BERLIN >> No. 1 Berlin stomped No. 4 Cheney Tech 49-6 in the rain at Sage Park Saturday afternoon in a Class M-Large semifinal.
The first 1:48 of the game was shockingly competitive. The rest was predictably lopsided for the Redcoats.
Berlin won the coin flip, taking just two plays for the game’s first touchdown on a 27-yard run by Anthony Sisti. Quarterback Alec Norton converted for two on a pass to Jonathan Platosz.
No. The Beavers’ Travon Holder ran for almost 1,000 yards in the regular season, including five 100-yard games. He chewed up half that on Cheney Tech’s first play from scrimmage – 51 yards for a touchdown, 10:12 left in the first quarter.
Last man standing wins?
Nope. Not that either.
The point-after snap sailed high, the holder fumbled and Berlin remained ahead 8-6.
It was an omen of things to come.
The Redcoats (11-1) sliced through their CCC competition giving up no more than one touchdown a game, even in their final-game, 7-0 loss to New Britain.
The Beavers scored lots of touchdowns in an 8-3 season in the Constitution State Conference. Holder showed his stuff in that first play from scrimmage Saturday.
“You never know,” said Berlin coach John Capodice, whose Redcoats missed the playoffs last year for the first time in his six years as head coach.
“We take every team seriously, as we should,” Redcoat senior running back Eric Garcia said. “We just want to get where we should be.”
“We started a new sense of togetherness after last year,” said senior Sisti, Berlin’s other featured back. “We worked together and we stick together.”
Holder popped the big run early. Then Berlin’s big, fast line took over.
Holder carried the ball 13 times, often chased down behind the line of scrimmage, including a 29-yard loss in the third quarter.
Sisti (6 carries, 81 yards) and Garcia (7 carries, 79 yards) added two more touchdowns in the first quarter – the second after Redcoat Michael Jukonski recovered a fumble on the Beaver 32-yard line.
The Redcoat line ruled the ground. Norton ruled the air on just six pass attempts, three of them killers.
A 17-yard pass to Garcia in the first quarter set up Sisti’s 15-yard scoring run. A 25-yard strike to Jonathan Platosz was the prelude to Sisti’s second touchdown of the day in the second. And a final 30-yard scoring pass to Sisti ended the game at the half, 43-6.
Sisti scored four times and Garcia twice, all in the first half.
When Zach Pajor scored almost by accident early in the third quarter, Capodice ordered a knee instead of the extra point.
Next week’s clash with another blow-out winner – No. 2 Brookfield (46-14 over No. 3 New London) is just what the championship ordered.
No. 1 Berlin 49, No. 4 Cheney Tech 6
At Sage Park, Berlin
Cheney Tech 6 0 0 0 – 6
Berlin 22 21 6 0 – 49
B – Anthony Sisti 49-yard run (Alec Norton to Jonathan Platosz pass)
C – Travon Holder 51-yard run (kick failed)
B – Sisti 15-yard run (Paul Fontes kick)
B – Eric Garcia 8-yard run (Fontes kick)
B – Garcia 1-yard run (Fontes kick)
B – Sisti 3-yard run (Fontes kick)
B – Sisti 30-yard pass from Norton (Fontes kick)
B – Zach Pajor 9-yard run (no conversion)
Rushing: C – Travon Holder 13 carries/59 yards. B – Anthony Sisti 6/81; Eric Garcia 7/81; Owen Taylor 2/10; Alec Norton 1/5; Zach Pajor 1/9; Trevor Gagnon 2/4; Gage Davis 1/11; Nick Perrone 1/11.
Passing: C – Rafael Lebron 2-for-6/-5 yards. B – Alec Norton 3/6/72.
Receiving: C – Shawn Grant 1 catch/3 yards; Travon Holder 1/-8. B – Eric Garcia 1/17; Jonathan Platosz 1/25; Anthony Sisti 1/30.
Records: Cheney Tech 8-4; Berlin 11-1.