BERWICK, Pa. – The Berwick Bulldog mascot showed off some impressive balance Friday night, riding a unicycle up and down the home sideline on several occasions.
On the gridiron, Berwick’s football team showed some balance of its own with running back Jeremy Freeman and quarterback Jared Pierce.
Pierce and Freeman combined for five of Berwick’s six touchdowns and kicker Alex Oliver booted a career long 45-yard field goal in the third quarter as the Bulldogs (2-3) mercy ruled Selinsgrove (1-4) 45-0 from Crispin Field.
While Berwick could do little wrong, Selinsgrove could do little right. And Seals taskmaster Dave Hess admitted he didn’t know what to say.
“We didn’t have an answer for #34 (Freeman) – he’s a heck of a back,” Hess said. “Berwick was the best 1-3 team I’ve ever seen. That’s a class act (on the other sideline).”
This night, the Seals offensive struggles continued. Averaging only 193 yards of offense and 9.5 points per game entering the Berwick contest, Selinsgrove mustered only 65 yards of total offense and four first downs this night. Field general Tyler Grein finished a 5-of-15 night passing for 40 yards and the Seals as a team ran for 25 yards on 20 carries. The Seals’ leading rusher, Mike Ede, had only 12 yards on seven carries and Logan Harris also had 12 yards on four totes.
“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and look at the film Monday and find something positive to hang our hats on,” Hess said.
For the homestanding Bulldogs, meanwhile, the victory was a confidence booster. A bigtime confidence booster.
“No doubt (the win was big),” said Bulldog head coach Gary Campbell. “But I still look at it like we’re on a 2-3 schnide. We really got beat up by Dallas and Valley West the last two weeks prior, so to get back moving again was key for us.”
Pierce and Freeman were a big reason for the Bulldogs getting moving. Of the team’s 422 yards of offense, #s 2 and 34 for Berwick combined for 334 of them.
Freeman got it started early for the Bulldogs, registering five carries for 36 yards on the blue and white’s initial offensive possession, capped by Pierce’s two-yard run with 7:01 left in the first period. Pierce pushed the Berwick lead to 14-0 with a six-yard run on the first play of the second quarter, but the Dawgs could have had the two-score advantage sooner had it not been for a five-yard penalty called on Freeman for assisting the runner (Pierce) forward into the end zone one play prior.
It wasn’t by design to see Pierce run the ball as much as he did, as the Berwick senior finished with 12 carries on the night.
“He did a good job audibling at the line of scrimmage and the check down tonight was him calling his own number,” Campbell said. “He’s a three-year varsity starter and we trust him to do that.”
After showing off his legs, Pierce showed off his arm and the Berwick aerial assault. He hit Jeff Steeber (4 rec., 43 yards) on a three-yard touchdown pass and then found Jake Pecorelli (3 rec., 43 yards) from 11 yards out to push the margin to 28-0 with 2:52 left in the half.
Freeman invoked the mercy rule on the first play of the second half – a 73-yard touchdown run – with 11:42 in the third quarter. The Bulldog senior finished with 152 yards on 16 carries. Pierce finished with 50 rushing yards, 132 passing yards, and four total touchdowns.
Berwick pulled its starters after Freeman’s long touchdown run, but the highlights still kept on coming. Oliver’s field goal – a 45-yarder with :07 left in the third quarter set a new Berwick school record, which was his second 40-yard field goal of the 2011 season.
Backup quarterback C.J. Curry capped the Bulldogs’ scoring binge with a four-yard run in the fourth quarter. In relief of Pierce, Curry threw for 25 yards and ran for another 14 on four carries.
The Bulldogs finished the night with 266 rushing yards and 157 more through the air. In their two victories this season, Berwick is averaging 41.5 points per game.