Special to The Daily Review
KAPLAN – Berwick head football coach Craig Brodie Sr. and his Panthers went to Kaplan knowing there would be a challenge.
Kaplan, who before the game was tied for first in District 9-3A alongside Erath, was on a four-game winning streak, and it was the Pirates’ homecoming.
Despite the odds, the Panthers took to the field looking to leave an impression, but an early 21-0 deficit made the challenge all the more daunting.
Kaplan deferred after winning the coin toss, which allowed Berwick the first offensive possession.
After a short Drew Landry kickoff return, Berwick quarterback Bobby Boudreaux and the offensive squad took to the field. The drive would end after one play, however, with a high snap sailing over Boudreaux’s head and the Pirates recovering with excellent field position.
The Pirates capitalized on the next play as Kaylon Rudd rushed for 17-yard score.
On the ensuing kickoff, Berwick was set to try again. Unfortunately, another fumble, this time a little further downfield, would end that drive after just one play as well.
The Berwick defense stepped up in Kaplan’s next drive, making it a lot more difficult for the Pirates to score. Kaplan used several plays — most short runs — to get into the end zone. Tyson Broussard capped the drive on a 4-yard touchdown run.
Thinking that the third time would be the charm, Berwick tried once more, but for the third time in a row, the Panthers gave up a fumble to Kaplan. Broussard would capitalize again a few plays later with another 4-yard touchdown run.
Down 21-0, the Panthers were determined to fight their way back into the ballgame. A short kick from Kaplan gave Boudreaux and the Panther offense better position to work with. Raheem Colar would start the drive off with a no-gain run, and Luis Hernandez would get a pair of short gain runs. Two penalties against Kaplan would tack on 20 yards to the drive for Berwick, putting them in prime position for Nicholas Osburn to catch a 17-yard pass from Boudreaux for the Panthers’ first and only touchdown of the night.
Kaplan would answer that touchdown with one of its own on the next drive, followed by two more later in the half. At halftime, the score was 41-7.
Boudreaux and Colar would do the best they could the rest of the game, with each picking up good yardage in the second half, but Berwick had to punt every series after the half.
“I think we gave great effort,” Brodie said. “They’re a much better football team than we are right now. We have a lot of bumps and bruises, but they came out and played their hardest.”
The Panthers coach said the team “shot themselves in the foot” with the three turnovers at the beginning of the game. “You can’t do that against a good team like Kaplan,” he said.
Abbeville is the next challenge for Berwick, who will host the Wildcats for homecoming Friday. Both teams are now 1-7 this year, each having caught tough breaks as the season has progressed.
Cunningham is the Sports Editor at the Abbeville Meridional.