Berlin Football Team Grinds Out Playoff Victory

Redcoats pound ground attack in the snow to beat Bullard Havens in first round state championship game, 41-14.


Playing on a snow-covered field, the Berlin Redcoats' offense was forced to stick to the ground.

They did it without leading rusher Justin Gombotz for all but five carries after he injured his ankle.

Berlin used 175 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Scott McLeod and 101 rushing yards from Kevin Main to beat visiting Bullard Havens, 41-14, before a tiny crowd at Scalise Field.

"It's survive and advance at this point," Berlin coach John Capodice said. "Since we played tonight, we get another day to rest up. We have a few guys dinged up so that might be good.

Berlin will play the winner of the Ellington/Somers vs. Weston game, which was postponed until Wednesday night due to the weather. Of the 16 scheduled games only four were played. The rest were moved to Wednesday. The semifinals games are Sunday at neutral sites.

Berlin scored quickly and it looked as if this was going to be an easy win. McLeod scored the first of his three touchdowns less than four minutes into the game on an eight-yard run. Main came back to score with 4:46 left in the first quarter on a 12-yard TD run. McLeod then scored again two minutes later on a six-yard run. Pat Lomaglio added the PATs and Berlin led 21-0.

Bullard Havens refused to punt in the first quarter giving Berlin good field position.

The visitors recovered a Berlin fumble just before the end of the first quarter and took just two plays to get into the end zone. Jacqua Solomon scored from 15 yards out and then John Shannon added the conversion run with 56 seconds left in the quarter.

On its next possession, Bullard Havens cut the deficit to just 21-14 when Solomon scored on a short touchdown run.

"We were just in the wrong fit for the runs," Capodice said. "They ran it just like we had seen on film but for some reason we didn't get in the right position to stop it."

Berlin got momentum back when McLeod walked in untouched from a yard out with just 32 seconds left in the half.

"That's what kids do," Capodice said of letting Bullard Havens get back in the game. "We get the big lead and they start celebrating and next thing you know they're right back in the game. It has happened a few times this season. We get the lead and let it slip way.

The Redcoats added two touchdowns in the third quarter when Mitch Williams scored on a 15-yard touchdown run and then hit Tyler Undercuffler for a 26-yard touchdown strike.

The fourth quarter was all about staying on the ground and it allowed some of the junior varsity players to get playing time in a state playoff game. The defense stifled the Bullard Havens running game led by Dante Vasi, Hector Rodriquez and Kevin Main.

Capodice praised the play of his offensive line.

"We've said it all year long that we're only going to go as far as they take us," Capodice said. "Hector Rodriquez, Dante Vasi, Anthony Duong, Chris Meucci, Mitch Blanchette and Tyler Bouchard and our fullback Wojtus Zak, they all do a great job. On a night like tonight with the conditions, we had to depend on them and they did a nice job."





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