WALLINGFORD – The duo of Kevin Dunn and Alexander Halkias did it all for the No. 3 Berlin as the visiting Redcoats ousted No. 2 Sheehan, 34-22, in the Class M semifinals at John J. Riccitelli Field on Monday night.
Dunn had five total touchdowns and Halkias had two scores and 213 total yards.
Berlin, now 11-1, will face No. 1 St. Joseph, also 11-1, in Saturday’s Class M state final. Sheehan’s season came to a close at 10-2
Berlin led 21-6 at the half Monday night behind three touchdown passes from Dunn to three different targets. Dunn added a fumble recovery on the defensive end.
The Redcoats opened the scoring with Giancarlo Tufano’s 18-yard touchdown reception in the end zone on a throw by Dunn. Tufano boomed the extra point with 3:41 left in the first quarter as the Redcoats jumped on top 7-0.
Berlin doubled its lead on the final play of the first quarter, a 4-yard pass from Dunn to Halkias. The big play on the 7-play drive was a 43-yard connection from Dunn to Halkias down the right sideline.
Sheehan responded with an 8-play drive and was literally on the doorstep of the end zone. Carrying from the 16, Terrence Bogan (21 carries, 150 yards) broke free up the middle, but fumbled at the 1-yard line. The fumble went into the end zone and was recovered by Dunn for a touchback.
The Titans had two first downs on the drive after going 3-and-out on their first three possessions.
The Redcoats made it 21-0 on a seam throw from Dunn to Hrubiec. It was a 63-yard TD catch-and-run and the junior threw down a Sheehan defender at the 10-yard line as he rumbled into the end zone.
“This win is absolutely huge,” Hrubiec said. “It’s been a couple of years since we have’been in the state championship game. As a team, we play with confidence. We are not cocky. So, of course we expected to come in and get a win. We knew if we executed we would come out with a win.”
Dunn was 9-for-16 for 206 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Dunn finished the game 19-for-28 for 244 yards and four passing touchdowns.
Hrubiec, who had 149 total yards at the half, more than redeemed himself after fumbling on his first carry of the game. Tyler Ekstrom recovered the fumble. Eckstrom also had a sack in the game.
Sheehan couldn’t take advantage of the Hrubiec fumble and went 3-and-out on its first three times on offense.
The Titans cracked the scoreboard with a deep bomb from Wes Terzi to Jake Smith for 61-yards down the middle of the field. Justin Moore’s PAT attempt clanked off the right goal post and the Titans trailed 21-6 with 1:48 remaining in the first half. The score would hold at the half.
At the break, Terzi was 6-for-16 for 100 yards and the TD. In the first 24 minutes, Smith (8 catches, 118 yards) had four catches for 89 yards.
“We left 110 percent on the field. We tip our hats to Berlin. They played a hell of a game and I would love to see them give St. Joe’s a run for their money.” Terzi said. “It was a great season. This was the best season for Sheehan since the state title in 1985. It's been great to have been a part of that and I love my team like brothers.”
Sheehan turned the ball over on downs to start the second half. Berlin needed four plays to get into the end zone as Dunn tossed his fourth TD pass of the game. It was another 34-yarder to Hrubiec.
Sheehan’s Ryan Paul blocked the PAT, but the visitors led 27-6 with 7:48 left in the third quarter.
Halkias picked off Terzi on Sheehan’s next possession and the Redcoats went 10 plays, with Dunn scampering in for a 13-yard QB keeper. This was Dunn’s fifth TD of the game – four through the air and one on the ground. A Sheehan pass interference penalty on fourth down aided the Redcoats on the drive.
Sheehan’s second touchdown of the game came on a fade from Terzi to Jordan Davis for 13 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter. Davis then threw a successful two-point conversion to Eckstrom to close the gap, 34-14, with 11:53 left in the fourth.
Bogan capped the scoring with a 3-yard scamper in the final minute. The junior also had a 40-yard run on that drive. Smith rushed in the two-point conversion to cap the scoring at 34-22.
Monday night’s game was Sheehan’s first semifinal appearance since 1995. The Titans’ lone state title came 10 years earlier.
“This is certainly going to sting for a while,” Sheehan coach John Ferrazzi said. “But, I’m proud of this team, especially the senior class. the last three years they put this program on the map and established a standard for the team. I’m forever in debt to this group.”