BERLIN - From day one, the Berlin football team was criticized and doubted for its young roster. But the Redcoats managed to prove to everyone that they came to play football this season.
Leading the pack was junior signal caller Kevin Dunn, who filled the cleats of graduated senior Jack Hamel.
Hamel led the Redcoats in 2016 as they finished 8-3.
Luckily the transition for the first-year varsity quarterback wasn’t terribly difficult. Dunn moved from receiver to quarterback in just a short amount of time.
To make sure he was equipped for the year, Dunn worked side by side with a quarterback coach in the offseason.
“The switch wasn’t bad,” Dunn said. “I was kind of naturally good at quarterback, but just being a better leader of the program has been the biggest change for me.”
Dunn had some ups and downs throughout his 2017 season, but overall the quarterback had a solid year. Dunn threw for 1,824 yards and 19 touchdowns, with 13 interceptions.
“Kevin has to trust himself,” Berlin head coach Joe Aresimowicz said. “He is, I think, near the tops of passing yards and touchdowns for a Berlin High quarterback. That’s pretty amazing [for his] first year as a quarterback. He has all the athletic ability, he has the football intelligence, he’s just got to put it out there and trust.”
Dunn’s favorite target this season was Giancarlo Tufano.
Tufano is in his junior season as well and proved to be a key factor for the Redcoats.
Tufano did a little bit of everything, from offense to defense, including special teams. He finished with 35 catches for 469 yards and six scores.
Tufano is also the team’s leading kicker, making four field goals, and he converted on 32 of his 37 extra points.
On the offensive side, the Redcoats had four leading rushers, only one of them being a senior.
That senior was James Mazzarella. He was accompanied by junior Alex Halkias (113 carries for 786 yards and 8 touchdowns), junior Larry St. Pierre (157 yards and 3 touchdowns on 36 carries) and sophomore Zach Hrubiec.
Hrubiec is another young player that packs a big punch.
“Hrubiec is such a dominant player,” Aresimowicz said.
Hrubiec had 42 carries for 216 yards and three touchdowns. On the defensive end, he had 77 tackles and seven sacks.
Hrubiec, along with eight other Redcoats, were named All-CCC Division III East picks earlier this week.
Sophomore Tony Undercuffler played a lead role for the Redcoats this season, making five interceptions. The defensive back also had 46 tackles on the season.
At the beginning of the season, the Redcoats had one thing on their mind, the playoffs. Although Berlin made it into the postseason, it didn’t end exactly how it would have liked.
Although it was not ideal, the Redcoats still had a successful season, finishing 9-3, including shutouts over Bulkeley/HMTC/Weaver, Northwest Catholic and Avon.
Berlin may be losing a few seniors this year, but it will be plenty prepared for the year to come. With almost all of its skilled players returning, Berlin football will be one team to look out for next year.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or On Twitter: @shelbyiava