Patterson's Seth Arnold, Tyson Leonard, Jonathan Brown and Elijah Williams pursue Berwick's Reed Gonzales during Thursday's District 9-3A contest in Berwick. Berwick defeated Patterson, 29-26. (The Daily Review/Mico Aloisio)
Berwick holds off Patterson, 29-26
Berwick braced for Patterson’s first punch Thursday night, and once the Panthers still were standing, they knew it could be a special night.
Berwick held off a scrappy Patterson squad, 29-26, in the District 9-3 opener for both teams at Geisler Stadium in Berwick.
Berwick Coach Mike Walker said it was it a great prep football game.
“It’s just too bad that someone had to lose,” Walker said. “Hat’s off to the guys, because they could have come in here at the half and said this is over because Patterson punched us in the mouth on both sides of the ball.”
Berwick (3-3, 1-0) opened the game with a 13-play, 66-yard drive that established Keyon Singleton on the ground. The big senior carried eight of the next nine plays to set up a first-and-10 at the Patterson 23-yard line.
Quarterback Reed Gonzales took over from there, finding his favorite target, Seth Canty, for a 23-yard touchdown at 6:41 mark of the first quarter. Canty added the kick for a 7-0 Berwick lead.
Patterson (2-4, 0-1) wasted little time answering as Kyler Paul took a third-down handoff and raced 73 yards untouched for a touchdown. Jose Riveria added the point-after kick to tie the game at 7 at the 4:55 mark of the first quarter.
Paul was later kicked out the game for a personal foul, which was a big blow for the already thin Lumberjacks.
Berwick got another big play to open the second quarter when Gonzales tossed a ball up for grabs and Patterson defensive back Dylan Fabre tipped the ball into the air. However, Dylan Cothron was there to grab it for a 27-yard touchdown catch with 8:49 remaining in the first half for a 14-7 Berwick lead.
The ’Jacks’ answered with a 15-play, 82 yard drive that they capped with an Allen Langston 1-yard touchdown run with just 25 seconds left in the second quarter. Patterson missed the point-after attempt after a bad snap, so Berwick led 14-13 at halftime.
Berwick opened the second half with a Canty onside kick that he recovered at the Patterson 49 yard line, but the Panthers couldn’t anything going.
For Patterson, quarterback Tylon Walton hooked up with Darion Robertson for a 32-yard touchdown. The two-point pass failed, but the ’Jacks led for the first time at 19-14 with 6:46 left in the third quarter.
Walton finished the game 5-of-13 passing for 151 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also carried four times for 72 yards.
Berwick jumped back in front on a 12-yard scoring run from Singleton with 1:53 remaining in the third quarter, and Berwick added a two-point pass from Gonzales to Canty for a 22-19 lead.
Gonzales added a touchdown on a 2-yard run with 53 seconds left. Canty’s point-after attempt was good for a 29-19 Berwick lead.
Berwick still led 29-19 at the end of the third quarter, but the ’Jacks’ weren’t done, opening the fourth quarter with a 23-yard pass from Walton to Elijah Williams for a touchdown. After Riveria added the point-after attempt, the Panthers’ lead had been cut to 29-26 with 8:59 remaining in the ballgame.
Singleton finished the game with 14 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown, while Gonzales completed 11-of-15 passes for 161 yards with two scores.
“Like I said earlier, both of these teams kept showing what they are made of,” Walker said. “I hope this lifts our spirit with road games at Lutcher Friday and St. James the following Friday. We know what we’re up against the next couple weeks.”