DALLAS — The play, as meaningless as it was to the final outcome, brought a cheer from the Berwick players just like any of the six touchdowns the Dawgs scored Friday night.
The reason — reserve defensive back Maliek McMillan’s interception in the end zone with five seconds left preserved yet another shutout.
Berwick was dominant for the second consecutive week, jumping on Dallas quickly for a 42-0 win in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 4A game.
Berwick (2-0) posted its second shutout of the season and third in a row in the regular season. The Dawgs ended the 2015 regular season and opened this year with shutouts of Hazleton Area.
The Berwick defense hasn’t allowed a score in 20 consecutive regular-season quarters, so it was easy to understand the Dawgs’ jubilation. The only TD in that span was by Coughlin on a kick return.
“It’s definitely great because every week we always go into practice saying we have to be competitive in and out,” Berwick starting defensive end Kyle Roberts said. “And that includes our second team. Once we see the second team play as well as we play, it brings the entire morale of the team up.”
Morale was high right out of the gates Friday night.
After forcing a three-and-out on Dallas’ first possession, Berwick scored on its first play as quarterback Jared Marshman hit wideout Matt Champ in stride on the left sideline for a 62-yard touchdown.
Berwick then struck on its next two drives, with running back Len Wyda scoring on runs of 2 and 5 yards. The latter came after a 17-yard catch on a fourth-and-12 by Anthony Cicini, who was flipped end-over-end on the tackle.
“It definitely sets the tone,” said Wyda, who finished with 171 and four TDs on 21 carries. “That’s what we have to do — come out every game of the year and show every team what we have offensively. We’re definitely a skill-based team and feel we’ll be very effective on the offensive side of the ball.”
Berwick’s only hiccup of the first half came in its next possession when the Dawgs lost a fumble in the end zone while heading for another score. No problem. The Dawgs just scored on their next possession.
Champ made the play of the game to give Berwick a 28-0 lead at halftime, making a one-hand snag while diving into the left side of the end zone.
“I like the routine they’re in right now because they’re focused,” Berwick first-year coach Frank Sheptock said. “Obviously, this senior class is a special one. We have a great connection right now and I can lean on them a little bit. They believe in what we’re doing and that goes a long way from a confidence standpoint as the kids come out and play that well.”
Dallas coach Rich Mannello is still looking for the same thing, but it might take time. Dallas (0-2) has one of the younger teams in the WVC.
“They are really going to be something,” Mannello said of his team. “There is no easy way through this process. We knew we were going to be here. You got to grind through it and it’s unpleasant. But they’re our kids and they are working their tails off. You got to live through those nights when they turn the lights on. They’re great kids. There are ninth graders running around out there.”
Berwick bumped its lead to 35-0 with an eight-play scoring drive to start the second half. Wyda ended it with a 7-yard run. Wyda scored his fourth TD of the night on a 15-yard run a play after Evan Klinger returned a punt 39 yards.
Berwick 42, Dallas 0
BER — Matt Champ 67 pass from Jared Marshman (Ken Marshman kick), 9:47
BER — Len Wyda 2 run (K.Marshman kick), 6:53
BER — Wyda 5 run (K.Marshman kick), 3:28
BER — Champ 32 pass from Marshman (K.Marshman kick), 7:36
BER — Wyda 7 run (K.Marshman kick), 9:12
BER — Wyda 15 run (K.Marshman kick), 6:31
RUSHING — Berwick, Wyda 21-171. J.Marshman 3-3, Mike Force 3-34, Evan Klinger 2-8, Owen Shoemaker 3-5, team 1-(minus-1). Dallas, Justin Hutchins 12-23, Stone Mannello 10-21, David Schuster 3-(minus-1), Dylan Schuster 5-11, Mike Starbuck 4-21, team 1-(minus-13).
PASSING — Berwick, J.Marshman 7-11-0-145. Dallas, Mannello 7-15-0-62, Starbuck 3-5-1-22.
RECEIVING — Berwick, Champ 2-94, Force 2-14, Anthony Cicini 2-37, Wyda 1-0. Dallas, Christian Motley 2-15, Chris Murray 3-32, Ed Zochowski 1-16, Hutchins 1-(minus-1), Christian Sypniewski 1-10, Carl Markowski 2 -12.
INTERCEPTIONS — BER, Maliek McMillan.
MISSED FGs — None..
Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar