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Valley West collars the Dawg Defense

Written by: on Saturday, September 26th, 2015


Coming into the game between two of the top teams in the Wyoming Valley Conference on Friday at Crispin Memorial field, it was the Berwick Bulldog defense that everyone was talking about. By the end of the night, the Spartans may have just sent the Berwick coaching staff back to the drawing board with a resounding 34-6 win before 8,000+ intense fans. Valley West crushed the vaunted Dawg defense resoundingly while showing some defensive prowess of their own, out gaining Berwick by a total of 378 to 146 yards.

The contest started just as everyone had expected. On the first Spartan possession, a penalty, the swarming Dawg defense and a short gain had them punting deep in their own territory. The snap went over the punter’s head, he scrambled deep in the endzone and never really got another chance as Berwick’s Luke Fisher snatched up the ball for the first score of the game. The kick after failed, and that was the last time Berwick would see the endzone.

“Everyone was talking about Berwick’s defense. I knew we could beat them and we came out and showed them,” said WVW wide receiver Devon Weidman. Just one play after Berwick sent its home crowd into a frenzy, Weidman threw the proverbial “cold bucket of water” on them and the Dawg defense, sprinting 64 yards to put the Spartans up by one after Jake Gurtis hit the point after. Weidman scored twice, once rushing and once receiving and also pitched in for the win with two interceptions. “Devon’s something special, and faster than we need him to be. A heck of an athlete on both sides of the ball,” said WVW Head Coach Pat Keating.

Both teams traded possessions, then Berwick mounted what looked like an impressive drive, only to see it end with a missed 28 yard field goal attempt. “That was a tough one there. I thought we had it going but give them credit, they stopped us there good,” said Berwick’s Mike Force. The Spartans turned the stop into an 80 yard, 16 play drive that took up 6 minutes. Spartan fullback Bill Davison showed some power on an 11 yard run up the middle, but it was this drive that started to show what the Spartans quarterback Aaron Austin was capable of. First he busted loose for a 16 yard run, then the Jr. QB found his big tight end L.J. Wesneski in the corner of the endzone for a 25 yard td pass to put his team up 14-6 going into the half.

Valley West stunned the home crowd to start the second half when speedy Sean Judge sprinted 60 yards to give the Spartans a 21-6 lead. Berwick brought its crowd and offense to life after pouncing on the onside kick attempt at the 44. The Dawgs drove to the 9 yard line but a penalty moved them back and the drive stalled at the 7 when a scramble by Force on 4th and 16 only netted 15 yards. Berwick never got rolling offensively with their 1st string QB Jared Marshman hobbled by an injury from a previous game. The Spartans brought pressure all night and sacked Marshman 3 times and both Berwick signal callers a total of 5 times. “It really didn’t change our game plan defensively at all,” Keating said of the two Berwick quarterbacks, “we didn’t change our defense when they switched qbs, we just played that way all night.”

Following the defensive stop, Austin took control of the game. With carries of 3, 30, 15 yards and 2 pass completions covering 32 yards while eluding defenders the Spartan offense found a leader. “I think he had a coming out tonight, it’s only his fourth game starting. He made big plays tonight, with his head, arm, and legs” said Keating of his quarterback. Austin finished the night 12-16 for 126 yards and two tds while rushing for 70 yards on 11 carries. The drive ended with a 4 yard td run from Davison and the Spartans led 27-6 with one quarter remaining.

Weidman got his first interception of the night, picking off Force at the 50 and returning the pass to the Berwick 30. Several plays later Austin hit him with a dart in the middle of the end zone for a 25 yard scoring strike.

Wyo. Valley West`7`7`13`7`—`34


First quarter

BER – Luke Fisher fumble recovery in end zone (kick failed), 8:36

WVW – Devon Weidman 64 run (Jake Gurtis kick), 7:40

Second quarter

WVW – L.J. Wisneski 14 pass from Aaron Austin (Gurtis kick), 2:15

Third quarter

WVW – Sean Judge 60 run (Gurtis kick), 9:24

WVW – Bill Davison 4 run (kick failed), 0:03

Fourth quarter

WVW – Weidman 26 pass from Austin (Gurtis kick), 9:24

Team statistics`WVW`Ber

First downs`16`10


Passing yards`126`84

Total yards`378`147


Sacked-yards lost`2-13`4-23





RUSHING — WVW, Sean Judge 9-79, Aaron Austin 11-70, Devon Weidman 1-64, Bill Davison 8-36, Michael Baird 6-25, Zach Davies 1- (minus 2), TEAM 1- (minus 22); BER, Mike Force 7-32, Anthony Cecini 5-28, Len Wyda 4-15, Matt Shannon 5-10, Harrison Kochka 1-0, TEAM 1- (minus 9), Jared Marshman 4- (minus 13).

PASSING — WVW, Austin 12-16-0-126; BER, Force 7-12-0-47, Marshman 2-5-2-37.

RECEIVING — WVW, L.J. Wesneski 5-40, Davison 3-49, Weidman 2-27, Judge 2-10.

INTERCEPTIONS — WVW, Weidman 2-22.

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