Berwick (0-3) showed improvement and took care of the ball but the first three drives were three-and-out and the fourth drive ended in an interception.
“We didn’t fumble the football like we’ve been, we didn’t give them easy touchdowns,” BHS coach Craig Brodie said. “We threw one pick late for a touchdown, but we made them earn them. They’re a very, very good football team. They beat the No. 1 team and defending state champs so they’re for real.”
The Eagles (3-0) got on the board early with a Dontrell Brown punt return of 53 yards after the Panthers first drive.
On the second CCHS drive the Eagles marched 48 yards on six plays with Lloyd Grogan punching in the touchdown from a yard out for a 14-0 lead.
There was some concern on the Eagles’ sideline late in the first quarter as Josh Singleton left the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury. Five plays after Singleton left the field his backup, Luke Landry, scored on a 12-yard quarterback keeper.
Following the game CCHS coach David Fuhrer said the injury isn’t serious and that Singelton was kept out of the game as a precaution.
“We just let Luke get some reps and wanted to make sure Josh is alright,” Fuhrer said. “We told him that we’ve got more games ahead and didn’t want to take any chances. It’s bothered him a bit before, but it’s probably just a sprain.”
Landry was efficient going 7-for-12 passing for 86 yards and a touchdown with one interception and he carried the ball five times for 11 yards.
Late in the game Fuhrer had a chance to play some younger guys and Eriq Blanchard stood out at running back with 10 carries for 64 yards.
“Luke’s our backup quarterback and he’s very capable as we saw last year,” Fuhrer said. “He plays a lot of defense also. Eriq’s a guy that, we’ve got a lot of guys, that can contribute. If we can get him more reps in the coming weeks then we’ll have another guy to put out there for a little bit of a rest when we get into some tight ball games.”
Landry picked up his first passing touchdown of the year on a short pass to Brown but as he neared the goal line he was brought down and made a risky pitch to Grogan who was able to score.
Jovon Johnson added rushing touchdowns of 17 and 3 yards to make the score 40-0 at the halftime break.
“The guys executed well in the first half and did some good stuff,” Fuhrer said. “We just didn’t want them to be lax because of the jamboree score. Like Coach Brodie said they’ve got two games under their belt and have a little bit more experience so we had to play hard and execute things well tonight.”
With a 40-point lead the Eagles got the ball to start the second half and the drive stalled after four plays at the Berwick 44-yard line on 4th-and-5.
Brown lined up to punt the ball and opted for a fake with a run inside the 10-yard line for a first down.
The fake was not called by Fuhrer and he accepted an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Berwick to bring the ball back to the 30-yard line rather than declining the penalty and taking the yards on the unnecessary fake punt.
“It wasn’t called, he just took off,” Fuhrer said. “It wasn’t called. It’s something where if you have the edge and can get it, then get it. He was the punter last year and we actually got him as a wing and Josh was doing a great job punting. When Josh went down, Dontrell went in and remembered from last year that we can catch it and take off if we get the edge. He saw something out there and felt he could get it. It’s something I didn’t want to call and he didn’t understand the fact that we’re up 40. He said, ‘Coach I’m just competing.’”
Central Catholic’s roster is not as deep as Berwick’s, which led to some of the starters being on the field in the third quarter and some in the fourth.
Brodie, coming from a similar situation as a former coach at Catholic High of New Iberia, understood Fuhrer’s predicament and knew the veteran coach wouldn’t call for a fake punt in that situation.
“He didn’t, David and I are close, we’re friends — I’ve known him for a long time,” Brodie said. “He’s just got a kid that practices that and he sees something checks it off and goes. It’s kind of hard to fuss at a kid when that’s what he’s taught. He did a good job in the second half, it could’ve been much worse.”
Berwick suits up for another Thursday night game next week against Erath, while CCHS makes the trip to Northlake Christian next Friday.