Season Preview: Bigger-than-ever Berlin football set to prove doubters wrong

Published on Wednesday, 11 September 2019 19:40


It’s easy to look at Berlin football’s 2019 roster and take note of the glaring absences from last season, from all-conference quarterback Kevin Dunn to all-conference running back Larry St. Pierre, but the Redcoats aren’t concerned about what’s missing from this year’s roster sheet. They believe the names that are still on that sheet are what’s worthy of the attention.

“We’re actually looking pretty good,” head coach Joe Aresimowicz said. “We have a blue collar mentality. I say it all the time, if a guy goes down, the next guy is up.”

Plenty of guys were lost to graduation or transfer for Berlin, but in a season that could have been potentially crippled by such an exodus, the Redcoats received a number of unexpected arrivals that have Aresimowicz looking at the 2019 campaign with similar expectations as the last, when Berlin reached the Class M state championship game.

Aresimowicz’s new contributors have different roles for the Redcoats, but they all have one thing in common, which will be the key for Berlin’s success this season: overwhelming size that looks to cast a shadow over the departures of 2018.

“We have a couple kids that are going to surprise some people,” Aresimowicz said. “Trevor Miano at tight end lines up at 6-foot-3, over 200 pounds, and that’s something you don’t normally see at Berlin. He’s going to be physically imposing. We’re blessed with size that we never had. We have four kids that are over 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds. That’s pretty good for a high school program.”

One of those new entries is offensive lineman Aiden Jones, a senior who last played football in eighth grade, but his 6-foot-3 frame is enough to give the Redcoats, and Jones himself, a reason for excitement.

“We lost some key players, but everyone on this team is amazing,” Jones said. “Everyone is big and strong and works hard every day. With the size we have, we can down block everyone and nail them into the dirt. If we can do that, we can score touchdowns all day.”

That will be precisely Berlin’s plan this season, to pound the ball right into the gut of opposing defenses, while throwing a metaphorical block at those that doubted them entering summer practices. The Redcoats lost a lot of talent, but they’ve made up for it in pure size and strength, which they believe is a recipe for a lot of wins, regardless of their promotion to Class L.

“This is the most hard-working group that I’ve ever been around, and it’s the most doubted group I’ve ever been around,” All-State running back Zach Hrubiec said. “That makes us mad. We’re being doubted around the state and we want to prove something. There’s no doubt that we can, and we look forward to showcasing that.”

Hrubiec will likely be the main benefactor of Berlin’s towering offense line, but Aresimowicz is quick to point out that the team’s backfield is crowded with talent that will be realized once the focus from spectators finally shifts from who Berlin lost after last season.

“Zach obviously is an incredible player and is going to go on and play in college somewhere, but we have a sophomore in Jamie Palmese that’s lighting it up, and we have Adam Liberda who came back this year after a year off,” Aresimowicz said. “He’s been lighting it up all spring.”

Aresimowicz and the Redcoats are excited to translate that production into the fall, when they can unveil their new-look team that may lack the same list of recognizable names, but more than makes up for it in acquired size. The stakes may be bigger after being bumped to Class L, but Berlin’s overall stature matches its new playing field.

“We don’t fear anybody,” Hrubiec said. “We want to play the best teams. We’re happy we’re in L, and get to face some of the best around. We’re looking forward to it.”

Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Wednesday, 11 September 2019 19:40. Updated: Wednesday, 11 September 2019 19:42.