By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
After getting thrashed by Wyoming Valley West in last week’s game, Berwick came into Friday’s nonleague matchup against Selinsgrove an unhappy team. And that did not bode well for the undefeated Seals.
Selinsgrove’s defense, which has only given up 34 points through the first four games, limited Berwick’s high-powered offense to just 10 points until the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
However, Seals coach Dave Hess isn’t interested in any moral victories or silver linings when it comes to playing the Bulldogs.
“I’m not satisfied until we beat Berwick to be honest with you,” said Hess. “It was two pretty good football teams tonight and we just didn’t get it done.
“On the other hand, there’s a whole lot of growth that is going to occur in this program this week. You can make a great thing out of a loss,” Hess added. “A loss can turn into a tremendous growth opportunity for your football team. I know we have the type of kids who are going to keep their heads in it and they are going to do well.”
Selinsgrove (4-1) didn’t have an answer for Berwick’s rushing attack, especially when it concerned senior halfback Matt Cashman, who ran for 145 yards on 29 carries in the game. It was the Bulldog’s fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season.
Quarterback C.J. Curry, the grandson of Berwick coach George Curry, and wide receiver Jeff Steeber combined for an additional 55 yards on 14 carries.
“(Cashman) was on. He just ran hard and kept his legs going. He had a good game,” said Seals cornerback Tyler Krebs, who made a number of tackles in the game as well as an interception.
“I thought our defense really rose to the occasion and played well,” added Krebs. “It was a heck of a game all through four quarters and I’m just proud of everybody on the team for the effort we showed tonight.”
More than a quarter of Cashman’s yards came on Berwick’s opening series. He carried the ball five times for 42 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown run just over three minutes into the contest.
“(Berwick’s running game) was hard to stop, especially in the first half,” said Hess. “They were going unbalanced, they were going heavy one side and we were shifting to it. We finally settled in later in the game, but early on we gave up a score because they got a lot of yards with their runs.
“We expected it, but we didn’t stop it when we needed to early on,” Hess added. “Later, the kids caught on to what we were saying and they did a great job.”
The adjustments worked, but it still wasn’t enough.
An interception by Eddie Try, plus a combined sack from Try and Billy Parks, held Berwick (4-1) to just 11 offensive plays in the third quarter.
“The tosses to the outside, the trips, it was rough,” said Try. “We made it work. We have a strong defense, but Berwick is just a great team.
“We had some weak spots, but we improved it throughout the game from the first half. I myself missed a couple of tackles I should’ve made,” added Try. “But in the second half we pulled together a little bit better. We really didn’t pull through all the way. Against Berwick, from what everybody was saying, it was supposed to be a blowout, but it wasn’t and we held them.”
That is until there were 7.5 seconds remaining in the game when Cashman scored from four yards out to seal the deal for the Bulldogs.
“I couldn’t be happier with the effort we got out of (Krebs, Try and rest of defense),” said Hess. “I think all of the kids gave the effort, but we weren’t ready to beat this football team offensively.
“There’s very good satisfaction with (holding Berwick to 17 points), but the scoreboard should’ve been a lot of different,” said Try. “We’ll just move on to next week.”
“I think we’ll take the positives out of this game into Monday for film study,” said Krebs. “Our effort was there, but we have to start executing.”