PLAINVILLE - The Berlin-Plainville football rivalry continues to remain one-sided.
The Redcoats make sure of it from the first time they touched the ball Friday night.
Larry St. Pierre returned a punt 95 yards for a touchdown to jumpstart Berlin as the Redcoats beat Plainville once again, this time 42-14.
Alex Halkias added 104 yards rushing and three touchdowns, while Zach Hrubiec scored once on the ground and another through the air to help Berlin get off to a 5-0 start heading into its bye week. Plainville, meanwhile, will head into its bye at 1-4.
“That set the stage,” said Redcoats head coach Joe Aresimowicz said of St. Pierre’s return. “Larry gave us an emotional boost, he’s an emotional kid. It just put us to another level. Those slow starts that we were getting off to this year so far, that gave us the boost we needed.”
The Blue Devils had their opportunities, particularly early, but couldn’t capitalize on any of their open deep passes. But Berlin took out any suspense out of this one early, grabbing a 28-7 lead before halftime and never allowed Plainville to rally.
Berlin scored the game’s first three touchdowns.
After St. Pierre’s return, Halkias found the end zone less than eight minutes later for a 1-yard run, while quarterback Kevin Dunn and Hrubiec connected on a 9-yard pass five minutes into the second quarter to five the Redcoats an early 21-0 lead.
Dunn completed 14 of his 16 passes for 91 yards with an interception.
“We made too many mistakes to be successful,” Blue Devils head coach Tim Shea said. “We’d get a drive going, we’d shoot ourselves in the foot. Defensively, we got them to third down and they’d convert. We’re stuck in that spot. We’re right there wanting to take that next step, but we’re being held back.”
Plainville didn’t get its first touchdown until 5:07 before halftime when Frank Griffin managed to connect with Cody Marquis for a 33-yard jump ball in the end zone. The Blue Devils wouldn’t score again until midway through the fourth to stop a running clock when Brady Callahan ran up the middle for a 4-yard touchdown against Berlin’s junior varsity offense.
What made the difference Friday night was the third-down conversions. The Redcoats were 6-for-10, while Plainville was just 1-for-8.
“We were just taking away the deep ball and making sure they were getting any home runs,” said Berlin safety Matt Wojciechowski who had one of the game’s interceptions. “We came downfield if their receivers went five yards. It’s alright, we’ll give that up.”
With the game already in the Redcoats’ favor at the half, Berlin made sure to put the game away in the third quarter.
Hrubiec scored on a 17-yard run to open up the second half, while Halkias ran for his third touchdown of the night, this one a 24-yard run to start the running clock.
“We can honestly be a great and lethal offense,” said St. Pierre, who finished his night with six catches for 37 yards. “With me, [James] Mazzarella and Halkias, if we can execute, we could be playing like this all the time.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach