WEST PITTSTON – Wyoming Area did not quite get enough out of its early dominance and wound up paying the price late.
Berwick took charge in the second half and rallied for a 22-10 victory in the Wyoming Valley Conference Class AAA football game at Jake Sobeski Stadium.
The Warriors’ last four games have included two wins and two games when they played well, but were unable to hold on to a lead in the second half.
“I think we came out fairly strong,” coach Randy Spencer said after the Warriors fell to 2-4. “We certainly had opportunities early.
“It was a similar game to the North Pocono game for us. We had early opportunities. We take a field goal instead of a touchdown; driving the ball and we have a turnover on that nice little play-action pass.”
At the point when it lost a fumble at the Berwick 30 with 4:04 left in the half, Wyoming Area had statistical advantages of 8-3 in first downs and 138-54 in total offense while building its 10-0 lead.
The game changed from there, however, as the Bulldogs gradually mounted their comeback while reversing those stats. Berwick led 12-4 in first downs and 170-74 in total offense the rest of the way, largely because of game-clinching, 15-play, 75-yard scoring that that took 7:37 off the clock in the fourth quarter.
“They were effective there,” Spencer said.
The Wyoming Area coach pointed, however, to those opportunities when he thought his team had a chance to build more than a 10-0 lead.
“You leave a good team like Berwick in the game, you’re going to have a battle the rest of the way,” he said.
Wyoming Area dominated between the tackles early and the Warriors opened a 10-0 advantage by scoring on their first two possessions.
Brian Miles, who finished with 100 yards on 25 carries, picked up 62 on 10 carries in the first quarter.
The Warriors needed just 2:26 to score to open the game when P.J. Angeli found Dante DeLuca wide open down the right side on a third-and-nine play for a 39-yard touchdown.
Miles had carried on the game’s first four plays and he carried four more in a row, including back-to-back, 15- and 11-yard runs, in the next drive. Miles had 51 yards on eight carries in the drive before being thrown for a loss on third down, forcing the Warriors to settle for a field goal.
David Klaproth connected from 34 yards from the left hash for a 10-0 lead with 9:04 left in the first half.
Wyoming Area appeared to be ready to add to that lead.
A.J. Ross made one tackle for a loss before assisting a Blaise Erzar sack.
Wyoming Area took over at midfield following the punt and Miles fought off a hit in the backfield to convert fourth-and-one.
Angeli hit Dylan Kostak with a short pass and Kostak was turning it into even more yards when a hard hit by Anthony Cicini popped the ball free near the sideline and Randy Miller recovered.
Berwick converted with a quick score before halftime.
Daquan Hellenthal ran 21 yards on third-and-short before Jared Marshman found Luke Fisher deep down the middle for a 29-yard touchdown with 1:14 left in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs wound up scoring the game’s final 22 points.
Hellenthal scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 4-yard run in the third quarter. The Bulldogs only needed to go 37 yards after a penalty and sack pushed Wyoming Area back to the 11 where it had to punt.
Wyoming Area mounted a response by moving 76 yards in 12 plays, including a 31-yard pass from Angeli to Donovan O’Boyle on third-and-15.
Berwick, however, made two straight stops at the 2 on third and fourth downs in the final minute of the third quarter.
The Bulldogs were pinned, giving the Warriors another shot from the Berwick 20, only to have another turnover spoil that chance.
Evan Klinger’s rush from the edge led to a Sean McCole interception.
Berwick then mounted its clinching drive that produced a 16-yard Harrison Kuchka touchdown on a third-and-10 reverse with 1:36 left.
Lenny Wyda ran for both two-point conversions in the second half for Berwick, which improved to 4-2.
Wyoming Area, which hosts Dallas Friday night in another WVC Class AAA game, is 2-4.
Ross led the Warriors defensively with six tackles, including two for losses, and five assists.
Kostak, Miles and Ryan Murray also made defensive contributions. Kostak had four tackles and five assists. Miles had a sack, another tackle for a loss and four assists. Murray made five tackles.