BERLIN - With its most difficult part of the schedule ahead of it, the Berlin football team appears to be hitting its stride at just the right time.
The Redcoats played perhaps their most complete game of the season last Friday against Tolland. Led by quarterback Kevin Dunn, who accounted for five total touchdowns - four in the air and one on the ground - Berlin (7-0) rallied past the Eagles 41-10.
But will that be enough for tonight’s opponent?
“We’re going into Bloomfield full force,” running back James Mazzarella said. “We’re putting everything we got into this game because we want to show teams who we are as Berlin.”
“We have to play to our full potential,” offensive linemen Dominic Lattarulo said. “Based on previous weeks, we’ve overcome a lot of adversity on the field but this is our biggest test this year.”
The Warhawks have only one loss, a Week 2 24-16 loss to now 13th-ranked Rocky Hill, and Bloomfield’s offense, which averages 36 points a game, will present the Redcoats with their toughest challenge yet.
Bloomfield relies on junior Ky’juon Butler as its primary running back. Butler has amassed 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 122 carries this season, averaging 9.8 yards per carry. And while he is one of the major focal points of the Warhawks’ offense, the team also has sophomore running back Anthony Simpson, who has rushed the ball 45 times for 454 yards (10.1 yards per carry) and has 10 total touchdowns.
But Bloomfield has shown it is capable of throwing the ball as well. The Warhawks’ freshman quarterback, Daron Bryden, has also made quite an entrance himself, completing 69.2 percent of his passes for 1,197 yards and 15 touchdowns to just five interceptions.
Berlin head coach Joe Aresimowicz is uncertain how his team is going to play the ball tonight. Depending on what Bloomfield brings to the field, determines the Redcoats’ pace of play.
“[It’s going to depend] on what their defense is giving us,” Aresimowicz said. “It puts our defense in a big spot.”
Perhaps the most important aspect for the Redcoats tonight will be how well they play collectively as a unit on each side of the ball. Earlier in the season, one of Berlin’s issues were players not communicating effectively on the field. As such, the Redcoats stopped using reward decals on their helmets as a way to put more emphasis on team play instead of focusing on the individual.
“They bought in,” Aresimowicz said. “Not only did we stop handing them out, but they took them all off their helmets. They bought into the team aspect.”
And that could be the difference between a win and a loss not only for tonight, but moving forward as well.
“We’re actually playing as a team and you can tell by the scores of the last three games,” Mazzarella said. “People have been saying Tolland was supposed to be our biggest game, but right now these last three [Bloomfield, Rocky Hill and New Britain] are the toughest games of our schedule and we really just need to come together, focus every single day at practice and show these teams what we have.”