BERLIN - The No. 20 ranked and undefeated Berlin football team continued to prove its point Friday evening. The Redcoats want to finish out their season 10-0, but before they can do that they would have to defeat Bloomfield, and so they did, 23-14.
With the win the Redcoats qualified for the Class M state football playoffs.
The Warhawks scored late in the first quarter with 4:42 left on the clock. Daron Bryden handed the ball off to Ky’Juon Butler for a one-yard run.
With the pressure on the Redcoats, running back Alex Halkias ran 14-yards down the field into the endzone. Giancarlo Tufano’s kick gave the Redcoats the extra point to tie the game at seven.
The strategy for Berlin was to just hang with it, Berlin head coach Joe Aresimowicz said.
“There was going to be times where we make mistakes, where they break off big runs, just hang with it,” Aresimowicz said. “Make them extend their drives, and the kids did. A+ for heart, this was a total players victory. The coaches were here, we were cheerleaders, we were helping to instruct, but the kids won the game.”
Bryden connected with Anthony Simpson for a 41-yard touchdown pass to open up the second quarter.
With the Warhawks leading 14-7, Halkias intercepted a pass by Bryden with less than five minutes left in the half. The Redcoats were only able to move the ball 24 yards before Bloomfield would take back possession.
“We came out in the first half a little sluggish,” running back Zach Hrubiec said. “We only had three offensive possessions the whole time and we just weren’t clicking. When we went into halftime we made adjustments and we came out with a ton of heart. I give it to everyone on the field, all 22 of us, offense and defense. We fought and we came out with a victory.”
“We gave up that touchdown, then Bloomfield started getting momentum on us,” Halkias said. “But after halftime we didn’t slow down, we just came out hard and we proved ourselves in the end.”
The Redcoats recovered a Bryden fumble to get the ball back again with less than six seconds left in the half.
Quarterback Kevin Dunn connected with wide receiver and kicker Giancarlo Tufano for a 29-yard touchdown pass. Tufano tied the game up once more at 14 with the kick seven minutes into the third quarter.
Dunn was eight-for-13 for 139 yards with one touchdown for the evening.
The score remained at 14 going into the fourth quarter. Berlin was one yard away from the end zone after Hrubiec connected with Dunn for a 61-yard pass, when the Redcoats fumbled the ball.
With the Warhawks in possession, Berlin’s defense wasn’t letting anything through. James Mazzarella received a safety, giving Berlin a two-point advantage.
Larry St. Pierre intercepted a pass by Bryden, making a 15-yard dash into the endzone with to end the night the Redcoats.
“It was a four quarter game,” St. Pierre said. “I can’t even speak right now I’m so excited. It was a great game, they played great we played great, we just ended up coming out on top. Maybe hopefully we’re not the underdogs anymore and people will know who we are.”