Strong Second Half Lifts Berwick To A Win
By Brian Ptashinski @BPtashinski on Twitter
WILKES-BARRE- The Coughlin Crusaders football team came into their highly-anticipated game with the Berwick Bulldogs Friday night, as one of the hottest teams in the Wyoming Valley Conference having won three games in a row. In those three wins, backfield mates Jake Cole and Vincent Todd were dominant as Coles rushed for over 200 yards in two of those wins and Todd gained nearly 190 yards last week against Honesdale.
The stout Berwick defense had different plans for the dynamic duo. Coles managed a meager 49 yards on 17 touches, while Todd could only muster 11 yards on 9 carries. When the dust settled, the scoreboard read Berwick 24 Coughlin 6 at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.
“Our plan was to make Coles run wide and Todd to cut back when he tried to get outside. Our pursuit was good at making that happen all night,” stated Berwick coach Frank Sheptock after the game.
The Bulldogs held just a 3-0 lead at intermission thanks to a Ken Marshman 29-yard field goal with 6:13 left in the opening quarter.
Berwick’s defense set the tone early in the second half, as the Crusaders fumbled and Damon Beckhorn recovered for the ‘Dawgs at the Coughlin 24. Beckhorn scored from nine yards out, from the wildcat formation capping a three play drive with 10:16 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard again with 8:41 left in the game. The ‘Dawgs faced a fourth down situation at the Crusaders 17, needing ten yards to move the chains. Coach Sheptock gambled and instead of a Marshman field goal attempt in the wind, Berwick went for it. That decision would pay off as QB Alex Force connected with Jared Watts in the back of the end zone to extend the lead to 17-0 after Marshman added the PAT.
— Brian Ptashinski (@BPtashinski) September 30, 2017
“We felt Alex was throwing the ball well at that point and his confidence was there as well. With the wind and rain coming off the edge we felt it would be best to just go for it,” Sheptock concluded.
Berwick’s defense once again stepped up against the Crusaders ensuing drive as LB Eric Montes recovered a fumble at the Coughlin 35. Keeping the ball with the ground attack was the best option as the wind-swept rain fell upon the stadium. RB Joe Lynn carried three straight times, the last one covering four yards to make the score 24-0 with 7:23 remaining.
Coughlin avoided being shutout as Evan Sovan took it in from six yards out with 2:05 left on the clock.
Next week Berwick (5-1) will travel to face Pittston Area (2-3). Pittston will at Abington Heights Saturday afternoon. Coughlin (3-3) will face cross-town rival Meyers (4-1) next Friday. Meyers is facing Dallas Saturday night at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.
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