PLAINVILLE - The Berlin High football team is 4-0 this season, having outscored its opponents 117-22. Plainville is 1-3, getting outscored 79-6 in its last two games after snapping a 14-game losing streak in its second game of the season.
Yet when the teams meet at Plainville High School tonight, the Blue Devils will be looking for a victory.
“Let’s see how we play at home,” Plainville head coach Tim Shea said, with Plainville not having hosted a game since the season opener.
“We’re preparing to the best of our ability,” he added earlier this week. “The kids are practicing out here hard. … They’re out here with a purpose.”
Last week’s game in West Hartford against Northwest Catholic was a setback for a program looking to keep taking steps forward. Against a previously winless opponent, the Blue Devils were unable to score and gave up five touchdowns in the second half - the first on a return of the second half kickoff and the last on a fumble recovery with less than two minutes to play - losing 37-0.
“They capitalized on stuff in the second half and we did not,” Shea said. “Last week was a combination of a lot of little things [that] at the end added up to some big things.”
But, he said, the team addressed those issues the next day.
“Based on [Monday] and how things looked [Tuesday in practice], they were addressed and we’re moving forward.”
Junior Brady Callahan said, “We’ve just got to put it behind us, keep moving forward this week. We’ve got to work harder, work more as a team.”
As with any loss, however, there were lessons to be learned. Plainville once again moved the ball well, but four trips into the red zone in the first half did not result in any points as the teams went into halftime in a scoreless tie.
“Hopefully, they saw what we need to be better at,” Shea said.
Callahan said they need to have better discipline, and to do things better as a team.
“We’ve got to really stress the team part,” he said.
Berlin boasts a balanced offense, with a quarterback in Kevin Dunn that has thrown for 714 yards on 38-for-61 passing this season and a running game led by Alex Halkias (354 yards) that has gained a total of 743 yards on the ground. Senior James Mazzarella has rushed for 144 yards and caught passes good for a team-leading 207 yards.
“They’re physical. They’re pretty good up front. Both sides of the ball. They’ve got some good skill kids. It’s Berlin,” Shea said. “You know what you get when you play them, and hopefully we’re up for the task.”
“They obviously have a good offense and a good defense. They play a really good game, all around. So we’re just trying to come out there strong. Play confident, play strong,” Callahan said.
“They’re obviously a good team,” he added. “They’re always good every year, but we always have to be confident in what we’re running, we have to trust the guy next to you, to your left and your right, and you’ve just got to play together, play strong.”
Heading into the midseason off-week, Plainville has one victory and came very close to beating traditional state power Bloomfield at home in the opener, but has slid a bit since then. Now the Blue Devils want to take a positive result into the break.
“You want to take positives away every week. You always want to say you’re getting better at something every week. And I think in some ways we are,” Shea said. “Our goal is to win.”
Paul Angilly can be reached at 860-973-1800, or email@example.com