HARTFORD - It all starts today for the Berlin football team.
The Redcoats already believe this is the year they will become Class M state champions, but before they even reach the playoffs, Berlin will have to take on Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver today at noon for what appears to be an easy matchup.
Last season, the Redcoats shut out the Bulldogs 27-0 and are expecting the same results this time around.
“They definitely made progress from last year, but I don’t think they’ll be able to hang [with us],” Berlin linebacker Dominic Scarano said. “I think it’s going to be a blowout personally. I’ve been to one of their scrimmages and I just don’t think they can run with us. We’ve brought back a lot of starters and we’re looking really good this year.”
Berlin quarterback Kevin Dunn said although it should be an easy game, it’s not something the Redcoats should overlook.
“They have a bunch of athletes over there,” Dunn said. “It’s definitely not a game we can take lightly, but we definitely want to come out with a win. We know they have a lot of speed. We have to make sure we’re looking at their running backs. If they get to the outside, they’re gone. We have to contain that speed they have.”
The Redcoats have to be cautious of rusher Anthony Regis. He will be joined by Joshua Thomas, who is another impressive running back.
“[Regis’] is very fast, so when he gets to the outside he can hit it,” Berlin defensive end and fullback Zach Hrubiec said. “We have to watch out for him but we expect our defense to lock it in and let the offense put up the points.”
The Bulldogs also have 180-pound, 6-foot-2 wide receiver Angel Dejesus who can make big plays on offense.
“I anticipate a good game,” Berlin head coach Joe Aresimowicz said. “They have some quick, fast athletes and if you give them space they’re going to hurt you.”
Berlin will be returning a majority of its backfield from last season, including running back Larry St. Pierre and leading rusher Alex Halkias. Hrubiec will be a force as fullback this season along with Josh Woods.
Receivers Tyler Dinkins and Andrew Brochu will also be returning to the field.
“We’re expecting to go out there and perform to the best of our abilities,” Dinkins said. “We’re looking to put up points and obviously can keep them from scoring. We just have to go out there and perform to our best.”
Although Berlin will be returning 19 starters, Aresimowicz is worried some of the mistakes the team made last season will make an appearance again.
“The real game is always tough,” the head coach said. “We have had a few scrimmages but we haven’t looked great. We need to put it together. Hopefully we’ll be able to come out and execute at a high level.”
The signal caller agrees with Aresimowicz.
“We’re a really good team, but we still make mistakes,” Dunn said. “We’re not perfect but we have the pieces of something that could be great. We’re not there yet. We have to keep making strides to where we want to be.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org