Berlin head coach Joe Aresimowicz admitted that he was up early Friday morning thinking about Middletown. It wasn’t about the opponent per say, but the pressure of finishing the season unbeaten.
“It was on my mind,” Aresimowicz began. “I woke up at 3:30 this morning thinking through a game scenario, got up, wrote down a note, went back to sleep only to wake up an hour later.”
What was that note?
“I may have to use it later,” Aresimowicz said laughing.
Notes aside, the Redcoats were able to achieve something that the program hasn’t done since 2010 -finish the regular season with zero blemishes in the lost column. They are one of seven schools remaining heading into Thanksgiving with no losses and will be taking that unbeaten record into the Class M state playoffs next week. It is night and day from last season when Berlin finished 4-6.
“Last year was really tough. We got bumped up with a very young team and Covid year so nobody really had varsity experience but the kids who were on the team last year and that stayed and played and worked through that schedule, it showed them that they can compete so I think it really helped us,” Aresimowicz said.
“It’s hard to deal with when it’s happening but when they bounced back like this you’re really proud of them.”
To complete the undefeated season, the Redcoats had to get by a Middletown team that was game.
Entering the second quarter tied at 7, the Redcoats scored on consecutive possessions. Elijah Santos caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Lorenzo Miele and then after a Berlin interception of Middletown’s Colin Skene, Miele punched it in from 4 yards out, a touchdown that was set up by a Luke Magruder 53-yard reception two plays earlier.
The two score cushion that the Redcoats were able to build was enough, despite Middletown getting within a score twice in the second half. A David DeLeon 58-yard touchdown run got Middletown to 21-14 after the successful extra point and another touchdown by DeLeon early in the fourth quarter trimmed the Redcoats lead to 27-21.
However Santos’ third touchdown of the game gave the Redcoats insurance and allowed both Aresimowicz and the players to shed the weight of vying for the unbeaten season off of their shoulders.
“It’s never easy,” Aresimowicz said about going 10-0. “These kids started grinding it out the winter of last year, all through the spring with the passing leagues, the camps; the kids have been going at it and I just love em to death. They just come out here and play.”
Kyle Melville finished the game with 113 yards rushing on 14 carries and a 46 yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Miele had two total touchdowns.
“It meant a lot to them being Senior Night. The seniors really dedicated themselves in the offseason,” Aresimowicz said.
Middletown, whose season came to an end Friday, was led by DeLeon’s 240 yards of total offense and three scores.