Berlin and Weaver tangled in Week 1, and the Redcoats came out on top.
| Ajlal N. Khan, Special to The Citizen
September 13, 2017 10:38AM
By Ajlal N. Khan Special to The Citizen
Football is back, and the Berlin Redcoats opened their season on Friday night with a 27-0 victory over the visiting Weaver Bulldogs.
The game opened to roaring applause and excitement as the Redcoats kicked off to the Bulldogs. However, both teams had a shaky start, as they exchanged penalties and turnovers. The first quarter ended scoreless.
“We can’t turn the ball over. We have got to hold on to the ball,” Berlin coach Joe Aresimowicz said.
Aresimowicz also commented on his team’s youth. “I think there were probably nine sophomores that got onto the field tonight. That’s unheard of. Even the juniors that were playing, played JV last year,” he said.
Despite this lack of experience, the Redcoats barreled on to a much more impressive second quarter.
Senior James Mazzarella ran in a touchdown within 40 seconds of the second frame beginning, concluding a drive started in the first quarter. Junior Giancarlo Tufano kicked the extra point to put the Redcoats up 7-0.
Later in the quarter, first-year varsity quarterback Kevin Dunn, a junior, completed a long pass to Mazzarella, who dragged defenders for over 10 yards before he was taken down to end the 46-yard play.
Sophomore running-back Zack Hrubeic finished off the drive with a quick run into the end zone.
“We started a little sloppy but that’s just something we have to work on at practice,” said Redcoat center Nick Paszczuk.
The first half ended with Berlin on top 14-0.
The second half saw more mistakes on the part of the Bulldogs. Key defensive player Jeremy Sirois, a senior, intercepted a Weaver pass early in the third while also getting in the way of multiple passes.
Mazzarella was also active on the defensive end, recovering a Bulldog fumble halfway through the third quarter. Following the recovery, junior Alex Halkias was able to catch a short pass from Dunn to put another touchdown on the board.
Halkias, who contributed for the Berlin squad throughout the night, left the game late in the third quarter due to a minor injury. “I have to prepare my body better for the game so I don’t have an early exit like I did today,” he said.
The Redcoats managed to continue their strong defensive effort in the fourth quarter, causing three more Bulldog turnovers. Sirois picked off his second pass of the game while Tufano got an interception of his own.
Also, Tufano recovered a fumble and returned it for a 25-yard touchdown in the fourth.
“Yeah, there are some things we have to clean up, but I think we can win it every single game” said Mazzarella.
Prior to the start of the game, the Redcoats dedicated their season to Tyler Cop, who passed two years ago. This would have been Cop’s senior year.
Many gathered in the stands to honor Cop’s memory and witness the beginning of the season. Per usual, many former players were also in attendance to show their support for their high school team on opening night.
“It’s very different being back here and not playing, but I’m very proud of the team for going out there and playing hard,” said Daniel Labbadia, a former Redcoat linebacker and tight end.