TUNKHANNOCK — As the second half of the regular season began, Berwick had more difficulty with Mother Nature than Tunkhannock on Friday night. After a 62-minute weather delay, the Bulldogs shook off some early rust and quickly regrouped. Led by Dain Kowalski’s 125 yards rushing and four touchdowns, Berwick continued its march towards the playoffs with an easy 57-3 win.
“I told our guys, ‘take your shoulder pads off; put them on,’” Berwick coach George Curry said of the delay. “Then we saw lightning, and it was’ take them off again.’ Our trainer, who was a gymnast, was doing backflips in the locker room. Our kids were cheering for her. Maybe that was a good thing to keep them occupied. You want the pregame locker room situation to be right. That’s why I think we were a little lethargic in the beginning.”
Beneficiaries of excellent field position throughout the first half, Berwick was able to navigate short fields and put together quick scoring drives. Kowalski got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard on his team’s second possession as he broke loose on a 22-yard touchdown run.
Berwick (6-0) would need just one play to extend the lead to 15-0 when C.J. Curry used an excellent play-action fake that enabled him to find a wide open Andrew Force for a 57-yard touchdown pass. Although completing only three passes in the first half, Curry made the most of them by tallying 106 yards and two touchdowns.
“When we got protection, we threw the pass well,” Curry said. “People don’t realize what a young line we have. We only had one senior out there. They’ll make mistakes now and then. But they’re getting better.”
Kowalski scored Berwick’s third touchdown of the opening period when he crossed the goal line on a 5-yard run. With just under two minutes left in the first half, Curry hit Paul Jay Wiegand on a crossing route to make the score 29-0.
Tunkhannock (1-5) was able to move the ball with some success in the first half against Berwick’s defense. Quarterback Brian Beauchemin made some plays with his legs, rushing for 84 yards on 15 carries in the game, including a 31-yard sprint that moved the ball into Berwick territory. The Tigers got their only points of the night on Beauchemin’s 27-yard field goal with 11 seconds left before intermission.
“The trap gave us trouble,”Curry said. “They weren’t reading it, but they were trapping it. I was worried about our guys. We had some guys out tonight.”
Berwick came out strong in the second half. Running away from an unbalanced line to the right, Kowalski broke through the line of scrimmage to his left and raced untouched for a 41-yard touchdown.
“Everybody overloads our formations,” Curry said. “So we run away from it. C.J. calls it. We practice that. We call it packaging. He comes up, looks at the situation and he’ll make the call. We just ran a tailback counter.”
A special teams touchdown would cap off Kowalski’s huge night. His 54-yard punt return extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 43-3 late in the third quarter and invoked the mercy rule.
“We had a return left,” Kowalski said. “My front guy had a good block on the backside, and I got away untouched. My line did an amazing job for me up front, and I just found the holes.”
Berwick 57, Tunkhannock 3
RUSHING — Berwick: Dain Kowalski 11-125, 3TD; Nick Talanca 2-51, TD; Daquan Hellenthal 4-46, TD; C.J. Curry 5-37; Jorden Stout 2-5; Matt Shannon 1-4. Tunkhannock: Brian Beauchemin 15-84; Joey Leon 12-43; Ryan Cywinski 5-26; Ryan Ell 3-15; Shane Edmonson 4-4; Brandon Dailey 6-3.
PASSING — Berwick: Curry 5-11-0, 125 yds., 2TD; Tunkhannock: Beauchemin 6-11-1, 38 yds.; Ell 1-1-0, 3 yds.
RECEIVING — Berwick: Andrew Force 3-96, TD; Paul Jay Weigand 2-29, TD. Tunkhannock: Brett Stage 2-22; Mike Markovitz 1-11; Edmonson 1-4; Dave Lobuono 1-3; Hunter Hopkins 1-2; Leon 1-(-1).