes, but early on it looked like history could repeat itself.
Newington marched the ball past midfield on the game’s opening possession, but was forced to punt after an 11-play drive.
Quarterback Robert Sanchez was under heavy siege all night, but was able to find some open receivers and running lanes, scoring Newington’s lone score on an eight-yard quarterback keeper in the fourth.
Newington stays home this Friday, hosting Maloney (6-1) for a 6:30 kick.
Middletown was one of two area teams that remained undefeated after the weekend. Rocky Hill also stayed unblemished, breezing by RHAM 35-0 last Saturday.
The Terriers (7-0) play their final three regular season games at home, starting with Avon (3-4) this Friday at 7 p.m.
Cromwell/Portland suffered their first defeat this season, losing an overtime heartbreaker to Valley Regional/Old Lyme on Senior Night.
The previously unbeaten Panthers overcame a fourth quarter deficit when Bryce Karstetter connected with Dianta Highsmith for a touchdown and then converted the two-point conversion on the ground, tying the score at 28 and ultimately sending the game into overtime.
The home team was stopped on their first possession in the extra session and the road Warriors scored on their opportunity to secure the victory.
Despite the loss, the Panthers (6-1) are still very much in the Class S postseason picture and finish the regular season with three straight road games, beginning at winless Morgan this Friday, 6:30.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin