The expectations were high for the Berlin football team this season. After losing in the first game of postseason play to Valley Regional/Old Lyme 30-12 last year, the Redcoats want more.
The first five weeks of the season allowed Berlin to smooth out all the kinks. The young team has proved it has the athletic ability it takes to run the ball. The Redcoats have put up a total of 159 yards against their first five opponents.
The undefeated squad is led by only a handful of seniors, while the rest of the team is carried by juniors and sophomores.
Following are four things we’ve learned about the Redcoats so far.
Last season Kevin Dunn didn’t even see a varsity game. This year, Dunn has started every one.
Dunn played his first varsity game as starting quarterback in Week 1, and he hasn’t looked back since.
In the Redcoats’ game against Plainville, Dunn completed 14 of his 16 passes for 91 yards, with one passing touchdown.
At the halfway point he has completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 805 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.
The way Dunn is able to pass the ball has been quite impressive. The junior signal caller is averaging 15.5 yards per completion and 161 yards per game.
Dunn worked with a quarterback coach over the last six months to prepare himself for this season. But even with a winning performance, Dunn knows he has to continue to improve as the postseason is in sight.
Berlin is diverse in its offense; Dunn has the ability to throw the ball, but the Redcoats also have the ability to run it as well.
James Mazzarella, Alex Halkias, Zach Hrubiec and Larry St. Pierre complete the running back puzzle for Berlin.
Halkias has an impressive 143 carries for 1,095 yards and 16 touchdowns, while Mazzarella has 54 carries for 262 yards and four touchdowns. Hrubiec has 41 carries for 189 yards and four touchdowns and St. Pierre has 105 carries for 543 yards and eight touchdowns.
Injuries do happen, but for Berlin football, when injuries occur, it’s just the next man up.
During Week 2, when the Redcoats were on the road against Northwest Catholic; Berlin was able to rotate more than 40 different players onto the field.
Getting the players that varsity experience can only help them in the long run. The Redcoats have the added benefit of having enough depth to bounce back from any injury.
When Berlin has an injury, the kids are locked in enough that the next guy steps up.
Berlin will see Avon (2-3), Tolland (3-2) and Bloomfield (4-1), all at home, over the next three weeks in preparation for their road game in Week 9 against Rocky Hill, the only other undefeated team that Berlin will match up against.
The Redcoats must play to their full potential and mistake-free if they want to come out on top, not only against Rocky Hill, but the rest of their tough back half of the season.
For their finale, the Redcoats will match up against rival New Britain (3-2) on Friday, Nov. 17, at New Britain Stadium.
The Redcoats started their season out strong with wins against Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver, East Catholic, Northwest Catholic, RHAM and Plainville. Although those wins were nice, they are not much to brag about.
As the competition increases, so does the chances of the Redcoats losing their perfect undefeated season.
Their next five opponents will surely try to take advantage of opportunities the first five opponents failed to do.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org