WEEK 6 SCOREBOARD
Berwick defense holds off Crusaders for victory
WILKES-BARRE — Frank Sheptock spent a lot of time during the week talking about angles and how he wanted the Berwick defense to pursue them. His primary concern, of course, was slowing down Coughlin’s running attack of Jake Cole and Vincent Todd, and the defense had specific instructions for the both of them.
The Bulldogs demonstrated why they are the top-ranked defense in the Wyoming Valley Conference and first against the run in a 24-6 victory over the Crusaders on Friday night at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.
Cole finished the night rushing for 49 yards on 17 carries, while Todd had 11 yards on 10 carries. Berwick’s offense was opportunistic in the second half, turning a pair of Coughlin turnovers into touchdowns to help the defense out.
“I thought our defense did a great job tackling and containing (Cole and Todd),” Sheptock said.
“I think they are both special players. Even at the half we were saying in a defensive game, one of those kids all of a sudden, they could be gone. I am happy with our pursuit and angles.”
Berwick wanted to make sure Cole had to try to take the ball outside and the plan for Todd was just the opposite. When Todd got outside, they wanted to make sure he had to turn inside.
“The idea was to try to make (Cole) stop his feet when he was running so he had to bounce outside,” Sheptock said. “When Todd was outside, we wanted to make sure he had to cut back in. We have some safeties back there who are doing some good things, and I think our linebackers are playing much better than last year.”
Berwick had 97 yards of total offense in the first half while Coughlin had 39. The only points in the half came on Ken Marshman’s 29-yard field goal in the first quarter, and despite a few threats from the Crusaders, Berwick was able to take the 3-0 lead to the half.
“They are a very tough, physical team,” Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti said of Berwick. “They beat us up front. We couldn’t run the ball and that hurt a big deal. It put a big damper on the offense.”
Coughlin turned the ball over on the second play of the third quarter on its own 24. With Damon Beckhorn operating out of the wildcat, he scored on a 9-yard run to put the Bulldogs up 10-0. Jared Watts hauled in an 18-yard touchdown pass from Alex Force on a fourth down play to make it 17-0, and another Coughlin turnover led to a 4-yard touchdown run by Joe Lynn that helped Berwick put the game away.
“(Beckhorn) is a dynamic player; we need to get him the ball more,” Sheptock said. “We tried to get him the ball different ways and Teagan (Wilk) the ball different ways. We have some playmakers, we just have to keep them healthy and this team could be pretty good.”
Coughlin scored late in the fourth quarter when Eric Sovan scored on a 5-yard run.
“Our kids played hard the whole game,” Cinti said. “But two things we talked about, penalties and turnovers. You can’t have them against a good team like that. You can’t start first-and-15, that just puts yourself in an even bigger hole.”
Coughlin’s Vincent Todd tries to stop Berwick’s Justin Robbins during Friday night’s game at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.