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Class M quarterfinal Berlin’s defense stymies Bobcats

November 28, 2018

BERLIN — Fighting back tears with the final seconds ticking down, Brookfield coach Rich Angarano experienced the gamut of emotions as his stellar, memory-filled ride came to a close.

The postseason was the appropriate destination. A place the Bobcats have been more often than not during his tenure.

No. 6 Brookfield fell 16-6 to third-seeded Berlin on Tuesday in the Class M quarterfinals, ending the Bobcats’ season at 8-3 and sending Angarano — who announced his retirement before the postseason — off into the sunset.

“A lot of great memories,” Angarano said. “I’m very proud of this group; they played their butts off. We didn’t do enough offensively, unfortunately.”

The Redcoats defense controlled the game from start to finish, finishing with five turnovers and several key fourth-down stops to thwart promising Brookfield drives. Berlin will visit Sheehan in Sunday’s semifinal round.

After having its offense stymied in the first half, Berlin got a pair of big plays to pull away. Receiver Giancarlo Tufano — who scored the first half’s only points on a 37-yard field goal — found himself all alone in the secondary for a 57-yard touchdown catch from Kevin Dunn to make it 9-0.

“It felt like we weren’t in our rhythm,” said Berlin senior Alex Halkias. “In the second half we were getting on the ball fast, gassing them a little bit. We like to get teams tired and that’s what we did.”

The lead was quickly 16-0 after a Brookfield fumble at midfield was immediately converted into points by Halkias, who raced up the middle for 58 yards.

Backup quarterback Jedrek Rajcula threw a 10-yard touchdown to Trevor Sterry to pull Brookfield to within 16-6 early in the fourth. The Bobcats immediately got the ball back after a three-and-out, but Berlin’s defense stiffened again to seal the win.

RARE TEST

The Redcoats (10-1) ran through their CCC schedule before losing to Class LL school New Britain in their regular-season finale. Playing all four quarters against a similarly talented team in the Bobcats was a new phenomenon.

“That’s the one thing I don’t like about our schedule, it’s a little hard to adjust to playing a team that’s at your level,” Halkias said. “But as a competitor that’s what I love to do; I love going against a team that can match your intensity and fire and the result was good.”

QUOTABLE

“Did we want to move on? Of course,” Angarano said. “Did I want to coach two more games; of course I did. But it wasn’t in the cards. I’m proud of this senior class, there were a lot of them who took their lumps as sophomores and juniors and they came through and won a lot of games to get to this point.”

rlacey@bcnnew.com, twitter.com/ryanlacey11

BERLIN 16, BROOKFIELD 6

BROOKFIELD0 0 0 6 — 6

BERLIN0 3 13 0 — 16

Be—Giancarlo Tufano 37 field goal

Be—Tufano 57 pass Kevin Dunn (kick missed)

Be—Alex Halkias 58 run (Tufano kick)

Br—Trevor Sterry 10 pass (run failed)

Records: Brookfield 8-3, Berlin 10-1.

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