Berlin football forces three fumbles, two interceptions in blowout win over Bulkeley

Published on Friday, 20 September 2019 21:37
Written by RYAN CHICHESTER

@ryanchichester1

BERLIN – Prior to Friday night’s game against Bulkeley, Berlin football head coach Joe Aresimowicz studied film of the Bulldogs’ Week 1 blowout loss to Lewis Mills and saw a team decimated by turnovers. While Lewis Mills capitalized on a number of Bulkeley mistakes, Aresimowicz wasn’t expecting the same fortune for his Redcoats.

He was wrong, as Berlin forced three fumbles and two interceptions in the first half alone to take a 41-point halftime lead and roll to a 41-0 victory at home.

“I’ve now said to my coaches and my defense that I expect that many turnovers each and every game,” Aresimowicz joked. “We just got really good field position all night and our kids took advantage.”

Bulkeley struggled on offense all night, setting the tone with a fumbled snap in the end zone to give the Redcoats a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game. Three minutes later, a botched snap on a punt attempt resulted in a turnover deep in Bulldogs territory, setting up Adam Liberda for a four-yard touchdown run, and he was only halfway through. On the next drive, Liberda picked off a Jaedan Carrero pass and returned it 25 yards to the end zone to give the Redcoats a 20-0 lead before Bulkeley could blink.

Unfortunately for Berlin, as has been the story since preseason, Liberda injured his collarbone on his way to the end zone and did not return to the game, which already felt in hand midway through the first quarter.

“I said to the kids ‘hey, next man up,’” Aresimowicz said of the injury, which comes just one week after losing All-State linebacker Zach Hrubiec and cornerback Anthony Undercuffler. “We just have to keep working through that.”

The Redcoats continued to roll without Liberda, recovering another fumble in the end zone thanks to an alert Jake Holmes, who fell on the loose ball to give Berlin a 27-0 lead.

“Any time you have a defensive lineman get a touchdown, you know it’s a good day,” Aresimowicz said.

Holmes’ fumble recovery was one of three touchdowns generated by the defense, which has now allowed just eight points in its first two games.

“It was a fun moment,” Holmes said of the touchdown. “It was good for the team. Anything to put points on the board, we’re going to do it, and I was fortunate enough to fall on it.”

When the Bulldogs were able to avoid a turnover and settle for a punt, first-year starting quarterback Justin Skates hit Elijah Crowley for a 24-yard pass to set up an eight-yard touchdown toss to Jamie Palmese in the corner of the end zone on the final play of a dominant first quarter.

“Last week things definitely got a little hectic, but this week I felt more comfortable in the pocket and my line did a great job protecting me,” Skates said of his second varsity game under center, which he finished with four completions on five attempts in just two quarters of play.

Following a turnover on downs in the second quarter, Kyle Krupa punched in another Berlin touchdown from 15 yards out to cap off a lopsided first half. With a monstrous lead and a running clock in the second half, Berlin emptied its bench and got 32 rushing yards on two carries from junior Johnny McGeever and another 33 from sophomore Tanner Sparks.

The defense continued its own dominance in the second half, allowing just eight yards of offense and no completions through the air on five attempts, capping off a second straight strong showing to open the season.

“Their mistakes helped us, but we still had to make the tackles,” Aresimowicz said. “Our guys were always in pursuit and there were passes where if our guys weren’t in the right spot, it could have hurt us, but they were there.”

Berlin 41, Bulkeley 0

At Berlin

Bulkeley (0-2) 0 0 0 0 - 0

Berlin (2-0) 34 7 0 0 – 41

SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter

Berlin-Bulkeley fumble recovered in end zone (Aaron Senz kick), 9:37

Berlin-Liberda 4 run (Senz kick), 7:30

Berlin- Carrero intercepted by Libera, 25 run (Senz kick NO GOOD), 5:31

Berlin- Bulkeley fumble, recovered by Holmes in end zone (Senz kick) 3:02

Berlin – Palmese 6 pass from Skates (Senz kick) 0:00

Second Quarter

Berlin-Krupa 15 run (Senz kick) 2:50

Third Quarter

None

Fourth Quarter

None

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing-Berlin: Justin Skates 4-5-39-TD. Tolland: Jaedan Carrero 3-12-10-2 INT

Rushing-Berlin: Adam Liberda 1-4-TD, Kyle Krupa 2-14-TD, Tanner Sparks 6-33, Johnny McGeever 2-32. Tolland: Adrian Wiggins-King 9-32.

Receiving-Berlin: Jamie Palmese 1-6-TD, Elijah Crowley 2-26. Tolland: Xavier Gerena-Ghazi 2-8.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Friday, 20 September 2019 21:37. Updated: Friday, 20 September 2019 21:40.