By Rick Volk
Overcoming its strongest opponent of the year, the Berlin Redcoat JV football team won its seventh straight game, defeating Southington JV, 14-7, Saturday at Scalise Field.
Berlin used two long scoring plays, a long, game-ending drive, and several key defensive stands to run its record to 7-0 under Coach Mike Mendoza.
Trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, Berlin tied the game on a 69-yard pass from Dan McLeod to Nate Campbell. Berlin’s offense had been forced to punt on three prior possessions.
Facing Southington’s large offensive line and strong-armed, 6-2, 195, freshman quarterback Jasen Rose, Berlin’s defense allowed a first quarter touchdown, but thereafter stiffened, stopping three Southington first half drives. Highlights included sacks by Devin Reilly and Ron Cadogan and interceptions by Cyrus Tyler and Geoff Main.
Berlin opened the second half with yet another stop of Southington, featuring Main’s tackle of a receiver on fourth down.
Quarterback Alec Norton soon found Anthony Sisti along the sideline with a pass. Sisti broke one tackle, then raced down the Berlin sideline, providing the eventual margin victory with his 79-yard touchdown.
Rose once again took Southington deep into Berlin territory, hitting Kyle Borawski with three passes along the way. The Redcoats regained possession by pressuring Rose, resulting in two incomplete passes in the end zone.
Trapped deep in its territory, Berlin unleashed its best ball-possession drive of the season. Norton passed deep to a diving Jonathan Platosz, who made a highlight reel-style one-handed catch., setting the stage for power runs from Sisti, Norton and Jake Eliades for multiple first downs. Running behind offensive linemen Mike Burek, Billy Conticello, Jack Strafstrom, Joe Chatlas, and Reilly, the Redcoats converted several key 3rd and 4th down plays.
With Southington expecting another run, Norton rolled out and hit Campbell for the clinching first down, the Redcoats having consumed nearly the entire fourth quarter on offense.
Berlin’s regularly scheduled JV game against Bloomfield was cancelled, but creative scheduling gave the Redcoats valuable experience against the talented Southington squad, a Class LL school from CCC Division I.
In addition to Coach Mendoza, frequently seen Berlin coaches at JV games are Rick DeGroff, Mark McLeod and Pete Ladas Jr.
The JV team is scheduled to end its season on Friday, November 16 against New Britain. New Britain and Berlin have not played a JV game in the last two years. New Britain’s JV ‘s team is 4-3 on the season.