Chris DeBerry back in CT with Huskies...
STORRS: His smile greets you as you walk up to Chris DeBerry, former Torrington Raider quarterback who gave Raider Nation a whole lot to cheer about during his four years at THS.
A smile that lets you know he is and always has been one of the good guys who left the Raiders football program in much better shape than when he started with them as a freshman.
It was during the DeBerry years that the improvements to the Raider football program became apparent.
His freshman and sophomore years were not so much fun, the team had a combined 4-16 record over that span.
It was during his junior year that things started to change for the better.
Always a great runner, DeBerry sometimes struggled in the passing game but worked tirelessly to get better under new head coach Dan Dunaj.
The lefty QB was a two-way threat from the start. He used his legs as much as his arm and opposing teams knew they had to pay attention to what #4 was doing.
His junior year saw the Raiders win five games including an epic struggle against Watertown on Thanksgiving Day.
Down 13-6 with less than two minutes to play, DeBerry was faced with the daunting task of taking his team 80-yards.
“Coach (Dunaj) just said, ‘Let’s put a drive together’,” DeBerry said. “It was what you dream about when you’re a kid. Taking your team the length of the field for the win.”
DeBerry completed four passes on the drive, spiked the ball at one point when his team was out of timeouts and had 13 seconds and 13 yards to go when he found Darrick Williams for a 13-yard TD pass.
Showing the spirit the Raiders were beginning to exhibit, Dunaj had DeBerry go for two instead of settling for the tie.
No ties on Turkey Day, that’s for sure.
DeBerry rolled out and found Dwayne White for the two-point conversion that completed the improbable 14-13 win.
It was a huge stepping stone for DeBerry and the Raiders who posted a 5-5 record his senior year and made sure there was no drama his last Thanksgiving by dominating the Indians in a 30-7 blowout on the road.
It can be said that better football at THS started during the DeBerry watch, the team posted winning records the next three seasons, including back to back 7-3 campaigns in 2010 and 2011.
DeBerry was an All-NVL pick and was captain and team MVP his final two seasons.
He’s no stranger to The Rent, having played in the CT/Rhode Island All-Star game after his senior year.
Not just a one sport star, DeBerry earned All-State honors on the track and played on the basketball team as well.
Understanding the role education would play in his life was also front and center, DeBerry was on the Dean’s List every semester.
After Torrington, DeBerry went to Bowling Green University but didn’t play football, a decision he later regretted.
Two years later, DeBerry decided to transfer back to his home state and enrolled at UConn.
He has to sit out this season because of the transfer but is spending his time helping out on the practice squad and trying to set a good example for the younger players.
“I think I can help them get adjusted and set the proper example for how to handle things like time management,” DeBerry said.
He ran a 4.5, 40 yard dash in high school and has a highlight reel on U-Tube that still haunts coaches who remember what this young man with the big smile did to them when he was behind center during his years with the Raiders.
Great to see a local kid who brought us all so much excitement back where he belongs; on the football field with the University of Connecticut.
Welcome home Mr. DeBerry.