DALLAS — If the Dallas Mountaineers can gain any solace from Saturday afternoon, it’s that they finally found the end zone this year.
By that time, though, Berwick had built a comfortable lead.
The Dawgs took advantage of Dallas miscues early, seizing control in the first quarter on the way to a 37-7 victory in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3A football game.
Berwick improved to 3-0 with its third consecutive victory over Dallas, which fell to 0-3.
Quarterback Justin Mucha connected with a wide-open Logan Brace on a 27-yard gain on Dallas’ first play from scrimmage, a catch that could have possibly gone for a touchdown if Brace hadn’t fallen adjusting to the throw. The Mountaineers’ offense, though, went flat and finished with 27 yards of offense in the first half as Mucha was sacked five times in the first two quarters.
Pressure resulted in the first points of the game as Mucha was penalized for intentional grounding in his own end zone, resulting in a safety and a 2-0 Berwick lead. Kyle Trenholm then returned the ensuing free kick 68 yards for a touchdown to build the lead to 8-0.
“I think the early part of the game seemed to impact our players,” Dallas coach Bob Zaruta said. “We had that first play and if it goes down the sideline (for a touchdown), which it may have, who knows what happens after that. Our players got behind because of a couple plays like the safety and the kickoff return. They just got out of their zone a little bit, but at times we came back and played well on defense.”
A shanked punt on Dallas’ next possession gave the Dawgs the ball at the Dallas 25-yard line. Six plays later, C.J. Curry hooked up with receiver Andrew Force for their fifth touchdown connection of the year. The point-after gave the Dawgs a 16-0 lead after one quarter.
Another short Dallas punt gave Berwick the ball again in good field position. Curry capped a 13-play drive with a 3-yard TD run for a 23-0 halftime lead.
“I’ll tell you, (Dallas) is a good defense,” Berwick coach George Curry said. “You take what they give you. You have to look at it and take what they give you.”
Running back Dain Kowalski added a pair of touchdown runs in the third quarter to invoke the 35-point mercy rule.
Dallas finally broke its scoreless streak in the fourth quarter, but it took a big play from the defense to do so. Mucha intercepted a pass and returned it 51 yards to the Berwick 9. Tight end Mark Michno jumped over a fallen Berwick defender to catch a touchdown pass on the next play.
The touchdown was Dallas’ first score since the second quarter of last year’s District 2 Class 3A semifinal game against Berwick.
Not all was smooth for Berwick as the final score indicated. Curry was sacked three times and hurried on other occasions. The running game was sporadic in the first half, although it did improve over the final two quarters. Kowalski finished with 90 yards and 17 carries to lead the way.
“We ironed some things out,” George Curry said. “We moved the ball pretty well in the second half. Pass protection, though …”
Berwick 37, Dallas 7
BER — Safety, Justin Mucha penalized for intentional grounding in end zone, 8:25
BER — Kyle Trenholm 68 free kick return (Olivia Seely kick), 8:14
BER — Andrew Force 21 pass from C.J. Curry (Seely kick), 3:16
BER — Curry 3 run (Seely kick), 8:39
BER — Dain Kowalski 3 run (Seely kick), 9:02
BER — Kowalski 4 run (Seely kick), 1:36
DAL — Mark Michno 9 pass from Mucha (Aaron Napkora kick), 7:06
RUSHING — Berwick, Kowalski 17-90, Curry 8-14, Jorden Stout 9-50, Trenholm 2-10, Daquan Hellenthal 1-(minus-1), Nate Maczuga 1-7. Dallas, Mucha 7-(minus-16), Logan Brace 13-23, David Simpson 2-7, Bret Storrs 4-21.
PASSING — Berwick, Curry 12-21-0-170, Dallas Arner 0-1-1-0. Dallas, Mucha 2-7-1-35, Matt Harrison 1-1-0-9.
RECEIVING — Berwick, Force 3-45, Will Updegrove 1-28, Trenholm 4-43, Kowalski 3-46, Kevin Woodeshick 1-12. Dallas, Brace 2-26, Simpson 1-9, Michno 1-9.
INTERCEPTIONS — Berwick, Stout 1-12. Dallas, Mucha 1-51.
MISSED FGs —None.