BERLIN - The Berlin and East Catholic football teams have a very one-sided history.
Over the last 11 years, the Redcoats have faced the Eagles 10 times and have outscored them 374-64 for a 9-1 record. The only blemish was from Berlin’s 2015 season, when the team was stripped of its wins due to a recruiting scandal.
Tonight, the Redcoats will host the Eagles in their home opener at Sage Park at 6:30 p.m.
Although the Eagles are coming off a 0-10 season, they have already seen improvement in their first game this season. East Catholic snapped a 12-game losing streak Saturday afternoon with a 28-18 victory over Avon in its home opener.
“They’re a pretty good team, but we expect to win going into the game,” Redcoats tight end Danny Lynch said. “I’m excited to play them. The whole team is excited to play them and I think we’re going to do well.”
The Eagles are in the midst of rebuilding, with just four starters returning on each side of the ball.
Senior quarterback Harrison Ecklund has the size and experience to lead the team. During East Catholic’s game on Saturday, Ecklund was 2-for-5 for 44 yards.
East Catholic was more effective on the ground, carrying the ball 50 times for 259 yards and four rushing touchdowns.
“I think every team is a threat to us and I think we have to approach every team the same,” Lynch said. “We can’t think down on a team. We have to go in there with our heads held high and just try to win the game.”
The Redcoats will have to watch out for senior double threat Matt Byam. Playing as a tight end and linebacker, the 6-foot-4, 220 pound force brings size to the unit. Byam was the leading rusher against Avon, covering 96 yards on 11 carries, with one touchdown.
East Catholic is one of the two teams Berlin plays during the season that deploys the double wing offense. The other is Rocky Hill.
“They run man,” Redcoats running back Marco Scarano said. “We just have to play the game. We have to play smarter and focus and we should win. Last week, in the second half, I feel like we let up a little bit. This week we really put our focus towards finishing the game, even if we do have the lead.”
When Steve Calande took over East Catholic’s program in 2012, the Eagles switched from the wishbone offense to the double wing and they’ve been running it ever since.
“We know what we’re going to get,” Berlin head coach Joe Aresimowicz said. “They’re always well coached, but they always run the same thing. We have to play disciplined football, especially defense, and we have to stop the mistakes.”
Penalties proved to be costly not only last week for the Redcoats, but all of last season. Over the past week Berlin has been focusing on cleaning things up to play sound “Berlin football.”
“We are going to try to be perfect,” Redcoats safety Larry St. Pierre said. “But honestly, no one is perfect, but we’re trying. We’re trying our hardest to clean things up. Some of those penalties last week weren’t our fault, they were just late blocks. We’re just trying our best to clean it up.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or email@example.com