YATESVILLE — The domination by Berwick’s defense was the old news.
Berwick threw in a new twist Friday night.
Bulldogs quarterback Jared Marshman threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in the first appearance of his senior season, helping the Bulldogs break away from host Pittston Area, 36-0, in a Wyoming Valley Conference Class Division 4A game.
Marshman hit 12 of 19 passes for 175 yards and snapped Berwick out of a frustrating start when he broke a scoreless tie on his 1-yard quarterback sneak with 5:59 left in the first half. He looked comfortable playing for the first time since suffering a broken ankle in July.
“When it first happened, my surgeon told me I might be out for the season and that kind of hit me hard — my senior season,” Marshman said. “But then, after the surgery was successful, we started talking about six weeks.”
Marshman launched into thank yous for everyone from medical personnel to family to teammates, who helped him get through the disappointment of sitting out games and the physical challenges of getting back on the field.
Sophomore quarterback Alex Force was one for helping guide the Bulldogs to a 5-1 start in Marshman’s absence.
A defense that has allowed a WVC-low 7.8 points per game also helped handle any on-field issues for a team that scored more than 24 points just once in the first six games.
“The team played very well,” Berwick coach Frank Sheptock said. “We’re in a good position and then you add him and he might be one of the better players in the Wyoming Valley Conference, a returning quarterback who threw for 1,500 yards and ran for 500 last year is a big boost to our offense.”
It took a few series for that to pay off when Pittston Area made fourth-down stops at the 28 and the 1 in the first quarter.
Berwick’s defense made sure the Bulldogs were never threatened.
Facing a Pittston Area team that scored 51 points and gained more than 550 yards last week, Berwick allowed just 72 yards and four first downs. The Patriots did not cross midfield until the reserves were playing midway through the fourth quarter and never penetrated the Berwick 40.
After Walter Coles threw for 371 yards against Abington Heights, he was held to just 8-for-20 for 45 yards, largely because of the Berwick pass rush, led by Damon Beckhorn.
“Damon Beckhorn is a tremendous blitzer,” Sheptock said. “Everybody talks about him on offense, but defensively, he’s having a heckuva season with sacks and pressures and getting the offense out of rhythm.”
Beckhorn scored the two third-quarter touchdowns on 52- and 16-yard passes from Marshman in the first 7:14 to send the game into the mercy rule.
Klinger scored on a 1-yard run and Marshman hit Justin Robbins for 20 yards in the last 2:11 of the second quarter for a 21-0 halftime lead.
“Defensively, they’re a great team,” Pittston Area coach Nick Barbieri said. “If we wanted to do anything, we had to establish the run to keep their pressure off Walter and we weren’t able to do that.”