BERWICK — All the anger that’s been building up in the Berwick football team came rushing out all at once.
Evan Klinger ran with it.
Owen Shoemaker ran through it.
And Jared Marshman helped Berwick get over it.
By the end of Berwick’s 48-14 pasting of North Pocono on Friday, all that was left from last year’s district championship loss to the Trojans was a distant memory.
“Oh, most definitely,” Shoemaker said. “We knew they were coming in as the district champs and trying to defend it. It was pretty embarrassing for us and pretty demoralizing.
“We had something to prove.”
Point pounded home.
Shoemaker ran for four touchdowns and 145 yards Friday, Klinger rushed for 89 yards and two more scores before suffering an injury and quarterback Marshman hit his first seven passes as Berwick rolled up a 48-7 halftime lead and romped to the mercy rule in a District 2 Class 4A semifinal.
It sent the Bulldogs back to a sixth straight district title game against Valley View, a 40-7 winner over Coughlin in another semifinal Friday. And it sent a North Pocono team that whipped Berwick 21-6 for last year’s District 2 Class 4A championship, into the offseason with a 7-5 record.
”I mean, we didn’t even score a touchdown against them in that game last year,” Shoemaker said. “We wanted to at least start out with a score this year.”
No problem there.
Berwick scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions, exploding for a 28-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and taking a 41-point lead into the halftime locker room.
Klinger started it, carrying Berwick’s first four plays for 22 yards and two first downs before capping the 58-yard opening scoring march with three straight carries for 17 more yards — the last being a one-yard plunge to paydirt that gave the Bulldogs a quick 7-0 lead.
“(Klinger) did a great job,” Berwick coach Frank Sheptock said. “He pounded the ball four, five, six times in a row. North Pocono is the only team we didn’t score a touchdown against last year. They (the Bulldogs) felt they had something to prove.”
The Bulldogs never let up through a first half where they forced two turnovers, piled up 209 rushing yards and Marshman went 7-for-7.
They turned a recovered fumble on North Pocono’s second possession into Shoemaker’s 5-yard touchdown run, then capitalized on Klinger’s 22-yard punt return with Marshman’s 29-yard touchdown bullet to Damon Beckhorn for a 21-0 lead.
“Jared’s feeling it right now,” said Sheptock, noting Marshman only returned from a season-long foot injury last month. “He’s very confident, understanding the offense and where he should go with the football. I think you’re seeing a person, now he’s starting to get into rhythm for a little bit.”
The running game never got out of its yardage-chunking routine.
Klinger added a 7-yard scoring run with 70 seconds remaining in the first quarter. And after North Pocono tried to rally with Donny Blaine’s 60-yard touchdown bomb to Dan Walsh, Berwick answered with three more touchdown runs by Shoemaker.
He blasted through North Pocono’s front for a 1-yard score, darted away for a 44-yard touchdown dash, then broke free for a 25-yard scoring run — all within a nine-minute period — as the Bulldogs coasted into halftime with a 48-7 lead.
“Honestly, I like crashing through the defense,” Shoemaker said. “The breakaway runs are fun, when I just out-run everybody. But there’s nothing like pounding the ball, giving it to a defense.”
The only bad news for Berwick came when Klinger, the team’s top rusher and leading tackler at linebacker, left the game with an apparent ankle injury after he was injured on a punt return. He spent the second half in street clothes, watching from the sideline and supported by crutches.
“Not sure what it is at this point,” Sheptock said. “We’re going to get some info and verify some things. He drives the engine a lot on both sides of the ball and on special teams.”
Berwick 48, North Pocono 14
North Pocono`0`7`7`0 — 14
Berwick`28`20`0`0 — 48
BER — Evan Klinger 1 run (Ken Marshman kick), 8:09
BER — Owen Shoemaker 5 run (Ken Marshman kick), 5:40
BER — Damon Beckhorn 29 pass from Jared Marshman (Ken Marshman kick), 3:18
BER — Klinger 7 run (Ken Marshman kick), 1:10
NP — Dan Walsh 60 pass from Donny Blaine (Tyler Reilly kick), 11:07
BER — Shoemaker 1 run (Ken Marshman kick), 9:28
BER — Shoemaker 44 run (Ken Marshman kick), 5:05
BER — Shoemaker 25 run (kick blocked), 1:14
NP — Walsh 38 pass from Blaine (Reilly kick), 1:24
RUSHING — NP, J.C. Gaughan 9-28, Joe Ianni 6-24, Jacob Givens 4-22, Donny Blaine 6-9, Gabe Hribal 3-9, TEAM 1- (minus 4). BER, Owen Shoemaker 16-145, Evan Klinger 11-89, Alejandro Lopez 7-35, Damon Beckhorn 3-15, Jared Marshman 4-14, Blaine Cleaver 2-1, TEAM 1- (minus 1).
PASSING — NP, Blaine 6-9-1-122. BER, Jared Marshman 7-9-0-72.
RECEIVING — NP, Gaughan 3-15, Dan Walsh 2-99, Dale Moore 1-8. BER, Beckhorn 3-44, Alex Parks 1-11, Jared Watts 1-8, Ralph Norce 1-5, Teagan Wilk 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS — BER, Mason Laubach 1-2.