BERWICK — In the first week of the Wyoming Valley Conference football season, Dallas’ Lenny Kelley shredded the Coughlin defense for more than 200 rushing yards.
Because of that performance, some might have called the Mountaineers favorites heading into Friday night’s game against Berwick.
That didn’t bother the Dawgs at all.
Berwick held Kelly to just 43 yards on the ground, and kept the Dallas offense to just 112 total yards in a 23-7 victory at Crispin Field.
“Everybody thought we were the underdogs, but we knew from the get go that we weren’t,” said receiver/outside linebacker Damon Beckhorn. “We knew from the jump that we were gonna go hard and demolish this team.”
The Dawgs (2-0) set the tone early, receiving the opening kick and driving 86 yards in 10 plays to take an early 7-0 lead on a 2-yard TD run from Evan Klinger.
After forcing Dallas (1-1) into a three-and-out on its first drive, Berwick went right back to work. And again, moved the ball at will going 53 yards in nine plays with Alex Force finding Beckhorn (8 receptions, 91 yards) for a 25-yard TD strike when Beckhorn squeezed just inside the pylon to give Berwick a 14-0 lead with 3:41 left on the first quarter.
“That gave us the most confidence in the world,” Beckhorn said about getting out to a 14-0 lead early.
It wasn’t going to be easy for the Dawgs to keep Dallas off the scoreboard all night. The Mountaineers posted 54 points in their first game. But the defensive front consisting of J.J. Snyder, Thomas Monico, Chase Strother, Joe Norce, Will Decker and Jimmie Legrand pushed the Dallas offensive line back and helped keep the team to low totals.
“The rotation is very good right now there and we’re getting the most out of that group because it’s a collective effort,” Berwick Coach Frank Sheptock said.
After a Kenneth Marshman 23-yard field goal gave Berwick a 17-0 lead going to halftime, the Dallas offense got going a little in the fourth quarter.
Kelly (43 yards on 13 carries) finally found the end zone with 9:02 left in the game on a 2-yard run.
“He’s a tough, physical kid, and we thought we needed to do a great job of playing their double teams and then winning the bubbles,” Sheptock said about the team’s gameplan to slow down Kelley. “I thought our defensive line did great job from that standpoint because when the Dallas offense gets vertical with those backs, they gash ya.”
After forcing a Berwick punt, Dallas went back to work with momentum, but QB Michael Starbuck was intercepted by Teagan Wilk. About 4 minutes later, Owen Shoemaker hit the end zone on a 3-yard run giving Berwick a 23-7 lead with 3:04 left.
For the second straight week, Berwick committed a plethora of penalties. On Friday night it committed 12 penalties for 98 yards, including 37 yards that pinned the offense deep in their own territory.