BERWICK — Berwick quarterback Jared Marshman had run out of alternatives.
The Valley View defensive linemen were about to twist him to the ground. His only hope was a desperation pass that would either be the last play of the Dawgs’ season or end in a miracle to force a third overtime.
Valley View defensive back Janaasah Boone made sure it was the former.
Boone intercepted the fourth-and-goal pass, sending Valley View into a wild celebration and to the District 2 Class 4A championship with a 24-17 double-overtime victory at Crispin Field.
“We knew it would be a great donnybrook,” Berwick coach Frank Sheptock said. “We just gave them a few too many chances in the fourth quarter. We had some chances to end the game. They are a good football team and they took advantage of it and battled in overtime. They got one more stand.”
Valley View (10-3) will play District 12 champion Imhotep Charter, a 40-7 winner over Cardinal O’Hara, in the PIAA 4A quarterfinals next weekend. Berwick (10-3) ended its season like it did in 2016, with a loss in the D2-4A championship game.
The Cougars needed just two plays to score from the Berwick 10-yard line in the second overtime. Running back Seth Vernon took his first carry to the 2 and then scored on the next play. Matt Cesarini’s point-after gave Valley View a 24-17 lead.
It was then Berwick’s turn from the 10-yard line. An end run by Damon Beckhorn netted 3 yards. Marshman had a pass batted down on second down and had to scramble to get back to the Valley View 7-yard line on third down.
Marshman was grabbed quickly on fourth down and threw as he was falling forward. Boone picked off the pass at the 3 to end the game.
“I just saw the ball go up in the air,” Boone said. “As soon as he hit him, he just tried to throw it over my head, so I just took it out of the air.”
Boone’s interception was one of three by Valley View in the second half. Jaden Duplessis had the other two, including one he returned 26 yards to the Berwick 11-yard line. That interception set up an 8-yard scoring run by Vernon that tied the game 14-14 with 6:19 left.
Duplessis made his second interception on Berwick’s next possession, only to have the offense fumbled away the ball at the Berwick 17-yard line with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The first overtime was left up to a pair of soccer players — Berwick’s Ken Marshman and Cesarini. Marshman, one of the Wyoming Valley Conference’s top kickers, drilled a 22-yarder to give Berwick a 17-14 lead. Cesarini, in his first season kicking, hooked his 27-yard field goal a bit, but it too went through the uprights.
“I’m going to honest with you,” Valley View coach George Howanitz said. “Our field-goal kicker, it’s his first year and I was a nervous wreck putting him our there. But, man, he came through. That was a huge play for us in the game.”
Berwick scored first, using a no-huddle offense to go 73 yards on 10 plays in its first possession. Running back Owen Shoemaker capped the drive with a 7-yard run.
Valley View scored early in the second quarter, with Vernon ending a 62-yard drive with a 2-yard run.
Neither offense could produce many big plays until Shoemaker busted through the middle for a 65-yard TD run to give Berwick a 14-7 lead at 3:25 of the third quarter.
District 2 4A Championship
Valley View 24, Berwick 17 2OT
Valley View`0`7`0`7`3`7 — 24
Berwick`7`0`7`0`3`0 — 17
BER — Owen Shoemaker 7 run (Ken Marshman kick), 8:45
VV — Seth Vernon 2 run (Matt Cesarini kick), 9:55
BER — Shoemaker 65 run (K.Marshman kick), 3:25
VV — Vernon 8 run (Cesarini kick), 6:19
BER — K.Marshman 22 FG
BER — Cesarini 27 FG
VV — Vernon 2 run (Cesarini kick)
RUSHING — Valley View, Vernon 20-94, Chandler Fuller 14-42, Mason Kordish 17-61, Janaasah Boone 1-(minus-4). Berwick, Shoemaker 19-123, Damon Beckhorn 6-23, Jared Marshman 4-(minus-4), team 1-(minus-1).
PASSING — Valley View, Fuller 2-6-0-3. Berwick, Marshman 9-20-3-107.
RECEIVING — Valley View, Kordish 1-(minus-2), Chase Combs 1-5. Berwick, Beckhorn 4-55, Teagan Wilk 3-20, Alex Parks 1-29, Joe Norce 1-3.
INTERCEPTIONS — Valley View, Boone 1-0, Jaden Duplessis 2-34.
MISSED FGs — none.