ROCKY HILL - Coming into Friday night, the Berlin or Rocky Hill football teams had yet to lose this season and in the end, one team had to leave with a loss.
The Redcoats turned out to be that team as they fell in the battle of the unbeaten 26-10 to the 13th-ranked Terriers.
Berlin (8-1) allowed three rushing touchdowns as it dropped its third straight to Rocky Hill (9-0).
“We didn’t play well,” Redcoats head coach Joe Aresimowicz said. “We made mistakes and they took advantage of it. When you have a senior-laden ball club and we made mistakes, they’re going to advantage.”
A bad snap on a Giancarlo punt led to a safety midway through the second quarter to put Berlin down 9-3. A too many on the field penalty in the fourth led to a Rocky Hill first down and ultimately led to the final touchdown of the game - a Daniel Cavallaro 10-yard run.
But the Redcoats couldn’t stop the run as the Terriers collected 267 yards on the ground.
“We couldn’t keep the outside edge,” Berlin linebacker James Mazzarella said. “We trained all week to stop the middle stuff and we did. They couldn’t get anything up the middle. They got those 3-yard, 4-yard dinks, but other than that, they had those outside runs that gashed us.”
Apart from the Cavallaro’s touchdown run in the fourth, the only points Rocky Hill was able to get in the second half was a field goal from Joe Catania.
But Berlin was unable to put up any points over the 24 minutes of play outside a 10-yard touchdown run from quarterback Kevin Dunn in the third to cut the Redcoats’ deficit to 16-10. It was as close as Berlin would get apart from the short 3-point lead it held at the start of the first quarter after a Tufano 37-yard field goal.
The Redcoats had just three possessions in the second half with two ending on punts.
“On the offensive side of the ball I thought we did decently,” Berlin offensive/defensive lineman Greg Carson said. “Our line played OK, mediocre. Our backs played OK. We didn’t have that normal game where we have those big runs and big plays. It didn’t happen tonight.”
The first half, however, where Rocky Hill took control of the game, scoring 16 unanswered points - all in the second quarter.
After forcing Rocky Hill to punt on its first possession of the game, Berlin took the ball on its own 49 and drove it down to the Terriers’ 15 with Alex Halkias leading the way. The Redcoats running back ran four times for 20 yards on the drive. But an illegal shift on 4th down forced the Redcoats to settle for the Tufano 37-yard field goal.
From that point on, Rocky Hill took control.
The Terriers went 80 yards on 21 plays on their next possession for the first touchdown of the night. Joe Ferreira capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run as he and Catania provided most of the yards for Rocky Hill.
The Terriers would then force the safety as a bad snap that rolled past Tufano and into the end zone to put the game at 9-3 before using an eight-play, 38-yard drive to put the game at 16-3, leaving Berlin to play from behind the rest of the way and with little time on the clock.
“This loss hurts us all,” Carson said. “We’ve lost to Rocky Hill three times straight now. It’s the one team us seniors wanted to beat. It was our one goal coming into the season - beat Rocky Hill, beat Rocky Hill. This does hurt, but it’s a good look forward to get better.”
The Redcoats now close the regular season at New Britain (4-5) in the Wishbone Bowl Friday at 6:30 p.m.