Week 3 football preview and picks; Cheshire vs. Xavier

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
2:26
PM ET
Week 3 of the football season brings one of the biggest games of the season, as two of Connecticut's best teams face off tonight in Middletown. No. 10 Cheshire is 2-0 and coming off a dominant 30-6 victory over Hillhouse, while No. 2 Xavier sports one of the top defenses in the state.

The Game:
No. 10 Cheshire at No. 2 Xavier
Friday, 7 p.m.

The Players:
Cheshire — The Rams have had big success with the running game this season, and that’s likely how they’ll try to attack Xavier. Quarterback Mike Ecke and running back Sebastian Little can both break big gainers.

Xavier — Quarterback Pat D’Amato was the star last week, taking all the snaps and running for three touchdowns. Co-QB Tim Boyle is still suffering from a shoulder injury, so D’Amato should be the man again in this game.

The Stakes:
With two POWERADE Connecticut Top 10 teams facing off, this is the biggest game of the young season so far. Xavier and No. 1 Masuk are more like No. 1 and 1A, and this could be a big statement victory for Xavier. And if Cheshire pulls off the upset, the Rams could vault into the top five.

The Prediction:
Xavier’s defense is strong (fewer than four points per game allowed), and I think the Falcons will be able to handle Cheshire’s ground attack without much worry. Look for Xavier to win field position and grind out at least three medium-length touchdown drives.
XAVIER 21, CHESHIRE 7

Other notable games:

Conard at No. 8 Glastonbury
Saturday, 2 p.m.
Glastonbury defense is too strong. GLASTONBURY 28, CONARD 6

No. 1 Masuk at Stratford
Friday, 7 p.m.
Once again, this will be a track meet and the opponent simply can’t keep up. MASUK 41, STRATFORD 13

Northwest Catholic at Bloomfield
Friday, 7 p.m.
Expect a shootout; I think Bloomfield’s defense makes one big play. BLOOMFIELD 38, NORTHWEST CATHOLIC 30
Mike Grimala is an associate editor for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter at @MGrimalaESPN »

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