BERLIN - The schedule to begin the season was fairly easy for Berlin football. Tonight against Tolland, that changes as the 20th-ranked Redcoats begin a tough four-game stretch.
“This is the stretch that we talked about all year,” Berlin head coach Joe Aresimowicz said. “These are the four games that will make or break our season. We want to come out of it 4-0, that’s our goal but we’ve got to play really good football. If we fall asleep on Tolland they’re going to put points up.”
For the Eagles, that starts with quarterback Ryan Carlson, who has accounted for 720 of the team’s 988 total yards through the first five games.
“He’s definitely the stud for their team,” Berlin linebacker Domenic Scarano said. “We definitely have our eyes on him and will try to stop him in any element running or passing. We’re going to try to do our best to stop him.”
While he’s the driving force on offense, Carlson is also Tolland’s leading tackler at middle linebacker. Paired with Colin Cook, the two make a tough combination the middle for the Eagles this season at linebacker and will make it tough for Berlin to run the football.
While Tolland has a 4-2 record, the two losses are to Bloomfield and Rocky Hill, teams that have a combined 11-1 with the Warhawks only loss coming against the Terriers.
The Eagles are a balanced team, averaging 18 points per game on offense and giving up 15 points per game to opposing teams.
Defensively for Tolland, the key player is on the line, senior defensive tackle Dan Servadio.
At 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds, Servadio will be the one of the biggest players that the Redcoats have lined up against this season.
“He plays guard and nose guard and he’s one of the biggest kids I’ve seen out on the field this year,” Aresimowicz said. “It’s going to be a challenge for our offensive line and for our defensive tackle Zach Hrubiec, who’s one of the best in the state. He’s going to have his work cut out for him.”
In the secondary, the Eagles have shown the capability to take the football away with six interceptions through their first five games. That will be a test for Berlin quarterback Kevin Dunn.
“They definitely have some athletes in the secondary,” Dunn said. “We’re going to try and pick them apart and throw to where they aren’t [as much of a factor] and try to continue scoring as many points as we can.”
While Dunn has primarily been a passer this season, this is the type of game that he can use his speed in to break some big plays off for the Redcoats offense.
“He’s the second or third fastest player on our team and that’s saying a lot given the skill position players on our team,” Aresimowicz said.
For Berlin, this is the toughest game yet and the first of the challenging stretch that will later include Rocky Hill, Bloomfield and New Britain.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan