BERWICK — Anthony Cicini had a quiet night on the back line of the defense as the Berwick front seven dominated Pittston Area.
Offensively, well, that was a different story.
Cicini ripped off for 114 yards on the ground and three scores, while the Bulldogs’ defense held the Patriots to a mere four yards and three first downs in a 27-0 victory Friday night at Crispin Field.
Berwick improves to 6-2 heading toward a Week 9 showdown with Coughlin. It also marks the second straight year the Bulldogs have held Pittston Area scoreless.
“All week in practice, playing big on the offensive line was stressed,” Cicini said. “They just blew people right off the ball. Without those 10 other guys, I’m not going anywhere. I owe them a lot of credit. We were up 13-0 at halftime, but we knew that we could play much better football. I think we played our game in the second half. That’s all you can really ask for.”
The stat really didn’t shock George Curry too much.
When asked about how dominating his defense was, the Berwick head coach wasn’t surprised at all.
“They’ve been doing that all year,” Curry said. “They are quick kids.”
On the field, the Patriot faith in attendance were probably stunned.
Pittston went three-and-out on its five possessions in the first half, and had negative yardage for the first 24 minutes.
It got a little better in the third quarter, where two defensive pass interference penalties aided the Patriots’ best drive – advancing down to the Berwick 42.
They would go no further. A short gain on a first-down run by Ryan Davis, and two straight incomplete passes stopped the productive 11-play drive, forcing the Patriots to punt.
“Our offense kind of gets going in spurts,” Pittston Area head coach Jim Norris said. “Obviously tonight, we just didn’t perform. We are trying to get better at the things that we do best, and I think that’s the way you have to approach high school games. I watched coach Curry’s film when I played against him 10 years ago, and they are doing the same stuff. It’s not about putting different wrinkles in every game. It’s about getting better at the things that you do.”
Offensively, Berwick wasn’t as sharp as normal.
While the Bulldogs were able to move the ball on the turf, churning out almost 300 rushing yards, there was a zero in the passing column.
Starting quarterback Jared Marshman didn’t connect on any of his six attempts, while Mike Force’s lone throw was wiped out on offensive pass interference – one of eight times Berwick was whistled by the officials.
“They were saying they couldn’t grip the ball. Like it was misty,” Curry said. “We have to be able to have a passing game because we have speed.”
The ground game proved to be enough.
Taking the opening kickoff, Berwick needed just four plays and less than two minutes to move the ball 59 yards. A 35-yard keeper off the left side by Marshman put the ball near the Patriots’ red zone. Two plays later, Daquan Hellenthal took the sweep and went 19 yards nearly untouched for the early, 7-0 lead with 10:10 left in the quarter.
Cicini took over from there.
His 6-yard second-quarter score gave the Bulldogs a 13-0 lead at the break, and he crossed the goal line twice in the fourth on back-to-back runs of 11 and 61 yards. The 61-yard TD was especially pretty as it appeared Pittston had the shifty athlete bottled up near the sideline before he squeezed through a crack and shot like a bullet in front of the home stands.
“I was just as amazed as everyone else,” Cicini said. “I just saw a cut, hit one after another, and 60-some yards later, I was in the end zone. There was some great blocking down field, and I was able to make some cuts off of them.”
Pittston couldn’t recover in the fourth, going three-and-out on its lone two possessions.
“Our kids show a lot of character, and they come to work hard every day,” Norris said. “We are not practicing like an 0-7 team. We are playing a lot of young guys, and they are getting better each week. But it’s tough against their defense. They are big and fast.”
Berwick 27, Pittston Area 0
BER — Daquan Hellenthal 19 run (Jordan DiValerio kick), 10:10
BER — Anthony Cicini 6 run (kick wide), 2:38
BER — Cicini 11 run (Mike Force run), 7:52
BER — Cicini 61 run (run failed), 5:44
First Downs `3`11
RUSHING — PA, Tyler Ferlick 1-5, Niko Cinquegrani 5-4, Ryan Davis 6-2, Walter Coles 7-0, Team 1-(-2), Rich Wallace 2-(-5), Keemar Woodruff 2-(-15). BER, Anthony Cicini 12-114, Daquan Hellenthal 10-60, Alex Koch 7-46, Mike Force 9-39, Jared Marshman 2-30, Harrison Kuchka 2-3, Len Wyda 1-(2).
PASSING — PA, Walter Coles 2-8-0, 6 yards; Niko Cinquegrani 1-1-0, 10 yards. BER, Jared Marshman 0-6-0, 0 yards.
RECEIVING — PA, Kevin Krawczyk 1-10, Ryan Davis 1-5, Rich Wallace 1-1. BER, none.
INTERCEPTIONS — None
MISSED FGs — None
RECORDS — PA 0-8, BER 6-2