With the fall season now in full swing, it never hurts for a head coach to have a player they can rely on to deliver a big performance when needed.
New Britain senior quarterback Jahfari Newman and Berlin senior forward Julia Sisti did just that and more this past week.
After a disappointing Week 1 loss to Conard, the Hurricanes football team made sure to come away with a win Friday night at Manchester. Behind Newman, New Britain not only got the win, but finished with a 62-38 rout over the Indians.
Now in his second season as the starter, the signal caller had one of his best games behind center. Newman completed 15 of his 20 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns to just one interception while also collecting two more scores on the ground. In the win, the Hurricanes scored 36 first-half points with Newman engineering a touchdown drive in the final 10 seconds of the first quarter.
As always, the quarterback was quick to highlight the players around him for his success.
“The offensive line blocked great,” Newman said. “I don’t think I got rushed a lot [Friday], so I want to thank them for that. The receivers got in the right spots and the right time and it was an automatic click from the beginning. We looked forward to coming in and starting fast. After [Week 1], we just went in this week with a new mindset and it showed.”
Newman played well as a junior last season, but his growth between that first season and now has been noticeable. And his teammates and coaches have liked what they have seen up to this point.
“Even last week [against Conard], I liked what I saw,” Hurricanes head coach Tebucky Jones said. “He’s sitting in the pocket and he’s being poised. His arm got a lot stronger from last year and he threw some good balls. These first two weeks he’s improved and has looked good.”
New Britain still has eight games left on the season, but if Newman can continue to play well and improve, the Hurricanes have a chance to break out of their streak of two consecutive five-win seasons.
The Berlin girls soccer team has gotten off to another strong start this season, going 2-1 over its first three games while outscoring opponents at a 13-1 mark.
And one of the players leading the way has been Sisti. The forward has already scored five goals, including a four-goal performance against in the Redcoats’ 7-0 win over Platt last Tuesday. This after Sisti scored in the season-opening win over Maloney.
“I just think we came out strong in the game,” Sisti said of scoring the four goals. “We were moving the ball well and I was able to get some nice passes from my teammates that set me up for the shots.”
Berlin lost some key players from last season, including All-Stater Tess Atkinson and Grace McCann, but the Redcoats have not missed a beat. That in part has to do with the senior leadership Sisti has shown and the confidence that has comes with it according to new head coach Katie Amenta.
“She is a dominate player,” Amenta. “She has great foot skills, she’s fast and came in in great shape. She never missed a workout over the summer and she’s always had great vision. I’ve had her as a teacher and a coach and she’s always been a hard worker. She’s the kind of athlete every coach wants to have.”
Sisti has embraced that role and as Berlin gears up for another playoff run, the forward and her teammates are looking for nothing less than that. After all, it is Redcoats soccer.
“I’m expecting another great season,” Sisti said. “We’re just taking it one game at a time and making sure we work hard every day in practice. The team’s energy has been really good and we’re working hard.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach