BERLIN - Berlin may be undefeated but knows its best football has yet to come.
Against a Plainville team the Redcoats beat 56-0 last season, fine tuning specific parts of its game and building chemistry within the locker room has been an emphasis leading up to this week.
“I don’t think this team has played its best game yet,” Berlin coach Joe Aresimowicz said. “I’m waiting to see it. I’m hopeful to see it, but there’s been things in every game that if given a tougher opponent, it could have had an impact on the game.”
While tonight’s game isn’t expected to be close, Berlin knows the Blue Devils have some offensive weapons with quarterback Frank Griffin being a challenge because of his ability to run the football as well as pass it.
“He likes to roll out of the pocket and then make the decision whether he’s going to run or throw,” Aresimowicz said. “We have to make sure we’re keeping track of the quarterback.”
On the line, Berlin got back a key player last week with senior Dominic Lattarulo returning. Lattarulo should play a crucial role tonight in stopping Griffin.
“I felt good [last week],” Lattarulo said. “It’s good to be back. I’ve been working since the summer to get to this moment so I’m excited”
Offensively, Redcoats quarterback Kevin Dunn has been strong this season with five passing touchdowns and will look to continue that against Plainville. The junior has also thrown three interceptions and rushed for one score.
The Blue Devils defensive alignment should allow Dunn to attack the field throughout and improve on those numbers.
“They play a consistent cover four defense,” Dunn said. “We’re going to try to spread out the field and make some easy throws to have yards after the catch.”
The Redcoats have been a prolific offense this season, averaging 29.3 points per game, while maintaining a balanced look. Dunn has thrown for 714 yards with running back Alex Halkias collecting 354 of the team’s 743 rushing yards. Senior James Mazzarella has 351 total yards (144 rushing, 207 receiving).
It should pose plenty of problems for Plainville. The Blue Devils linebackers rarely blitz and the Berlin offensive line should be able to block any pass rush Plainville brings.
For the Redcoats defense, it will look to shutdown the Plainville offense and that all starts with Griffin.
“Since he’s a scrambling quarterback always gotta keep containment on the edge to stop that,” Lattarulo said. “We just need to make sure we continue to be a hard hitting team.”
Through four games, Berlin has allowed just 22 points, including two shutouts against Bulkeley and Northwest Catholic. And tonight’s game presents the Redcoats another good opportunity to walk away allowing no points to the opposing team.
While the mutual respect is there for both teams, it should be another win for Berlin and should be fairly easy.
“We started out shaky,” Dunn said of the Redcoats’ first four games. “We had a good record but we didn’t execute like I thought we should’ve but we really came together this week and we’re like a family wise.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan