YATESVILLE – Pittston Area held first-place Berwick in a scoreless tie for more than 18 minutes Friday night.
For all the promise shown in that start, Patriots coach Nick Barbieri was disappointed by the reaction he saw from his team once the Bulldogs started scoring.
Berwick managed five touchdowns in a span of 13:13 to end the first half and start the second, doing all the scoring in what turned into a 36-0 rout.
“The thing that disappointed me is that once they scored a couple, we kind of hung our heads a little bit,” Barbieri said. “That’s the fight we’ve got to get over.
“We have to understand that we’re getting better and we can compete with these teams, but if we hang our heads, it’s not going to happen.”
Berwick protected its leads both within the division and in the race for the top seed in the District 2 Class 4A playoffs by improving to 6-1. Pittston Area fell to 3-4.
The Bulldogs forced the Patriots to punt eight times and took advantage of consecutive short kicks in the second quarter to score the first two touchdowns.
Berwick, which was turned away on downs by the Pittston Area defense at the 1 and the 28 in the first quarter, needed to cover just 37 yards for its first touchdown.
Bulldogs quarterback Jared Marshman, in his season debut after suffering a broken ankle in July, hit Teagan Wilk with a 23-yard pass to set up his own 1-yard touchdown with 5:49 left in the half.
The Bulldogs moved 48 yards to increase the lead to 14-0 with 2:11 remaining.
Evan Klinger carried six times for 42 yards, including the 1-yard touchdown.
Berwick scored again 40.8 seconds before halftime when Ryan Laubach’s interception and 18-yard return put the Bulldogs at the 28.
Marshman, who finished 12-for-19 for 175 yards passing, had all kinds of time to move around and look for receivers until Justin Robbins broke free in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown.
“It’s an emotional lift for those kids,” Barbieri said. “They were pumped to get their quarterback back.
“They were already good and he makes them better.”
Berwick used 52- and 16-yard passes from Marshman to Damon Beckhorn in the first 7:14 of the second half to make it touchdowns on five straight possessions and send the remainder of the game into the Mercy Rule.
Pittston Area was pinned in its own end early and never managed to get the offense moving.
The Patriots produced only four first downs, 27 yards rushing and 72 yards total offense.
“Defensively, they’re a great team,” Barbieri said. “If we wanted to do anything, we’d have to try to establish the run to keep their pressure off Walter (Coles). We weren’t able to do that.
“They manhandled us up front.”
Pittston Area did not cross midfield until the reserves were playing for both teams midway through the fourth quarter and, then it was unable to move inside the Berwick 40.
Dorien Ryans had the stop at the 1 on Joe Lynn’s run for Berwick on fourth-and-goal from the 3 to end the first series of the game.
Rich Wallace temporarily got the Patriots out of a hole with a 60-yard punt.
NUMBERS GAME: Klinger carried 15 times for 102 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion for Berwick. … The Bulldogs started five of eight first-half possessions in Patriots territory. In the half, Berwick started its average drive at the Pittston Area 48 while the Patriots began from their own 20. … Berwick gives up a WVC-low 7.8 points per game. … Chris Starinsky led the Pittston Area defense with seven tackles and seven assists. Michael Coe, who made one of his tackles for a loss, and Kevin Krawczyk each had six tackles and two assists. … The Bulldogs finished with 17 first downs, 200 yards rushing and 375 yards total offense.
Pittston Area 51
Abington Heights 34
CLARKS SUMMIT – Powered by a 34-point second quarter, Pittston Area defeated host Abington Heights in a non-league game Sept. 30.
Quarterback Walter Coles accounted for 391 yards and five touchdowns to lead the team to its third win of the season.
“This means a lot,” said Coles, who went 24-for-32 passing for 374 yards and three touchdowns. “We didn’t have three wins combined over the last two years.”
The scoring started with a field goal, when Shane Syms connected from 29 yards out for Pittston Area, but both teams found the end zone plenty of times.
After the Comets took the lead at the end of the first quarter, Keemar Woodruff ran 9 yards for the first of five second-quarter touchdowns by the Patriots.
Coles had touchdown runs of 1 and 4 yards and threw touchdown passes of 81 and 39 yards to Kevin Krawczyk in the quarter. Krawczyk finished with 10 catches for 239 yards.
“Our passing game was exceptional and the offensive line played really well,” Pittston Area coach Nick Barbieri said.
After a scoreless third quarter, Pittston Area got touchdowns on a 6-yard pass from Coles to Dorien Ryans and a 52-yard run by Dylan Lukachko.
NUMBERS GAME: The teams traded the lead seven times in the second quarter and eight times total. … The Patriots outscored the Comets, 34-21, in the second for a 37-27 halftime lead. … Pittston Area compiled 558 yards of total offense. … Woodruff carried 27 times for 106 yards, Lukachko had the 52-yard run and Coles carried seven times for 17 yards. … Pittston Area led in first downs, 21-16. … Abington Heights threw for 369 yards, but ran for just 27. … George Tinsley was 23-for-40 for 369 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions for the Comets. He also ran for a touchdown. … Trey Koehler had 10 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns for Abington Heights while Corey Perkins had six catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. … Woodruff and Jake Rutkowski had the Pittston Area interceptions. … The Patriots were 2-8 in 2016 and 0-10 in 2015.