BY STEVE BENNETT / PUBLISHED: NOVEMBER 3, 2017
Class 4A District 2 Quarter Final
(8) Wyoming Area (4-6) at (1) Berwick (8-2)
When: Tonight, 7:00 PM Crispin Field
Last meeting: Berwick 17, Wyoming Area 14 (Week 3, 2017)
Series history: Berwick leads 20-5
Wyoming Area: Randy Spencer (10th season, 53-55)
Berwick: Frank Sheptock (2nd season, 16-7)
Players to watch
Quarterback Dominic DeLuca has thrown for 1,257 yards and 17 touchdown passes.
Wide receiver Marc Minichello has 30 catches and averages 12.0 yards per catch.
Running back Evan Klinger is averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
Quarterback Jared Marshman has thrown for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns in four games this year.
This is a rematch of a Week 3 game when Berwick used a fourth-quarter rally to overcame a 14-3 deficit and scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory. The key play was a punt return for a touchdown by Teagan Wilk. The game-winning touchdown came on a Damon Beckhorn touchdown run out of the wildcat formation. Berwick’s points came 2:41 apart. Berwick’s defense held Wyoming Area to 126 yards of total offense in the game. Berwick is coming off a 32-27 loss to Williamsport in the final game of the regular season. In Week 9, Wyoming Area defeated Williamsport 58-42. Berwick’s defense is the top ranked defense in the WVC, allowing 181.4 yards per game. Berwick gives up an average of 83.4 yards per game on the ground and 98.0 against the pass. Marshman, who missed the first six games of the season with an injury, has not thrown an interception in 73 pass attempts. The Dawgs are averaging 4.7 yards per carry as a team. Wyoming Area is allowing 111.6 yards passing and 153.0 yards rushing per game. The Warriors try to get Minichello involved in the offense as much as possible. Along with his 30 receptions, he has carried the ball 36 times.
Keys to the game
1. Turn up the heat. One key for the Berwick defense is to try to get pressure on the quarterback. The Dawgs did a good job of picking their spots in the first meeting. Of course, if the Dawgs go to an all-out blitz, that will leave some holes that need to be filled quickly or the Warriors will be able to take advantage of it.
2. Tighten it up. While Wyoming Area is known for its play on special teams, in the last meeting between these teams, it was a Berwick punt return that helped fuel Berwick’s fourth-quarter rally. Also, Berwick kicker Ken Marshman has the ability to change the field position game with his kickoffs and force the opponent to use a longer field.
3. Prepare for anything. It’s the playoffs and funny things happen. Berwick caught Wyoming Area off guard when it went to the wildcat formation late in the game. Wyoming Area took advantage of some early Berwick mistakes that helped it jump out to the early lead. Needless to say, both teams are going to have to expect the unexpected.
While Wyoming Area understands the excitement and energy a football game at Crispin Field brings on any given Friday night, the Warriors certainly don’t fear it. They proved it last year when they went to Crispin Field as a heavy underdog and won by two touchdowns. Then as the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A playoffs last season, hosted Berwick and lost by 32. Wyoming Area has struggled to find consistency with its running game this year. Obviously, that is a phase of the game that Berwick will try and take away and something it has been proficient at doing throughout the season. If Berwick can stop the Wyoming Area running game, it makes the Warriors a one-dimensional team on offense and a bit easier to defend. Berwick’s offensive line is going to have to protect Marshman and give him time in the pocket to survey the field and find his receivers. What the Warriors are going to have to do is limit the number of yards after contact. When they get to the ball they have to be sure they tackle.
In the end, defense is what wins championships. And Berwick has the best in the WVC.