SIMSBURY, Oct. 16 – Using its veer option offense, the Simsbury High football team erased an early seven-point deficit to score 28 unanswered points and remain undefeated with a 28-7 victory over Berlin Friday night.
After fumbling the ball away on its fourth offensive play, the Trojans made a goal line stand stopping Berlin at its own five yard line and proceeded to march 95 yards on 16 plays to tie the game. On Berlin’s next offensive play, Simsbury (5-0, 3-0 CCC Division I) forced a turnover and scored six plays later for a 13-7 lead than they never relinquished.
Simsbury back Connely Cummings led a balanced Trojan attack with 98 yards and 2 TDs on 13 carries. QB Kyle Decker rushed for 79 yards and 2 TDs on 19 carries. Decker only attempted three passes. Two were incomplete and one completion was wiped out by a penalty.
“The veer wasn’t a distraction. We knew what was coming,” Berlin coach John Capodice said. “You can only do three things with the ball. But they dominated at the line of scrimmage. They’re big, physical and strong up front and they pushed us around.”
Simsbury coach Jeff Osborne was pleased with his team’s effort. “We executed our game plan and ran what we wanted to run,” he said. It took Simsbury just two plays to extend its lead in the third quarter.
Kevin Kucinskas, the third option on a running play, took the pitch from Decker and swept around the outside for a 35-yard gain to the Berlin 31-yard line. On the next play, Cummings powered his way up the middle, outfaced a Berlin defender at the 10 yard line and zipped into the end zone with a 31-yard touchdown run. Decker’s two-point conversion run made it 21-7.
Simsbury recovered from a shaky start in the first quarter. Berlin (4-1, 4-0 CCC Division 3) took the opening kickoff and marched 68 yards in 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead. Max DeLorenzo (17-74) gained much of his yardage running behind the right side of the line and also pulled in a 15-yard pass from Berlin QB Dan Hackett (11-18-1, 119 yards). Hackett scored on a three-yard run.
When Hackett ran into a Berlin defender on its fourth offensive play, the ball popped out and Berlin’s A.J. Marsiglia recovered on the Simsbury 38-yard line. On fourth down and 1 on the Simsbury 29, DeLorenzo converted with a key four-yard run to keep the drive alive. Five plays later, Berlin again had a key fourth down and three from the Simsbury 6. But the Trojan defense stiffened, allowing only one yard and taking over.
“We’re a bend and don’t break defense,” Osborne said. “We don’t take risks and see what we can come up with.”
Capodice said the game turned there. “If we could have punched it in, it could have changed the tempo of the game.” Hackett completed 11-of-18 passes for 119 yards and one interception for the Redcoats. Brian Malloy caught eight passes for 97 yards.
As a Division III team in the CCC that is vying for a CIAC playoff spot in Class M, Capodice wasn’t thrilled to play a Division I team from Class L. “You have no choice,” he said with a shrug. “You play the games that you are dictated (to play).”
It was the first meeting between the two schools in football since 1968.
Simsbury 28, Berlin 14
Berlin (4-1)7 0 0 7 – 14
Simsbury (5-0) 7 6 8 7 – 28
B: Dan Hackett 3 run (Devin Silverman kick), 6:48
S: Connely Cummings 5 run (James Poggio kick), 5:54
S: Kyle Decker 3 run (kick failed), 3:17
S: Cummings 31 run (Decker run), 11:14
S: Decker 1 run (Poggio kick), 6:42
B: Max DeLorenzo 17 run (Silverman kick), 4:12
RUSHING: Berlin — Dan Hackett 8-10, Max DeLorenzo 17-74, Taylor Tavarozzi 6-24, Zach Parsons 2-4; Simsbury – Kyle Decker 19-79, Kevin Kuchinskas 6-55, Connely Cummings 13-98, Josh Helmkamp 3-9, Colby Vanderbeck 5-39
PASSING: Berlin – Hackett 11-18-1, 119 yards; Simsbury – Decker 0-2-0
RECEIVING: Berlin – DeLorenzo 1-15, Tavarozzi 1-5, Mason Powers 1-2; Brian Malloy 8-97