Dawgs’ fate Sealed
WILKES-BARRE- Memorial Stadium saw one of its biggest crowds in recent years Friday night as the Berwick Bulldogs played host to district four’s Selinsgrove Seals in the eastern semifinals of the PIAA championships.
Berwick’s faithful packed the stadium like days of old rooting their beloved Dawgs on their quest for yet another state title.
Manheim Central nor Strath Haven would not be the team in the Dawgs way as years past at W-B Memorial.
Not even the one they called “The General” walked the sidelines as the natives chanted and barked their Dawgs on.
No, there’s a new sheriff in town with many of the same posse saddling up each week and once again guiding Berwick’s student athletes to football supremacy.
It would not be the Dawgs’ finest two and a half hours tonight, but yes Berwick is still known for their FOOTBALL team and small high school with a big college atmosphere on game days.
Crispin Field, the turf Berwick calls home has been quoted as being “A place were the football gods sleep” and the bulldogs who sit atop the fence that guard football lair own part of high school football history, guarding it well.
The Selinsgrove Seals would be the team to beat tonight owning one of the Dawgs two blemishes during the regular season a 28-3 loss in Selinsgrove during week five.
Berwick would keep the game much closer this time around and once again fed of their defense, coming up on the short end of a 14-6 ballgame.
Honestly, if you were to look at this one on paper the Seals come in a favorite, but Berwick’s determination once again is back and Selinsgrove needed all they could get out of their skilled players. To their credit they got just enough and may just find themselves in the state title game.
Selinsgrove took the 7-0 lead on the Dawgs with 4:53 left in the first quarter with Jr. Ryan Keiser setting the Seals up at the Berwick 11 yard line on a 57 yard scamper. Jr. RB Matt Wenrich would cap the drive on a short run.
The Seals were once again poised for more points with the ball at the Berwick 15 yard line, but fumbled the pigskin away. The ball was pick up by the Dawgs Sr. Zach Powell, looking to return it the distance, only to be tripped up by the shoe tops falling to the turf of W-B Memorial.
Although Selinsgrove would cough it up, that play may of sealed Berwick’s fate. If the Dawgs take that ball all the way home for a score, who knows with momentum and all what happens.
The Dawgs would eventually get on the scoreboard with Sr. RB Duff Law taking one 25 yards to paydirt via the ground game on the Dawgs first series of the second half. The PAT would be blocked with the score Seals 7 Dawgs 6.
Selinsgrove would take a 14-6 lead with 10:08 left in the game with Jr. Cory Briggs capping a the scoring drive on a five yard TD reception.
The Seals looked like they would put the Dawgs away late with the pigskin deep in Berwick territory, but a fumble recovered by the Dawgs once again gave them hope.
Berwick would move the ball a bit on their final series, but two batted passes by the Seals defensive line would put to rest any chance of the classic Berwick comeback.
Selinsgrove would grind out the clock, kneeling on the ball and salting away the 14-6 victory.
With the win the Seals will face Archbishop Wood, whom defeated West Chester Rustin 37-7 to advance to the PIAA eastern finals.
As for the Dawgs, its a pleasant thought knowing that next season with the warmth of summer in the air. Fans will be lining up at the gates of Crispin Field for yet another home opener in the heartland of high school football, knowing their beloved Dawgs will, “play like a champion.”
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