WESTON, Conn. – Weston High’s football team ran out of fourth quarter magic Sunday night in the semifinals of the Class M playoffs, but it was not for lack of effort.
Second-seeded Berlin (11-1) beat the Trojans, 21-7, at Bunnell High School in Stratford. The Redcoats advance to the title game Friday or Saturday against No. 4 Hillhouse. Weston (9-3) finishes its best season since reaching the state championship game in 1989.
Berlin’s victory was not secured until midway through the fourth quarter. Leading 21-7 and driving deep in Weston territory, the Trojans’ Erik Dammen-Brower intercepted a pass at the 18-yard line and raced deep into Berlin territory, headed for an apparent touchdown.
Dammen-Brower was caught from behind by a hustling Berlin player, and fumbled the ball. Berlin recovered, and took over with 6:03 remaining. Weston saw the ball just one more time the rest of the game.
“We told the kids if we get it to the fourth quarter, you guys are pretty comfortable with that situation,’’ coach Joe Lato said. “It just didn’t happen tonight. Berlin played a great game and they deserve to be playing for the state championship.”
Berlin scored on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Williams to Tyler Undercufler on its opening drive. The Redcoats made it 14-0 early in the second quarter on a four-yard touchdown run by Kevin Main.
Weston, which managed 73 yards of offense in the first half, found its stride on its first possession of the third quarter. Quarterback Tyler Hassett scored on a four-yard run to make it 14-7 with 9:02 left. Hassett’s 33-yard pass to Zach Cannon highlighted the drive.
After the teams traded punts, Berlin went up 21-7 on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Scott McLeod. Weston had pressure on the play, but McLeod took a screen pass over the middle and had a bevy of blockers in front.
Dammen-Brower’s interception ended another Berlin threat, and he had an open field in front of him after making the catch. The ensuing turnover ended any chance Weston might have had to pull off a comeback.
Weston had difficulty matchup with Berlin’s size, and the Redcoats used it to their advantage. They churned out 211 yards on the ground, and Williams added another 163 passing. Weston had difficulty running the ball, with just 67 yards rushing. Berlin’s ground game also controlled the clock, limiting Weston and its dangerous quarterback, Hassett, to just four possessions in the second half.
The Trojans struggled to accept the disappointment of the defeat, but Lato urged them to remember that the team put the spotlight back on a program that had gone over two decades between playoff appearances.
“They should be proud of what they did and what they started,’’ Lato said. “This isn’t the finish line. We want to get back. They got the opportunity to play in two state playoff games. I’m not surprised, they worked so hardtop get here. Some people might be surprised, but we’re not. They should be proud of what they’ve done for Weston football.”