SIMSBURY, Oct. 15 – The young Simsbury High football team received a hard lesson on Friday night. Mistakes that would have resulted in a few extra yards in most games were magnified in a contest against undefeated Berlin, the No. 5 ranked team in the state.
Struggling to make tackles, Berlin rolled over Simsbury for a 43-0 victory with three touchdowns and a season-high 134 yards from All-State running back Max DeLorenzo. Simsbury also contributed to its woes with five turnovers (four fumbles and one interception). They also had a punt blocked.
There were a few bright spots for the Trojans but not enough for head coach Jeff Osborne. “We look to improve every week,” he said. “I think we took a step back tonight.”
Simsbury (1-4, 1-2 CCC Division I) made some plays. Omari Archer nailed DeLorenzo for a six-yard loss on the second play of the game. However, on the next play, Berlin quarterback Zack Zulkiewicz lofted a short, screen pass to Ras Morgan, who made a leaping, one-handed catch. He pulled the ball in and began evading Simsbury defenders and breaking attempted tackles. He ran 57 yards before being pulled down.
On the next play, DeLorenzo broke through the Simsbury defensive line and into the clear for 24-yard scoring run.
Archer had a 38-yard kickoff return in the first half while teammate Blair Zentek had kickoff returns of 39, 16 and 37 yards. Osborne was pleased with the return effort but he expected a better overall effort from the squad.
“We did what we had to do,” said Berlin coach John Capodice, who isn’t a big fan of playing two Division I teams as his non-divisional contests. “They are a tough team to stop.” Berlin (5-0, 4-0 CCC Division III), the defending Class M champion, also plays New Britain.
On its second drive, Berlin made it look easy. DeLorenzo, who has committed to play with the University of Connecticut next fall, broke through the line and scampered down the sideline for a 44-yard gain. Morgan gained 25 yards on the next play, making defenders miss and breaking attempted tackles. Two plays later, DeLorenzo scored from the seven for a 12-0 lead.
Simsbury did make a stand early in the second quarter. Berlin drove to the Simsbury six-yard line. On third down and inches, Zulkiewicz was stopped for no gain. On fourth down, Josh Gowdy nailed Morgan for a five-yard loss and the Redcoats turned the ball over on downs.
However, Simsbury could only manage four yards on its next possession and then Dave Balfore blocked a Kyle Decker punt, allowing Berlin to recover the ball on the Simsbury 10-yard line. Thanks to a great block from Morgan, Morgan Powers scored easily from the 10. DeLorenzo caught a two-point conversion pass for a 20-0 lead.
DeLorenzo scored his third touchdown with 1:20 remaining in the second quarter and grabbed a two-point conversion pass by literally reaching over the top of a Simsbury defender and snatching it out of the air for a 28-0 halftime lead.
Balfore recovered two fumbles in the game and blocked the punt. In the previous four games, Berlin had recovered five fumbles. In this game, they got four.
For Simsbury, Andrew Girard led the way with 74 yards on 17 carries, including a nice 15-yard run up the middle in the third quarter. Gowdy ran for 23 yards on five carries while Decker managed 21 yards on 10 carries.
Berlin’s 43-point victory was the most lopsided game in the series between the two schools that dates back to 1935. Berlin had a 35-0 victory over Simsbury in 1948. Simsbury still leads the overall series between the two schools, 18-12.
Berlin 43, Simsbury 0
Berlin (5-0) 12 16 13 0 – 43
Simsbury (1-4) 0 0 0 0 – 0
B: Max DeLorenzo 24 run (pass fails), 10:05
B: DeLorenzo 7 run (pass fails), 5:24
B: Mason Powers 10 run (DeLorenzo pass from Zack Zulkiewicz), 8:49
B: DeLorenzo 1 run (DeLorenzo pass from Zulkiewicz), 1:20
B: Powers 9 run (Ras Morgan pass from Zulkiewicz), 6:38
B: Morgan 34 run (Frank Murphy kick), 1:39
RUSHING: Berlin — Kyle Young 5-11, Scott McLeod 5-9, Kevin Main 2-20, Ras Morgan 5-62, Max DeLorenzo 10-134, Mason Powers 9-45, Tom Undercutter 1-11; Simsbury – Dylan Sullivan 1-minus 1, Andrew Girard 17-74, Kyle Decker 10-21, Josh Gowdy 5-23
PASSING: Berlin – Zack Zulkiewicz 3-5-0, 100; Simsbury – Kyle Decker 0-3-1, 0
RECEIVING: Berlin – DeLorenzo 1-22, Morgan 2-78