Special teams, interception stop comeback attempt by Berlin

Published on Saturday, 18 September 2021 10:24
Written by TYLER HETU


WETHERSFIELD - Berlin (1-1) football was unable to make a last effort in the final minutes of its contest against Wethersfield (2-0) Friday night, falling 21-18 to the Eagles.

Torrence Smith capped off the night for the Redcoats, who were driving with under two minutes to go in the contest, putting the game on ice for Wethersfield with an interception at 1:16 in the fourth quarter to lock up its second straight win.

The interception, the second of the game thrown by Lorenzo Miele, closed a night where Berlin’s offence struggled to make big plays happen, instead grinding out drives through ground-and-pound offense. Wethesfield’s offense, however, was able to get the ball in the endzone early to put pressure on the Redcoats.

Berlin and Wethersfield traded drives to open the contest before the Eagles' Ethan Lemos pulled down a pass from Wil Bankowski from 21 yards out. A Smith rush for more than 30 yards helped set up the opening score of the game, coming at 7:30 in the first quarter.

The following drive Berlin had big plays from Toby Lavender and Lorenzo Miele, but the drive stalled on the doorstep of the red zone. The Redcoats turned the ball over on downs on the 29-yard line before Wetherfield punted away.

The Eagles had a drive extend across both quarters that ended in six on a Luis Montalvo reception from 19 yards out. With a good extra point, the Eagles took a 14-0 lead as Berlin struggled to find an answer.

A missed field goal opportunity by Berlin added to a day where the Redcoats struggled on special teams. A missed extra-point attempt following a Jamie Palmese 6-yard score at 8:07 in the third and a failed two-point conversion attempt after a Jake Smalley 12-yard touchdown catch hindered Berlin's chances of keeping it close.

On top of the missed kicks and failed attempt, the Redcoats allowed a 72-yard run back for a score on a kick off where Mathyas Nieves went untouched for Wethersfield.

"We've been bouncing around with different kickers and trying to play it, and you only have so much time in a week," said Berlin head coach Joe Aresimowicz. "When you have a team that didn't play at all last year, you cut corners here and there. I think we need to spend some time on special teams. It ended up killing us."

In hindsight after the game, Aresimowcz said deep-ball attempts could have been different play calls as the running game was working to success, but Wethersfield ability to close holes at the line made it difficult to gain yards.

On top of closing the gaps, the game clock did not play friend to the Redcoats who were chasing the Eagles from the opening score. 

"It was really hard. They did a nice job of stunting up front, and were taking away our holes," said Aresimowcz. "Like I said earlier in the week, it's a well coached team. We could have, but the clock started working against us. We came into the second quarter down 14-0, missed the extra points, and it feels like you're chasing them the whole time."

The loss for Berlin set them up with a date against Manchester on the road at 6:30 p.m. for Week 3. Manchester lost to Windsor to open the season 41-19 and lost to Newington Friday night 52-42.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Saturday, 18 September 2021 10:24. Updated: Saturday, 18 September 2021 10:27.